This retreat was designed for a Boulder family who was passionate about outdoor living and a relaxed, informal family life. The couple had an exceptional, acre-sized lot with exceptional trees and landscape so the central concept was to make it feel like you were living in a park - that is breakdown the typical conception of a backyard into a more integrated approach with indoors and outdoors co-existing. To achieve this and to plan for the future, the home was designed on a single level with two "bars": one for living, one for sleeping with a courtyard between. A glass entry links these two spaces. The house is designed on a single level to promote multi-generational living and heighten the integration of inside and out. A very simple and natural palette was used that included concrete floors and walls, wood, and glass. A pool and studio are separated from the house by a rolling lawn that creates the integrated feeling of inside and outside. Extensive sustainable features include active and passive solar, natural ventilation and super-insulation. The home celebrates the delight of the natural world and simple pleasures.
A view of the parklike retreat from the backyard pool shows how the glass-enclosed entryway connects the living and sleeping areas.
"The architecture enhances and reinforces this weaving together of inside and outside," says the firm. "The large lift and slide doors open to allow a single corner column to feel outside."
"Passive cooling became another key sustainable strategy—an evaporative cooler was used in lieu of air conditioning, which works well with the open plan and desire to keep doors open," says the firm. "This uses significantly less energy than air conditioning and works well in the dry climate of Colorado."
As night falls, the home lights up like a lantern, enhancing the warm glow of the wood ceiling. Immense clerestory windows and glass sliders connect the home to the outdoors.
"The patios, yard, and pool were all designed to support an active social life for the homeowners’ children and friends and to make the place a hub of activity," Epstein says.
Ample patio space provides the perfect background for entertaining—both for the homeowners and their children. Large overhangs with built-in lighting shade wood-clad patios with comfortable lounge chairs.
"The use of materials, the careful details, the integrated sense of place, the weaving together of inside and out, and creating a special home that the clients love make this a special story for me," Epstein notes fondly.
A gravel trail winds through greenery into the entryway of the home, reinforcing the parklike nature of the site.
Pivot Entry Door with view to courtyard
"The H-shaped plan and outbuildings create an assemblage of forms that celebrates the site and creates a continuing sense of surprise," Epstein adds.
The common areas are furnished with cozy, lived-in furniture.
An imposing, matte black fireplace is the focal point of the living room. Wood is stored within the structure, which frees up floor space for abundant guest seating.
A blue-green "object" joins the kitchen, pantry, powder room, and coat closet together, providing extensive storage for the family and a focal point for the living bar.
A large soaking tub looks out to lush greenery and bright sunshine—the perfect backdrop for this bathroom retreat. A slatted fence provides privacy from the rest of the yard.
The master bedroom gazes upon a rolling lawn and lush pine trees. One of many patio spaces can be seen across the grass.
Built to commune with its scenic surroundings, this sustainable home embodies understated luxury.
Boulder Retreat floor plan
Boulder Retreat site plan