The house is located within a land conservancy in rural Douglas County, Colorado. It is surrounded by a large expanse of dedicated open space and adjoins a long stretch of West Plum Creek. A significant portion of the property is a wildlife corridor easement, so the house is oriented to provide views of the abundant wildlife including elk, coyotes, golden eagles, and the occasional mountain bear.
The West Plum Creek Valley contains many historic ranching and farming structures. These buildings have a simplicity and organizational strength that inspired the house design. Roof forms include sheds of varying pitch, a center gabled skylight, and ventilating cupola. The extended plan of the house results in two courtyards. The east courtyard conceals vehicle parking, while the west courtyard shelters family activities and opens to views of the creek and the Rampart Mountain Range beyond.
One of the biggest challenges was how to locate a house on such a wide open expanse and have it seem as if it belongs there. The approach was to mimic the forms, textures, and outward materials of the traditional ranch and farm buildings in the area, including barns, silos, and corrals. The xeriscape landscaping, earth tone cement board siding, and pre-rusted corrugated metal roof panels aid the house in blending with its surroundings.
Energy conservation and environmental sustainability were of paramount importance in the design of the house, incorporating as many sustainable features as were consistent with the owner’s lifestyle, architectural theme, and budget. The result is one of the greenest in Colorado and combines features never brought together in one project.
Beetle-killed Ponderosa Pine harvested in Colorado and milled by local woodworker was used for doors and wood floors. Dual mode, low volume toilets conserve water. The house incorporates a super insulated envelope consisting of structural insulated panels, triple and quadruple pane Heatmirror windows tuned with different performance characteristics for each exposure, and Nanogel R-20 skylights. The highly efficient mechanical system is tied to z geo-exchange field coupled with radiant floors for heating and cooling. Finally, the house uses renewable energy from an on-site 3.4 kW photovoltaic system and 1.8 kW wind turbine to complete the sustainable package.