A photo shoot to remember

This photo shoot was grace in motion: heartwarming owners, expansive natural beauty, and an exquisite match between lifestyle and home. In a dance of clouds and sun, Mother Nature even threw in a rainbow for our jaw-dropping pleasure. While the professional photos get their deserved spot on our project web page, in this Journal we’ll share the snapshots that David and I took when we weren’t busy assisting the photographer.

Let’s introduce our clients.

Marsha is a yoga instructor, a psychotherapist who runs a grief group for the local hospice organization, and a big time vegetarian foodie. She seriously has a gift that plays out in the kitchen.

Michael is a retired physician, a woodworker (with a workshop on site), a dedicated nature photographer doing both color and infrared technique, and he actively promotes open space and trail maintenance across the state.

Before moving from Anchorage, Alaska, they had a Structurally Insulated Panel house built on the site, which served as their temporary home for a couple years, along with a workshop. Now those buildings have become the guest house and garage.



In kitchen photo shoots you will often see a super shiny bowl of fruit. From the look of them, the fear is you would end up with a quarter-inch of wax on your teeth after one bite. Not here. With what must have been fabulous luck, Marsha found this gorgeous fruit bowl in a Salida consignment store one day. Filled with naturally radiant mandarins, without any styling from us, it was the perfect table centerpiece.

Let’s introduce our photographer Anthony Rich. We met Anthony last year when he shot Zen Light for us. Anthony is the brother of the Zen Light homeowner, so naturally he got that job!

We loved his work (featured on the cover of Colorado Homes & Lifestyles in a Before and After issue) so we invited him to do this special shoot in Salida, Colorado.

The photo shoot is a time for patient, conscientious detail, along with expedient timing to capture the ever changing light. Is that cloud going to pass in front of the sun, and when? (Most of the time we want it to.)

It’s a powerful landscape. Surrounded 360° by mountain ranges (Collegiate Peaks, Sawatch Range, Sangre de Cristo Range, and the Mosquito Range) the home is nestled in a big Serengeti-like open space (sans giraffes and wildebeests) that skirts the edge of the National Forest.

The photo below gives you a sense of how effortlessly the house blends into the site. One side of the home has a kiva-like experience with eye-level views of the grasslands. The other side of the home engages with the forest. The architectural challenge was finding this experiential topographic mix, while harmonizing with the existing buildings that were the initial intervention on the landscape.

Mr. Barrett goofing off with the impressive photovoltaic bank, a 10kW system that meets all their electrical needs. Propane is used for cooking and backup heat.

Rust is a friend. Weathering steels shows up in different forms: flat seam shingles (below, right) and corrugated panels (siding and roof). Fiber cement shingles (below left in the foreground) were stained to match the existing guest house. The green roof is painted metal, also a carryover from the guest house.


Early morning long shadows, the second day of our photo shoot. David described the time we woke up as “considerably pre-dawn.” There’s nothing like getting up on a 12-foot ladder at 6:30 AM to catch the rising sun.

What amazing reflection – more clear than the actual landscape? These are insulated low-e windows with low maintenance painted aluminum cladding.

Sweet little cactus friends.

As promised.

That’s a happy architect.

Signing off, yours truly, the most excellent tripod transporter in the world!