Cost-Conscious Dynamic Architecture 

Beautiful design can be achieved at any price point

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The supply chain construction cost increases of the last few years have caused an even larger emphasis on budget, which requires strong teamwork, creativity and dynamic solutions to manage. Despite this, our approach has fundamentally remained the same by continuing to prioritize the key elements of design that have the power to positively affect our clients’ experience in the home by bringing people together in inspiring, uplifting spaces with strong indoor-outdoor connections. 

Here is an example of how we achieved a sophisticated, cost-conscious design for a recent client that wanted a space-efficient, casually elegant home with lots of indoor-outdoor living opportunities for a budget not that much above the more typical homes in the neighborhood.

Our first step was to create a cost-effective footprint for the home by stacking two guest bedrooms over a primary suite, mud and laundry room on the side of the lot adjacent to a neighbor, while still orienting all the bedrooms toward the great views of the south. The wing design was cost-effective by stacking all the exterior walls, through the use of roof trusses for the simple roof design and durable stucco exterior finishes.

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Using more cost-conscious design for the secondary spaces is a great way to stretch the construction budget to create a more dynamic design for the primary spaces

This allowed the space on the southeast portion of the lot with the best views to have an open great room and a small office under a dramatic vaulted curved ceiling and roof, which is something the client requested.

The curved roof design was a team effort with the builder, the subcontractors and the structural engineer to be relatively cost-effective to construct. 

The elegant and thoughtful detailing of the ceiling structure and large open space sets the tone for the home

Expressing a wood ceiling over the exposed curved wood beams in the great room provides a sense of craft, while the exposed steel structure provides a sophisticated subtle contrasting industrial expression. The exposed structure and curved roof provide a dramatic, yet casually elegant open living space, which combined with tall walls of windows and doors, opens up to the sky and views to connect the owner to the outdoors throughout the day.   

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The carefully proportioned windows and doors and artistically canted fireplace, provide a rich aesthetic

And these features did not cost substantially more than a more generic concealed shed roof structural system, less interesting window composition and a blockier fireplace, while not requiring other more expensive “decorative” additives.

The outdoor room with its fireplace is also captured under the main curved roof form, extending the experience of seamless indoor/outdoor living while economically continuing the same roof structure.

The cost-effective standard “commodity-type” floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors in the living room, dining room, and master bedroom were artistically combined with interesting steel detailing to create a gracious flow out to the patios and reinforce the connection with nature from anywhere in the home while remaining within the relatively tight budget.

Another way we created a luxurious feel while managing cost, was to use rich exterior materials where one is in close contact with the home

The inviting front entry features a curved wood ceiling, exposed curved wood rafters, and steel beams in combination with a Colorado Buff stone veneer rich in natural texture and color and a light gray-washed clear cedar siding deep in warmth and character. The great room wing uses these same materials for a simple continuity of the rich material palette.  

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The fireplace is clad in the same exterior stone and the steel detailing is picked up in the hearth and mantel detailing.

Using a consistent palette of materials and detailing brings an expansive feel to the home

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Expressing the true structure creates richness to the space without adding additional cost.  

The design is distilled into beautiful, elegant forms that opened up to the natural surroundings. The homeowner and guests feel connected to the outdoors, yet sheltered by the embrace of the warm, grounding use of materials. The partnership with the builder, Sean McGinley of Meadow Mountain Homes, and the homeowner allowed the project to stay on budget while achieving a high level of design.  

Stephanie Lord-Johnson and Adam Gilmer are Principals at Berglund Architects, an Edwards, Colorado-based firm that specializes in custom residential and commercial design for the mountain environment. View their profile or contact Hans at 970.926.4301.

Content for this article provided by Berglund Architects.

Categories: Architects, Native Content