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The Mini-Mountain Home

A Colorado cabin goes for a lodge look with natural materials
by Ronda Mollica | Photos by James Ray Spahn

Sunnyside great room

Not every mountain home has to be sizable. In fact, you can build a perfectly suitable cozy cabin instead of a castle.

Just outside of Telluride, Colorado, noted for its ostentatious mountain homes, is a smaller home built from the surrounding earth and stone. The 1,600-square-foot Sunnyside, designed by architect Ron Bercovitz of Bercovitz Design Architects, was modeled after the Western lodge-style work of a noted architect.

“I had done some historic research on another project and came across the works of Mary Coulter,” Bercovitz says. “She was the architect for many buildings found in the Grand Canyon National Park, including the Lookout Studio, which caught my eye.”

Sunnyside’s exterior is built with local rock and resembles the crumbling walls and towers that Coulter was fond of designing, Bercovitz says. Her love of Southwest archaeology inspired her to design buildings with similar techniques used by the Pueblo people.

Other Pueblo touches were added to Sunnyside, including ponderosa pine logs for the framing and resawn cedar shake roofing, which blend into the landscape. Inside, a kiva fireplace in the living room continues the theme. “The rounded corner fireplace was a challenge to build,” Bercovitz says. “Normally, kivas are built with adobe, but we chose to continue with the random flagstone that the home was made of.”

Bercovitz labels the home as an example of smart planning. “You don’t have to build a large vacation home to get all the elements of a fabulous retreat,” he says. Sunnyside includes a master bedroom suite, a second bedroom with attached bathroom, a spacious open living room, and a kitchen that looks out through large floor-to-ceiling windows at the San Juan Mountains.

“I even built a tower similar to the Coulter structures that can be used as an office or for meditation and yoga,” Bercovitz says. “There are a couple of small simple windows that provide light and a breathtaking view of Mount Wilson.”

Bercovitz and his team worked to integrate green building techniques in the project, including solar-oriented siting, reclaimed materials, and the use of products that are less environmentally demanding. “We strive to make our projects structurally and thermally efficient, as well as eco-friendly,” he says.

This article originally appeared in Country’s Best Cabins’ Cozy Cabins 2008 issue.

Published in Country's Best Cabins
Comment Feed

10 Responses

  1. How much will it cost to build a similar cottage in Palo Alto area?

    • Ina: You will need to consult with the architect and/or a local builder to determine costs for your area.

      Log HomeMarch 2, 2012 @ 4:12 pmReply
  2. I lke it. It is the perfect size for two people.
    The sq footage is just right and I like the floorplan.
    I always wanted to build the Crested Butte but I know I have to be realistic. There is only two of us and we don’t need anything that large.
    I’m going to be moving to Colorado in the next couple of months and I think this log home is something I can be realistic about.

    MichaelMarch 2, 2012 @ 3:23 pmReply
  3. Never mind the fabulous location and scenery which would make a cardboard box look beautiful, this 1,600 square foot home is delightful. Mary Coulter was so ahead of her time yet so in touch with the earth, native American building styles, and the excitement of the time for all things Western. This architect has not copied Coulter, but has truly incorporated her ideas and styles, then brought it all into today’s modern style and environmental concerns. Everything about this “cabin” is appealing, the semi-kiva fireplace, the outside stone work that looks crumbled, the appropriately sized Ponderosa pine logs, the large windows, and the tower! Often times modern architects say a design “honors” something else but is completely lacking. This one took all the best of the Coulter designs and made them work for today.

    Sharon SceperMarch 2, 2012 @ 3:37 pmReply
  4. this is what i have been preaching !! big logs small homes . some thing magic about it.

  5. where can I purchase this floor plan or copy the floor plan here as a guide for my own cabin?

    • Samuel: You will need to contact the architect, Bercovitz Design Architects (970-728-4555;, for floor plan copies.

      Log HomeMarch 6, 2012 @ 5:33 pmReply
  6. Where could I get a copy of the article from the 2008 magazine?

    Jim SimpkinsMarch 8, 2012 @ 8:20 pmReply
  7. I love this Mini-Mountain Home. Do you have other pictures you can send to me? I would especially like to see the kitchen and as many photos as you have. We just might build this lovely home.

    Carolyn BarnesJuly 3, 2013 @ 10:10 pmReply
    • Carolyn: Unfortunately, all the pictures we have are displayed here. You may try contacting the architect to see if he has any additional images available.

      Log HomeJuly 5, 2013 @ 1:22 pmReply

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