Living Large In Small Spaces - Mountain Cottage

Twenty-second post in the series 
"Living Large in Small Spaces"

Hello and welcome to another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.

Today's featured cottage was designed by TKP Architects of Golden, Colorado, and won the 2012 "Architect's Choice Award" from the AIA Denver and the Newman Award from the Institute for Classical Art and Architecture in 2013. This is not at all surprising, as you're about to see. 

Before we tour this fetching cottage, I'd like to thank Karen Keating, President of TKP Architects for the privilege of sharing the firm's photos and for providing me with details about the cottage design and construction. Karen couldn't have been more gracious and helpful.  

This 500 square foot cottage is located on a three-acre property, which includes a century-old miner's cabin that TKP remodeled several years ago "for a contemporary lifestyle while retaining the aesthetic and the quirks of an old mountain homestead." 

Intended as a studio for creating custom jewelry, the mountain cottage doubles as guest quarters.

The homeowners wanted the cottage "to feel as if it had existed for a hundred years." Reclaimed wood plank flooring, as well as the timber window and door trim and open roof trusses fabricated from old barn timbers, help to secure that antique look and demonstrate good environmental stewardship.

The open roof trusses make the cottage seem much larger that its actual size. 

I first became interested in this cottage when Dennis and I were playing with the design of a 350 square foot home which consisted of one large multi-functional room and one bathroom. Instead of a separate master bedroom, we thought of using a murphy bed.   

Here the classic custom cabinetry to the left of the fireplace disguises a murphy bed.

I love this! 

Although we scrapped the idea of a one-room cottage with a murphy bed, this beautiful pull-down bed will forever live in my dreams as the perfect solution for a part-time bedroom. 

Imagine waking up to the view outside the sliding doors. Just beyond the stone patio is a "gently sloping wooded meadow."

Here's the view from the outside looking in.

Windows in large dormers with copper roofs allow additional light into the cottage interior.

Fabulous, right? 

Behind the fireplace is a small, elegantly appointed bathroom with a shower.

Glass mosaic tiles on the shower floor were produced from recycled glass.

A sleeping loft is accessed by a custom made steel ladder, sized to fit the space. Each step is a leaf design.

The cozy loft features a charming arched window and looks into the rustic open timber trusses.

The slate roof tiles came from a demolished building. 

"This rustic mountain cottage replaced a deteriorating outbuilding. . .Stringent zoning requirements required the cottage's location, its footprint, and its overall height match the existing structure. . ." ~ TKP Architects

"Lichen-covered boulders were used as the stone veneer so that the cottage seems to emerge from the site's existing craggy rock outcrops.  A steeply pitched roof, appropriate to shed winter snow, would have been over the height limit, so the cottage was buried into the hillside, adding to its aged, organic appeal.  Windows in large dormers with copper roofs allow additional light into the cottage's interior." ~ TKP Architects

As I mentioned, this is a studio and guest house, and it also functions as a retreat for the owners from their main house. With the inclusion of an actual kitchen -- which local building codes prohibited in this structure --  I could imagine full-time large living in this gorgeous small space.

I received no compensation from TKP Architects for featuring this cottage. It's simply a lovely place that I wanted to share with you.

All photos are the property of TKP Architects and were used with their permission.

Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series

 Living Large in Small Spaces

See more home tours in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.

From the comments I've received, many
people have been encouraged by the homes and lives 
shared in this series.
If you live in a small space (approx. 1200 square feet or less),
 I'd love to feature your story, too.
Send me an email and let's collaborate.
(See the "Contact Me" page for my email address.)


  1. Simply charming! But I would have to have a separate bedroom, and I'm too old to climb that ladder! I also love to have this view!

  2. Wow - that really is unique and beautiful. I would probably need a separate bedroom, too. Just old habit, I guess. I have to say that cat made me laugh. What a face! Deb

  3. Replies
    1. It's beautiful, isn't it? It really does look like a home that's been there for a long time.

  4. Nancy, what an adorable little cottage! It looks like something out of a fairy tale. This is so similar to what we are trying to do with our little cabin (i.e. combining the bedroom/living area). I love the salvaged wood used for the trusses and the window trim, and the murphy bed idea-- we may just have to try that out in our cabin! Thanks for sharing-- Melissa

    1. My pleasure, Melissa. There's a lot of great craftsmanship in this cottage. It was joy to share it.

  5. Oh my Nancy, I am sitting here picking up my jaw!!! Not an inch of space was not intelligently planned out, impressive beyond belief. Century old miner's cabin - Wow! Wide plank floors, roof trusses the amazing color choice of green. Plus since classics endure loving the choice of the Eames chairs. The cat too cool for words and the exterior couldn't be any more perfect. Enchanting tour.

  6. That is absolutely adorable and would be fun to wake up with a toasty fireplace warming your toes. Thanks for sharing Nancy!

    1. I can't think of anything more lovely than sleeping by that fireplace, Judy.

  7. I just found our dream cottage Joy. I have to agree that we would have to have a couple of separate bedrooms. I just love everything else.

