Update on Bennett Residence

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 25, 2013 by michaelfgallagher


It has been a while since I’ve shown many photos of the Bennett Residence. This custom winter vacation home near the Breckenridge Ski Area has been in design & construction for several years. The home is rather large (15,200 s.f.) and quite complex. It features a very sophisticated home control and automation system, a geothermal heating system, two-lane bowling alley and many more very unique features. Here is a slide show showing it’s current state of completion.

Project featured in the publication “The Inspirer”

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2013 by michaelfgallagher

One of my projects was recently featured in The Inspirer. It’s a German-language publication. If any of you can read it, it’s at: http://the-inspirer.com/wohnen/peak-8-penthouse-von-michael-gallagher-architects/

It features a ski vacation home that I designed near Breckenridge Ski Area.

Pear-43bThe home has a refreshing contemporary aesthetic that is popular with European and South American readers. It has been published numerous times abroad.

The Peak 8 Penthouse, 384 4 O'Clock Run Road, Breckenridge, CO

The interior designer was Donna McAlear of New Mood Design.


I want to thank Donna for all her help and also Darren Edwards for his great photography.




Something a little more Artsie

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2013 by michaelfgallagher
This is the original pencil sketch of the concept

The homeowners wanted something really unique for their powder room. The home will have numerous rustic wood features. The original request was for a wood slab countertop with a glass vessel. But I thought the wood might be a little less durable and there are many vessel sinks around these days. A glass top with integral sink would be much more unique and durable.

This is the original pencil sketch of the concept:

This is the original pencil sketch of the concept

With the help of two great fabricators, this is the finished piece:


It will be installed in the powder room with a brass drain and faucet coming out of the wall. The home will be a winter vacation home near the Breckenridge Ski Area. It will have many other rustic touches, many inspired by the great lodges of the western national parks (“Parkitecture”).

Michael F Gallagher, Architect

ELK POINT is under construction

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 25, 2013 by michaelfgallagher

Elk Point will be a new home with fresh contemporary mountain style situated on a secluded point. It looks over the Breckenridge Golf Course, Breckenridge Ski Area, the Ten Mile Range and is frequented by local elk. The home was originally designed as a custom home but will now be available for sale upon completion. It will have over 6,000 square feet of interior living areas, over 900 square feet of covered outdoor living areas and another 1,200 square feet of garage and hobby space.Can2-A0


For more about a purchase, contact Chris Canfield at Coldwell Banker (800)669-5356 or (970) 485-2685  chris@MountainLifeUSA.com

Michael F Gallagher, Architect 970 453 6872  michael@michaelgallagher.com

First Inhabitant

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2013 by michaelfgallagher

The first inhabitant moved into the Bennett Residence. However, the warmth and quite of the night was replaced by the  annoying din of construction activity during the day. Our friend moved out after only one sleepless day.


Distinctive custom vacation homes – mostly for people.

Michael F Gallagher, Architect        Breckenridge, Colorado

Electrical & mechanical systems at Bennett Residence

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2013 by michaelfgallagher

The Bennett Residence is framed and “dried-in” now. There is a great deal of activity inside and out as the plumbers, electricians and mechanical workers install the complex systems that will make this home operate. The home will have a very sophisticated automation system. All the lighting devices are wired back to central panels for control by the home’s computer or from pads throughout the home. All the other systems will have integrated control systems to make the home as efficient and comfortable as possible.

Electrical panels

Electrical panels

Boiler Room

Boiler Room


Michael F Gallagher, Breckenridge, CO

The Locals’ Garage

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 8, 2012 by michaelfgallagher

The new home that Breckshire Homes is building features a great garage design. It’s designed to be very functional for a local family, but would work great for a vacationing family as well.


It features two spaces for motor vehicles, a wonderful shop space plus a “gear room”. The shop space could be used for projects or for smaller motorized vehicles. The gear room can hold all the outdoor equipment you can dream of. There is still a mud room inside the home, which serves as the laundry and storage for boots and outdoor clothing.


This is just the type of garage that works very well for a home located near Breckenridge Ski Area, Town of Breckenridge Nordic Trails and Breckenridge-Summit County Open Space. Michael F Gallagher, Architect.

Breckshire Homes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 8, 2012 by michaelfgallagher

This is a new house that Breckshire Homes is building. It is available for sale. Contact Tommy Gogolen at Thomas Properties 970-389-2514 for more information. It would be a great vacation home or a great home for a local family.


Distinctive custom homes, Michael F Gallagher, Architect

Geothermal heating for the Bennett Residence

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 1, 2012 by michaelfgallagher

Well drilling for the geothermal exchange system has resumed at the Bennett Residence in Breckenridge, Colorado.  There have been delays and equipment problems drilling through the very hard bedrock.

After analyzing very good test results from the first bore, the system has been modified. Instead of using eleven wells drilled 400’ deep, the system will now employ two groups of five wells each. One group will be drilled 275’ deep and the other to 380’.

The system will use electric ground-to-water heat pumps to provide hot water for heating and domestic water use. Electricity will provide 33% of the energy for these while the earth provides 66%. As a result, the boiler system will use 50% less utility energy than a traditional boiler system to heat this 15,000 square foot custom vacation home.

A geothermal system usually makes a significant contribution to a home’s air conditioning needs as well. But because of the cool climate and the home’s design, the home has no need for central air conditioning. Instead, we have included small cooling systems for the Wine Cellar, Living Room and Audio/Video Equipment. Excess heat returned into the exchange loop from these will help enhance overall performance of the ground source heat pump system.

Meanwhile, construction of the home itself is on schedule. The building should be enclosed and ready for winter work in a few weeks. The project should be finished in another year.

