Mountain Mesa Homestead is a couple’s love affair with life and the place they now call home. Before moving from Anchorage, Alaska, Marsha and Michael had a small two-story workshop and house built on the site, which served as their transition space for two years. Now that building has become the guest house and garage. The architectural challenge was designing a new home on this spectacular mesa that would be perfectly suited for their active lives, while harmonizing with the existing building that was the initial intervention on the landscape.
Mountain views and seasonal exposures to the sun and wind were of primary importance on this site which is completely surrounded by mountain ranges. One side of the home has a kiva-like experience with eye-level views of the open space grasslands. The other side of the home engages with the National Forest. This orientation allows the house to blend effortlessly into the site and allows the inhabitants to tuck away or venture out, whatever mood strikes.
The joy of hearth and home is activated in the centrally located kitchen, dining, and fireplace seating area. The senses are engaged by the ever changing weather, and the aromas of Marsha’s gourmet cooking from an island-galley kitchen. The ease of service to the corner alcove dining table makes for a cozy and inviting gathering place, especially during the morning hours as the sun rises from the East. A view corridor connects to the living room, while providing enough privacy for separate activities. The lower level also boasts a yoga room where Marsha practices and teaches yoga, an office for Michael, and access to two courtyards – one facing West to the Collegiate Peaks and one facing North to the forest.
A rusty materials palette adds wabi-sabi and earthiness to the exterior form, protected by roofs of corrugated weathering steel and painted metal, to match the guest house and garage. A 10kW photovoltaic panel supports all electric needs, with propane used only for cooking and backup heat. The home settles in comfortably on this expansive landscape, giving a sense of retreat and protection.
Photos by Anthony Rich Photography