When a family sought reprieve from the rigors of urban living, they asked Salt Lake City-based architecture firm Imbue Design to design a retreat for them in the “middle of nowhere” in southern Idaho. Because there were no utility connections for miles of the property, the architects created a self-sustaining retreat that follows passive solar strategies, harnesses solar energy and uses an airtight envelope to minimize energy use. Dubbed Boar Shoat, the single-family home that was created to serve as a crash pad and base camp for outdoor adventures has also become a welcome getaway during these uncertain times. 

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elongated black home on rolling green hills

Located next to a natural berm by a grove of aspen trees, Boar Shoat is set on a 60-acre parcel of rolling hills with views of Paris Peak in the distance. In response to the client’s conceptualization of the project as a “spartan shelter”, the architects organized the home as a trio of small structures centered on a larger outdoor living space beneath an expansive canopy. The three volumes — consisting of the main residence, guest quarters and utilitarian storage — flank the outdoor living space on three sides and serve as windbreaks. 

Related: Stunning ‘beach shack’ on remote Australian beach is 100% self-sufficient

two people preparing food at a white kitchen island next to a tan sofa and two white chairs
tan sofa and round wood coffee table near a large wood-framed fireplace

The exterior is clad in accordion metal panels selected for their weather-resistant and low-maintenance properties. The interior complements the outdoors with its simple design and full-height glazing that blurs the boundaries between indoors and out. Natural wood ceilings lend warmth to the interior, while the untreated concrete floors serve as a durable, worry-free surface. Walls were painted white to create a blank backdrop for the clients’ extensive art collection.

long white kitchen island with white dining chairs
large fluffy white bed near wall of glass

To generate all of the home’s energy needs onsite, the architects crafted the building with an airtight envelope fitted with performance-enhancing windows and doors as well as superior insulation. Solar energy powers the electricity and heat with supplemental battery storage and a backup generator. 

+ Imbue Design

Images via Imbue Design

dark home with large backyard with rock seats and a fire pit