A Georgian Home Fit for a Family
When Jason and Jennifer Cherveny purchased their Denver Country Club home, Jennifer was very pregnant with the couple’s fourth child (the three others were all under the age of six), and family-friendly design was an urgent priority. The traditional home they chose is a textbook example of Georgian architecture—formal living and dining rooms at the front of the house, casual spaces at the back, and all the bedrooms tucked away on the second floor. The couple fell in love with the large yard, which offered plenty of room for kids to run and play, and they were charmed by the home’s traditional design, recently updated with the addition of a modern kitchen, family room and master suite. But one important item remained on Jennifer’s wish list: a second-floor laundry room. Little did she suspect that this one simple request would trigger the complete transformation of their home.
The Chervenys began by asking Denver residential designer, Kristin Park, along with Parker-based Knepper Construction, to devise a solution to their laundry dilemma. Park initially suggested turning one of the bedrooms into the laundry room, but the Chervenys couldn’t afford to lose one of the four upstairs bedrooms. Park’s next idea was bigger and bolder: “The only way to do it was to add on to the second floor,” she explains. To do so, she expanded the ground floor as well, designing a window-wrapped main-level office space that she describes as “a little adult sanctuary.” Upstairs, the 400-square-foot addition replaced the lost bedroom with a larger one, while in the basement, the added footage allowed for a larger guest suite and more storage space. With additional guidance and vision from interior designer Jeffrey P. Elliott, the new interior spaces echo the historic character of the original structure.
The unexpected benefits of the addition have been a wonderful surprise for the family: The owners agree that the outdoor living space benefitted most from Park’s design. The office/bedroom reconstruction gave the back of the house an L shape, and what had been a narrow bluestone patio suddenly had the feel of a courtyard. Park replaced a large planter overgrown with Aspen trees with an extension of the bluestone paving, to more easily accommodate generously scaled outdoor furnishings. She also built a fireplace opposite the addition, which gave the alfresco “room” ts third wall and created an oasis of outdoor living. A pair of loveseats near the fireplace and a table for 12 invite family and friends to gather in the fresh air.
A magnificent sweep of French doors—seven sets open along the kitchen, breakfast room, family room and new office—make for a seamless transition from indoors to out. “I love getting home in the afternoon and throwing all the French doors open and letting them run,” Jennifer says of her four children, now ages 5 to 11. “It is so wide open and feels so comfortable.” As native Midwesterners, both Jason and Jennifer delight in Denver’s almost year-round indoor/outdoor climate, and agree that this updated historic home has become a perfect fit for their family of six. “This house is designed for a family,” designer Park concludes. And Jennifer Cherveny agrees: “The whole house is so functional,” she admits, before adding, like a true Coloradan, “but the outdoor space is what sold it.”
The new office/sunroom is more masculine—rust tones mixed with gray, ivory, and tan. A sofa and two tables nestle in an alcove between built-in storage designed by residential designer Kristin Park who saw this as an adults-only space, though the kids often do their homework here. The vinyl-covered coffee table and ottoman offer chic yet indestructible work spaces. “The metallic vinyl comes off as highly polished leather,” says interior designer Jeffrey P. Elliott.
The 1936 Georgian home is classical in design and its additions respect the original architecture. Landscape designer Annie Hamilton echoed the home’s classic symmetry with paired plantings.
The entry is located in the center of the house with a formal room to each side and a neoclassical staircase leading to the second floor.
The formal dining room reflects the classic symmetry established by the home’s original corner cupboards. “The circular mirror above the sideboard made the whole room complete,” Elliott says of the custom-made piece. On the sideboard, the chinoiserie figural lamps are by Fantoni, a mid-century Italian potter. “Icicles,” an oil-on-canvas piece by Brooklyn, New York, artist Diane Carr, blurs the lines between modern abstract and traditional landscape. “The clients pushed the envelope,” fine art consultant Ann Reidy says. “They and their guests…interact with the art—it makes people think.”
“The kitchen is the center of everything,” Elliott says. “It is the core of the main level.” The kitchen is functional, compact and not very large but homeowners Jason and Jennifer Cherveney decided to live in the space before making any changes. “It is smaller than my last kitchen, but it has tons of storage,” Jennifer says. “We didn’t need to change anything. It flows really well and efficiently.”
A formal living room welcomes family and guests. “We wanted to be able to entertain on a whim and have it look and feel good coming in the front door,” Jennifer says. Elliott created the space to Jennifer’s specifications using a materials palette that accommodates for children in every room. “I wanted it to feel important and a little Billy Baldwin or Mark Hampton,” Elliott says. “Functional larger-scaled pieces—such as the Kittinger Wingback Chair—don’t feel fragile.” The matte-black piano isn’t just an accessory: Three of the four Cherveny children play. “My goal was a simple yet elegant design,” Jennifer says. “I had four kids, six and under, when we moved in. I just wanted it to be easy to keep up.” Since the renovation, if the weather allows, the family eats outside rather than in. “We spend a ton of time out there,” Jennifer says. “The French doors are always open.”
A large dining table hosts casual family dinners as well as formal gatherings. “The klismos style of the chairs feels formal and works with the house,” Elliott says. A stand of trees along the property line provides privacy.
“It is almost magical at night,” Jennifer says of the new outdoor living space (left). “It sparkles and twinkles. And, with the outdoor fireplace going, it feels like you’re on vacation.” The fireplace and bluestone hardscape were designed by residential designer Kristin Park and landscape designer Annie Williams. “I love the fact that they get to enjoy the outdoor space from all sides of the house and really live an indoor/outdoor lifestyle,” Park says.
Many of the master bedroom’s furnishings were in the Chervenys’ previous home. Elliott found the slim antique bench (at the foot of the bed) on eBay and then had it refinished, retufted and reupholstered. The master suite was added by the previous owners, with a notable dedication to precise architectural detail. “The stairwell, fireplaces, finishes, moldings, cabinets feel very traditional and accurate to the house,” Elliott says. Built-in bookcases flank the fireplace; a TV hides behind doors above.
The master bath, part of the previous owners’ master suite addition, has classic styling that required minimal updates—just new sconces and a fresh coat of paint. “The bath is not huge,” Jennifer says, “but it has a built-in chest of drawers, a tub with jets and a walk in shower.”
Interior Design: Jeffrey P. Elliott jeffreypelliott.com
Residential Design: Kristin A. Park kristinparkdesign.com
Construction: Knepper Construction Co (303) 840-9118
Fine Art Consulting & Advising: Ann Benson Reidy annbensonreidy.com
Landscape Design: Annie Hamilton firstname.lastname@example.org
Landscape Contractor: ANJ Landscape Irrigation anjlandscape.com