A Luxury Resort-Like Home in Denver
Carol and Hud Karshmer spent a small fortune traveling the world to visit luxurious resorts where they could sit peacefully and read by the pool. So when they found a comfortable lot in Cherry Hills Village, it occurred to them that they could re-create that same serenity on their own green acre. There is no bellman waiting to valet your car upon arrival at the Karshmer manse, but the family, along with architect Michael Knorr and designer Jill Firkins, have succeeded in creating a five-star resort at the apex of their driveway.
A natural stone fireplace in warm gray tones creates an organic backdrop for the great room, while a custom Razor bench by Nathan Anthony in orange fabric by Robert Allen provides a pop of color in a neutral, calming space. The wood-and-metal Paloma console is by Emerson Street Furniture through Hoff Miller. Lucida metal stools under the table are from Crate & Barrel.
“You get this whoosh of excitement as you walk through the front door,” says Knorr. “The view lines up exactly with the patio doors, the fire ribbon, the spa, the negative-edge pool, and the backyard beyond. You see all of that at once. It’s a 250-foot vista.”
This visual magnetism is achieved by multiple sets of main-floor Weiland sliding doors that disappear, effectively eliminating any separation between the house and its outdoor space.
Referred to as “The Pool House” by the Karshmers, this chic rectangular room houses a secondary kitchen and a functional orange-topped pool table that transforms into a dining table (Fusion pool table from Studio 2b in Denver). The sectional is by Lazar Industries through Scandinavian Designs, and the Francesca leather swivel chair is from Scandinavian Designs.
From the get-go, the vibe is warm, contemporary, and calm. Says Knorr, “There aren’t a lot of lines going in many different directions with mixed materials and shapes, which is the norm for so many contemporary houses these days. I call that kind of design ‘zip-zap,’ because it’s just not pleasant or relaxing. For the Karshmers’ home, we wanted more repose, so we channeled a number of midcentury architects for a design that doesn’t jump around a lot.”
Firkins says the serenity owes much to the wonderful flow of Knorr’s design. “There are three distinct areas—the kitchen, the main great room, and, of course, the poolhouse—which all completely open up to the outdoors.” The two flooring materials in these areas are graded for indoor and outdoor use and meld onto each patio in the same coherent fashion.
In the kitchen’s breakfast area, Weiland doors open completely to the patio, while the flooring connects indoor and outdoor spaces. The tiles are 24" x 48" Ergon stone in Grey Falda, provided by Design Materials in Denver. The rectangular Rand dining table and Ava chairs, at left, are from Room & Board, and the hanging light is by Hubbardton Forge. Interior designer Jill Firkins updated the Karshmer’s existing outdoor glass table with Eurostyle Lovie black resin stacking chairs from Charles Eisen and Associates.
The location itself represents a lifelong dream for Carol, an accomplished OB/GYN who recently retired in hopes of spending more time with her children. As a Denver teenager she would often cut through the neighborhood on her way to Thomas Jefferson High School. The image captured her: “I felt like this area was a little piece of country in the middle of the city, with the dirt roads, large set-backs, and big trees.” Carol now relishes those exact qualities as a resident 30 years later. Even better, she and Hud get to raise their children (Cailey, 14, and Owen, 12) in the same spot she used to meander through and fantasize about as a kid.
It turns out that fate, along with some sibling distraction, brought about the purchase. Carol’s sister-in-law had gone into labor with her first child at the exact same time she and her husband, Carol’s brother, were supposed to be looking at a tear-down in Cherry Hills Village. “They weren’t sure they wanted it because it was a scraper,” remembers Carol. “So we looked at it and put in an offer while they were still in the hospital. We stole their house. At least that’s how they tease us about it.”
Turquoise Boyd ottomans by Room & Board enliven the fire pit area next to the hot tub.
For her part, Carol would give her home a five-star TripAdvisor rating. “I go downstairs every morning and open all of the doors and take the cover off the pool,” she says. “It feels like I’m at a resort. The kids eat breakfast outside and then go swimming. At night, we turn on the hot tub and fire pit, and we make s’mores and they have their friends over.”
The pool is flanked by blue Maya armless chaises from Room & Board that rest on a Crate & Barrel outdoor rug. On the far side of the pool, chaises by Crate & Barrel provide additional relaxed seating options for the family, and lighting is provided by a Havana Outdoor Terra floor lamp by Foscarini Lighting.
Family fun was all part of the plan. “Carol and Hud are not formal people, and they wanted a house that was relaxed and could take some rough-and-tumble play, as well as entertaining, from pool parties to barbecues,” says Knorr.
Of course, he couldn’t have predicted the multiple ways that Carol and Hud have made that a reality. For Cailey’s eighth-grade graduation party, the Karshmers hosted the entire class for a huge pool party with a blow-up movie-screen showing of Jaws that included a swarm of inner tubes in the pool and movie viewing in every area of the patio. “It just really works well for parties,” says Carol. “We’ve had everything from a 70th birthday party with 100 people to an all-ages Super Bowl celebration,” she says. “But a lot of the time, we just go outside, sit in the chairs, and read.”
ARCHITECTURE Michael Knorr Architecture Denver, CO (303) 888-4026 INTERIOR DESIGN Jill Firkins Designs Denver, CO (303) 960-9924 BUILDER Dick Tanner, Northbrook Consulting, LLC Greenwood Village, CO (303) 290-0598 POOL & LANDSCAPE CONSTRUCTION Hoff's Landscape Contractors Denver CO (303) 841-5542 STONE Sebastian Sawn, Telluride Stone, Denver, CO (303) 388-8863 KITCHEN CABINETRY Peter Eggers and Kevin Vesel, Woden Woods Inc. Denver, CO (303) 322-9351 PATIO DOORS Weiland Doors as supplied by Mountain View Window & Door Denver, CO firstname.lastname@example.org (303) 649-2217