In November 2016, Natasia Smith first saw the big green house on the corner of Highland Avenue and Sixth Street. It was grand, with red brick walls and sage green shingles around fairytale windows of clear, warped glass. You could picture dinners on the porch and parties in the garden, overlapping laughter of children and adults finding a new home. Something felt like she had found it; an Eden of creaking wood floors and cool gray stepping stones. When the house went on the market, 7 years later, those imaginings became reality for the Smith family. A family of five people and nine pets made their home at 541 Highland Avenue.
Natasia and Zachary Smith first met on the middle school swim team in the small suburban town of Jeffersonville, Indiana. Even though Natasia’s frequent moves with her military family, the two stayed in close contact as friends over the years until they began dating when she was eighteen. Yet again they were separated as Natasia served in the Air Guard and Zachary pursued a career in software engineering back home in Indiana. But by way of short calls and long letters, now memorialized in a dusty box in their basement, they made it work. In 2002, Natasia and Zach were married, and they currently have three kids: Lynne, Floyd, and Tinsley.
After the Smith family first visited Boulder, Colorado from their small town home in southern Indiana, they came back year after year. This new world was different than anything they had seen growing up among cornfields and the Kentucky Derby, and they were entranced by what they saw. The mountain backdrop seemed stolen from the set of a movie, an unreal sight until you dare to venture within. With every trip to Boulder, it felt less like leaving and more like coming home, until in 2021 they returned for good. In only two years, they are quite settled into this new Colorado life.
Their oldest, Lynne, enjoys writing and completing elaborate makeup looks at their marble-countered vanity. At seventeen years old, they go to Alexander Dawson High School, a community and space they love greatly. Through Lynne’s school, as well as Reel Kids, they perform theater and write music. For them, the feeling of hot stage lights and soaring notes climbing over an audience is the best feeling in the world.
Floyd, a thirteen-year-old student at Manhattan Middle School, shares this love for music. While chopping vegetables for dinner or reading on a bench near the garden, you can usually hear the notes of his old stand-up piano gliding through doorways and among the roses. Otherwise, he is biking or playing airsoft with his dad, or perhaps studying the newest species of ant for his terrarium. His younger sister may very well follow him on this venture, scouting the yard and gardens for signs of beetles and spiders.
Tinsley, the youngest of the family, is eight years old and goes to Flatirons Elementary, where she loves learning music and arts and crafts. Tinsley could spend hours in the art room, where Lynne teaches her to make pop-up cards and she teaches them to do origami. Clay, paper, markers, and glue are strewn about the large table as if in an art project of their own while the two (often three) siblings create their monsters and heroes.
By evening, the Smith family makes dinner and heads out to the porch to eat. Laughter and chatter in the air, it’s just like they once pictured from afar while looking at the green-shingled house. Whether walking to Pearl Street or Ideal Market, the park or the creek, Boulder and Mapleton feel more like home every day.