Nederland, CO

Located at 9,000 feet, the site for this project has spectacular views of the Continental Divide but sits in the prevailing wind path making it an extreme winter environment. The original house, a small log cabin, was poorly situated on a challengingly narrow slice of land with little protection against the elements when outside. And, while log structures have a classic mountain appeal – they aren’t inherently energy efficient!  The design for the project focuses on better integrating the building into the landscape, creating an interior/exterior relationship with the surrounding environment in a way that allows use of the outdoor space in the summer months and protection from the driving wind in the winter months. Inspiration from the region’s historic mining structures informs the building’s massing, form, and exterior material palate. Interior spaces were opened and expanded; creating a light-filled, spacious floor plan that remained respectful of the original building.

Sustainability was a primary concern in the design and construction. The existing structure’s orientation and the lot size didn’t allow for a passive solar design; so insulation, air-sealing, and upgraded windows were the primary pathways to improving the building envelope and overall energy efficiency. A blower door was performed to find air leakage in the existing structure. Beetle kill pine logs from regional forests were used as well as locally milled timbers and framing members. Natural products such as wool carpet and cork flooring were chosen for finishes. Hand crafted concrete counter tops, custom welded railings, recycled redwood and bamboo cabinetry were all crafted by Atmosphere Design Build.

Design + Construction: Atmosphere Design Build