2018 Home of the Year: Elevated Simplicity
A merging of jaw-dropping indoor and outdoor beauty offers one young family a masterful habitat on the hill
Photography by David Lauer
When a young couple purchased a 20-acre lot in a lush Denver suburb, with views of both the mountains and plains, they could have opted for ostentatious. But this sporty crew embraced subtlety instead. The result is a modern, multifaceted home that is as understated as it is elegant. The structure speaks to the spirit of Colorado—with a stunning, tranquil interior that flows seamlessly into a grand celebration of the great outdoors. This impressive achievement led to the home’s coronation as Colorado Homes & Lifestyles’ 2018 Home of the Year.
For the homeowners, the house is a peaceful sanctuary where almost every space is utilized and tailored to the family. A massive playroom with a ball pit beckons the kids, while a low-key dining area in the kitchen works so well it eliminated a need for a formal dining space (reinvented as a large playroom). The rear of the house features a dock to jump into the pond, and a fire pit on the plains presents a serene spot for a glass of wine at dusk. “The clients wanted a home that was connected to the outdoors, a place where they could feel the open space,” says architect Dan Brown, principal at Hufft, a Kansas City-based firm.
In addition to Brown, the “A team” included builder Paul Newmyer of Newmyer Contracting, Inc. and Denver interior design firm Duet Design Group. For his part, Brown worked to design a home that spoke to the clients’ quiet approach to life. “They are not super-flashy, over-the-top people. They asked for a design that serves up the landscape while making an architectural statement.” The layout started with highlighting two existing, intertwining redbud trees in the front of the house.
— Paul Newmyer, Builder
The most important thing to understand about the house, says Brown, is where it sits within the landscape. “Off a narrow dirt road, the parcel faces west, so from a vantage point on a small hill, you can see the Rocky Mountain range, with Pikes Peak, Longs Peak and Mount Evans all in plain view,” he explains. “But if you go down the hill, you wind up in an immersive Midwestern plains experience. Our design is centered around views of mountains and the plains. It was my intent as the architect to invoke two different spirits. We really focused on the duality.”
Another duality: size and warmth. The 10,000-square-foot home somehow retains a quiet coziness. The Denver-based design team led by co-founder Miranda Cullen skillfully defined and refined the interior spaces. The ceilings are high, but the rooms are sensibly sized and the furnishings exude comfort.
Cullen and her team specified manfacturing products from coast to coast to gather materials and fine pieces. They achieved a calm and neutral palette, with a contrast between the hard surfaces and soft furnishings. “We used a ton of different textures in the fabrics to mix warm and cool tones throughout to achieve a beautiful blend,” she says. “We paired walnut woods with painted pieces and added mixed metal accents to give interest. We also added a few very bold rugs, so that the palette would have some life to it.”
The team also employed the luxury of time, taking two years to create this incredibly well-structured home, Newmyer says. “As you walk into the house, you see the open cathedral ceiling and a full glass wall looking outside,” he says. “It’s just kind of like ‘wow.’ How much can you absorb out of one window? Your mind is overwhelmed. You don’t know what to look at first.”
Locally sourced reclaimed-wood beams are both decorative and structural, providing lateral bracing for the home while allowing the interior to be completely free of walls and columns. “Think of the whole home as an ‘open extrusion,’ and this steel/wood bracing keeps it from leaning side-to-side,” says Brown. “We elected to expose and celebrate the elements, because we really liked the geometry it created with the end gables.”
Because the homeowners have strong ties to the outdoors, Brown tried to evoke an environment reminiscent of hiking and camping. “The pond was actually something we added during construction while we were on a site visit with the client,” he says. “It acts as an extension to the swimming pool—you can actually get out of the pool on one end, cross the dock and jump into the pond. It’s a completely different, ‘swimming hole’ kind of experience within feet of the more refined lap pool. It’s stocked with fish and is fed by well water that’s harvested on-site, so it’s a crystal-clear pond.”
By the time the homeowners moved, in September 2016, their family had grown in size from two to four. “The clients tried to make this house small in relation to the lot and intimate—it works for a growing family but it’s not palatial in any sense,” says Newmyer. “There’s a tranquility about it, a private peacefulness.”
The custom sectionals are by Dmitriy & Co., in Clarke & Clarke fabric. The console behind the sofa is from Mr. Brown London. The custom hair-on-hide rug is from Dedalo in Denver. On the back wall is a custom console from Randolph & Hein, and the Dauphine II Side Chair is from Ebanista. The cocktail table is also from Dmitriy & Co.
The custom upholstered banquette seat and cushions are by Ackerman's in Littleton. The seat fabric is Brentano, and the back fabric is by Rebecca Atwood. Design Within Reach Bacco chairs in walnut offer more seating. The table is by Shanahan Collection. The Iris US porcelain tiles are in Delorian Grey. Fridge, freezer, microwave and warming drawer on the far wall are Miele. Left of those is a Sub-Zero beverage center. Dishwashers are Asko, and the range is Wolf.
The clear vertical grain (CVG) fir wood is on the home's exterior as well as this ceiling. Here, it softens the rooms and works as a counterpoint to the locally sourced reclaimed-barn oak structural beams. A bronze Orbit chandelier by Townsend Design offers both lightness and light to the custom Shanahan Collection desk. The prong bench by Gabriel Scott is covered in fabric from Studio Art. The three-piece chandelier is from The Future Perfect in Los Angeles, and all blend well with Schoolhouse Electric & Supply brass pulls. The conference table is also Shanahan Collection, and the lucite Curly Armless Dining Chairs are by Thayer Coggin. The area rug under the desk is from Artisan Rug Gallery in Denver. The Nicolette side table from Arteriors Home is flanked by two custom accent chairs in Rogers & Goffigon fabric.
The bottom of the staircase offers perfect light for flag artwork by contemporary American artist Mark Flood in UV ink on canvas. The stair flooring is wide-plank matte white oak by 5280 Floors. The hallway tile is honed Delorian Grey by Iris US. Walls are painted in Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace in Eggshell finish.
The master's king bed is the Seine by Dmitriy & Co., upholstered in Dedar fabric. The bedding ensemble is Bella Notte linens. Nightstands are leather side tables in parchment leather, with blackened-bronze hardware, by BDDW. On the nightstand is a Warner Pharmacy Table Lamp in natural brass by Ralph Lauren.
The back patio Wildwood pizza oven includes a custom-made surround by Weld-Wright Fabricators. Outdoor furniture here is all by Manutti. The Quarto table in Charcoal is surrounded by custom Trento benches in Lava, and Echo chairs in Lava and Bronze.
"We use the back patio often, even in the colder months, because it gets a lot of sun. It's nice to open up the doors and get some fresh air and a cross breeze," says the homeowner. The Anker picnic table on the deck is by Janus et Cie, and the white Vela umbrella is from Frontgate.
"The homeowners asked for a design that serves up the landscape while making an architectural statement," says Kansas City-based architect Dan Brown. The layout started with highlighting the two existing, intertwining redbud trees, at left in the home's front courtyard. The gravel driveway adds warmth to the welcome.
ARCHITECTURE Dan Brown, Hufft CONSTRUCTION Paul Newmyer, Newmyer Contracting, Inc. INTERIOR DESIGN Duet Design Group STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Studio Nyl LANDSCAPE DESIGN K. Dakin Design KITCHEN DESIGN Mary Lynn Rockwell, Linda McLean, William Ohs CUSTOM CABINETRY Precision Interiors