Of Sunshine and Simplicity
Good things come in small packages when landscape, light, and low-key luxury combine in a contemporary aerie amidst the pines
In the foothills high above Boulder, on the crest of a ridge near Sunshine Canyon, there’s an elegant gem of a house tucked into the woods. While the land may be raw and undeveloped, this small home with great big views is an exercise in sophisticated simplicity.
Architect Stephen Dynia, of Denver- and Jackson Hole, WY-based Dynia Architects, designed the house, and he was happy to help his clients realize their request for a restrained aesthetic: “This house has a monastic modesty to it,” he says. And that’s just what the homeowners had in mind. While the clean lines of modern design inspired them, they also felt drawn to the warmth of natural materials and time-honored Western motifs.
Though its sleek minimalism may look effortless, there’s a great deal of calculation behind the home’s clean, contemporary design. “Simplicity gets there through a very busy process,” Dynia notes, praising the homeowners’ clarity of communication as an essential tool for building a fruitful collaboration. “The simplicity of the house highlights the eccentricities of nature,” he remarks. And with a Colorado landscape this extravagantly beautiful, it’s a worthy tribute.
The home’s oxidized steel cladding recalls vintage Western sheds and barns. The walkway connecting to the front entrance is actually a kind of bridge that allows water to pass beneath it during storms.
The open kitchen and dining space is awash with natural light. Rusted metal accent walls echo the home’s exterior cladding and provide a mellow blaze of color in the heart of the home. The one-of-a-kind dining table was made from an old maple tree that once graced the grounds of Boulder High School. The homeowner explains, “A guy named Billy worked with us to build the table, which is based on a classic Nakashima design. We call it our Billy Nakashima table.” It is surrounded by Niels Møller chairs from Design Within Reach and topped with Fungi vases from HW Home.
Since they live in the middle of a forest, the homeowners made some commonsense (and down-to-earth) decisions: the home is heated by a wood-burning boiler; the living room is warmed by a wood-burning stove; and the family—and friends—are often fed by a wood-burning oven.
The airy and bright living room keeps cozy in winter thanks to a stylish Italian wood-burning stove. Built-in bookshelves climb one wall, while huge windows open up the home’s interiors to the light and the forest. An Arco lamp bows down above a color-splashed Rex Ray rug from Shaver-Ramsey, and pillows from HW Home jazz up a sofa from Room & Board.
“We did not want any cabinetry above counter level in the kitchen,” the homeowner explains. “Instead, we opted for open shelving. This makes it very practical to reach for glasses and plates that are in use every day.” A wood floor surface is easy on the cook’s legs, and a Blue Star range packs a lot of BTUs.
A simple, zen-like bedrom allows the outdoors to take center stage.
With a passion for food and cooking, the homeowners keep an abundant garden filled with greens, beans and all sorts of wholesome veggies. The high fence keeps out deer, and the chicken coop nearby provides a stylish home to four hens.
ARCHITECTURE Stephen Dynia, Dynia Architects