As a professional couple with young kids were building their family home in the Wash Park, Colorado, neighborhood, they found themselves facing a dilemma: whether to go with sophisticated and polished interiors or keep practicality at the forefront of their plans, since the spaces would have to stand up to their active children. As it turned out, they didn’t have to choose between the two. Their design team promised that they could have both by meeting in the middle, and that’s exactly what they did. “They wanted the house to work for the whole family,” says designer Ashley Larson Eitemiller.
“The homeowners were looking for a large family room for entertaining and for the kids, and a large, wraparound bar that would be open to the kitchen, dining and great rooms,” says residential designer Jim Gunther. Adds Eitemiller, “A lot of activities can happen at once in that open, communal space.”
The home was designed specifically for how the family lives, with various “stowaway spots” they can use as they come and go. “They’re bringing in strollers and all of the attendant kid items,” Gunther says, “so there are multiple areas with organized storage in the home’s front, back and side so they don’t have to carry things all the way through the house, and the open space can stay neat and organized.”
Function meets style with wood elements like corbels, beams and rough-sawn cedar that brings in the casual, Colorado mountain vibe the family loves. “The darker wood beams contrast with the caramel floors, making all the wood really stand out,” Eitemiller says. The couple’s art collection, which includes lots of landscape imagery, also offers a nod to the home’s Colorado aesthetic.
While cool gray color palettes have been wildly popular recently, the homeowners desired more warmth in their home. “They wanted tones that would make the house feel very homey and comfortable, and they were open to jewel colors,” says Eitemiller. “Every space has some element of blue, whether it’s a deep navy, a brighter blue or a beautiful smoky gray-blue. We also brought in some neutral grays, a honey caramel and a nice plum color.”
Layers of texture give the spaces dimension and visual interest. “Throughout, there’s a mix of leather, natural linen and mohair. The carpets are wool, and there are sheers on the windows that allow light in while also offering privacy,” Eitemiller says. “Every room has details designed to visually pull you through the house, such as the wallpaper in the front entry and ceiling beams in the main living spaces.”
Furnishings are stylish yet tough enough for a young family. In the living room, a pair of sofas in camel-colored leather marry beauty and durability, as do refined fiberglass Stone Yard coffee tables. “It looks well put together, but you don’t have to be monitoring everything that’s going on in the house,” says Eitemiller. “We also used Sunbrella outdoor fabric inside, which adds durability.”
One of the primary requirements for this home was to have designated spaces where kids can just take over and play. “Right now, the sun room is used for the kiddos, and it’s a great space right off of the living room and kitchen area,” Eitemiller says. “The children can be playing in that room while their parents are cooking dinner.” There’s also a dedicated playroom upstairs near the bedrooms, and a spacious gymnastics area and playroom downstairs that is designed with no beams or poles to get in the way of the fun.
The family also has a large yard, with plenty of grass for the kids to run around on, as well as exterior entertaining spaces for adults. “The homeowners like to have friends and family over,” says general contractor Patrick Englund. “In the backyard, they have a trellis with heaters above and an exterior fireplace.”
Having come from a home that wasn’t functioning well for them, the family is now enjoying the perfect balance between adult style and kid-friendly design, with fluid spaces for family life and special spots just for playtime. Meanwhile, the home’s interior spaces honor Colorado’s rugged style while giving it modern sensibility.
“We wanted the family to feel comfortable, so they could really live in the house,” says Eitemiller. “They wanted a relaxed, well-designed home that could be used to its fullest without the fear of it being damaged easily. A mountain Colorado feel—but a little bit more refined.”