A Contemporary Indoor-Outdoor Denver Home with Expansive Courtyard


Contemporary White Bedroom with Bubble Chandelier

In the master bedroom, a Bernhardt Ellis sofa covered with Lee Industries Bristol Metal velvet rests at the foot of a Hickory Chair Channel bed upholstered in leather. The Dallas chandelier with a brown nickel finish is by Arteriors, and the charcoal gray and taupe ombre drapery panels are by Dedar.

Contemporary White Bathroom with Bubble Chandelier

The master bathroom centerpiece is a Waterworks tub from the .25 collection positioned beneath a Muriel chandelier by Oly Studio. His-and-her vanities with deep Eden Bath sinks are encased in a wall of mosaic tile from Studio M, and the white tile flooring is by Ergon.

Contemporary White Courtyard with Retractable Skylight

Architect John Matthews received guidance from the homeowner, a retired engineer, on designing the 20-by-20-foot retractable Kalwall skylight in the 1,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor room. The patio flooring is a combination of limestone pavers and river rock, and the seating is from Miami’s Kannoa Collection.

Contemporary White Living Room with Folding Doors

A NanaWall door system folds away to provide unobstructed views of the patio from the living room, where the Hickory Chair Studio sofa wears Kravet fabric. The open-back Adriana Hoyos side chairs sport durable Kravet vinyl, the two-tiered coffee table is by Vanguard Furniture.

Contemporary White Kitchen with Crystal Droplet Chandelier

William Ohs cabinetry in quarter-sawn oak with a gray washed finish and glaze lines the perimeter of the kitchen. In the center, a Terzani crystal droplet chandelier highlights the L-shaped Silestone island. A Phillip Jeffries grass cloth adds depth to the cove ceiling, and the leather Calvin barstools are by Arteriors.

Contemporary White Dining Room with Chartreuse Chairs

In the dining room, Phillips Collection’s chartreuse chairs add a pop of color and surround Planum’s lacquered wood table. The artwork is from Natural Curiosities, based in Los Angeles; a Terzani light fixture is suspended from above.

Contemporary White Rec Room with Bar Area

Vanguard Furniture’s oak-wood sofa in an ebony finish—upholstered in Donghia’s ribbed cotton and accented with stainless-steel nailheads—provides comfort in the recreation room. The bar built-ins are by William Ohs, the shag rug is Masland Carpets, and the Elitis wallcovering in the ceiling cove is from the brand’s Geisha collection.

Contemporary White Rec Room with Glass Light Fixture

Designer Ashley Campbell jazzed up a banquette in the recreation room with Lee Jofa fabric in a chevron pattern. Phillips Collection stools pull up to the table, which features a chocolate- hued base by Adriana Hoyos. The smoked-glass light fixture is by Arteriors.

Contemporary White Living Room with Custom Sofa Shelving

Built around a sumptuous courtyard that was the driving force behind the design, a new contemporary-style home marries the elements of a Denver couple’s astrological signs.

When Terry and Al Papay decided to swap their urban loft for a quieter lifestyle in a golf course community, Al knew he wanted to build their home around a private courtyard. A retired engineer, he imagined a retractable skylight as the apex for an atrium that celebrated the union of Cancer, his astrological water sign, with Aries, his wife’s fire sign. Architect John Matthews and designer Ashley Campbell ran with the concept, offering up an indoor/outdoor plan that included a fire pit encapsulated by a “moat” and a waterfall that cascades into a long reflecting pool. “This was the central organizing element of the entire house,” Matthews says.

The project was a labor of love, with every detail a conscious choice and every player passionately involved. While Matthews commandeered the façade, structural aspects and systems, Campbell focused on creating a compelling interior that was as much retreat as party house. Collaborating with them was builder Kirk McConnell, who fielded challenges as they came. “I enjoyed making all the details work together,” says McConnell, who, between the fabrication of the curved steel-and-glass staircase and the drainage required for the water feature, made a lot of on-the-spot calculations.

The collaboration gave rise to a two-level layout that flows as effortlessly as the waterfall it was built around. The Papays spend most of their time on the main floor, where all of the living spaces back up to the courtyard. “Integral to the concept are exterior door systems designed to open up walls, creating a total connection to the atrium, terrace and golf course beyond,” says Matthews, whose fenestration plan included banks of transoms to maximize the natural light. Landscape designer Chris Huxtable laid the atrium groundwork with a mixture of sandstone and Mexican river pebbles before adding plantings such as black heavenly bamboo and Japanese maples. “These are not your typical Colorado plantings,” says Huxtable. “Instead, they give it a more contemporary bonsai look.”

For the interiors, Campbell conscientiously tempered the home’s dominant gray palette with warm taupe hues and a pop of bright color. “There were concerns about the house looking too modern and feeling cold and sterile,” says the designer, who also looked to nature for inspiration. For flooring, Campbell chose elegant yet earthy sable-colored marble and ran it through to the terraces. The tile is polished on the interior spaces and honed and tumbled on the exterior floors. For additional warmth, the 12-foot-high ceiling coves in the kitchen and dining room are papered in grass cloth.

Campbell’s design breeds a simultaneous feeling of emotional calm and material rapture. The peace comes from the overall blanket of neutrals; the bliss, from whimsical furnishings such as the chartreuse leather seat belt dining chairs. “Terry totally understood the whimsy and excitement that these chairs bring to the space,” says Campbell. In the downstairs recreation area, a spunky chevron banquette fabric is a playful modern spin on a Southwest motif, while chandeliers throughout display star quality. “For this particular project, I was very inspired by the lighting choices and designed each space centered off of the fixtures,” she says about her lacquered twigs, shimmering discs and crystal orb selections.

The house also possesses an inner layer that may go unnoticed but adds to the overall livability. Matthews can wax poetic about the state-of-the-art HVAC ventilation system, radiant heating that warms the stone floors, and soffits designed to conceal solar shades when the sun gets too intense. And the kitchen, a collaboration with kitchen designer Anna Gustason, features cabinetry that looks calm and effortless on the outside while concealing a hardworking storage system inside.

The home’s easy, flowing nature belies the 16-month-long journey that required a feat of engineering in the courtyard and a high level of trust throughout to complete. “The relationship between the architect, contractor and myself was a very synergistic one,” says Campbell. “We all just wanted the client to be over-the-top thrilled with every aspect of the process.” And in the end, the Papays got some of what they imagined and everything they wanted.