Let the Light In
It’s amazing what a little sparkle—and a whole lot of elbow grease—can accomplish. Prior to a complete yearlong renovation, this penthouse in downtown Denver featured dark finishes, heavy drapes and dimly-lit rooms, all presided over by a majestic but musty old elk head. Now the home is transformed with sleek and stylish furnishings, glossy custom built-ins, abundant natural light and not a hair of taxidermy in sight.
When Steve and Susan Kirkwood bought their Colorado getaway, they wanted to renovate the kitchen to add sophisticated style with plenty of shine, so they tapped Angela Otten of William Ohs Showrooms in Denver to create a contemporary, welcoming space for entertaining. But once the project got under way, their plans didn’t stop at new cabinets and countertops.
“The existing kitchen was very traditional, as was the rest of the home, and they wanted something fun and modern. Once we started on the kitchen, the project just expanded from there,” Otten says. She turned to interior designer Kristina Sterling, founder of Denver-based Seek Interior Design, and together they created a kitchen design that served as the nucleus for the home’s new look.
Dark walnut cabinets with a matte finish are offset by high-gloss red satinwood built-ins. Custom, mitered stainless-steel doors accent the bar area’s upper cabinets, and mirror the stainless-steel appliances to add balance to the room. Bubbly custom pendants hang over the island, which is curved to mimic the ceiling’s architectural detail. And to add just a touch of pizzazz, the range’s textured-glass backsplash and bar area’s onyx countertop and wall are illuminated by internal LED lights at the flick of a switch.
“There are a lot of elements going on in this kitchen—high-gloss and matte finishes, a slab door and a five-piece door, onyx, glass and stainless steel—so we had to bring all of those pieces together to work in harmony,” Otten says.
The designers continued thesatinwood cabinetry, backlit onyx and stainless-steel accents in the family room, where Sterling introduced texture and warmth by layering in leather and chenille upholstery, and a soft-pile area rug with an earthy, organic pattern.
Neutral walls and fabrics throughout the home create a serene envelope for rich wood touches, streamlined furniture and sophisticated, nature-inspired accents. In the dining room, Sterling surrounded the sleek table with contemporary chairs upholstered in cream leather. She crowned the room with a glamorous raindrop chandelier and grounded the space with an area rug that evokes an organic feel.
In the master suite, Sterling enlivened the neutral color palette, tiling an accent wall in earthy tones and adding both subtle and significant splashes of turquoise blue, one of the Kirkwoods’ favorite colors. As in the main living spaces, the recessed ceilings in the master suite were painted to highlight their depth and add a bit of drama—just the kind of visual interest that the homeowners were looking for.
“Once we took down those heavy drapes and dug into the renovation, we wanted this home to be fresh and fun,” Sterling says. “The homeowners wanted lots of pretty things to look at—without detracting from those incredible city views—so we just kind of ran with it.”
“And don’t worry,” Otten says. “We found a new home for the elk head.”
Seek Interior Design
William Ohs Showrooms