Lee and Linda Schlitt live part-time in Estes Park, Colorado and part-time in California. In anticipation of retirement from careers as a nuclear physicist and an accountant they’ve opted for a Rocky Mountain home and lifestyle in Estes Park. They chose two lots in Rockwood Estates off Fish Creek Road, a development of luxury mountain homes. The five-acre tract provides open space for wildlife, and privacy for the Schlitts in a serene mountain setting.
The Schlitts had given considerable effort to planning their mountain dream home. They knew what they wanted, to the point of providing three-dimensional sketches. They came to T.W. Beck Architects with a concept that involved generous use of logs and timbers, a design that mimics the geometry of the mountains and trees. Although T.W. Beck Architects refers to the home’s style as “Mountain Log Timber Craftsman” they say it’s difficult to put a tag on this unique design.
At the heart of the structure is a huge timber, topped by timber trusses which open like a log umbrella to support the vaulted, great room ceiling. The shape sets the tone for the home. Curved walls and archways create a natural feel and flow throughout the interior. The fireplace, with a gently rounded chimney face, rises to the ceiling, adding ambiance and warmth to the great room. In-floor heat, a popular choice of green architects like Beck, complements the home’s quiet, natural environment. Throughout the home logs and timbers frame doorways, create natural “corners,” and form easy transitions between rooms.
The main floor includes a comfortable master suite with a fireplace and access to a private patio. Adjacent to the great room, a dining room leads to a cozy family room. A large stamped, colored, concrete patio is accessed from the family room, which includes a breakfast nook built into a bowed window. The nook is open to the kitchen but separated by a raised bar with log trim. A guest bedroom and bath, also accessible from the living room, complete the main level living area. A large mud-and-laundry room, plus a separate mechanical room, are adjacent to the 575 square foot, three car garage and 472 square foot workshop.
A curved stairway, trimmed with tiles, leads to the second floor, anchored by the same giant timber that supports the great room trusses. The upper level includes another bedroom and bath, plus a solarium and study. An oak spiral staircase leads to a third level tower loft with vaulted ceiling and log trusses, perpetuating the timber frame design. With 360 degrees of windows, topping out at thirty feet above ground level, the tower is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the views even if adverse weather sets in. The total finished interior area of the main and upper levels plus loft totals 3316 square feet.
Although the couple considered full log walls, they opted for a sheetrock interior which complements the natural light. A multitude of Prairie-style, Sierra Pacific windows and custom-shaped framed glass enriches the curves, shapes and flow of the rooms. The abundant daylighting can also help to reduce energy costs.
The exterior of the home, with peeled logs, tongue-and-groove cedar siding, and moss rock, creates a sustainable design that effortlessly merges with its surroundings. Multiple circular, peaked roofs of varied heights create a silhouette that emulates surrounding mountain ranges.
Drawing on decades of experience, T.W. Beck Architects successfully interpreted the vision of Lee and Linda Schlitt to create a truly unique Rocky Mountain home that fits perfectly into its mountain setting.