Island Drive: The Inside Scoop

This Summer we wrapped up a truly breathtaking project! Island Drive was a fresh and modern design-build, fit head to toe in clean, bold materials selections, while remaining playful and “family friendly” in style!

Let’s take a look inside the design process and standout features of this remarkable Boulder based Project.

Overall Focus

Island Drive was a new-build on an undeveloped lot, making it an opportunity to completely actualize the client’s vision on all fronts. The main focus was to provide a beautiful home that more closely fit the family of four’s needs than their current house. They imagined a house that was open and bright, strongly connected to the outdoors with spaces for larger gatherings of friends and family!

Style Focus

The style direction of Island Drive was fairly contemporary which fits well with Boulder’s more modern architecture, but we mixed in more traditional massing and roof forms to respect and tie in with existing neighborhood. Though we imagined an ultimately modern contemporary home, we did not want it to stick out as “out of place” in the gorgeous, homey, nature painted Boulder neighborhood.

Client Requests – Making their Dream come to Life

This family wanted above all else: spaces for gathering/entertaining, appropriate spaces/layout for kids, dogs, and outdoor gear (you know, all that Colorado stuff!). With views to Boulder’s iconic flatirons, they imagined the stairs as a beautiful focal point. They imagined a dining space that was open and central, a “center of life” since the family spends a lot of time there, not just eating! Finally, they prioritized making the home net zero so the house is energy efficient with a PV system that generates as much energy as it uses. This visionary client struck every essential pillar of a contemporary, sustainable home!


Our design team overcame a handful of challenges during this ground-up new home build, the first being that the lot was a unique wedge shape. Though large, about 1/2 of it was unbuildable due to setbacks, utility easements, and a conservation easement, so it took quite a bit of revision and creativity to develop the final design. Working around inevitable land obstacles is always a potential and manageable challenge for us!

A note from the Architect

“My favorite part of any project is during construction when you get to finally see the design start to magically take shape and all the hard work and craftmanship that our subs bring to the job, there is so much skill involved in all the different trades. This Island Dr. Project took full form with the skill and input of so many different talents, and it’s always amazing to see other people practice their perfected craft!

My favorite parts of this specific job has to be how windows are placed to take advantage of the mature trees. Even though it’s right in town with neighboring houses close by, the views out most windows make it feel like you are all by yourself in a beautiful forest. I also really love the stairs. We worked hard to come up the design and I love how the thin white oak and steel stairs float in space in front of the most gorgeous chiseled granite running up the whole wall behind the stair, it really sets it off”

– Dain Carlson, Architect

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