Though it’s fashionable in Colorado to embrace the outdoors in home design, this space takes the trend to a new level. A folding French door system by NanaWall expands the interior space into the outdoor terrace, merging the two areas. To make the transition effortless, the designers matched the tones of the floors and dressed up the outdoor spaces with beautiful plantings. The effect? Natural drama.
The dining room is the sophisticated hallmark of the home. Anchored by a rug and an exquisite dining room set—all designed by Ohle—and set aglow by a Schonbek chandelier that adds the right amount of sparkle, the vignette comes together with panache.
The social gathering space around the circular bar and breakfast nook at the end of the curved kitchen wall function well for both entertaining and casual daily living. With their carved and swooping angles, the curved concrete wall in the kitchen and the walnut-veneered circular bar are truly distinctive.
Growing up, most of us draw houses by assembling geometric shapes: a large triangle perched on an equally large square with a few square windows and a rectangular door. While some of us never outgrow this idea of a home, others—such as the design team at Harvey M. Hine Architects and Interiors—think outside this literal box.
Consider their approach to this penthouse loft in downtown Boulder. When they began the project, Cherie Goff, the project architect, and Kate Ohle, interior designer, had 5,500 square feet of open loft space to work with. Instead of fracturing the space into squared-off areas with lots of corners and edges, they kept the layout open and innovative. Sculptural partitions replace walls, for example, and sliding doors breathe openness into the space.
“We wanted to keep a very large open area, but also wanted to provide separation, so you felt like it was airy but you could still connect with individual areas,” Goff says.
To create a sense of entry, Ohle designed a freestanding leather-wrapped wall, paired with a sleek credenza (manufactured by Michael Gary) that leads guests into the heart of the space—the kitchen and bar, living area and dining room. These areas flank a sprawling view of the Flatirons, framed by a 70-foot-long glass wall and an expansive outdoor terrace that make the most of the scenery. Goff’s clever approach to the ceiling design also creates movement. A lower ceiling in the entryway, bar and kitchen steps up to create a sense of grandness in the living and dining areas.
To define these “rooms” within an open layout, the designers created spatial vignettes through thoughtful, unorthodox means. The design is all about “creating zones,” Goff says.
Most striking is the circular bar and contoured concrete kitchen wall. These elements work together in beautiful rhythm, creating a focal point in the home and a hub for entertaining. “The idea was to make something sculptural and playful that serves the drinking and eating experience,” Hine says.
The kitchen’s seamless wall is a work of art: Cherie Goff collaborated with Concrete Habitat through various stages of design to make sure the piece looked and behaved like a monolithic structure instead of a tacked-together effort. It serves the space elegantly. “The lowered concrete wall defines the kitchen so that when you’re in it, you have a better connection—it’s more open to the living room and dining room,” Goff says.
In the living and dining areas, Ohle and Goff created an air of modern sophistication. Ohle worked with a mix of creamy and dark neutral hues, bringing in embellishments of color through the pillows and rugs. The custom-designed rugs unify and distinguish the two spaces: their likeness creates cohesion, and their tailored dimensions help anchor each space as a “room.”
Form continues to serve function in Ohle’s furniture design, bringing comfort into the particulars of the space. “One of the main challenges in designing the living space was to create a zone that looked out to the view because it’s absolutely incredible,” Ohle says. The living room chairs are designed with swivel bases that turn to face the mountains or the fireplace, a sophisticated structure that serves as a partition between the living and dining areas. Made of Venetian plaster (by Schielke Plastering in Boulder), the fireplace stands alone as art—indeed, the homeowners liked the finish so much that they opted not to hang anything on its surface.
To further integrate the view into the home, the designers chose a French door system by NanaWall that folds, accordion-like, to merge the interior space with the outdoor living area. To build cohesion between outdoors and in, the designers used two simple tactics: match the tones of the floors in both spaces, and use similar plants inside and out.
The home’s private spaces flow as thoughtfully as the public rooms. In the master bedroom, the couple wanted the ability to block out daylight, so the draperies were designed to hang in a pocketed space flush with the wall so no light would seep through. In his-and-her bathrooms and closets, every detail continues to count. In her bathroom, for example, the curved wall element reappears and creates a beautiful backdrop to her tub, and plenty of drawers provide the storage space she needs.
Even these spaces are flexible and connected: a fireplace stands between her bathroom and the master suite, tying the two together, and sliding doors enable the homeowners to open and close each space as they please.
Design choices like these demonstrate what happens when designers and architects consider alternatives to the edges and angles that often chop up a home. With all of the sculptural pieces, Ohle says, the home itself is like a work of art—proving that when home design puts curves and contours into play, the results are nothing short of beautiful.