“RidgeGate Up Close” is our series of interviews with people who make RidgeGate a more vibrant place. Read the unexpected stories of residents, workers and local leaders who live and work here. Know someone who has a unique perspective or life in RidgeGate? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A big thank you to Sarah Neumann Photography for conducting and photographing our RidgeGate Up Close interviews!
This month: Eric McFarland, resident of the Renaissance townhome community in west RidgeGate,HOA board member, and co-owner of Tatonka Tiny Homes. In this interview, McFarland discusses what attracted him to the RidgeGate community, his wanderlust for travel and his love for vinyl records.
#1. You own a town home in RidgeGate. What made you decide to buy in this area?
Eric: “It happened kind of randomly. I had been working in Chicago for seven years, and I decided I needed a reset, so I moved to Nepal for a year. I’m originally from Colorado Springs, and I always knew I wanted to end up back in Colorado. I went to visit my buddy Mike who was living in this awesome town home in an area I had never heard of…which was RidgeGate. The brownstones kind of reminded me of Chicago, and I remember thinking, “Wow. This place is incredible.” My buddy ended up moving out of his town home and buying a place literally 300 yards away. I ended up renting and ultimately buying that exact town home, which belonged to his family. Now I’m basically neighbors with one of my best friends and his family.”
#2. From Chicago to Nepal, you’ve lived in some starkly contrasted areas, and it sounds like you put a premium on being able to travel. When it came to a “home base,” what kind of location were you looking for when you bought your first home?
Eric: “You know, I’ve always worked to travel. It’s my passion. My father was a career United pilot. He and my mom always encouraged exploration. I think I was probably attracted to the peacefulness of Lone Tree because life can be so busy. I see deer every morning up on the Bluffs, and most people don’t get that kind of view to start their day. Lone Tree – and those Bluffs—they just felt like the perfect spot. My family is in Colorado Springs. RidgeGate is a quick 30 minute drive there. When I was working in Cherry Creek, that was only a 20 minute drive north.”
#3. So how would you describe RidgeGate to someone who isn’t familiar with it?
Eric: “I’d say it’s probably one of the coolest little communities growing right now in Colorado!”
#4. We’re going to lob a personal question your way now. What book is currently on your nightstand?
Eric: “Let’s see…I guess this isn’t surprising, but right now I’m reading something called Wanderlust: A Hiker’s Companion. It’s about legendary trails throughout the world.”
#5. You own a town home in the Renaissance community. Can you tell us one of your favorite features of your home?
Eric: “Oh man, the windows. I have a great corner unit with amazing views. I can see snow capped mountains from my bedroom windows. When it snows here, it almost feels like you’re living in a ski town because of the way the bluffs look and feel when they’re covered in snow.”
#6. “The Bluffs” you are referring to are part of Bluffs Regional Park, which is literally a stone’s throw from your front door. Do you find yourself over there often?
Eric: “I do. The bluffs have incredible amounts of hiking trails, biking trails… I think I’ve heard we have close to 1,000 acres of open space. Every morning you see your neighbors walking those trails. I’d say it has also become an attraction for people who live in the city. My sister used to drive down from Denver to meet her friends here for a hike.”
#7. You’re involved in your neighborhood’s HOA board. What made you want to get involved?
Eric: “I wanted to understand what’s going on in my community and in the surrounding communities. Our homes are probably the largest investments we all have. Taking an active part in furthering our community’s success is important.”
#8. It’s time for another personal question…I’m looking over your shoulder at a pretty legit vinyl record collection. Why do you collect vinyl?
Eric: “…Because it’s real music, plain and simple! Vinyls are how music was meant to be experienced, unless you’re hearing it live. I love going to shows. Actually, that’s another reason I love living in Lone Tree. I have great access to a lot of music venues, especially by light rail. I’m always checking something out at Red Rocks, the Ogden, the Fillmore, or downtown.”
#9. You had a career in global finance and then switched gears to constructing and selling tiny homes. What is a “tiny home?”
Eric: “The tiny home movement is all about enabling simple, efficient living in a small home that is often mobile. We’re finding that a lot of people want to either simplify their lives and cost of living, or have access to a second affordable home that can be located in places where others can’t.”
#10. So the next logical question is why make this switch from finance to tiny home construction?
Eric: I guess I’ve always loved building and tinkering with things. Certainly construction was a departure from the world of global finance where I spent my first career, but I always wanted to be outside in the mountains and building other people’s dreams. It helped me realize my dreams. My business partner in Tatonka Tiny Homes has been in this business all his life and it’s been really fun to learn from him.
#11. So given your current background in tiny home construction, what words of advice would you give to someone looking to buy a new home?
Eric: I’d say that the details matter. Construction matters. The builder, the materials used…all of that matters. The community also matters. One of the things I really love about the RidgeGate community is how it was designed. We have a state of the art library, rec center, and arts center…and you can walk to everything. We’ve got three different grocery stores within walking distance: Safeway, Target and Sprouts. We’ve got restaurants everywhere.
#12. Personal question number three: What show are you binge-watching right now?
Eric: Ha! There are too many to name.
#13. Ok, what was the last show you binge watched?
Eric: “Um, Halt and Catch Fire on Netflix.”