A Work of Art

Photographer: 
J. Curtis
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We home design enthusiasts often walk around with detailed mental images of homes we’d like to build or spaces we’d like to renovate. We carefully consider their style, their siting, how the sunlight would filter into the living room just so. For Kim Chanin, such daydreaming went from an abstract idea to a concrete—limestone, actually—reality.

An art consultant by trade, Chanin has a penchant for contemporary art and architecture. She had a front-row seat for the conception and construction of Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art while serving on its board and was inspired by its rectangular form and open, light-filled spaces. She imagined what it would be like to build a home to suit her own contemporary and modern art collection.

“I could see it all in my head. I could envision the architecture, the interiors, the fabrics, the palettes—everything was there,” she says. One day, Chanin sat down and sketched her dream home’s façade, all clean lines and horizontal planes. Then she and her husband, Jim, a builder, teamed up with Boulder-based Knudson Gloss Architects and friend and interior designer Kristina Baker of Kristina de Atucha Interior Design in Denver to bring that sketch to life.

The result is a contemporary masterpiece in Boulder made of limestone, mahogany, glass and steel with open, airy living spaces and expansive windows. “The whole back of the house is glass,” Chanin says, to make the most of the home’s natural setting and to fill the south-facing living spaces with sunlight. That natural light, bouncing softly off of light oak floors, creates the perfect setting for show-casing the Chanins’ art collection.

And art is, indeed, life for the Chanins: Two paintings by Robert Kelly—commissioned for the home in honor of the Chanins’ twin children—hang in the entry. A painting by abstract artist Robert Rauschenberg adorns the master bathroom. A large, bronze chicken sculpture stands sentry on the patio.

To complement the artwork, Chanin worked with Baker to create an interior design scheme that’s “Seattle-modern” juxtaposed with lush fabrics and traditional furniture that has an East-Coast twist, Baker says. “It’s an unusually warm house for a home that’s contemporary.” Adds Chanin: “I wanted it to be a family house. I didn’t want it to be a showpiece house. We liked the traditional mixed with something fun and modern.”

In the living room, a vintage coffee table, a Danish modern sofa by Milo Baughman and a pair of Barcelona stools mingle with traditional armchairs and a contemporary tripod floor lamp from BDDW in New York. A subtle palette, a low-slung scale and a sense of floating “legginess” tie the furnishings together—as do the graphic drapes, which succeed at both enveloping the room in voluptuous folds of linen and drawing the eye out to the verdant views of the Flatirons.

The kitchen is a work of art in its own right, a study in streamlined form and high-efficiency function. Everything from the cabinets and the hood to the countertop and the kitchen table—even the faucet for the kitchen sink—was custom-built by bulthaup, a cutting-edge kitchen design firm from Germany. Storage is hidden behind glass panels. Two Sub-Zero refrigerators are concealed by walnut laminate. “Everything has a place. It’s very German that way,” Chanin says. “It was indulgent to do, but I think it’s really cool.” Echoes Baker, “It’s so bespoke; every detail has been considered.”

Though the Chanins’ home, full of right angles and vintage furnishings, is the epitome of high design, it’s decidedly kid-friendly for the couple’s young son and daughter. The family’s pool plays host to all of the neighborhood kids throughout the summer and the backyard includes a rock garden with big boulders that the kids can climb on. “It’s like high design met with practicality, and they ended up with a really family-friendly home,” Baker says.

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