In nearly every parent’s life, there is a point of transition from raising children to becoming empty-nesters. In anticipation of that moment, Chris and Denise Hess first moved to Boulder, Colorado and then staked out a premier building site in the desirable Chautauqua neighborhood on which to realize their dream home. “It was a bit of a selfish endeavor,” admits Chris, creative director and founder of Mondo Robot, a Boulder-based digital agency. “But we felt it’s our time to do what we want and we no longer need all the practical elements of a house.”

With jaw-dropping views of the famed Flatiron rock formations and a luxurious southern exposure, the site had extraordinary potential. But there were challenges. Between the time the couple purchased the land and when they were ready to build, the City of Boulder ratcheted up its zoning restrictions which limited the site’s buildable envelope to a narrow slice.

To unravel the regulations, the couple enlisted Boulder-based Arch11, a design firm known for its exceptional ability to manipulate impossible sites. The architects responded to their client’s request to fully optimize the site’s conspicuous qualities while artfully maximizing the homes livable space.
“We were up against limitations in every direction,” notes Arch11 principal, E.J. Meade “but started with a diagram of two stacked boxes that we sculpted by modeling solar shadows.” By overlapping form and space, the house folds― like origami, into dynamic, sun-lit interior space― and unfolds to capture views and define outdoor rooms.

Arch11's design for the 3,000-square-foot home with three bedrooms and four baths, splits the program into two building volumes, placing “private” elements in a second “box” that is offset and twisted above the first floor living and entertaining space. This upper floor is elevated above the ground plane and supported on a forest of thin columns―elegant like Corbusier’s pilotis and irregular like a game of scattered pick-up-sticks.

Both the interior and exterior material palettes are spare, with little artwork to disrupt the serenity of the space. As the homeowners explain, “The Flatirons and their changing moods become the art on the wall.”

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Modern home with Exterior, House, Stucco Siding Material, Metal Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, Curved RoofLine, and Glass Siding Material. Arch11-designed home at the base of Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO Photo  of 6th StreetView Photos

Arch11-designed home at the base of Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO

Modern home with Outdoor, Hardscapes, Stone Patio, Porch, Deck, Side Yard, Metal Fences, Wall, Walkways, and Grass. An array of columns partially support the second floor Photo 2 of 6th StreetView Photos

An array of columns partially support the second floor

Modern home with Outdoor, Back Yard, Hardscapes, Small Patio, Porch, Deck, Shrubs, Grass, Trees, and Walkways. Backyard fire pit and landscaping by Luke Sanzone of Marpa Design Studio Photo 3 of 6th StreetView Photos

Backyard fire pit and landscaping by Luke Sanzone of Marpa Design Studio

Modern home with Kitchen, Undermount Sink, Concrete Floor, Range, Wall Oven, Recessed Lighting, Range Hood, and Wood Cabinet. white oak cabinets and Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances Photo 4 of 6th StreetView Photos

white oak cabinets and Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances

Modern home with Kitchen, Range, Wood Cabinet, and Concrete Floor. polished concrete floors and stainless steel countertops Photo 5 of 6th StreetView Photos

polished concrete floors and stainless steel countertops

Modern home with Staircase, Metal Railing, Wood Tread, and Wood Railing. Minimalist design with views to every corner of the house. Vitra Hal stools in the kitchen from Design Within Reach Photo 6 of 6th StreetView Photos

Minimalist design with views to every corner of the house. Vitra Hal stools in the kitchen from Design Within Reach

Modern home with Living Room, Recessed Lighting, Concrete Floor, Pendant Lighting, and Sofa. View from living room to kitchen Photo 7 of 6th StreetView Photos

View from living room to kitchen

Modern home with Living Room, Coffee Tables, Chair, Sofa, Concrete Floor, Recessed Lighting, and Gas Burning Fireplace. The living room features an Eames lounge chair and ottoman from Design Within Reach and original artwork by Bill Snider Photo 8 of 6th StreetView Photos

The living room features an Eames lounge chair and ottoman from Design Within Reach and original artwork by Bill Snider

Modern home with Living Room, Concrete Floor, Coffee Tables, Chair, and Recessed Lighting. The changing mood of the Flatiron rock formation becomes the art on the wall Photo 9 of 6th StreetView Photos

The changing mood of the Flatiron rock formation becomes the art on the wall

Modern home with Hallway. skylights flood the home with natural light and accentuate its unique geometry Photo 10 of 6th StreetView Photos

skylights flood the home with natural light and accentuate its unique geometry

Architect
Interior Design
Landscape Design
  • Marpa Design Studio
Builder
  • Hammerwell Inc.
Photographer
  • Raul Garcia
Bedrooms
  • 3
  • Full Baths
  • 3
  • Partial Baths
  • 1
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Style
  • Modern
  • Square Feet
  • 3300
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