"We shape our buildings, and afterward, our buildings shape us."  Winston Churchill

Welcome to the Wilson Peak Retreat website!

This unique private compound includes two separate private residences:  a glassy "Mountain Modern" Main House, known locally as the Solar Concept House, and a separate matching Guest House, known as the See Forever Cottage, on two separate subdivision roads, with separate entrances -- one well above the other on the hillside in the forest.  

Here are some of the amenities offered:

  • •  Spectacular views of Telluride's "fourteener," Wilson Peak
  • •  1.5 acre heavily wooded estate-type lot with end-of-the-road privacy, surrounded by over 20 acres of       protected greenspace
  • •  Up on Telluride's ski mountain, less than 5 mins to the ski slopes
  • •  Timeless timber-frame, post & beam construction with roughsawn cedar and glass exteriors
  • •  5 bedrooms plus a sleeping loft, and 3 full baths plus a powder room between both residences
  • •  3300 sqft. of living space between both residences in the family compound
  • •  Master Bath with oversized jetted soaking tub
  • •  Spa Bath with family-sized sauna and double steamer/shower
  • •  3 Genuine Woodburners:  a real fireplace in the living room and a woodstove in the dining room at the Main House, plus a cheery woodstove in the Guest House
  • •  Oversized 2 car+ heated garage with attic storage
  • •  Solid heart redwood decks and flagstone terraces offer unparalleled outdoor living spaces on the beautiful wooded grounds with plenty of views, trees, and privacy
  • •  Family-friendly grounds surrounding both residences with no subdivision traffic
  • •  Greenbuilt, energy-efficient sustainable design for both residences
Renewed Interest in Passive Solar Design

"You may see that walls are vanishing...  Walls themselves because of glass will become windows, and windows as we used to know them as holes in walls wll be seen no more.  Ceilings will often become as window walls too."  Frank Lloyd Wright, "Tne Natural House," Times Mirror/New American Library, 1954.

Just recently, on July 20, 2011, the Wall St. Journal ran a lead article in its Homes section entitled:  "Growing Panes:  Homeowners Go Big on Glass Walls."   The Journal article illustrates that unconventional homes featuring expansive glass walls and "planet-friendly" passive solar design elements are more popular than ever with home buyers throughout the country.  You'll enjoy the article.  Just click on the link above.

You can also see recent national press coverage of the Solar Concept House by Yahoo!® News.  Click here.

Proof of Concept

"Every house worth considering as a work of art must have a grammer of its own."  -- Frank Lloyd Wright

A concept house, like a concept car, is intended as a prototype, to showcase new materials, new technologies, new ideas. 

Frank Lloyd Wright envisioned homes that could be so much more than "boxes within boxes."   With the crucial advent of "double-glazed" insulating glass for residential applications, suddenly walls could be windows, and windows could be walls, and thus Wright had the opportunity to realize his vision.

Here at this private enclave, one can see just how successful these talented local architects really were in implementing passive solar design technologies -- at both residences.  

Someone once said, once you've lived in a house like this, you can never go back to a conventional house with little windows.  

Both the Main House and the Guest House are sunny and warm in the winter, and cool in the summer.   Through their Window Walls, they connect the occupants in an unique way to the beautiful views and grounds outside.  They're inexpensive to operate, and very little energy is wasted.

Touring inside the Main House for the first time, visitors find a house that seems sculpted from the elements, rather than merely constructed onsite. 

As we entered the new century, the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) offered an exhibition entitled "The Un-Private House," featuring a variety of homes like this one, built and unbuilt, from all over the world.   The book accompanying the exhibition is on display in the library at the Main House here at the compound.  

The MoMA exhibition, in the summer of 1999, celebrated unconventional houses, homes that were unusually open or loft-style, homes employing passive solar design, homes that featured sliding walls that brought a kind of kinetic energy to the design of the home, homes with a lot of glass, homes with exterior walls that slide open, etc.  

The exhibition celebrated the idea that times had changed, the "typical" family had changed, demographics had changed, and it was time to re-examine our ideas of what a house must be, and what a house could be.   Reviewers nicknamed the summer-long show in New York "The Millenium House" exhibition.

Here at this family-friendly compound, full advantage was taken of the unusually private lot to build an "un-private" house; i.e., a glass house that blurs the boundary of inside and outside, and with equally open architecture interiorly.

In this way, the architect successfully "pushed out" the boundary of privacy for the occupants beyond the house itself, all the way to the perimeter fence surrounding the entire compound.   Living in the Main House, the occupants enjoy even more privacy from the world outside the private enclave than in a conventional home, despite the fact that the interiors are unusually open, and the exterior walls are made of glass.  Quite an accomplishment. 

Scientists use the phrase "proof of concept" to describe how a new idea or concept can be tested by building a prototype.   The Main House was built for just that purpose:  a model home that would allow the designer/builder to demonstrate to the local market all the things that could be done with passive solar design to create a home that was not only greenbuilt and energy-efficient, but beautiful, comfortable, livable, and practical.  

The Main House was the architect's "proof of concept."   One would be hard pressed to find a new home today that is more successful in implementing passive solar design and natural or "organic" architecture in such an aesthetically pleasing and livable form.

Navigating the Site

We've tried to organize this site into useful categories, such as Main House, Guest House, View Lot, etc.

When you click on any photo in the galleries on the left side of the various pages, they'll expand into a photo album with full sized photos that you can easily browse through for that gallery, navigating left or right using the arrows in the photo albums.   When you reach the end of a particular gallery, you'll be returned to the page you started from.

For a virtual tour of the Guest House, see the Guest House page.

The Contact Us page has an easy fill-in-the-blank form to send us an email, and someone will get back to you right away.   Also listed there is our phone number, fax number, and direct email address.  Feel free to call us anytime, including evenings or weekends.

There's an easy-to-follow page offering an introduction to Passive Solar Design, and then explaining how this design standard is implemented in both the Main House and the separate, detached Guest House which is located on another road, on the hillside above.   The text on the design page is accompanied by photographs illustrating how these unusual houses achieve unusually high thermal mass and meet other passive solar design goals, beautifully.

You can see from the striking photographs throughout the site that living in houses like these -- so carefully and thoughtfully designed by their architects -- is like living in a work of art, or sculpture.  Over the years, many visitors have observed that the aesthetics achieved with these passive solar homes here in the compound are nothing short of stunning.   Combined with the unique view lot spanning two separate subdivision roads, with end-of-the-road privacy at both residences -- whether approaching the compound from above, or below -- the effect is simply extraordinary.

See for yourself by arranging a private showing, and we think you'll agree.  

Thanks for visiting!

Your Own Private Compound Near the Slopes