Incorporate Design Elements Inspired By Your Stunning Natural Surroundings 

We have been building homes in the Grand Valley for over a decade. At the heart of our design process is site location. We take into consideration the landscape, topography, and naturally-occurring features and views.

The Grand Valley contains the towns of Palisade, Clifton, Grand Junction, Fruita, and the Redlands. These are all vibrant communities, with ample opportunity for outdoor recreation, raising a family, or enjoying the leisure of retirement.

grand valley design colorado
The Book Cliffs: One of the Grand Valley’s Most Impressive Feature

The Book Cliffs are a major geological feature of the region. Lieutenant E.G. Beckwith noted that the mountains resembled “books on a shelf,” while on surveying expedition for the US military in 1853. The highest point of the Book Cliffs, Mount Garfield, was dedicated to the late President James Garfield when he was assassinated in 1881. The next year, in 1882, settlers moved into Grand Valley.

Design Element #1: Create A Palette Inspired By Nature

The Grand Valley’s Book Cliffs are made of sandstone, mudstone, and shale. Their colors change with the light and seasons. Sometimes they appear white, red, purple, or brown. When creating a color palette for a home, we like to study the colors in our natural environment. The colors that occur side-by-side in nature intrinsically appeal to our sense of aesthetics.

Design Element #2: Bring the Outdoors In

One of four main towns in Grand Valley, Palisade is nestled along the Colorado River and surrounded by lush vegetation and mountain vistas. It has over 500,000 peach trees, and 1,000 acres of vineyards. These vineyards produce 90 percent of the grapes used in Colorado’s 30+ wineries. 

When custom building a new home in Palisade or elsewhere in Grand Valley, we always try to “bring the outdoors in.” This means we consider the mountain vistas when we think about window placement, view lines, and entertainment zones. In designing a kitchen, we take into account the preferences of the family member who does the most cooking, as well as the entertainment habits of the homeowners.

Whether we design a large door that opens one room into another, or create an entire outdoor kitchen around a pizza oven, designing a space that compliments the homeowners’ lifestyle is our top goal.  

Design Element #3: Choose Hardscape and Landscape To Compliment Your Setting

Creating harmony and balance with the natural environment ensures that a new build feels like it’s always belonged. It’s especially important to think about hardscape and landscape that compliments or even mimics the topography, colors, and textures of the land in a rustic place, such as Grand Valley.

What do we mean by hardscape?

Hardscape includes any non-organic or nonliving elements of landscaping, such as bricks, walls, fountains, etc. Any intentionally placed outdoor structure can be considered “hardscape.”

For our clients, we have designed everything from custom steel pergolas for hop vines to perfectly cast concrete fire pits. It’s this type of detailing that sets our custom design built process apart from status-quo developments.

Appropriate hardscape and landscape is about:

  • Savvy material choices for furniture, structures, and ground cover.
  • Planting native, noninvasive, and climate-appropriate species.
  • Working with, rather than against, the patterns of the sun and wind, to ensure that your outdoor spaces remain shaded and protected when you’re most likely to use them. 

Just Above the Grand Valley, You’ll Find the Colorado National Monument

The Colorado National Monument is south of Grand Junction (Grand Valley’s largest city), on the northeast Colorado plateau.

In 1907, trail-builder John Otto wrote, “I came here last year and found these canyons, and they felt like the heart of the world to me. I’m going to stay and promote this place, because it should be a national park.” In 1911 his lobbying efforts paid off and the area was designated the Colorado National Monument. John Otto became the new park’s first custodian, a position he held till 1929. 

Hikers, climbers, and mountain bikers can enjoy the Monument’s trail systems, with canyons as deep as 500 ft. and rock monoliths as tall as 450 ft. Wildlife in the Monument area includes mule deer, coyotes, mountain lions, desert bighorn sheep, and foxes. 

Due to its combination of sandstone and granite, the Monument has beautiful deep reds, oranges, and purples. The latter results from shadows created by the deep canyons and unique geological formations.

This complimentary balance and hierarchy of form is the design element we most try to capture with each home that we create. From the foundation to the finishing touches, every design detail that goes into a custom home has to relate to the other details, completing the big picture for the residents that will soon inhabit it.

We’re Lucky To Live, Work, and Play In The Grand Valley

We’re highly inspired by the Grand Valley and grateful to be able to design and build houses in an area we call home. Whether you are renovating your historic downtown house or bringing your vision to life in the Redlands—a Grand Junction neighborhood overlooking the National Monument— we’re here to guide you through the design process and help you create a fantastic home that tastefully reflects your lifestyle and our shared natural environment. 


Picture of Ryan Cowan

Ryan Cowan:
Owner I Operator

RG COWAN DESIGN BUILD crafts dynamic custom homes in Grand Junction, Redlands, Palisade, Appleton, and Fruita, Colorado

We believe that good design is born of inspiration, iteration, and collaboration. It is born out of a process of idea making with a goal of creating beautiful spaces for people. It happens through the interaction with our clients, our collaborators, and our consultants, while always respecting constraints and the natural world. The process is Fluid, founded in the spirit of engagement, while adapting to the needs of a changing world. We think, we design, we build.

These buidling resources will help you navigate the process of building a custom home in and around Grand Junction, Colorado.