The Hill’s are definitely passionate and you can see it in their work. When you get a roof with Interstate Roofing you get that same passion.
A New Vision in Old Town – Fort Collins Magazine When Rucker Hill, owner/builder of Rucker Design Build, builds a home, he throws himself so fully into every detail that leaving the place behind once the project is complete is often bittersweet. “Honestly, there’s not been a project I’ve done where I haven’t cried at the end,” he says with a laugh. But the trade-off for Hill and his wife and RDB partner, Rebecca, is some future homeowner’s happiness. “I feel really blessed to be doing a job where I’m impacting people’s lives in a positive way,” Hill says.
Since moving to Fort Collins from Dallas in 2014, the Hills have gained serious momentum with their business, upgrading and reimagining the old and spiritless into modern, homey retreats that incorporate the natural beauty of their surroundings. Rucker is the creative spirit and the labor; Rebecca manages the business, the budget and project timelines. The couple’s latest project—a 3,862-square-foot, four-bedroom, rustic-modern stunner on Mountain Avenue in Old Town Fort Collins—has been their biggest undertaking to date, a home a year in the making, which Hill designed and built from the ground up.
The inspiration, in this case, began with the land: a prime piece of real estate on a particularly covetable stretch of Mountain Avenue, across the street from City Park. The property had been on the market for a while, the price had dropped and it was too great an opportunity to pass up. So they bought it. Contemplating what came next was a bit tricky, though, Hill says, because new construction in Old Town is a rarity and, while they wanted to create something fresh and modern, they also didn’t want to the place to “stand out like a sore thumb” in the established community full of older homes. “We spent a lot of time driving around, taking pictures of people’s houses so we could figure out how we’d complement the fabric of the neighborhood,” he says.
But before they could do much of anything in terms of building, the couple had to deal with the existing home on the property. They’d gotten the rare green light from the city’s historical review board to tear down the home, but they were reluctant to demolish it. “It was tiny and old, the original house,” Hill says, “but it deserved another life. And I try to upcycle and recycle where I can.” So they put an ad on Craigstlist: Free House. “We gave it away to the people who were most qualified for moving it,” he says. “We loved that it wasn’t going to end up in a dumpster.”
“My son has this book that we love, called Beautiful Oops! It’s about how all these mistakes lead to amazing new opportunities. I called that mistake my ‘beautiful oops.’”
Thus freed, Hill set about creating a new home that would fit both the property and the neighborhood, initially taking inspiration from a traditional farmhouse down the street, as well as the layout of the original home and outbuildings on the property, which had reminded him a bit of an old farm. He designed a sprawling home with a big barn-like base, a large garage and secondary structure, then submitted the plans to the city. “They just laughed at me,” he says. “I was grotesquely over the square footage allowed. I’d just missed that particular detail.”
But the miss turned out to be a lucky one. “My son has this book that we love, called Beautiful Oops!,” Hill says. “It’s about how all these mistakes lead to amazing new opportunities. I called that mistake my ‘beautiful oops’. We pushed for different solutions and we ended up having a better house in return.”
The blueprints underwent a bit of a makeover—more outdoor space here; a raised eave there—but the lofty, barn-like main building of the house remained and today is connected by a lower-level breezeway to a stacked-stone office, above which rests a cantilevered “floating” master suite. (On the other side, hidden from street view, is a one-car garage with two large storage decks built into it.) Meantime, the architectural and design details—from the stacked-stone walls and foundation (all quarried from Arkins Park and painstakingly hand chiseled); the enormous front shutters on barn door tracks; the locally sourced Douglas Fir used inside and outside the house—all lend the place a woodsy rusticity, even as the overall aesthetic is planted firmly in modern territory (with a few nods to mid-century design).