Mother Earth Living


Zen Ranch: A Colorado Straw Bale Home

This sustainably-built sport ranch brings an Olympian snowboarder peace.



After living in a tipi on his 42 acres for a year, Thedo Remmelink wanted an east-facing entrance and rounded corners on the home he built. Builder John Randolph used local wood and stone and straw bales from the nearby San Luis Valley to implement architect Todd Young's design.
Photo By Michael Shopenn
Thedo Remmelink (left) and architect Todd Young.
Photo By Michael Shopenn
Thedo heats the house with propane radiant heat, but during transitional seasons he can heat it completely by burning beetle-kill pine, which is prolific in the Yampa River Valley. He turns on the gas fireplace for short periods to eliminate the use of in-floor radiant heat.
Photo By Michael Shopenn
The master bathroom sink, made by a local Steamboat artist, reminds Thedo of water and waves, evoking flow.
Photo By Michael Shopenn
A deep overhang shelters the patio in front of the entry, allowing Thedo to use it in all seasons.
Photo By Michael Shopenn
Straw bale walls offer deep windowsills that remind Thedo of European homes.
Photo By Michael Shopenn
This chair and table in the master bedroom were custom made by Steamboat artist Matt Graves, who also made the dining room table and the chairs.
Photo By Michael Shopenn
Sunlight streams into the south-facing dining room, keeping the house toasty in winter. The artwork is by local artist Christopher Oar. The opening above the entryway is a sleeping loft.
Photo By Michael Shopenn
The kitchen, open to the rest of the living space and warmed by the central fireplaces, is defined by lower ceilings.
Photo By Michael Shopenn
Second Floor
Illustration By Andrej Galins
Main Floor
Illustration By Andrej Galins





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