A Denver Tudor gets a full-on rebirth, with light, air and a palette that pops
Photos by Emily Minton Redfield. Styling by Tawney Waldo
“There were literally mushrooms growing out of the walls,” the homeowner says matter-of-factly about the condition of the 1930s Denver Tudor she and her husband snapped up, despite its impressive list of infirmities. It was the first house the young, new-to-town couple looked at (with baby and dog in tow). They immediately saw past the popcorn ceiling and mold, choosing to embark on an ambitious renovation to pair the traditional architecture with a fresh, light-filled ambience.
A complete, head-to-toe interior reconstruction included an extensive trim package, a custom fireplace mantel (with paneling above to hide the television) and a newly vaulted living-room ceiling to reshape the spaces. “When we ripped off the drop ceiling, we looked up and saw this attic space and the brick and went for it,” says the wife. With the exception of the exposed-brick surfaces, the backdrop they would ultimately turn over to interior designer Andrea Schumacher was essentially a clean, white slate. “We gravitate toward tone-on-tone neutrals, and we relied on Andrea to get us out of our gray, white and beige box,” the wife adds.
Despite a signature style that favors color and lots of layering, Schumacher treaded lightly to start. In the living room, she answered the request for a white sofa with washable slipcovers for kid- and dog-proofing and just a burst of green on the throw pillows. A pair of sculpted chairs bring sex appeal. “They have these sensuous, swooping arms,” she says, and the aged-brass coffee table sparkles.
Schumacher bumped things up yet another notch on the kitchen banquette, with pillows in bold sunflower yellow and bright Kelly green. “The nice thing about pillows is they aren’t permanent and can easily be swapped out to match a whim or a season.”
Admitting her first glimpse of the master suite was discouraging (“Everything was white,” Schumacher recalls), the designer opted to surprise the owners by finishing off the room. Luckily for her, the bright-blue chairs and deep-green pillows on the existing bed evoked the hoped-for response. “They ended up loving it and purchasing everything,” Schumacher says.
The wife heartily concurs. “Andrea pushed me on the blue chairs, and I am so glad she did. Everywhere in the house, she helped us add that touch of color that brought all the rooms together.”
“In terms of furniture, we had no idea where we wanted to go,” admits the wife. “We just wanted it to be livable for a young family.” Designer Andrea Schumacher obliged with a custom sofa fabricated by DC Upholstery—wearing impervious rice-paper-colored Romo fabric—and a hammered-metal Global Views coffee table. “It’s totally kid-friendly, because it’s round and you can spill on it and not hurt it,” she says about the latter. Acknowledging that this was also the adult entertainment space (“There’s a basement for more casual activities,” she says), the designer added Uttermost armchairs, sporting light-pewter-toned Pollack fabric for an elegant interjection. On the fireplace mantel, the beaded African crown adds visual interest.
“I had a piece of leftover marble that I gave to Andrea, and she came up with the table and base for the banquette,” says the wife. According to Schumacher, the oval shape and Saarinen-inspired base were designed to fit snugly and not stick out into the room. The existing benches are topped with practical, dark-colored cushions and piled high with pillows in a mix of colors and patterns. “They are light, fresh and youthful fabrics,” she says about the pleasing blend. “The acrylic chairs have a contemporary flavor and are easy to clean.”
When it came time to select cabinets for their new kitchen, the wife opted for crisp-white with recessed-door profiles. “We tried to stay in tune with the Tudor style by using traditional elements,” she says. “The counters are soapstone, and we sourced lots of things on our own online.” Here, the wood-and-metal counter stools sourced off the floor at a local showroom were Schumacher’s only contributions.
“For us it was more important to figure out the places where we entertain, so we tackled the bedroom last,” says the wife. “We had the bed and not much else.” First up for Schumacher was mitigating the white walls and bed linens with deep-green pillows on the bed and bright-blue chairs in the sitting area, and dressing up the nightstands with marble table lamps from Arteriors. Dark drapery panels further warm the space, and a mirrored Mr. Brown London chandelier brings a touch of glam. As the designer explains, “The room needed some shine to bring your eye up and to break up the ceiling monotony."
“My husband comes from a farming family, so we loved the use of hide rugs,” says the wife, referring to the floor coverings that appear not just in the nursery but also warm the floors in the living room and master suite. “We were at a loss about what to do in the nursery, but we knew Andrea would add that special touch of whimsy.” A sheep table from Phillips Collection and the frosted-plastic and antique-brass chandelier fill the bill. “The sheep is young and fun, and you can sit on it or use it as a table,” says Schumacher about the cast-resin ewe.
INTERIOR DESIGNER Andrea Schumacher Interiors