Drive to the Westside of Colorado Springs, along 21st Street or Lower Gold Camp Road, and into the neighborhood of Gold Hill Mesa. Ease past the community center with its park and walking paths. Cut through the cozy houses to the edge of the enclave where a pair of convertibles, a 1972 Cadillac Eldorado and 2002 Corvette, are parked in the garage. This is the home of Mark Long.
As the owner of Vanguard Homes, he has been building semi-custom houses in the city for years. As a fan of this community and its expansive views, he’s built his own home in Gold Hill Mesa. To the north, the open space will be developed as the community continues to grow following ongoing geological testing. To the east, the view will not change: a panorama of downtown Colorado Springs, only 3 miles away.
“When I came out here to see some lots [for Vanguard Homes], I just said wow,” Long recalls. He considered the community. He saw the view. That’s pretty unique, he thought at the time. “I just stood on this lot and said, ‘This one’s mine.’”
Perched on the mesa, the house is positioned to play to the views. Large windows along the eastern wall showcase the spectacular city vista. “It’s really nice at night,” Long points out. The back windows and deck offer glimpses of the downtown skyline and city lights. To the front, Pikes Peak is visible from the 14-foot entry.
Main-level living is perfect for Long, and the open floor plan is spacious with 10-, 12- and 14-foot ceilings and plenty of light. He is making the space his own with a decorative combination of modern touches and sentimental pieces. An antique piano sits across the hall from new custom furniture in the master bedroom. Off the kitchen, a sleek, looping pendant light hangs over the well-loved family table.
As he settles into his house, Long continues to invest in the community, not only with his business, but with his own plans as well. It’s not hard in the neighborhood, where it’s common to run into fellow residents out walking and gathering along the community’s sidewalks and greenways.
Long says, “I truly love how the people of Gold Hill really consider themselves, and each other, collectively as one tribe.”
Decorating Hacks From the Pros
Whether you’re moving into a new home, or updating an old one, you can make the most of your space without blowing up your budget:
“Decluttering a space is the first step to decorating well,” says the owner of Jessica Daniels Homes. Cleaning up and clearing stuff out allows homeowners to thoughtfully curate a space with personal elements.
“Fresh throw pillows and floor-to-ceiling drapes can make a big impact without a huge time or money investment,” Daniels says. “A little bit of wallpaper in a targeted area can pack a big punch and really add character. And I’m always a fan of a fresh coat of paint.”
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the latest styles on Pinterest and Instagram. But Terri Mitchell, owner of Interior Enhancing, warns against investing a lot of money in popular designs. “Trends will come and go,” says the designer who decorates Vanguard’s model homes. “Select finishes and colors that will be timeless and classic.”
Keep flooring, countertops and cabinets ageless. Instead consider trends for elements that are less costly to change, like brightening up your space. Mitchell suggests, “Updating your lighting with a more streamlined design and current finish can instantly update a room with fresh new style.”