Sunny and Sleek in Denver’s Platt Park
Large windows, airy design and inviting outdoor spaces help this modern take on the traditional Denver Square pay tribute to Colorado’s sunshine
Photos by James Ray Spahn
Sometimes a love for travel deepens an appreciation for home. In the case of this light-filled abode and the family that lives there, we’re willing to bet that’s true.
When they aren’t working hard—she’s a clinical social worker, he’s a chief investment officer—they’re playing hard, traveling to places like Patagonia and Peru, or enjoying a hike in the Colorado sunshine. To them home isn’t just a retreat from a hard day’s work; it’s a place to firmly plant their roots, raise their teenage daughter, and reminisce about their worldly adventures.
The couple enjoyed Denver’s Platt Park for 15 years before deciding to build a new house, and certain details were no-brainers: the architect, the neighborhood, and the vibe.
The architect would be lifelong friend Dan Craine of Craine Architecture, who had designed an addition for the family before. The new site would be just around the corner, not even a half-mile from their previous home, in the Platt Park neighborhood they adore.
As for the vibe, the family wanted to upgrade to something a tad more current than their previous older bungalow.
“Platt Park is one of the Denver neighborhoods with a distinct residential fabric,” says Craine. “That’s what makes it great. We decided to do something a bit more modern that still fit into the Platt Park context.”
When describing the homeowner, Craine says, “She’s a modernist, minimalist, and naturalist” who spearheaded the home’s interiors with materials like walnut cabinetry in the kitchen, white oak flooring, crisp, white walls, and clean-lined midcentury furnishings—all features that honor the architectural style and the way it pays tribute to its location.
“I call it ‘a modern take on a traditional Denver Square,’” she says, while noting the intentional abundance of natural light. “Light is an issue for me—there’s never enough light! Our previous home had atrium doors all along the south side, and I wanted to make sure there was a similar degree of light in this house. Dan [Craine] did a phenomenal job of incorporating all of this light with numerous windows, while also creating privacy from both of our neighbors, who are only 10 feet away.”
While they do appreciate their privacy, this family also loves to cook, entertain, and use every square foot of its outdoor living space, from the back patios to the dining room that expands onto the front porch. “Our favorite ‘rooms’ are all of the outdoor spaces,” she adds. “We love the indoor/outdoor connection and all the opportunities to be outside or bring the outdoors in.”
In addition to serving as her own interior designer, the homeowner also did her own landscaping. “The house was jogged back on the lot so that we could save the linden tree [above, on the right],” she says.
An airy formal living room sits near the entry of the home, pleasantly greeting guests and family upon arrival.
The kitchen cabinets are walnut and the floors are white oak. “I wanted to create a natural backdrop for the woods to be the focal point,” the homeowner says.
A built-in divider, created by Concept 32 Custom Cabinet Studio, does not interrupt the flow or sight lines from the kitchen to the living room. In the homeowner’s previous bungalow, shelving and storage were limited, so she aimed to integrate form and function in a convenient location. “I no longer have to run up and down the stairs to the basement for serving pieces!”
The white walls are crisp and clean, keeping the space bright and open. “I tend to be a minimalist, and I don’t like clutter,” she adds.
More built-ins by Concept 32 conceal the TV and entertainment area of the living room, and a contemporary fireplace takes center stage.
“The diagram of the building has a natural steel beam that separates one side of the house form the other,” Craine adds. “The stairwell in the middle of the home becomes the nexus of how you circulate around that diagram.”
A designated dining room sits simple and elegant at one end of the home’s light-drenched layout, with seamless access to the front patio for al fresco dinner parties. The dining table and chairs are beloved pieces that have stood the test of time. “They were purchased 20 years ago when I first moved to Denver,” the homeowner says.
With private access to the balcony, the indoor/outdoor connection continues in the master bedroom. “It’s a great place to hang out with a book and a glass of wine in the evening and a cup of coffee in the morning,” the homeowner says.
The cabinets in the master bath are a striped pecan, chosen by the homeowner but not without some second-guessing. “When I first got them I had a moment of panic,” she says. “I thought they’d be too bold and orange, but once it all came together it worked nicely.”
“When you go through the home, the back side really opens up and become much more transparent,” Craine says.
“The wood under the roof overhangs echoes the wood from the interiors and also reinforces the connectivity to the outdoors,” the homeowner adds, and the connection doesn't stop there. “We love spending time with family and friends outside, and sometimes popping our heads over the fence to chat with to the neighbors.”
Work hard, play hard, live well, indeed.