Worthington Design | Nielsen Residence - Worthington Design

Nielsen Residence

Evergreen, Colorado

Originally, this 2,900 SF prefabricated contractor residence was assembled along the scenic Lower Bear Creek in Evergreen in the late ’70s.  The residence had a poor internal layout which required going outside in order to access the second level.  The main level ceilings in the common areas were just 8 foot high and flat.  And most importantly, the existing residence failed to engage with the unique and picturesque backyard in a way that capitalized on its unique location with a creek flowing in the back. (This is an anomaly in this area where it is more common for the creek to run in front of the houses- between the houses and the noisy highway).

The resulting solution was to keep as much of the house as possible but to dramatically vault the main common space and entry.  The side of the house facing the creek is punctuated by an 8 foot high accordion style door and large windows above those doors allowing the inhabitant a 16’ high view to fully enjoy not only the creek but the beautiful 60 foot high rock face that forms a backdrop for the backyard and creek beyond.  This was done by creating a new shed roof off of the existing ridge beam facing the creek.  We also created an internal vertical connection between the two floors thus eliminating the need to go outside to access the second level.

In addition, what used to be a 10-foot wide deck that ran partially the length of the house, was replaced by a far more gracious and expansive wood deck along the entire length of the house that included a spot for a partially covered hot tub sheltered by way of an expanded open framed gable roof.  Beyond that, the deck steps down to a larger hardscape that provides a usable transition between the house and the creek with an outdoor gas fireplace serving as the focal point.

We also remodeled what was once a shearing shed and made it into an outdoor fireplace/performance space. 

A curved staircase follows the bend in the river and allows the stairs to act as seating for an intimate viewing of the creek beyond. The curved shape also helps to divert the water and prevent flooding when the creek rises too high.