Owner of ‘Incident’ house at 17th and Pikes Peak to build Victorian next door
“People have been asking what that mountain is for.”
Richard Mee chuckled at the ongoing construction reality in the former vacant lot next door to the 100-year-old house he and Allan Kerr own at 1710 W. Pikes Peak Ave. Of late, there has appeared a deep, rectangular hole and a two-story pile of dirt beside it.
Also co-owner of that lot, Mee can enjoy its future prospects. He has designed, and plans to work with his brother Ron in building, a four-bedroom Victorian-style house on the site. The hole is for the foundation, but it's been “overdug” four feet wider and deeper than the actual space needed, Mee explained. The idea is to eliminate potential expansion/contraction problems that can happen with the Westside's clay soils. The pile of non-clay dirt that's been brought in will be filled into the four-foot gaps.
Mee hopes that, with the help of subcontractors, the foundation can be laid and the house framed and roofed before winter. That would allow his brother and he to work inside through the cold months. “I'd hate to be hammering out in the snow,” he commented.
The rental cottage at the corner of 17th and Pikes Peak, which Mee and Kerr also own, will not be affected by the project. The long-range goal is for the partners to move into the new house, sell 1710 and continue to rent the cottage, said Mee, who works as an interior (and sometimes landscape) designer.
Kerr and Mee have owned the house, lot and cottage for six years. When they bought them, they had actually just been looking for a vacant lot on the Westside, but, as it turned out in this case, the only way was as a package deal, Mee related
The 1710 house has a certain celebrity status on the Westside, having been the home of Walter Matthau's family in “The Incident,” a made-for-TV movie shot at Westside and downtown locations in 1989. But Mee is particularly proud of a testimonial he found on-line: the original house's builder and resident thanking Sears, Roebuck & Co. for good service and quality materials.
The new Victorian will be similar in appearance, but won't be a twin of the 1710 house. It will be alike in having two stories and a porch with a wraparound style. But it's to be larger (including a full basement), with a red brick exterior like the buildings in Old Colorado City, “if we can afford it,” Mee said.
The Victorian style choice is not a personal preference but rather an effort to be compatible with the traditional neighborhood. Mee noted regretfully that not all Westside infill developments take compatibility into account.
Westside Pioneer article