Better Than Ever

This Queen Anne was never supposed to go through a total renovation. In fact, it wasn’t supposed to be a project at all.

The owners, an out-of-state couple who wanted a second home in Boulder to be near their grandkids, initially commissioned designers Andrew and Gayle McArthur of Boulder-based Byrnes & Company to renovate the condo the couple had just purchased.

Then came the change of heart. “We’d barely put the finishing touches on it and they said, ‘You know what? We’re not condo people,’ and they went and bought a house down the street,” Andrew says with a laugh.

The 1,600-square-foot, two-bedroom home suited them, but the Victorian’s dark warren of cramped, low-ceilinged rooms left a lot to be desired—especially because the globetrotting couple favors an airy, modern look that marries contemporary Japanese style with the California craftsman aesthetic.

At first, the owners wanted to keep the renovation simple: spruce up some finishes, get fresh paint on the walls and incorporate their extensive art collection. But the couple’s son, Santa Fe architect Michael Krupnick, had other plans. After spending a weekend in the house, he said, “‘Dad, you need to do a major remodel,’” Andrew remembers. “And he did a sketch right there.”

And so a partnership was born. The McArthurs worked closely with Krupnick to create a plan that melded Asian minimalism with warm wood accents. The vision required opening up just about every wall in the place—including a few poorly constructed ones built during two previous renovations—and creating new moldings, ceiling beams, kitchen cabinetry and a streamlined staircase. (The old stairwell, says Gayle, “was an unbearably cheesy Victorian reproduction.”) Attracted to “honest, straightforward” materials, the McArthurs used mostly unstained cherry. The result is a bright, comfortable home whose elegantly simple design belies 18 months of effort by the McArthurs and general contractor Miles Brooks of Boulder-based Milestone Remodeling.

By sticking to an open floorplan, the McArthurs took great steps to flood the formerly gloomy interior with natural light. But lighting designer Cheryl Gaiser of Boulder’s Inlighten Studios went even further, adding a smart combination of task and ambient lighting to make the house glow. In the kitchen, under-cabinet task lighting is complemented by lights on top of the cabinets that reflect onto the ceiling beams. In the master bath, sconces assist a skylight. In the dining room, two Hubbardton Forge swirled glass pendants hang over the table.

The home’s light, neutral walls also contribute to the urban zen feel. The living room, dining room and entry alcove are finished in a custom cream-colored, Venetian-finished plaster by Boulder Plaster and Stucco Co. that adds depth and texture to the area’s design. The rest of the home is painted in a matching color from Benjamin Moore.

The kitchen and eating alcove received an especially extreme makeover, as the ceiling was lifted 18 inches and the entire room was reconfigured to separate food prep and eating areas. The McArthurs designed the cherry table and leather banquette, the cherry cabinetry and the sliding shoji screen doors that artfully separate the kitchen from the adjoining study without breaking up the space. Gray quartz countertops from SileStone in a sleek “leather” finish, stainless steel drawer pulls and a neutral matte backsplash from Anne Sacks add balance to all of the warm wood.

Though the home is dotted with impressive artwork that hails from Australia, Florida and everywhere in between, the pièces de résistance are undoubtedly the two pairs of eight-foot Chinese doors that open to the master suite and the upstairs guest bedroom. The couple, who found the doors in Santa Fe, initially wanted to use them as wall décor in the living room. The McArthurs, however, made them functional, removing a wall to fit the doors and adding silk privacy panels as backdrops to their decorative cut-outs. The Asian theme continues inside the bedroom, where the Yves Delorme comforter is made of embroidered silk, and the walls are covered in environmentally friendly glasscloth, which softens the space.

The McArthurs, who spent years among the row houses and bungalows of San Francisco before relocating to Colorado, admit they felt a twinge of regret at departing from the home’s Victorian roots. “The biggest challenge was turning our back on the Queen Anne,” Gayle says. Jokes Andrew—“Well, that, and making sure we kept the house standing after we removed all the walls.” But the perfectly spacious, sunny results speak for themselves. “In the end,” he says, “we realized there was no other way this house should be.”

Interior Design: Andrew and Gayle McArthur, Byrnes & Company, Boulder, (303) 776-1063, 
Architecture: Michael J. Krupnick, AIA, Krupnick Studio, Santa Fe, (505) 898-7054,

