This small family retreat was designed to make the most of its small site, while reducing heating loads and environmental impacts. The house is located at the top of sloping meadow, situated to capture views across and beyond the largest open space on the site, and to protect the building from the hot afternoon sun. The living spaces are situated around a covered outdoor space, or breezeway, with living spaces on one side and a bedroom and bathroom on the other.
The dogtrot is the focal point for outdoor living. The simple bar shape of the building is punctuated by two bays. The kitchen bay opens to views up the steep hillside behind the house, while the living room bay opens to dramatic views of the meadow and the valley below. This bay also serves as a sleeping area for children or guests. The straw-bale construction eliminates the need for cooling in this hot, dry climate.