Denver/ Boulder architecture firm Arch11 designed this modest, yet artful home for a pair of public defenders and law school professors and their two young boys. The homeowners envisioned an efficient home with abundant natural light, a minimalist feel, an open and comfortable floor plan with year-round spaces, along with the ability to withstand the impact of two boys.
Designed to facilitate both family time and individual imagination time, Arch11 crafted a 2,300 sq. foot home that radiates outward from a two-story living space―generating light-filled rooms throughout each level. A steel bookcase does double duty as a railing support for a second-floor bridge and as a focal point for the bibliophilic family. A backyard studio/ in-law suite provides space for family and guests to hang out or find solitude.
To meet the homeowner’s ethos of less is more, Arch11 conceived of the compact home―laid out on a 4-ft. grid and dubbed the “Grid House” around the principals of “constraint, restraint and exuberance.” Site constraints— including Boulder’s notoriously rigorous zoning, energy regulations and historical ground water flows, influenced the building form. Concrete walls and a waterfall-like exterior stair mediate between the home and the site’s natural contours, while openings ―oriented to the south and west― control summer and winter solar gain extremes. The home’s careful siting along an existing slope and economical material choices like SIPs, concrete, stained cedar and metal siding demonstrate Arch11’s philosophy of restraint ― all to reach the client's budget goals and desired design outcomes.
The home’s straightforward plan belies the subtle manipulation of light and geometry used to create spatial flow and moments of unexpected exuberance. In these moments, friends and family can gather together or spill over into adjoining outdoor rooms.
For the Grid House, the intentional interweaving of space establishes comfortable spaces for year-round enjoyment while floor-to-ceiling, multi-slide doors, fuse interior and exterior living space into one.
“It’s a refuge, light-filled, gathering place for extended family and friends,” says the homeowner with pride, adding “… if we had a nickel for every glowing comment we get about the house from people passing by, we would be close to paying off the house.”