A Modern Home in Hilltop Creates a Soulful Experience
An interior designer and real estate broker wanted his home to evoke timeless modernism
As an interior designer and real estate broker, Peter Blank knew he wanted to build a modern dream home in Denver. He approached the design unconventionally, focusing on creating a home that evokes a classic timeless modernism.
Everything else—practical matters such as square footage and number of stories—was secondary. Blank partnered with architect Brian Ojala of Entasis Group, who was willing to get philosophical. “We didn’t talk about the number of bedrooms or the size of the house,” Ojala says. “It was all about the feeling of what Peter wanted. It was about calibrating the intangible.”
To achieve this, Blank had a vital request— no interior visible doors. “It was imperative that there be no visible interior doors,” Blank says. “I did not want a sea of doors.” The only doors are exterior.
The front door—which is enormous, 8 feet by 9 feet and approximately 800 pounds—even emanates ease. “You can feel the mass, but you can move it with a finger,” says Ojala. The door opens to reveal a light-filled foyer that sets the tempo for the entire house. “You enter a voluminous space, but you don’t feel lost,” Blank says. “It feels intimate because the ceiling height drops on either side.” Ojala incorporated a perimeter of glass all the way around the house. The glass seemingly eliminates the junction where walls and ceilings intersect. “The roof appears to be floating,” Ojala says.
The foyer is a microcosm for the entire house—it’s all about materials, light and space. “I wanted a house that had stone,” Blank says. “Not only stone—it had to be dry-stacked like in Italy or Mexico. To me, that speaks to the past, and it also speaks to the present.” Ojala and Blank spent time discussing the home’s ethos. “What would evoke a feeling of calmness? We talked about light and material. We wanted to use the least amount of material in the space,” Ojala explains.
“You’re surrounded by light everywhere and the beauty of just a few possessions.”
-Homeowner Peter Blank
The secret is subtraction. “I wanted to create a soulful experience,” Blank says. “How do I live with what I love versus all the stuff I accumulate? If it’s going in a closet or in storage, do I really need it? I wanted a house without visual clutter.” Everything visible is purposeful. “Because of the withdrawal of your attention from objects, your mind can feel free in the space,” Ojala says.
This essentialism extends to the kitchen. “I didn’t want to entertain and see range hoods and refrigerators,” Blank says. He came up with a unique solution. “The back wall of the kitchen became an art wall of millwork.” Behind that, Blank secreted the large appliances and pantry. “The kitchen designers told me you can’t have the refrigerator hidden behind the kitchen, that it didn’t make any sense, that no cook is going to like that,” Blank recounts. In the end, his creative solution functioned beautifully. “Well, guess what? It works,” he says.
The main floor is open and full of light. For the downstairs, Blank wanted a lounge feeling. The lower level has a more masculine aesthetic, with lots of concrete and wood. “At night, downstairs is my favorite space because it is dark and cozy,” Blank says.
The home took shape around an idea. “We came from a psychological point of view,” Ojala recounts. “The goal was to be utterly present— conscious presence.” This focus enables Blank to live more intentionally. “You’re surrounded by light everywhere and the beauty of just a few possessions,” Blank says. “This architecture forced me to let go.”