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Unique JeffCo Architecture: The Magnificent Sculptured House


Northeast slope of Genesee Mountain above I-70, unincorporated JeffCo


“On Genesee Mountain I found a high point of land where I could stand and feel the great reaches of the Earth.
I wanted the shape of it to sing an unencumbered song.

                                                                                                      — Charles Deaton


Forty-three years after genius Charles Deaton built the shell of his Sculptured House, Michael Dunahay became the first to actually live there! Deaton built the house to escape the “square world” of the city. Every surface is curved, including glass windows that view the Continental Divide and Denver metro’s city lights.


It became known as the Sleeper House after Woody Allen leased it in May, 1973, for scenes in his film “Sleeper,” a silly tale about a man who awakens after being frozen for 200 years. Having never lived in his extraordinary creation, Deaton sold the home on three lots totaling 15 acres to California investor Larry Polhill in 1993 for $800,000. Deaton died in 1996.


The original flying saucer design of three levels was 3,740 sq. ft., but Deaton also designed a 3,000 sq. ft. addition, a 5,400 sq. ft. flagstone deck, four-car garage, and 1,000 sq. ft. caretaker’s apartment. Polhill began construction of the addition but lost interest. After vandals broke the unique windows, wild critters took up residence there until Internet entrepreneur John Huggins purchased it for $1.3 million in June, 1999. Huggins hired Deaton’s daughter Charlee and her architect husband Nick Antonopoulos to help complete the original design. Charlee scouted worldwide for 1960s furnishings and created extraordinary tile designs for the bathrooms.


Huggins devoted half of his time supervising restoration and construction crews while continuing to live in Denver. His nomination of the Sculptured House for the National Register of Historic Places was accepted in 2002. The property has been for sale for $5 to10 million, while Huggins generously allowed many fund raising events at the home. He sold the two vacant lots in 2005.


In July, 2006, Michael Dunahay (shown at right) slept one night at the house and knew it was meant for him to live in! “I was amazed that nobody had bought it. Now, I am inspired every day while living here,” said the Colorado native son of 1860s settlers. While attending college in the 1970s, he cut his own firewood to heat his Indian Hills log cabin home without heat or water.


Dunahay and his former wife invested in real estate worldwide and established “Vacation Solutions” in 1988. It is a club based in Denver and Los Vegas that provides unique homes to rent for a week or two. Dunahay paid $3,425,000 for Deaton’s sculptured house and wants to acquire the two vacant lots adjacent to the property.


The house was sold again in November 2010.
(no data on owners available).


— Carole Lomond

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