A New Build in a Charming Denver Neighborhood

An East Coast couple buys a sleeping beauty of a space near Denver’s South Pearl Street
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Photography by Jess Blackwell | Styling by Kerri Cole

Meet the Simkins. Just when the young couple had finished remodeling their East Coast dream home, a Denver firm bought Jonathan Simkins’ tech start-up and invited him here. “We knew we’d never find anything close to what we left behind,” recalls Jonathan, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa. Dana, who was born in Brooklyn and grew up in New Jersey, agrees. And while that statement rang true then, it holds true in a different way now. The Simkins created something better. The couple’s evolution from house-hunters to home-builders started with a chance lunch at Sushi Den in Denver’s Platt Park neighborhood, which led to a full-blown architectural project nearby in the shape of a seven-bedroom home. “We looked at so many houses and neighborhoods,” Jonathan says. “But none of them had a street where you could walk to the dry cleaner or to get a bite to eat.”

Ultimately, walkability was the deciding factor. “There was nothing for sale in the style we wanted,” Dana says, “so our realtor didn’t bring us to this neighborhood. But one day, we were having lunch on Pearl Street and I thought: ‘This is adorable.’ After lunch, we walked around and spotted this vacant plot. We decided to buy it on the spot.” The couple’s refreshing disregard for convention got the project off the ground. “Jonathan isn’t a trained architect,” Dana says, “but he measured everything and drew the plans. Our builder also recommended an architect.”

Platt Park Sideboard

Living Room Vignette Homeowners Jonathan and Dana Simkins built the paneled artwork above the Bernhardt credenza one square at a time from an old map of Paris. A pair of Magnolia lamps in neutral tones complement the piece.

Jonathan credits his late father (a hotelier) with his eye for space and sense for architecture. The three sizable columns that separate the home’s entrance from the family room were his idea. “I’ve always loved cathedrals,” he explains. “These columns are my colonnade.” Despite its shiny newness, there is an effortless, lived-in quality to the home, built in a style that welcomes children. “We have three kids,” Dana says. “When the designer showed me fabrics for the two chairs in the family room, I accidentally spilled a cup of coffee on the sample. The coffee rolled off and turned to beads. That’s when I knew: ‘This is the fabric!’”

The Simkins enjoy throwing parties and welcome visitors often. “I designed a second master bedroom for our moms,” Jonathan says. “Yes,” Dana chimes in. “We love our moms. We don’t ever want them to leave!”

The couple agrees on almost everything, but when it comes to their favorite room in the house, they are divided. “I switched careers from producer to nutritionist,” Dana explains. “Now I spend most of my free time in the kitchen.” The futuristic bathroom—part science fiction, part Vegas show—is Jonathan’s happy place. Surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass doors, the four-head shower panel boasts 54-nozzle spray heads that deliver rainfall from above. The water integrates with a lighting system that employs mood-enhancing colored-light sequences, while silver speakers embedded into the shower’s wall pump out matching sound effects. All features are controlled by a built-in digital keypad that Jonathan is visibly eager to demonstrate. “By touching this button, I can control the water flow, the light and the sound effects,” he says, with a childlike grin. “This is the best place to get ready in the morning.”

The Simkins’ exuberance makes it clear they’ve found a happy ending to their dirt-to-dream-house story. “We’re out more often,” says a smiling Dana. Jonathan agrees. “We used to walk when we lived back East. But the weather is even better here!”

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Dining Room An eye-catching Visual Comfort light fixture hangs over a table and chairs from RH and draws the eye to the Thibaut wallpaper covering the ceiling. The boldly colored cabinet from JM Kitchen & Bath provides ample storage. For a subtle statement beyond the dining area, Star #1 through Star #4—in various hardwoods and leather, by Jesse Poulin from Walker Fine art—break the visual plane and add a splash of color.

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Kitchen The Simkins share a moment in Dana’s favorite room. As a nutritionist, she spends most of her day testing recipes. “I switched careers from producer to nutritionist, so I built my dream kitchen,” she explains. The wall-mounted Vent-A-Hood range hood in polished stainless steel is a chef-worthy piece of art that ties in beautifully with the quartzite island, RH stools and Capital light fixtures.

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Kitchen Nook The Simkins’ 4-year-old daughter snacks at a Bernhardt table, atop a Crate & Barrel chair and beneath a Feiss light fixture. Running Water 1 by Derrick Breidenthal, an oil painting from Walker Fine Art, adds ambience. Kravet fabric covers the bench, and the windows are by Pella.

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Master Bathroom In addition to a multi-sensory shower, the master bath features Themar Porcelain tile from Arizona Tile, a Wayfair rug and a Bernhardt table.

Platt Park Blue Bath

Master Bath Vignette The Tappahannock Bathroom Vanity Set in Monarch Blue by Water Creation adds dimension and sophisticated color to an expanse of white marble in the master bathroom. The mirror is from West Elm, and the lights are from Visual Comfort.

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Children’s Room Twin bunk beds with drawers and shelves were built in with the house, making for a fun place where the kids can sleep, read or just hang out. An airplane light fixture from Sterling and stickers on blue-painted walls infuse playfulness.

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Front Exterior Beautifully crafted and reminiscent of coastal New England, this home’s classic exterior, painted in Benjamin Moore Hale Navy, seamlessly integrates with neighboring houses on its tree-lined Denver street.

ARCHITECT Judith Brunko JPB Architects 303-917-3927 DESIGNER Cynthia K. Godoy CK Interior Design BUILDER Craig Austin Austin Signature Homes

Categories: Interiors