Kiva Style: Former Tipi Residents Build a Rammed-Earth Home

Working with earth, wood, glass and crystals, Tom and Flame Lutes have created a truly sacred space in the Colorado high country.

Skylights are designed and configured so that winter sun pours through and heats the south-facing adobe walls and bancos. As the home cools off in the evening, heat is drawn back out. The living area’s circular shape stems from Tom and Flame’s previous living quarters: a tipi. Rough-cut slabs of wood frame each window, creating a textural relief to the smooth plaster walls and adding depth of field to the panoramic room. This gives the house a sense of the profound. “When you look at nature, nothing’s flat; the eye has to constantly focus and refocus,” Tom says. “In our house, all these different surfaces fade into each other, and the eye catches a lot of movement because of that depth. That has a lot to do with why people come in and say, 'Wow, this feels so amazing.’”
Photo By Laurie Dickson