There’s no better place than Boulder County to make a sustainable forever home come to life. To learn how these custom eco-abodes balance modern forms, big views and passive solar design, we caught up with one of the best in the business: Scott Rodwin, AIA, founder of Rodwin Architecture and its building arm, Skycastle Construction. These local dream home experts recently crafted the award-winning Hoefling House, a quintessential example of today’s green design and construction.
The homeowner asked for a clean, bold and original modern look with a site-specific design that met the highest levels of sustainability while not compromising aesthetics or functionality. It was a big ask, but the Rodwin/Skycastle team delivered, supplying all architectural, interior and construction services on this extraordinary LEED Platinum-certified home.
The 3,000-square-foot, passive-solar home captures the lot’s dramatic views, opening to a full vertical span of the Flatirons, the sky and several towering Ponderosa pines. “The big concept that drove the design was that this house was informed by nature. It started with passive solar design, orienting the majority of glass to the south and capturing sunlight when we want it (winter) and rejecting it when we don’t (summer),” Rodwin says. “The home’s unusually large ‘hat’ is the most striking expression of that approach, alongside wraparound porches on the south and minimal windows to the north and west. We balanced that with taking in nature through the huge views.”
The home used board-form concrete inside and out, as well as Douglas fir and stucco for a distinctly Colorado-contemporary feel. The team tucked away 10 kilowatts of solar panels on the roof, a ground-source heat pump and boiler, and foam insulation. Other green aspects include Energy Star windows and appliances, LED lighting throughout and EPA WaterSense plumbing fixtures, all contributing to a near net-zero energy rating (HERS 15).
Indoor/outdoor living, a floating roof and more
Inside Hoefling House, the ground floor features a sunny, simple open concept, creating an easy indoor/outdoor lifestyle. A minimalist kitchen is centered around a giant leathered granite countertop island and breakfast bar, accented with a wine fridge and “urban cultivator” for fresh veggies.
Travertine tile, radiant-heated floors flow to broad sliding doors leading to an inviting white concrete patio. A built-in BBQ, integrated planters and gas fire pit, all made of board-formed concrete, create an outdoor room that blurs the separation between house and landscape. Keeping the green theme, the patio accesses a raised-bed veggie garden and fruit tree orchard.
Heading to the upper level, a two-story window frames a breathtaking floating staircase and highlights modern concrete walls. At the top a “live roof” is visible, and 14-foot second-floor ceilings allow for expansive views of the Flatirons. “We added a band of clerestory windows around the upper floor to allow in lots of light and create a floating roof effect as the Douglas fir ceiling continues out to form broad eaves,” Rodwin says. “Our goal was to protect the home’s large windows from overheating by creating enormous cantilevered tapered wings.”
The upper floor, with a bedroom on each end, is centered around a spacious, airy family room made for music lovers. “We carefully tuned the acoustics to create an ideal environment for the audiophile father and daughter to make music,” says Rodwin. A pair of custom-designed laser-cut barn doors, inspired by the site’s towering trees, open to a guest bedroom centered on an 18th-century Chinese day-bed. The bathrooms feature floor-to-ceiling hand-made glass mosaic tiles, with one designed specifically to evoke the feeling of bathing in a waterfall.
It’s no surprise that the homeowner describes his dream green home as nothing short of amazing. “They listened to what I asked for and created something beyond what I could have imagined,” he said in a testimonial. “They cared about every detail.”
In a tragic tribute, the home’s beloved construction site supervisor, Tim Hoefling, died unexpectedly just two weeks after finishing the project. The owner asked that the exceptional creation be named the Hoefling House in his honor.
By Julie Kailus, AH Luxury. Photos courtesy Rodwin Architecture/Skycastle Construction