A Contemporary Farmhouse With Coastal Style

Photos by David Patterson

Styling by Ruth Sonnenshein


A dramatic vista of four mountain ranges sealed the deal for a Cherry Hills Village couple and their active family, who needed more room for their quickly growing teens. With the help of two longtime friends (who happened to be an architect and builder), the couple embarked on a 7,200-square-foot new-house build on a sprawling property for the next stage of their lives, combining independent work-and-play spaces with relaxed family living.

The decision was made on the roof. After long hours in the car on a road trip home from Moab, Utah, with their two teenage boys and ’tween girl, this 40-something couple desperately needed a break that included air, space, and quiet. So, upon their return to Cherry Hills, they immediately leashed their pooches for a leisurely walk around the neighborhood. That’s when they saw it: a dilapidated house on a 2.5-acre parcel with unparalleled vistas.

The ranch-style home had been owned by a car collector and had a 20-car garage built on the slope of a hill that made it easy for the couple to climb from garage to roof and take a look. “We could see the views from what would be our upstairs,” says the homeowner. “We knew then what we needed to build.”

Fortuitously, the house had been empty for six years and the price was amenable. Soon after, the couple recruited close friend Larry Cohen as architect and college buddy Tucker Hollander of Craigston as builder.

“We wanted an interesting house—not everything there at once to see when you walk in. We wanted a house that you can explore and discover.” — Homeowner

The result of this collaboration is a 7,200-square-foot home with a striking black-and-white exterior, modern copper gutters, and a graceful interior that allows the busy family of five multiple spaces to work, roam, snack, do homework, play guitar, and create art in the Colorado sunlight. The home is expansive yet warm, and the views are killer: From the upstairs windows, there is a clear sight line of Red Rocks, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, Lookout Mountain, and Squaw Mountain.

The informal dining area in the kitchen offers a line of sight into the mudroom, the atrium and, finally, the craft room. The mod artwork is by Karel Appel, a Dutch painter who was popular in the husband’s childhood home in New York.

Cohen calls the house “a mélange of East Coast massing and California coastal.” He explains that many of the grand country houses on the East Coast at the turn of the 20th century were rambling shingle-style homes with small windows and lower levels made of brick or native stone. They were designed to feel as if they were growing out of the landscape, while the upper-level rooms were built into the large roof lines.

However, “West Coast homes have a more casual and airy feel,” he adds. “They can be much more open to the outside with large windows to expansive views. This house is a marriage of these two styles: the dressy, formal planning of the East Coast, but looser, and large expanses of glass that highlight the great mountain and garden views.”

Lolly, one of the family’s two yellow labs, reclines on blue tile Aguayo flooring in the home’s formal entryway. The red painting in the study was purchased in the late 1990s from the Art Students League of Denver annual art show. In the corner of the entryway sits a Kueng Caputo Sand Chair (2012), made of mortar, sand, pigment paste, and Styrofoam.

Among his many interesting uses of space is the prevalence of eye-capturing long shots. “Larry integrated a lot of sight lines into the house,” says Hollander, “so if you’re standing in one area you can see down through different rooms to the end of the house and out the window. There are a lot of rooms, but they are all open to each other.” The result is a fluid feeling that allows guests to explore and discover the house as they walk through.

To the homeowners, though, the natural light was king. “While we loved the traditional styles of the East Coast, we also love the light of California,” says the wife, a Colorado native. “We wanted a modern twist.” That came in the form of concave molding profiles around the doors and windows to offer a soft, curvaceous, elegant casing. With crisp white marble throughout and substantial Pella Architect series picture windows to bring in the Colorado sun, the new home provided a riff on the heavy, built-up details of older houses with a simple and fresh take.

Simon Pearce pendants hang over a Carrara Italian marble countertop in a kitchen thoughtfully designed by BKC Kitchen & Bath in Englewood. The counter stools are from Crate & Barrel, while the bright dishes seen through glass-fronted cabinets offer a splash of color in the otherwise white kitchen. “It’s just so light and welcoming while also functional,” says the homeowner.
“I design every house to feel like your vacation home.” — Architect Larry Cohen

The wife used notes of blue and gray throughout the house to complement that sense of airiness and openness. “Blue is my favorite color. It makes me happy,” she says simply. Farmhouse Dutch doors in the kitchen remain open much of the year, showcasing the lush backyard and cozy fire pit.

A Ray Parker piece, Untitled 1958-1965, hangs on blue grasscloth wallpaper in the formal dining room. The spare dining chair is from HW Home. Through the doorway is the formal living room, where a Suzanne Truman installation is featured on the far wall. Purchased from Denver gallery Visions West Contemporary, the piece consists of wood boxes with paint and encaustic wax.


As a finishing brushstroke, the homeowners hung their bold art collection to accentuate the spaces and energize the calm interior. The collection includes gifts from the husband’s art-collector parents. Among them, a playful Fritz Scholder painting of a dog (see cover image) that hangs above the fireplace in the family room. Framed geometric colored-pencil drawings are found in each child’s bedroom. “Our collection is widely varied,” says the homeowner. “We find our art in many places, and we love how the pieces tell the story of our family.”

An easy and relaxed master bedroom serves as a respite for this busy couple. The custom bed is draped in a Barbara Barry fabric-covered comforter, and the bench is from Crate & Barrel.
“It’s romantic to have a front staircase and a back staircase. There’s the one part of the house with the master bedroom that is more formal with the entry staircase, and the other side is for the kidlings.” — Architect Larry Cohen

The upstairs common area outside the kids’ bedrooms features a built-in desk and HW Home chair for each child and a comfy sofa by Crate & Barrel. The guitars belong to the homeowners’ 15-year-old son, an aspiring musician.
“When you have kids and dogs, your utility spaces are your most important places in the house. That’s where you work.” — Homeowner

Each household member has dedicated work and play spaces. There’s a study hall upstairs for the kids as well as a rec space downstairs for hanging out with friends.

“This is purely a family house,” she says. “We wanted to give our kids a place to grow up, but we don’t intend to stay here after the kids leave.” That means another eight years or so of enjoying the views, the light and the family milestones, and plenty of time for scouting out the next roof with a view.


ARCHITECTURE Laurence G. Cohen, AIA, LGC Architect  CONSTRUCTION Tucker Hollander, Craigston, LLC  CABINETRY Caitrin McIlvain, BKC Kitchen & Bath  MILLWORK George Witters, Schacht Mill Works  INTERIOR TRIM Aaron Godd, A Touch of New  BATH TILE, HARDWOOD FLOORING, BRAZILIAN SLATE TILE Floors by Remo & Company  INTERIOR PAINT & FINISHES Adam McCarty, Painting Plus, 720-565-9776  EXTERIOR PAINT Graeme Duncan & Keith Laury, Imagine Painting, 720-318-7317

A Home for the Modern Family
Before & After: A 1960s Denver Ranch
Warm and Welcoming: An Antique Dealer’s Eclectic Home


Categories: Interiors