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Artistic Integrity

Distinctive architecture sets the stage for a gracious home filled with fine art and antiques, layers of texture and exquisite attention to detail



Kimberly Gavin

Like a fine wine or a gentle patina, a well-designed home often takes time to develop to its full potential. This was the case when a family moving into a Cherry Hills Village home hired interior designers Mary Knape and Kelly Zibell of Knape & Zibell Interior Design to marry the homeowners’ beloved fine art and antique collection with their Territorial Revival-style house. The design process, which evolved thoughtfully over eight years, created continuity and balanced the weightiness of the architecture with the more delicate furnishings. “The homeowners were willing to wait for special things,” says Knape. “They were very involved in the design. They have excellent, refined taste and wanted to invest in high quality, from art to every fringe and detail.”

The homeowners’ love of antiques inspired the design of the interior spaces. They already had some pieces—mostly 18th- and 19th-century French and English—when the design team began working on the home eight years ago. “We tried to bring the house back to the feeling of the original New Mexico Territorial style by taking away heavy draperies to bring in light, returning painted wood beams to their original look and bringing in European antiques, as homeowners often did in that period from 1845 to 1912,” says the homeowner. Additional antiques were purchased locally at Black Tulip Antiques and Eron Johnson Antiques and in Atlanta, New Orleans and Paris. The designers also incorporated new custom items and high-end reproductions for an eclectic feel. “We like a mixture,” says the homeowner. “We didn’t want things to look too decorated or too exact. We wanted a home that was comfortable and easy to live in, but still somewhat elegant and refined.” 

The home’s graceful beauty is proof that the most satisfying design solutions often evolve at a more deliberate pace. “The quality, the attention to detail and the love that we have all put into this house over the years make it a place where the family can retreat from the day-to-day world,” Zibell says. “We’ve always known this was a very special  home,” Knape adds in agreement. “It really reflects the people who live here.” 

Built in 1989, the 6,200 square-foot ranch house is true to New Mexico Territorial Revival style. Wooden gates open onto a charming courtyard garden featuring meandering flagstone paths and a cast-iron fountain. The home’s stucco façade is punctuated with classical white painted trim around the windows and topped with a brick cornice and flat roof.

A painting of a shepherd discovered at the Paris Flea Market hangs above a 19th century mahogany demi-lune table purchased from Liz Kite Antiques in New Orleans. Glazed tile floors add color and shine.

Placing the grand piano in the spacious entry is an unexpected move, yet an excellent use of space. The painting behind the piano is Avatar by Brandon Cook. A painting by Lynne E. Windsor, Canterbury Meadow, hangs above a wood chest from the Paris Flea Market.

A cozy corner is ready for a friendly afternoon chess match.

“We acknowledged the architecture when selecting furniture for the dining room, but kept the upholstery and window treatments light for balance,” says interior designer Kelly Zibell about the formal dining room. Furnishings include a new Ebanista table and chairs as well as an Époque Louis VIII (c. 1700s) sideboard purchased at the Paris Flea Market. The painting, Internal Dialogue by Brandon Cook, is from Ventana Fine Art in Santa Fe.

Impression of Toledo, Spain, a painting by Pawel A. Kontny, adds color above a mid-17th century Spanish Gothic-style chest purchased by the homeowners at an antiques store in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

The master bedroom embodies lush comfort, with custom bedding and soft upholstered his-and-hers chairs. The delicate iron bed is from Ironies through Kneedler Fauchère; the 1890s marble-topped gilt console and antique Swedish Rococo-style commode were purchased locally.

An antique English pine desk serves as a bedside table. “We sacrificed a little storage for functionality,” explains Zibell. “It’s nice to have a spot to sit and write a note or work on a laptop computer.” The homeowners found the charming pastoral painting by Alfred-Jean Chagniot at the Paris Flea Market; the Regency arm chair is from Ebanista.

Multiple French doors gracefully connect the interior of the house to the outdoors, creating an easy flow and extended living spaces. The homeowners entertain frequently and enjoy dining al fresco on the terrace.

Design Details
Interior Designers
Mary Knape, Kelly Zibell, Knape and Zibbell Interior Design, knapeandzibell.com

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