Boyce home off Highland delivers all they wanted, with no hassles

After 29 years in their Pikes Lane home, Johnny and Melanie Boyce were ready for a contemporary house that required little maintenance but had lots of charm and beautiful views.

And, with the help of architect Cindy Stewart, the couple ended up with their dream home.

“She was able to incorporate the views,” said Johnny Boyce, a retired attorney. “I think she has a little bit of Frank Lloyd Wright in her.”

Even though the Boyces are in an older subdivision off heavily traveled Highland Road, the home is almost completely surrounded by woods. Nearby is a house the couple built for Johnny Boyce’s mother, Jane Boyce. Since her death in 2012, their closest neighbors are now the deer, coyotes, foxes, wildcats and numerous species of birds who also call the property their home.

To satisfy the low-maintenance goal, the home is built of engineered wood made from Brazilian mahogany chips that are mixed with polymers and processed at very high heat. The wood is so hard that pieces have to be joined with screws. And, even better, it takes no work to keep it looking good.

“You never have to do a thing to it, just hose it down,” said Johnny Boyce. “It has been used in condos in Aspen, Colo., and after 18 years of snow, wind and rain, it still looks brand new.”

The home’s bricks are made of concrete with the color built in. Every door and all bathrooms are handicapped accessible, and the house has a 50-year aluminum roof.

The home was built by Don Ernst, whose master carpenter Mick Murphy crafted much of the elaborate woodwork and came up with methods for incorporating the engineered materials.

“There are no problems, just solutions,” Murphy told the couple.

The home’s 200-pound front door is a work of art created by two local artists — Ford Thomas, who works in wood, and Steve Wilson, who designs in glass. It opens to the large living-dining space with Melanie Boyce’s grand piano to the right and the dining area to the left.

At the rear is the seating area with a fireplace banked with dark, contemporary metal done by David Cano.

The living room opens to a large courtyard fountain designed with an onyx background by landscape architect Jon Emerson and built by Lucas Firmin.

Behind the living room is a bar area and small den. To the right is a sleek kitchen with quarter-sawn oak cabinets and indestructible quartz countertops. Everything in the kitchen has its own spot.

“That’s the advantage of building a house when you are old,” Melanie Boyce said with a laugh. “By now, you know where you want to put things.”

The home has two bedroom areas — a guest area to the right of the kitchen and the master suite off the den.

Even utility spaces, like the laundry room, are beautifully designed with slate floors and a view to the wooded landscape.

Working with interior designer Charles Nunn, Melanie Boyce used the furniture from the couple’s Pikes Lane house.

“I have worked with him since 1971. We have a wonderful working relationship,” she said. “He has helped me with four houses.”

Nunn helped Melanie Boyce select more contemporary fabrics to adapt her old furniture to the new home.

“The sofa in the den is the only new thing we bought,” she said.