Michael F Gallagher, Architect

Breckenridge, Colorado

Selecting the Site for Your Custom Home

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 4, 2012 by michaelfgallagher

While I would love to think that hiring the right architect is the key to realizing your custom dream home, I have to admit that choosing the right building site is often most important. Idealy, hire the right architect and get him or her involved in selecting the site. The site often shapes the home’s design and with an architect’s involvement, you have a better chance of choosing a lot that will accommodate your dreams.

Sometimes clients are disappointed to find that the lot they’ve purchased is not well suited for what they would really like to build. I have a reputation for working wonders with a difficult site, but I’ve found it makes life easier and the end result is often better if we choose the best lot from the beginning. Therefore I’ve been encouraging potential clients to allow me to assist them with lot selection. This has resulted in some great purchases by my clients, which has led to spectacular, award-winning homes. In some cases, clients bought lots that they would not have noticed without some guidance from their architect.

I recently assisted clients looking for lots in various parts of The Highlands at Breckenridge. I encouraged them to buy a spectacular lot on Long Ridge Drive that they had not been considering. The resulting home swept the awards at the Summit County Parade of Homes last year and the clients are proud and ecstatic to live there.

Here are some of the parameters we consider when searching for a lot:

General location and proximity to what is important to you, whether that is your place of employment, recreational amenities or shopping and nightlife. If you are considering building in Summit County, Colorado, there are many factors to be considered. Proximity to ski areas, golf, horseback riding, hiking or other recreational amenities might be a priority. Do you wish to be close to aquatic features such as lakes or rivers? Do you prefer to be located within the various towns or resorts – Breckenridge, Frisco, Copper Mountain, Dillon or Keystone? Or are you looking for something more remote – in an unincorporated portion of the county? Are you looking for ski-in/ski-out, walking distance or driving? Are there certain things you’d like to avoid – parking issues, traffic, noise – or do you prefer to be in the heart of the action?

Cost. Cost can often be the most significant factor. The neighborhood’s reputation and resale value will affect initial and long-term cost. Additionally, while a site might have a great price, there can be hidden factors associated with the lot that may drive construction costs up. Some potential issues are listed in the paragraph on topography. It’s difficult to estimate these costs without consulting with the architect and builder.

Views are extremely important, especially when selecting a site in Colorado. Isn’t that why most of us live here? Be sure to consider things that may change the view, such as future construction or the growth or death of trees.

Privacy. Be aware of the location of nearby existing homes, roads, trails, easements and the potential for future construction. You may not be as happy with your home if you find that strangers are able to peer into your living room or if you have headlights shining into your bedroom.

Topography is an important consideration and many people don’t fully understand the implications. For example, a sloping site might offer excellent views but can result in higher construction costs due to excavation, grading, retaining and driveway construction. Restrictions such as building height, buildable area and others may also apply.

One of the most important factors in home design is how you enter the home onto the main level. This is the home’s “first impression” if you will, and there are also long-term considerations. Grand entry stairs may seem dramatic today but can cause problems as you or your guests age. Most people prefer to enter the main living level from a driveway and garage that’s on the same level. Walking up a few stairs to get into the house can have charm, but trudging up a full flight of stairs with suitcases or groceries is not inviting. For long-term accessibility, even one or two steps can be a barrier. This is an important consideration for a retirement home or even for anyone that might require knee surgery or suffer some other short-term disability. Sometimes the site must be accessed from below and the best views are on the upper level. We can make the best of it with interesting stairs and possibly an elevator, but I generally prefer lots that you access from above. This allows the main living areas and possibly the master bedroom to be on the entry level while the lower level can be utilized for extra bedrooms, recreation and utility rooms.

Here in the Rocky Mountains many lots are going to be sloped so there is a good chance we’ll have to work with one of these two situations. We can optimize either one, but think about this before purchasing.

The size and topography of the lot will also dictate much of the driveway design. Driving ease and snow removal should be significant considerations.

Neighborhood. Location in a homeowners’ association (HOA) or municipality can have important impact. Local governments have zoning or planning regulations and many HOAs have design guidelines. These restrictions may preserve property values but can have a huge impact on your ability to utilize your property. The process may be reasonable, but in some cases can also be arbitrary, costly and time-consuming. Demand that the seller or realtor provide the HOA’s design guidelines and be sure to read them before buying. As an example, I once had a client who wanted to build a Mediterranean style home but didn’t realize that stucco was prohibited in the subdivision. I was able to create her dream home in this location, but it was more difficult and expensive.

Solar access, geothermal and wind resources are important considerations for the home’s operating cost, overall value and quality of its living spaces. If you wish to take advantage of these natural assets, I will compile information on year-round solar potential, geotechnical issues and wind history. Then I will assist you in determining the value of these natural assets and design your home to take best advantage of them.

Access to municipal water and sewer, or the need and feasibility of a well and septic system, need to be considered. The costs will vary, but the cost of a well and septic system may be counter-balanced by tap fees paid for municipal services. Consider the reliability and longevity of the municipal system versus installation and maintenance costs of a well and septic system.

Does it feel right? Visit the property at different times of the day or year, and in different weather conditions, if possible. Can you picture yourself waking up here every day? If the answer is yes, then together we can make your dream home a reality.

Michael F Gallagher Architect




About Michael F Gallagher Architect

Michael F. Gallagher, a Breckenridge, Colorado Architect, brings your vision to life with knowledge, passion and an uncommon commitment to personal service. With 30 years of professional experience in Breckenridge, Denver, the Colorado Rocky Mountains and California, Michael has created a portfolio showcasing versatile, award-winning architectural designs. Custom home designs range from mountain rustic to urban contemporary, including the first LEED Gold Home in Summit County, Colorado, featuring sustainable, environmentally responsible design.