A recently listed home in the mountain city of Boulder, Colorado, is one-of-a-kind inside and out—just like its former owners. Comprised of two shipping containers, reclaimed materials, and other handcrafted details, the rectilinear structure occupies a narrow corner lot at the base of Flagstaff Mountain. The homeowners and designers, Mark Gelband and Courtney Loveman, spent years battling zoning ordinances to build the home in a way that reflected their blended families and world view. Now, they're ready to move on and allow someone else to enjoy their creation.
The site once contained a 1950s home the couple hoped to replace with a funky, post-and-beam style residence. However, new setback rules reduced the buildable area on the already narrow site. "The lot is approximately 50 feet wide and 190 feet long but with only about 20 feet of buildable width." explains Gelband. Other local ordinances, including solar shadow rules, limited how the second story could be designed as well.
After disputes with neighbors and city officials derailed their original plans, the couple considered other ideas to fit within the tight lot—that's when they turned to shipping containers for inspiration. "I've been a long-time housing advocate in Boulder and very critical of the NIMBYism in town. So I said to Courtney one evening: Let's just redesign within our by-right building envelope. Shipping containers match the rectilineal nature of the lot. We'll do the coolest thing we can."
After the couple worked with local architect Mark Gerwing to dial in the original design, they set off to do much of the building work themselves. "We had our hands in designing and building everything: From the house itself to the light fixtures, kitchen cabinets, staircases, bathroom vanities, and more," says Gelband. Friends and other contacts contributed their services to finish out the home, which was also built to offer net-zero energy consumption.
"We have lower and bigger windows on the east and north, with smaller and higher windows on the west," he adds. "Cool air also circulates from the basement, where the ambient temperature stays between 68–74 degrees Fahrenheit." Rooftop solar panels, in-floor radiant heating, and closed-cell spray foam insulation add to the energy-efficient design.
Loveman, who collected the objects and furniture from various places over the years, describes the home's interior design as more of a feeling, not a look. "The house is a vessel for the lovingly eccentric dynamic within our family," she says. "Mark and I don’t understand ‘polite design’ because the urge to make and share things that express our quirky worldview is so strong. The fact that so many of our more traditional friends are also inspired by it has been an unexpected reward."
"Unconventional design was a by-product of the effort, not our goal," adds Loveman. She often references a quote from Hanya Yanagahira, editor in chief of the New York Times Style Magazine. "Genuine aesthetic idiosyncrasy isn’t born from a conscious choice to do something different," Yanagahira wrote. "Rather, it’s the product of someone who can’t imagine doing it any other way."
Spread out across just over 4,000 square feet, the home comes with four bedrooms and four full bathrooms. The .22-acre lot offers rooftop views in multiple directions, including iconic Flatirons to the south, unobstructed Red Rocks and Foothills to the north, and eastern vistas over Downtown Boulder. The home is also within walking distance to several hiking trails. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, currently listed for $3,150,000.
505 College Avenue in Boulder, Colorado, is currently listed for $3,150,000 by Zach Zeldner of Compass.
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