Step Inside a Denver Loft With Clean Finishes and Antique Furnishings
In downtown Denver, the homeowners meld their very different tastes
When the homeowners of this downtown Denver loft decided to remodel, they had to meld very different tastes. The wife loves antiques. The husband loves everything modern. “If she could go to a lower Broadway antique store and pick all the furniture, she would do that. I wanted very updated and clean finishes,” the husband says. “We wanted to still be married by the time we were finished.”
To maintain harmony, the homeowners sought the help of interior designer Chris McGovern, who admits, “There’s always the role of mediator in the design process.” His plan was to create a clean canvas that set off the homeowners’ art and antiques as well as the industrial features of the historic building. “Overall, the renovated space creates a gallery for their collection of furniture,” McGovern says.
The first step in the redo was to emphasize the loft’s architectural details. The husband, who is co-owner of Aspen-based Rutgers Construction and served as the project manager, says, “With heavy Douglas fir timber and a two-story brick wall, you couldn’t mess it up.”
But the loft was stuck in the 1990s. “Unfortunately, the space had a fairly taste-specific kitchen, and the existing floors were the infamous red oak you see in so many places,” McGovern says. “The tongue-and-groove ceiling also had a very orange tone. We wanted to de-orange everything.”
After refinishing the existing floors, ceilings and beams, McGovern started with a fresh palette, painting the walls and spiral staircase white. “We used a clean, quiet canvas that honors the industrial history of the building,” McGovern says.
The white extends into the kitchen. “The simple white counters and cabinets turned out awesome,” the husband says. The kitchen island is oversize, out of desire and necessity. While the wife wanted a big island, a pesky plumbing issue made it even bigger. “We ended up having to make the island larger because of the location of the water [line],” the husband says. Not only is it a very large island, it is also separated from the cabinets by a lot of space. “The exaggerated distance makes for a great party pad,” he notes.
Guests can congregate in the kitchen or can wander around the loft, where they will find unique art and antiques the homeowners have collected. Says the husband, “My wife’s favorite piece is this old African chair. Every time you try to sit in it, you fall over.” All the objects—including the tippy chair—represent the homeowners. “The space is like a physical portrait of them,” McGovern says.