  8. Gorgeous place! I would have to add a dormer over that loft sleeping space & a real staircase to be happy here though. Love the architecture!

  9. Another gorgeous small living home. The stone on the exterior is so fabulous. Ha ha love the look on the cat's face coming in the front door too funny!!! Love this one Nancy. Very cute and comfy.

  10. Wow! I LOVE it. I'd be perfectly content in a place like that. So many wonderful features. Beautiful and thoughtfully crafted. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  11. A dreamy place! Reminds me of a Hobbit house.

  12. Very cute! Too bad they couldn't have a kitchen in it. I probably would have snuck one in, after the pictures were taken ;)


  13. Isn't that so darned cute???? I can't believe that code won't allow them to have a kitchen in there..and yet they can have a bathroom. How weird. The only thing I can see wrong with it is that if you have the fireplace going to keep the place warm you couldn't pull down the murphy bed- it would be too close. Of course, the fireplace might not be the primary heating source.
    I just adore it cute!!!! xo Diana

  14. I love the cottages you feature, Nancy, each one is truly a treat to explore. However, I usually find myself smitten with the interiors and while this one is gorgeous, I adore the outside of this home. The structure itself is so charming, I find myself looking at those photos over and over again! Just lovely!

    1. As soon as I saw the picture and the words mountain cottage, I thought you were talking about Boulder Colo. Close. I have been to Golden and I could see this being there. I love how quaint it is. Thanks again for sharing.

  15. Wow. It is stunning. It reminds me of a hobbit home.

  16. Hi,
    Amazing. I love the cat walking in the house in the first indoor photo. Cute.
    I was surprised how close the bed was to the fireplace. I shared this post with my husband and told him he could keep the fire burning, by sleeping on that side of the bed. He chuckled and thought he might catch us a fire. ;-)
    It is beautiful and we would not mind seeing the main house too.

  17. WoW! You always manage to bring us such fascinating spaces, Nancy! Apart from the cottage interior, the outdoor setting is gorgeous, too! I would love to wake up to that view every morning. That's living...
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

  18. Oh my, my favorite of each all the cottages you have shown us.
    To shed the worldly and live with minimal . . . in a place like this would be my dream . . .
    Who would need a thing more with lichen stones and rck droppings, trees and shade, privacy and calm.

  19. Oh, am I ever late to this little party! May I still sit down and look out over the gorgeous view? Or can I spend the night - I LOVE THAT MURPHY BED!

    Good morning, Nancy! That has to be the nicest Murphy bed design I've ever seen.The first time I ever saw a bed as such was in an old apartment of a friend. Her bed was hidden behind a closet, but THIS ONE is grand in the protruding cabinet which resembles a lofty, kingly bed!

    If this had a kitchen, it would be the perfect abode for a couple or one person. I totally love the inclusion of recycled wood and the surround rocks to give the feel of always being there.

    I love your series-this could be a book! Have a great Sunday my friend! Anita

  20. This cottage is amazing, it reminds me of a Hobbit hole, so cosy and in inviting.

  21. This cottage has so much charm! It's small, but cosy and efficient.

  22. What a charming cottage! It could have stepped right off the pages of a fairy tale book.

  23. This is absolutely lovely! My favorite in the series so far :) The beautiful minty green colour used for the cupboards etc. is amazing! :) Oh and the cottage itself is so fairytale-like, it's like being inside one of my books :D

  24. This is such a charming little house but what I love best is the way it fits into the landscape with the rocks forming part of the walls and also creating outside seating and a space for a bbq.

  25. Love the layout of this delightful cottage and especially the built-in and their soft, pastel green. I agree with some of the comments above; a little kitchenette would have made it completely irresistible!

    Thanks for featuring this adorable abode, Nancy! Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!


  26. Love this cottage, all that stone!!!
    Very pretty.
    Thanks for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  27. Nancy - another delight today to visit this cottage! Such unique and incredible beauty both inside and out - I think I would prefer being outside to inside in this case - the lovely rocks outside were just amazing! Not sure I would want to climb a ladder to bed every night, lol! The handsome rustic nature of this cottage and its simplicity and charm are certainly eye-catching - so glad you shared this with us! :)

    1. I'm very happy I was able to feature this cottage. I love the way it relates to its environment and imagine how lovely it must be on warm days to open the sliding doors to the outdoors.

  28. The cottage (especially the outside) is delightful! Thank you for sharing.

  29. This is beautiful. I love to look at how small places can be made big.

    1. And that's one of the great successes of this cottage. It looks so much larger than its 500 square feet!

  30. Genuinely speechless over this home. It's like a Hobbit house! Love, love, love how it looks like it was built right into the surrounding rocks.

    1. It's a spectacular cottage, isn't it? Timeless, really.

  31. Oh my, this one stole my heart! Love, love the vintage green color and that murphy bed is amazing! My brother has one in his guest room. Not as fabulous as this though. His isn't green. lol! Thanks for sharing with SYC.


Your comments bring me joy! Thanks for stopping by.