The Mansion That Chunky Monkey Built Has a Pool in the FoyerSeptember 16, 2020
In 2000, the same year that Perry Odakstepped down as chief executive officer of Ben and Jerry’s, he began to look for a house near Boulder, Colo.
By the time his new job as CEO of supermarket chain Wild Oats Inc.was announced in March 2001, he’d settled on a 14,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom, 10-bath mansion set on 35 acres.
The house is located 15 minutes outside Boulder and a 25-minute drive to Denver. “I looked at a lot of places,” Odak says. “With this house, it’s surrounded on two sides with 20,000 acres of permanent open space. That quiet and serenity was a real plus for me, because when you’re running a company and you see people all day long, you want to escape.”
After a minimal amount of updates—Odak converted a media room into a gym, built out a 2,000-bottle, temperature-controlled wine cellar, and deepened the pool’s depth—he lived there with his family, even after hestepped down from his position at Wild Oats in 2006.
After moving the house on and off the market a few times (“I don’t need to sell the house, so I’m not going to give it away,” he explains), he’s listed it with Jonathan Danton of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty for $5.5 million. “We have two other homes in southern California,” Odak says, “We’re just downsizing.”
A Pool in the Foyer
The house was built, Odak says, by a local contractor who went through a divorce before he could finish it. “His new wife didn’t like the house, and so he put on the market,” says Odak. “And then I fell in love with it.”
The house is certainly a break from the traditional Colorado vernacular. Upon entering, visitors step into a massive, double-height room with a staircase that curves around a pool.
The pool is actually an indoor-outdoor pool, Odak explains. “You push a button, and a wall opens up and you can swim out,” he says. “I think it’s 75-feet-long, so you swim indoors in winter—and in the summer, you open it up and go outside.”
To the right of the entrance hall is the dining room. Beyond are a large kitchen and family room. Then comes an overpass that connects to a separate two-bedroom guest house with its own kitchen, bathrooms, and living room. “I’ve had people stay there for some time, and you’d never know they were staying in the house,” Odak says.
On the upper level are three bedrooms, two of them master suites; on a lower level are two additional bedrooms and the gym. There is also a separate bedroom for staff.
Given that the house was built by and for a builder, the vast amount of small details won’t surprise, Odak says, though they make it unique.
Some 3 million pounds of stonework lie around the building’s exterior; inside, there’s extensive furniture-grade wood detailing.
“You can’t find a nail or a screw anywhere,” Odak says. “The house is 20 years old, and there’s not a crack anywhere.” Given how dry Boulder is, Odak attributes this in part to the swimming pool, “which becomes a source of humidity,” he says. “In most houses in Colorado, the wood dries up.”
Odak recently updated the tech in the home, so that “everything is computerized,” he explains. “Heat, sprinklers, air conditioning—I can control it all from my iPad.”
The property sits in a development called Bear Tooth Ranch.
“This and 18 other homes are on 800 acres, and each house has a minimum of 35 acres,” Odak explains. “And then we’re surrounded by thousands of acres of conserved open space.” Being adjacent to that amount of wild land, Odak says, means “you get to see antelope, elk, deer, and bear.”
One day, he recalls, he was seated in his ground-floor study and saw what he thought was a dog. It turned out, he says, to be a coyote, which subsequently “birthed two pups in the shrubs,” he says. “For two weeks the little guys were playing and romping around in my backyard.”
Odak says he didn’t necessarily think now was the right moment to re-list the house, “but I have a lot of realtor friends who tell me they’ve had some of the best months they’d ever had, as people escape cities,” he says.
“This house is not an inexpensive house, so it will appeal to an executive who wants to get out of the city and out of the chaos—but be close enough to Boulder and Denver” to commute.
Because Odak is in California most of the time, he’s happy to give the house up. “I don’t need three homes,” he says. “I don’t need the headaches.”
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