A Modern Marvel
Modern, minimalist style is ostensibly simple—white walls, bare floors, sparse furnishings—but achieving this kind of perfection is much more difficult than it seems. Then again, Mikhail Dantes has an unfair advantage over most homeowners.
As founder of D+D Interiors and co-owner of Town at the Denver Design District, Dantes has been creating sophisticated, welcoming interiors for his clients for more than 20 years. He knows what works and how rooms are lived in, so when it came to designing, building and furnishing his own home, he knew exactly what he wanted —and where to get it. “I do have a good pool of pretty things to pull from,” he laughs.
Dantes had another thing going for him: He was working with architect Scott Parker of Nest Architectural Design, whom he has known for decades and with whom he has worked on many a project. Their collaboration on this home was wonderfully seamless—as is the end result—because of Dantes’ unwavering vision. “When Mikhail first came to me and said that he wanted to build a house, he already knew what he was going to do. He had a sketch of the home ready, and I’m pretty sure he had furniture laid out,” Parker says. “I just had to help him make it happen.”
Dantes modeled his home’s footprint off of the sprawling 1950s ranch that previously stood on the property, retaining a few elements such as the below-grade garage and wood-burning fireplace, but then extending the home to include a spacious master suite. To make the best use of the property, he oriented the home to open up to the backyard and positioned the addition to serve as a privacy screen from the nearby bustling boulevard.
Although the exterior of the 3,500-square-foot home is clad in hard cementitious stucco, the interior is a fluid space. Rectangular volumes of various heights and widths provide an experience of “compression and release,” inspired by the spatial play of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs. Transitional spaces, such as the gallery that leads to the master suite, feature ceilings at more standard heights, while most living spaces open up with ceilings soaring from 13 feet to nearly 17 feet high.
Dantes and Parker exaggerated that spaciousness by installing ceiling-height doorways leading off from the dining room, a central space in the home. The doorways are lined with thick, seamless planks of ebonized oak and their dimensions are narrower than standard doorways to make them look even taller. Windows sit just below the ceilings in the living room and family room, which flank the dining room, allowing natural light to flood the home and amplify its volume.
“We built the house with this axial symmetry that runs through it,” Parker says. “The four interior doors off of the dining room are aligned, and then the windows in the family room follow suit. There’s a lot of that mirroring, that looking back and forth, to give the different sections of the house a relationship.”
To complement the home’s architectural symmetry and ensure a consistent tone from room to room, Dantes furnished the spaces with a mostly monochromatic mix of vintage pieces from the 1960s and ‘70s, along with several contemporary items culled from his showrooms. “All of my furniture is very low, which accentuates the high ceilings,” he says. “It’s a lot of white on white, with a bit of gray thrown in. I don’t use very much pattern or color because I get tired of it. I never get tired of white.”
This is a man who knows what he likes, and who gets it right the first time. Dantes didn’t deviate much from the original sketch that he brought to his meeting with Parker, and the home is just as he’d imagined. “After I did my little floor plan, I saw my house done,” he says. “Then with Scott being as talented as he is, he made it a hundred times better.”
Nest Architectural Design