A Serene, Sustainable Home in Colorado
On a wooded hilltop near Boulder, Colorado, architect Stephen Dynia played to the landscape, lining a 2,500-square-foot home with glass to maximize views for a family of three. A high band of windows on the home's east side lets morning light stream through, while tall glass panels along the west side offer glimpses of the city, the Flatiron peaks, and Arapahoe glacier. Smart design elements limit energy consumption, add space, and contribute to the serene, cabin-like feel. A sequence of eight, 12-foot bays leads from the bedrooms to the airy kitchen and living area, creating an orderly yet open vibe for scientist Aaron Elliot Hirsh, his wife Veronica Volny, who leads Meadow Lark Farm Dinners, and their young son. Dynia used only concrete (for the floors), oxidized steel cladding, and wood (for the structure and ceilings). In-wall shelving provides extra storage, wood overhangs shade the west side and terrace, and a wood-fired boiler makes use of the 35-acre property's excess kindling and heats the home. "I think the most important decision was simply not making the house huge," says Hirsh. "That reduced the ecological footprint of construction, and continues to pay dividends in terms of energy consumption." He and Volny also took advantage of nearby and repurposed materials: bed frames feature used pipes and scaffolding, and local cottonwood, while the hefty dining room table—a riff on a classic George Nakashima design—is made from local maple.