The couple admit their secret weapon was a preservation-obsessed local builder, Mike Fahrlander, who had developed a process for restoring the region's old sheds. Once the sheds were rebuilt, said Fahrlander, the house could be conceived to include them—something that Boulder-based design firm Coburn Development Inc., which would also work extensively in the area, made happen. "It evolved over time," says Dan Rotner, a Coburn architect. "It didn't just happen in one imaginitive burst."

Not that it was an easy feat. After setback requirements were met, the Curriers were left with a 20-by-40-foot rectangle on which to build. And then there were those sheds: the plan was to make one a 480-square-foot master suite, connected to the house by an 8-foot breezeway, and to leave the other detatched, 30 feet from the front door, where it could function as the Curriers' son Jenner's 213-square-foot bunkhouse. The style of the new 1315-square-foot home would be a classic Rockies upside-down house with main living quarters on the second floor, high above winter snow that typically rises above first-story windows.

The challenge for homeowners building in a historic area is to get the house they want while remaining consistent with local architecture. Both inside and out, the Curriers designed a home that looked like it had been there for awhile, which is why whenever possible they used reclaimed building materials. "We were thinking old Maine barn, old Western mine, old French farmhouse," says Liz, summing up the eclectic result.

The exterior of the new construction would be classic Crested Butte, with a tin roof that matched the exact pitch of the area's originals, designed to shed snow easily. The weathered gray siding would come from a shuttered Montana mine, and the windows would be framed with West Coast Douglas fir that the elements would make blend in with the time-worn woods used throughout.
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