Text Box: ‘steepish  slope
Text Box: continental divide Text Box: continental divide Text Box: a lot of trees
Text Box: Homesite
Text Box: “High on a mountaintop . . . Wind blowing free . . . “

No location could be more “high on a mountaintop” than Saddleback. 

Incomparable views of the Continental Divide, beautiful high altitude Pine and Aspen forests, mountain meadows and distinctive terrain features all add up to a premium ‘living location’.

As a designer, Andrew Mitchell sees the latent potential and is eager to capitalize. Unable to resist he has embarked on a series of design studies,  charrettes,  as you will. This is but the ‘first fruits’.

The basic concept is a 'cruciform style’ plan or maybe ‘body and wings’ plan . . . like a great bird roosting on the mountainside with its wings outspread. The layout of functions follows what appears to be a common practice with many contemporary residences: a main living area flanked to one side by the kitchen/dining area and to the other side by a master bedroom suite.

Saddleback Mountain Design Studies @ Lot 11


Text Box: Building axis parallel to slope. Wings are ‘thin across slope.
Text Box: Detached garage dug into the ‘heel of the hill.
Text Box: Main Living area at right angles to slope, dramatically jutting out from hill like the prow of a great ship, affording superb views of the incomparable Rocky Mountains
Text Box: Studio 285 Architecture, llc
Text Box: Saddleback Mountain
 Design Studies
Evergreen, Colorado
Text Box: The thought was to make the “wing” spaces narrow and parallel to slope. This approach minimizes the cross slope depth of the lower ‘walk-out” floor and makes these space feel more like individual cabin units with windows on three walls. The wings are also 'cruciform' shaped, increasing the area of the wings without length.

The main living space boldly juts out at right angles to the slope. This creates a sense of drama, celebrates the space and maximizes view opportunities. With the rather significant slope, the lower floor rec. room finds itself higher than the existing grade. This is dealt with by using excavated fill to create a ‘podium’ for the great room/rec. room wing to sit on. This podium also creates a grade level to measure required max height per zoning.

Saddleback Mountain Design Studies @ Lot 11


One-floor living with the masterbed room and kitchen dinning on main floor

Master bedroom is more private as it a nearly detached wing off the main residence with its own ‘mini-foyer

Detached garage dug into hill connected to house by covered walk. A study might be built into the roof of the garage.

Rec. Room below with an outdoor living space just outside, sheltered by the great room above.

Bedrooms in the ‘wings

Large, expansive great room flanked by round wood columns soaring up to great a timber framed roof. Extensive use of glass to maximize views and connect to the outside.

Text Box: The podium would also present a neat landscaping opportunity.

The great room is intended to be just that, a great soaring space. It is envisioned to be framed out in heavy timber construction, as is often typical with such mountain residential construction. The thought is the wood post/columns in the space would stand alone, defining the space and soaring up to the roof above. The space would be enclosed by windows secured to the outside of the columns in a manner akin to that of curtain wall construction.

Text Box: A common feature on many ‘lodge’ type homes is the ‘prow’ in the main living area. This feature has a certain level` of over-exposure . . . especially in light of what may be considered a less than creative approach . . . it seems that all anyone does is push a a wall filled with glazing out into a point . . . and that’s as far as it goes. This design study aims to do better. The great room certainly does have the ‘prow’ feature . . . but it  finds its Text Box: Loft area overlooking great room and entry
Text Box: Lots of roof peaks, building up to the big one at the great room, just like a mountain range.


Text Box: Exising grade line, residence designed so as to minimize excavation and removal of surface rock.
Text Box: Timber Framed Great Room
Text Box: expression in something a bit different. A round fireplace resides in a spot pulled in a bit from where the point might would be with two points on the prow. 

It was envisioned that the exterior wall of the lower floor would be stone, most likely a veneer, possibly cultured stone, forming a base for the upper floor to sit on. The upper floor hangs out from the base just a bit. This is done so as to further accentuate the concept of a residence sitting on a stone pedestal. The upper wall may be of any number of materials, but wood is preferred. Anything from lap siding, a combination of shingles and lap siding, vertical board siding or logs would be appropriate. A neat approach might be to use rectangular log construction with plenty of heavy timber accents. 

Andrew Mitchell is  enamored of indigenous Norwegian construction, having had the opportunity to visit the country a few years ago. They were real artists with log and heavy timber construction. Their work provides real inspiration for a contemporary architect doing work in the mountains.  There is some of this influence on the schematic designs you see here.

Saddleback Mountain Design Studies @ Lot 11


Saddleback Mountain Design Studies @ Lot 11