Taking the time to give back changes lives. Giving back is also the life blood of nonprofits. Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley (HFHVV) relies on the expertise of community members, many of whom are busy with their own businesses, yet they still find the time to donate their services. Greg Sparhawk, founding partner at GPS Designs + Architecture, has been instrumental in bringing the vision to life at Grace Avenue. He started consulting with HFHVV in 2018 and has been integral in designing Habitat homes ever since.
Grace Avenue is Habitat’s housing development in Gypsum. Six half duplexes were completed last year; six more will be ready for families to move into later this year. Our mission is to build decent, affordable homes. Greg took this mission to heart, designing homes that have a contemporary cottage feel, welcoming families into a cohesive neighborhood.
“Greg created a beautiful product that was very thoughtfully designed. He found the perfect balance between the homes’ affordability and constructability–all while keeping the livability for the families top of mind. A lifetime of memories will be created within the walls of those homes. We’re grateful to Greg for his generosity and partnership,” reflects Emily Peyton, HFHVV’s director of special projects.
For more than 20 years, Greg has designed homes that suit families’ needs. He used his years of experience in developing the Grace Avenue project—creating the best space for the families who will live there.
“We talked about what Habitat was looking for—[and I tried] to create something unique for that area,” Greg says about the Grace Avenue project. Ask any of the families who already live there, or the ones still building, and they will tell you he succeeded.
Greg listened to HFHVV’s parameters – simple, decent and affordable while maximizing opportunities for storage. In the duplexes, Greg minimized the size of the party wall, which provided a cost savings while making the homes feel like two smaller cottages instead of one large house. He also moved the garage to the side so the focus is more about community and neighbors than about the car. Finally, he added details and unexpected colors so the neighborhood has a cohesive, yet distinctive, look and feel. The homes, in short, are perfect for a growing family.
It was important to Greg to make the time to give back to a community where he is raising his own family, designing homes provide stability, strength and self-reliance through shelter.
“I think it’s important that we all understand and appreciate that we are not individuals in this community. Some of us are fortunate to be able to help any way we can; it helps the community overall,” Greg says. “It’s something I always wanted to do.”
As the Grace Avenue project comes to a close, Greg is already at work designing four duplexes, Phase 8, in Stratton Flats. These homes will provide housing stability for eight more families in the Eagle River Valley.
If you would like to help create housing stability for families in Eagle County, please reach out. Our job site is accepting volunteers for many jobs, and we can always use help in our ReStore. It takes a community to build a community.