1960s Split Level Gets Green Makeover


Remodeling is big these days, and Boulder-based VaST Architecture has a knack for transforming rundown places into vibrant spaces (as they did with a co-work space called the Candy Shop).  VaST recently helped Gregg Olsen convert his Boulder, Colorado, 1960s, split-level home into an efficient abode with modern interior design.  The interior and exterior renovation was completed at a cost of $107 psf.



  • Refinished the existing oak flooring;
  • Added natural Forbo linoleum and wool flooring;
  • Used low-VOC paints and coatings;
  • Installed new plumbing, wiring, and lighting;
  • Installed new fiberglass Serious Materials windows;
  • Added new icynene insulation for a tight envelope;
  • Used Energy Star appliances and HRV for air replacement; and
  • Installed a dual-flush toilet.

This efficient house had a winter electrical bill of $60!  Not bad, but what’s more impressive is that the owner was able to renovate it without blowing the top off the place.  Some people take a home like this and add a ton of square footage (or raze and build some monstrosity), but I say leave it all in tact as Mr. Olsen did.  I hope to see more of these in the next couple years …

[+] Video Tour the Olsen Residence by Zachary Epps



Olsen-stair Olsen-bathroom

Photo credits: Dan O’Connor for VaST.

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  • http://mportlandrealestate.com/ Portland Real Estate

    Really cool! I love the hardwood floors, they look great. Also, I wonder what design that is on the handrailing of the bannister up the stairs, I really like that sleek black design.

  • Brian N.

    That’s my hometown!! next time I travel home I will have to do a drive by of the Olsen house. I like that they didn’t expand the house during the renovation.

    FYI: Boulder is also the country’s first to switch to a “smart” electrical grid:

  • http://www.scalehousedesign.com/ Chuck Witmer

    I am working on a “green” remodel that will blow this one out of the agua…

    • http://www.jetsongreen.com Preston

      You’ve got my attention … keep me posted with an email.

  • http://www.ecozebra.com Andrew Stone

    This one is beautiful Preston! Love it. Just think what could be done with all those homes in West Jordon and Cottonwood. There are so many 60′s and 70′ split entries that could be amazing with this look.

  • lisbet

    Thanks for the inspiration here! Our house is the same era and actually looks very similar! This gives me some ideas for the future :)

  • rayanne staubly

    I am interested in renovation existing homes to a more green footprint. Any suggestions? Weilok@zianet.com

  • Carole

    Very cool.

    Our very first home purchase was a split, and I still miss that house (the one pictured looks more like what I know as a tri-level home).

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