A Family Haven With Breathing Room and Plenty of Splash
Photos by Daniel O'Connor
“I like it when we design a house people have a hard time describing,” says Scott Parker, principal at Nest Architectural Design and mastermind behind this Denver idyll with a 36-foot swimming pool, underground movie theater, sunken courtyard, and separate kids’ and parents’ wings.
Tricky to describe, yes, but easy to love: This house is part modern, with clean, square lines; part mountain, with natural limestone, Wyoming snow-fence wood and architectural steel; part Mediterranean, with a courtyard-style floor plan; and all ensconced on a sprawling, manor-like parcel in the heart of Denver.
After putting the renovation of their old ranch home on hold after the 2008 crash, the family drove by this half-acre lot “on a fluke,” says the husband, and quickly left those plans in the rearview mirror for good. The wife, an artist who trained as an engineer, sketched some ideas. The couple made a list of adjectives they hoped to realize in a new house—artistically inspiring; calming; warm, natural materials—and then stepped aside while Parker went to work. “My wife understands blueprints, but we let Scott do his thing, and he nailed it. The only changes we made were to eliminate a few features to make it more affordable.”
“We have places to do art, there’s a lot of grass, the kids can swim, and we love it,” says the husband. The house is every bit the playful haven the couple imagined for their family, who covets privacy but loves to be outdoors.
The center of the house is a gathering place akin to an open-air courtyard. Wall-sized panes, Weiland pocket doors and clerestory windows invite in a full day of natural light from all directions. A walnut cabinet door slides up to reveal a discreet television next to the formal honed-limestone fireplace. B&B Italia’s Ray sofa by Antonio Citterio communes with a Minotti Blake-Soft Chair by Rodolfo Dordoni. In the dining area, Fitzgerald chairs by Jean-Marie Massaud for Poltrona Frau flank the Minotti Morgan dining table by Rodolfo Dordoni.
— Scott Parker, Architect
Fumed-oak kitchen cabinets were crafted by Exquisite Kitchen Design and arranged by Nest; wall panel slides into a pocket to reveal a coffee maker and appliances. White oak tops the kitchen island’s seating side and gives way to engineered quartz on the cook’s prep side. The planet-sized pendant over the table is a Terzani G.R.A. Round Suspension Light.
Nest custom-designed the walnut and powder-coated-steel trellis to serve as an airy room divider and shelving. Walnut beams point the way overhead, past a grand piano (the husband is a musician) to the leafy outdoors. Floors are white oak treated with lye.
Walnut cabinets warm up the honed-limestone hearth; fireplace is by Montigo from Rio Grande Co. in the Denver Design District. Curtains hide the door to a private spa area; automated blackout shades recess into the ceiling. Limited-edition chairs and ottomans are by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin.
Green-cushioned pool loungers are from Frontgate. Limestone seen inside carries through to the custom-designed pool and fire pit. The awning roof slopes into a softened edge to minimize thickness. Patio sofas and chairs are from Gloster’s Grid collection.
ARCHITECTURE Scott Parker, Principal Nest Architectural Design CONTRACTOR Cadre General Contractors KITCHEN DESIGN Mikal Otten, Exquisite Kitchen Design INTERIOR CONSULTANT Mikhail Dantes D&D Interiors; Dennis Molitor, email@example.com LANDSCAPE Mike Eagleton, Mike Eagleton Landscape Architecture & Design