Canyon Culture: A House Built into a Rock Wall

In Cortez, Colorado, the ultimate natural home incorporates a cliffside and celebrates a view of archeological significance.

One of Dan’s practical concerns about building a home into the cliffside was that the rock could slough into his home. Before construction, he water blasted the wall, then buffed it with a natural brush. After framing the house, he sprayed the rock with a water-based sealer used as a preservative for old brick buildings. To prevent water from leaking in where the roof and rock meet, Dan designed a shed-style roof made of corrugated heavy-gauge steel. He cut a three-inch slot into the cliff with a diamond saw, then slipped the roofing material into the groove with no flashing. To further weatherproof the roof, he used expandable insulating spray foam and sloped the roof down from the incision.
Photo By Laurie Dickson