Curt and his subs pulled it off!  We made it through plumbing, mechanical, and electrical inspections last week.  There were a few conditions on electrical, but nothing that will hold up the schedule.

The final Frame inspection was made on Wednesday, setting us up for drywall installation. 


We’ve reached the biggest milestone yet. We got our plans approved by the City -- after 5 weeks! We were actually hoping to have started building LAST spring, but designing our own home took longer than we thought. In any case, looks like we’ll be starting mid-October!

Permit drawing set submitted!

Nancy and I submitted the plans to the City of Denver Building Department on August 14.  We are relieved and very happy to have reached this milestone after nearly a year of work.  We would like to thank Joe and Jason at KL&A for a great structural set, Julie and Judy at the Brendle Group for lots of assistance on energy analysis and mechanical specifications, Ron at CO Engineering for the surveys, and Mike at CO Geoscience for the soils and shoring report.  We will keep our fingers crossed that the plans will make it through without any major hiccups.

We have selected Curtis Welch for the contractor on the project and are excited that we will be using SIPs for the exterior walls (Structural Insulated Panels).  He brings valuable experience with this type of construction to the project, in that he is one of the few in Denver who has actually built projects using them!

Zoning Limitations



The City of Denver has some fairly complicated and restrictive zoning requirements, limiting lot coverage as well as designating the area where you can locate the house and garage. The open space requirement and location of the structure(s) on the lot creates obvious constraints for this small narrow lot (37’ x 132’).

Initially, our goal was to build a 2400-2500 sf home, but once we designed the house we were at 2800 sf. We knew we were exceeding the open space requirements (62.5% of the lot is required to be open) with the initial first floor layout. After going over the zoning requirements once again, we realized that we needed to make serious adjustments, both in terms of square footage reductions, as well as adjusting the placement of the house on the lot.

Reducing square footage at this point was a significant challenge for us. The City offers a lot coverage incentive if you detach the garage. In other words, we can have more house with a detached garage, so we detached it. Sacrificing the benefits of an attached garage was difficult -- but once we accepted that and made some further square footage cuts (specifically eliminating the guest room/kids playroom, we are now at 2500 SF! Depending on the pricing, we may rough in for a future guest suite in the basement. In any event, we will have more outdoor space for play and sun.

Massing Studies

Determining the overall size of the house is a challenge on such a narrow site.  We’ve talked about everything from a narrow tube like open plan to a central courtyard layout that takes advantage of as much morning winter sun as possible.  The adjacent bungalows are fairly low compared to Victorians along other nearby streets, so respecting their scale only adds to the challenge.

Denver Bulk Planes

The Denver zoning code puts restrictions on overall height and location of your house on each lot.  The emphasis in our neighborhood is on a good sized setback from the street, the bulk of the house within the center area of the lot, and a lower garage near the back of the lot.