Formerly a gray stone home built in 1915, it now glows with a warm shade of gold paint accented by a new pine green metal roof and custom made shutters. The outbuildings on the property have been painted to match, and even the two-car garage sports a new green roof and trim.
Partners in this venture are Steve and Debra Bixler. They are combining their talents and turning out a charming cottage-style home with a yard filled with niches and crannies that add stylish touches of interest to the scene. Ivy grows over the stone walls, and a winding brick path leads to the front door. An arbor twining with vines and with birdhouses nestled among them introduces the path. Window boxes brimming full with vivid nasturtiums in season are a wonderful compliment to this overall color scheme. Decorative wrought designs are painted to contrast with the walls they adorn.By now you have guessed that there is a talented designer and an able craftsman at work here. "This is an ongoing labor of love," they say, smiling with that knowing "look" married couples have, and adding, "with lots of work and gallons and gallons of paint." They have hand painted all of the stone, first double priming it as Debra's dad would do - he being a master painter by trade and known as the "Rembrandt of Santa Barbara" for his excellent work.
Included in the yard is a bird enclosure made secure from predators. It houses quail, chukkers and a special breed of bantams known as "cochins." They are flagged with fluffy leggings and are adorable.
This is one, busy, fun barnyard to watch. Debra is a trained expert in the how-to's of raising chickens. The six-inch-deep wood chips covering the yard are home to bugs the birds like to feed on. So, they scratch through the chips loosening the droppings they have deposited working like little roto-tillers and creating a healthy environment for themselves. The old hen house itself is painted and decorated with the same colors and accents used elsewhere.
A small pond is part of the ongoing work they are enthused about. It is spring fed and has fish in it needed to maintain the healthy condition of the water. One day they plan for a quiet sitting area there so they can relax with their morning coffee and enjoy the wildlife that comes to the pond. As part of this transformation, they have hauled numerous loads of old fencing, trash, and accumulated debris out of the yard and re-routed water drainage that has had no challenging in its path for years.
Now for the inside, which is newly designed and well functional for a small space. The kitchen sports beautiful new cabinets and the original ceiling restored to nine and a half feet high. Steve is a building contractor who is invaluable in carrying out Debra's ideas, and adding some of his own. They are developing a more open, spacious, authentic feeling in the interior of the house.
Steve has "color plastered" their bedroom walls. This is a plastering technique which resembles antique Spanish or Old Italian villa plaster walls. His business, Custom Interiors, does most of this style in Aspen homes sometimes as large as 10,000 square feet in size. It is unique, beautiful, and can't be duplicated with paint or any other medium. Sometimes it is used on an accent wall or a foyer.
The home is a work in progress, as many other remodelers in the area will relate to.
A former owner poured a footing adjacent to the house intending to build additional living space. Debra has in mind a sunken outdoor patio with cooking spa and entertaining areas, perhaps with a nice deck off the house leading down to it, and a garden with a deer fence protecting it. More intensive clearing and debris hauling are in the future. Steve looks at Debra quizzically and smiles. Her mind is going a mile a minute. But she pitches right in with the hard work jobs and they are a coordinated, productive team.
If you drive around Cedaredge you have no doubt noticed this picturesque cottage nestled in the hollow. And as springtime proceeds, Debra's landscaping design talents and Steve's skills in carrying them out promise a scene vivid in colors and new projects. Keep an eye out for further developments, and smile as you drive by this attractive new Cedaredge face lift, charmingly reflecting a community Steve and Debra are proud to be part of.
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Story by Joanne Thompson