Comfort & Joy

With décor that features light, color and an eclectic art collection, this renovated ‘70s-era house reflects its happy homeowners

Jan and Joe Kneib were looking for a home in a particular Colorado Springs neighborhood when they almost passed this one by. “We didn’t like the house at all from the photos, but when I saw it in person, I fell in love with all the light—the vaulted ceilings and large windows, the ease of living and the connection to the outdoors,” Jan Kneib says. Designed by architect Michael Collins and built in 1975, the U-shaped ranch house features a central courtyard with indoor/outdoor access from almost every room. 

The renovation included removing walls and soffits, replacing drywall, floors and fireplaces, and adding square footage for a new kitchen and master suite. Kitchen and bath designer Angela Otten of William Ohs Showrooms joined the team early in the process, handling space planning and introducing finishes and materials to fulfill the Kneibs’ vision.

The homeowners filled their new house with the things that make them happiest—color and art. Brilliant rugs and fabrics explode in well-edited pops of color, most notably the bright multi-hued dining room chairs. “They make people smile, which is what I want,” Kneib says. Colored glass art by the late Michael Higgins highlights the entry and living room in a vibrant pattern of circles and squares. Just as most of the art works have been collected and savored over time, the furniture is likewise well-seasoned—an eclectic mix of contemporary pieces from previous residences and a few treasures salvaged from the furnishings that were original to this house. The result is a very personal home. “I don’t need a house that is a showpiece,” says Kneib, “but one that feels comfortable to live in and entertain friends. A place to enjoy.” 

The stucco-and-brick house is set on a golf course. Its U-shaped configuration features a courtyard, allowing easy access to the outdoors from all rooms.

The family room, open to the kitchen, is part of the new addition. Metallic porcelain tiles define the fireplace, while a colorful Moroccan rug and blanket-upholstered chair add texture and color.

The new kitchen, designed by Angela Otten of William Ohs Showrooms, is sleek and efficient, yet cheerful and welcoming. Open shelves below the peninsula offer an abundance of accessible storage. The wood veneer pendant lamp from YLighting adds a burst of color, and the raised marble counter invites seating while also providing some separation from the adjacent family room. Maple Cherner Vortex Chairs offer a contrasting sculptural element.

Color is introduced to the dining room with eyelash upholstery fabric in four fun colors. The starburst mirror is by Thomas Pheasant and the porcelain piece on the table was hand-textured by Daniel Fisher. The Kneibs purchased the glass chandelier by Peter Mangan in 1990.

Jan Kneib’s office reflects her colorful personality with a bright Tufenkian pop art rug and a painting by Chinese artist Hung Liu. The mirror is original to the house, but the fireplace received an update with Thassos honed marble.

The light-filled living room was updated with walnut floors and a contemporary fireplace. Homeowners Joe and Jan Kneib inherited two burled walnut tables from the previous homeowner. The kinetic metal sculpture on the sofa table is by San Francisco artist Fletcher Benton.

Shades of gray cast beautiful shadows in this bedroom, where modern meets traditional. A French four-poster bed is updated in contemporary rusted steel; the desk and chair came with the house. The purple glass sculpture is by famed glass artist Dale Chihuly; eighteenth-century Italian architectural drawings complete the vignette.

Veteran art lover Jan Kneib offers tips for buying and collecting

When purchasing art, don’t just buy a name or a style. A piece should stir your soul—bring you joy, tears, laughter, shock, serenity. Be open to new discoveries. 

Art doesn’t need to cost a lot. Look for young emerging artists, styles or artforms that are not inherently expensive, such as photography or ceramics.   

Do your research (the Internet is invaluable for this). Look at the artist's whole body of work and check out the artist at other galleries. 

Collect from different artists. Look at a variety of styles, always keeping in mind what touches your heart. Keep all receipts, documentation and appraisals. Insure key pieces.

Design Details
Interior Designer 
Angela Otten
William Ohs Showrooms 

Categories: Art, Interiors