A 1952 issue of Popular Mechanics has an article about Robert Heinlein’s 1,150-square-foot home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which he designed for extreme efficiency. For instance, a table rolls between the kitchen and the dining room to make it easy to set and clear tableware and food dishes. Skylights have mirrors to reflect more light into the rooms. Most of the furniture is built in.
“The built-in bed with storage drawers beneath it, the built-in divans that can be converted to extra beds and all the other furniture are built right down to the floors,” Heinlein says. “There is nothing to clean under.
“There are no rugs or any need for them. All floors are surfaced with cork tile that provides a warm, comfortable and clean footing. Nor are there any floor lamps or table lamps. The illumination is built into the house. General lighting for the living room comes from cold-cathode tubes concealed behind a box molding. These illuminate the ceiling. Adjustable wall spotlights are located at all work and relaxation areas in the house. All electric convenience outlets are at a comfortable hip height. I’m through stooping over to the baseboard whenever I want to plug in an appliance.
After the Heinleins moved in the 1960s, the house was extensively remodeled and enlarged, but apparently the bomb shelter “survives in almost original condition.”
“In 1950-51, the Heinleins built a new house in the Broadmoor district of Colorado Springs. Being a newly developed area, they were allowed to choose their own house number. It will surprise few that they chose 1776.
“This article was written shortly after the completion of the house, and shows off Heinlein’s innately clever design abilities. Many of the features are now common in more recent houses. Although his direct influence is probably nil, his ability to see future developments is again impressive. The house, city, and its substantial bomb shelter are featured prominently in the novel Farnham’s Freehold. The house was sold when the Heinlein’s moved to Santa Cruz in the mid-1960s. Mystery/thriller writer Robert Crais, a Heinlein fan (who puts at least one Heinlein reference in each of his bestselling novels), visited the house in about 1998 and was allowed to visit the bomb shelter and take pictures.
“The house has been renovated and enlarged at least once. The bomb shelter, built in early 1963 (after Heinlein announced they had no shelter at SeaCon, Labor Day 1962), apparently survives in almost original condition, but the house was extensively renovated and expanded in 1981, with a second floor larger than the original footprint added. The original house, now the first floor, retains the same floor plan, but there are varying reports about how much of the original interior remain. At least some of Heinlein’s clever details and fittings have been removed or replaced, while some others remain.”
“Colorado’s McGinniss GMAC Real Estate has a listing for Robert A. Heinlein’s Colorado Springs home. The four-bedroom, four-bath, 4400-square foot home in Broadmoor is currently listed at $650,000. And the provenance of the home may be a selling point: realtor Sharon Roland writes “Superb Location!!! Historic home built by noted science fiction author Robert Heinlein sits on a quiet 1.5 acre lot within walking distance of the Broadmoor Hotel & Cheyenne Canon. Main level with parquet wood flooring throughout features a large formal living room w/moss rock fireplace and walnut wainscoting, spacious dining room, galley kitchen with breakfast nook and walkout to 10×35 patio overlooking the private wooded lot w/three cascading ponds!”