Tuesday, October 25, 2011


These photos show a small home under construction and completed in Twin Lakes, Colorado. Intended as a second or vacation home, the site offers spectacular views of snow capped mountains, forests, aspen groves and the twin lakes. The village of Twin Lakes lies at the base of Independence Pass. It is one of the most beautiful areas in Colorado.

The house is small, less than 1600 square feet in size. It is heavily insulated, has a wood stove and a fireplace, and was designed as a passive solar home. The site is at an elevation of over 9200 feet. The area is very cold. Locals told us a January temperature of 7 degrees was due to a rare heat wave. This home is a variation on a direct gain passive solar design. There are large windows facing south, both to capture the view and to warm the home, but no Trombe walls or thermal mass to store heat. Thermal mass was eliminated due to budget and space requirements.

Some older lots in Twin Lakes were plotted many years ago. New zoning setbacks and a shifting highway resulted in public hearings and variances. Over six months were spent obtaining permission to build.

The home is sided in recycled wood with a rusted steel roof. After aging a few years and establishing some basic landscaping, the home is beginning to blend into its mountain setting.