At once airy and compact, Goatbarn Lane exemplifies the careful fitting of building to site. “The architecture is totally thought through—every inch of this project is accounted for. It really holds together,” a judge said about this full-time house in the Colorado mountains. The owner, who is also the architect’s father, would no doubt smile at this third-party professional assessment, because that’s exactly what he asked for.
Architect Renée del Gaudio took to heart his wish for a just-big-enough house in which every room gets daily use. With the philosophical mandate clear, the site’s massive granite rock outcrop informed the layout. “He wanted to be sleeping next to this rock; that led to me placing his bedroom right there, with the rock seemingly entering the room,” Renée says. The house’s living area comprises an 800-square-foot rectangular footprint, and the perpendicular glassy bedroom suite was set on steel legs to avoid disturbing the land and the abundant wildlife that roams through—“which is really fun,” she says. “A fox comes to visit every night; he likes to walk under the bedroom, look in the windows, and be on his way.”
An interior ipe bridge offers up another dramatic moment in which to appreciate the natural world. From the mezzanine, it spans across the 21-foot-tall living room, pierces the outer wall, and ends in a viewing platform overlooking the mountains to the west. “He goes up there and has a glass of wine and watches the sunset,” Renée says. Below, the kitchen and a mudroom and bath are tucked under the mezzanine, where the lowered ceiling provides a sense of refuge from the living room’s tall transparent walls.
The enormous outcrop was not just an artistic muse; it also serves as a wind and fire break in this increasingly wildfire-prone region. For that reason, Renée specified steel framing infilled with 2-by-6 wood studs, a concrete base housing a one-car garage, carbon steel cladding and fascias, and fire-safe ipe wood for the soffits and under the bedroom.
Ipe reappears on the deck, part of the entry sequence beneath the shade of giant ponderosa pines. Steel decking connects it to the front door. “The steel grating is like a big snow strainer, the snow melts right through,” Renée says. “On the lower deck we used ipe because it’s an easier surface on which to arrange furniture and to walk on with bare feet.” The judges appreciated the house’s material and spatial intelligence, commenting, “It’s a small house, but they made it feel very spacious.”
To see our previous in-depth coverage of this project, click here.
Custom Rural or Vacation House
Renée del Gaudio Architecture
Architect/Interior Designer: Renée del Gaudio Architecture, Boulder, Colorado
Builder: Dan Flohrs, Coburn Development, Boulder
Interior designer: Renée del Gaudio Architecture
Project size: 1,860 square feet
Site size: 2.4 acres
Construction cost: $456 per square foot
Photography: David Lauer Photography
Cabinetry: Custom walnut by BKI Woodworks
Countertops/Vanities/Pedestal Lavs: Concrete Visions
Dishwasher/Icemaker/Refrigerator/Freezer/Specialty Appliances: KitchenAid
Entry doors: Reynaers
Faucets: Franke, Watermark, Antique Brass
Fireplace: Rais Q-Tee II
Outdoor grill, built-in: Blaze
Paint: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
Shower enclosure: A-Ability Glass
Thermal and moisture barriers: Huber ZIP-System R-Sheathing
Ventilation: Panasonic ERV
Windows: Marvin Modern