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A Modern Perch

How Cottonwood Custom Builders Created a Uniquely Spectacular Boulder Oasis

Article by Lisa Van Horne

Photography by Amanda Proudfit

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

When homeowners Jeff and Lisa purchased a property in North Boulder that played host to a long-abandoned duplex, they knew that they were taking a risk. From the challenging triangular shape and drastic slope of the lot to the state of the existing structure, building their contemporary dream home on the site would be a challenge. But the allure of the lot’s ideal location, its exceptional surrounding neighborhood and its spectacular mountain views won out, and the pair engaged with Cottonwood Custom Builders to create their new abode.

“Finding a lot within walking distance of Downtown Boulder is very difficult,” says Jeff Hindman, founder and CEO of Cottonwood. “This project was very unique in part because the lot was both so challenging and so incredible.”

After the initial deconstruction and recycling—as possible—of the existing structure, the Cottonwood team set out to make the home’s distinct design a reality.

“The teamwork between Cottonwood and our architect was essential and very effective,” say the homeowners. “Their mutual creativity and cost engineering really helped us stay on track.”

The homeowners were seeking to create a well-built contemporary oasis permeated with high-quality touches and finishes. The project was made complex by a number of factors, including tricky engineering requirements to accomplish the design, tightness to neighboring structures due to the lot’s shape, the site’s steep slope, Boulder building codes, bulk plane requirements and more. But through creative design and precision construction, the Cottonwood team turned these obstacles into opportunities to create a stunning one-of-a-kind home.

“This is truly one of the coolest houses we’ve ever built,” says Jeff. “It is the perfect design for the lot. The whole house was created to take advantage of the near-panoramic views.”

The final product is an eye-catching home from which gorgeous mountain views spill in at every turn—even from the basement. The home’s inverted structure places the primary living room—a dramatically cantilevered area—and kitchen on the top while the primary bedroom and walk-out basement are on the lower two floors.

Expansive windows invite in views of the Flatirons to the south and the foothills and Mount Sanitas to the west and north, providing an immersive indoor/outdoor feel. Purposeful layout choices further enhance this openness and connection to the outdoors, such as the two decks off the second floor. Distinct design elements likewise contribute to this luminous motif, such as the sloped custom skylight over the staircase, which provides a tranquil snow globe experience in the winter. Yet even with close structural proximity to its neighboring buildings, the home remains cozy and private given the care and detail put into designing it within both the landscape and building codes.

The home’s bright natural light illuminates a clean, modern interior characterized by impeccable finishes and distinct personal touches, such as the homeowners’ unique Italian tile, a clean wood burning stove and a meticulously crafted custom wine cellar. Livable space is maximized throughout the home, including the spacious hidden utility room and hidden grill room off the front deck.

The quality of this exquisite design is matched by the care and expertise that the Cottonwood team poured into the home’s build. This is especially evident in the home’s stellar energy-efficient status.

“As with all Cottonwood projects, we created a very high-performing building envelope and highly efficient mechanical systems,” says Jeff. “This is what makes up the long-term sustainability potential of a home. From the highly insulated windows to the large solar energy system, this is a very energy-efficient structure.”

In all, the home is a master class in creative problem-solving, impeccable design and transparent communication between all the involved teams.

“Working with Cottonwood on this project was wonderful,” say the homeowners. “The quality of work carried out was outstanding, as was their teams’ interest and ability to build such a high-quality, energy-efficient home given all the nuances and challenges of building in Boulder and on a lot such as ours.”

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