On Top of the World
A new contemporary home sits high above Denver, embracing the city views and the great outdoors
With space and views at a premium in Denver’s urban neighborhoods, it is rare for one property to offer so many sought-after features—panoramic views of both cityscape and mountains, contemporary living in a historic neighborhood and access to spacious outdoor venues. But sometimes all the right ingredients come together. Such was the case for former suburbanites Liza Kampstra and Craig Evans, who found the perfect location in Denver’s Lower Highlands neighborhood—and the right architect and interior designer to bring their vision to life.
“A friend brought us to the property, and as soon as we saw it I knew it was the one,” Kampstra says. “I knew it would fit our vision of a modern house that captures the views, with a big lot to include everything we wanted.” Located on a bluff that overlooks the city, the new structure is decidedly contemporary, yet in tune with the older homes that surround it. “The proportions are designed to complement the neighboring historic houses, with large windows on the first floor and smaller windows above,” says architect David Berton of Denver-based Real Architecture. “We mimicked the features of old stone houses but used more contemporary design and materials.”
The design was guided by the extraordinary views of Denver’s skyline. “The east side of the house addresses the city at large,” says Berton, who served as both architect and general contractor for the project. To open the main living areas and master bedroom to the entire cityscape, he designed and built a 27-foot-high, two-story curtain wall of windows that the homeowners love. “We wake up to the sunrise coming over the city. It’s phenomenal,” Kampstra says. “And we go to bed with the twinkling city lights.”
The homeowners drew upon the expertise of interior consultant Samantha Bales of Studio 2b to help furnish their new home. “We wanted a house that was beautiful but very comfortable and livable for our family and friends,” Kampstra says. Bales hit just the right note with a blend of contemporary European furniture, warmed up with a mix of textures and materials that are sleek and simple. The interior architectural elements and colors were kept neutral.
“The one way we introduce color is through the artwork,” Kampstra says, pointing to a one-of-a-kind backsplash in the kitchen. Designed by Grant Louwagie, formerly of Blender Design Group, the feature is made of an original piece of art that was enlarged and applied to the back of glass panels. “Any time you take art and apply it to a different, non-traditional substrate, it enhances the space and makes it more lively and interesting,” says Jared Hankins of Blender Design Group.
But while the couple readily embraced their new life—and home—in the city, they weren’t willing to give up the outdoor lifestyle they love. So they created their own outdoor oases: a spacious side yard (made possible by the home’s narrow footprint) and a 1,400-square-foot rooftop deck with 360-degree panoramic views of downtown Denver and the mountains. Whether watching fireworks over Coors Field or the sun setting behind the mountains, the deck is the homeowners’ favorite spot year round. “It’s a big, wonderful outdoor space that we love to share with friends and family,” Kampstra says. “Our home has everything we love about the outdoors and the city.”