GENERAL CONTRACTOR Miles Brooks, Milestone Remodeling, Boulder, (303) 775-7215, LIGHTING DESIGNER Cheryl Gaiser, Inlighten Studios, Boulder, (303) 449-9899, ENTRY STAIRS & BUILT-IN BENCH Custom design by Byrnes & Co.; built by Brian Laak, Laak Woodworks, Berthoud, (970) 978-6779, LIVING ROOM SOFA “Townsend Sofa,” Room & Board,  Denver, (303) 322-6462, SIDE CHAIRS “Sloane Chair,” Room & Board, Denver, (303) 322-6462, END TABLES Antique, Indochine Home Import, Boulder, (303) 444-7734, TABLE LAMPS Wildwood Lamps (#46590), COFFEE TABLE Antique, Indochine Home Import, Boulder, (303) 444-7734, SIDE TABLE (NEXT TO CHAIR) Indochine Home Import, Boulder, (303) 444-7734, RUG Custom Tibetan hand-knotted rug, Mila Carpet, Boulder, (303) 444-5593 FLOOR LAMP “George Kovacs Floor Lamp,” Inlighten Studios, Boulder, (303) 449-9899, SCREENS ON WALL Antique, Indochine Home Import, Boulder, (303) 444-7734, FIREPLACE “Lyons Red Stone,” Big Horn Masonry, Lyons, (303) 887-1854 FIREPLACE INSERT Ecosmart Fire, Eco-flame Colorado, Boulder, CHAIR “Eames Leather Lounge Chair,” Room & Board, Denver, (303) 322-6462, DINING ROOM TABLE “Andover Extension Table,” Room & Board, Denver,  (303) 322-6462, CHAIRS Stickley Furniture, Broomfield, (303) 467-2777, SIDEBOARD Antique, Indochine Home Import, Boulder, (303) 444-7734, RUG Custom Tibetan hand-knotted rug, Mila Carpet, Boulder, (303) 444-5593 LIGHTING FIXTURES “Hubbardton Forge,” Inlighten Studios, (303) 449-9899, TV ALCOVE TELEVISION CABINET “Miyamoto Customized Cabinet,” Green Tea Design, Toronto, ON Canada, (888) 222-0195, SOFA “Metro Sectional,” Room & Board, Denver,  (303) 322-6462, COFFEE TABLE Antique, Indochine Home Import, Boulder, (303) 444-7734, LEATHER OTTOMAN No longer available FLOOR LAMP Room & Board, Denver,   (303) 322-6462, RUG Custom Tibetan hand-knotted rug, Mila Carpet, Boulder, (303) 444-5593 KITCHEN STOVE Viking, STOVE HOOD GE Monogram, SINK 36” Stainless Steel Farm Sink, Lavello, CABINETRY Custom cherry design by Byrnes & Co.; built by Berkower Woodworking Inc., Boulder, (303) 449-9738, DRAWER PULLS “Stainless Steel Barrel Pulls,” Amerock, COUNTERTOPS “Grey Amazon” #6001 in Leather finish, Silestone, Custom Stone Fabricators, Hygiene, (720) 684-7227 BACKSPLASH TILE Elements, Earthware, Pebble Matte, 3” x 6” MT#AS9500-867, Ann Sacks, Denver, (303) 282-9300, KITCHEN TABLE Custom cherry design by Byrnes & Co.; built by Brian Laak, Laak Woodworks, Berthoud, (970) 978-6779, SHOJI DOOR & WINDOW Custom cherry design by Byrnes & Co., material inserts are “Birch Grove,” 3Form Material Solutions,; built by Brian Laak, Laak Woodworks, Berthoud, (970) 978-6779, LIGHTING FIXTURE Hubbardton Forge, Inlighten Studios, Boulder, (303) 449-9899, BEDROOM HEADBOARD Room & Board, Denver,   (303) 322-6462, BEDSIDE TABLES DecorAsian, Boulder, (303) 938-1107, LIGHTING Holtkletter International, Inlighten Studios, Boulder, (303) 449-9899, BEDSPREAD & PILLOW Yves Delorme, BATHROOM TILE ON WALLS The Cuzco Collection, 12” x 16”, Design Materials, Inc., Denver, (303) 256-2800, COUNTERTOP Jerusalem Sand Honed #4250H, Caesarstone, Custom Stone Fabricators CABINETRY Custom cherry design by Byrnes & Co.; built by Berkower Woodworking Inc., Boulder, (303) 449-9738, LIGHTING Hubbardton Forge, Inlighten Studios, Boulder, (303) 449-9899, RUG Tibetan, custom size, Mila Carpets, Boulder, (303) 444-5593 FAUCETS & SHOWER HARDWARE Pret-a-vive26, Watermark Design, Ltd., (718) 257-2144, TOWEL WARMER Runtal Radiators, FLOORING Reclaimed Hardwood Mine Timbers, Asia Mixed Species, Cinnamon Mix Flooring; supplied by Terramai, McCloud, CA, (800) 720-8067,; installed by Roger Mattingly of Wood Guys, Englewood, (720) 490-7074 WALL FINISH Gypsum Venetian Plaster, custom color; work by Bob Campbell, The Boulder Plaster & Stucco Co, Inc., (303) 413-8660


Categories: Furniture & Accessories, Interiors, Kitchens, Landscaping & Gardening