Four days after their daughter was born, Taylor Woodard and Matt Statman had a chance to look inside a house they had long admired, a Usonian-style midcentury modern dwelling on Denver’s historic Sixth Avenue Parkway. They absolutely weren’t going to buy a new home–they just wanted a peek. Once inside, that peek quickly turned into purchase. “I had just had a baby, so you have to wonder what we were thinking,” Taylor recalls. “But the architecture and everything about the house was so our style–we couldn’t resist.”
When embarking on the remodel, Matt and Taylor wanted to proceed carefully. The couple–who are partners at an advertising agency–are visually creative by nature, but he tends toward clean lines and organic forms and she is drawn to Hollywood glam. “We wanted to preserve some of that quintessential midcentury design but also infuse the house with our own style,” Taylor says. So they turned to designer Danielle Wallinger for help.
Wallinger shared their appreciation for the home, and readily intuited their desire for sophistication and a more casual indoor-outdoor feeling. Working with builder Alan Lawrence, she made subtle adjustments and additions that updated the house while honoring its past (think refurbishing the original cabinets, recasting an indoor fountain as an interior garden and installing a cool bar with a brass-mesh backsplash). Inspired by Paris flats with airy white spaces and dark-painted window frames, Wallinger started with a neutral palette of black-and-white. Throughout the home, she also added pops of emerald green, a color that Taylor loves.
Wallinger sought out stylish furnishings that wouldn’t overpower the home’s architectural elements, incorporating lots of refurbished vintage furniture. “Every piece had to resonate with both of them, which meant that every piece had to be unique,” she says. While style was important, so was livability. “Sometimes you see midcentury modern and you think, ‘I know that Danish armchair isn’t going to be comfortable to sit in,’ ” says Matt. “We didn’t want that.”
Those concepts led to collaborations producing one-of-a-kind items. For example, a late-night email brainstorm between Wallinger and Taylor evolved into a fun idea for seating in the billiard room–a long, deeply-tufted banquette with small cantilevered tables extending from the base that gives the room a cool hotel-lounge vibe. Taylor says, “We pulled a lot of inspiration from our travels.”
Art is another collective effort. The couple and Wallinger have a deep appreciation for artwork, and several large-scale pieces are used in the new home for visual impact. For example, a wall-sized canvas by Los Angeles-based artist Cleon Peterson was commissioned by the designer for the dining room. “In some projects, you build a room and add the art at the end,” says the designer. “In this house, we started with the art and used it as a foundation for the design. Here, we don’t have many patterns in the furniture. Instead, it’s the art that adds most of the color and texture.”
Practical considerations led to the reimagining of the home’s interior water fountain. Having two young children herself, Wallinger cautioned that their daughter, once she got older, would be drawn to the built-in feature. As a result, it was filled in to become a Zen garden, which complements some of the home’s original Japanese elements, like the shoji screen-inspired doors.
The parlor–which they’ve named the Jungle Room–was inspired by the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air. Clad in tropical wallpaper, it now features a large pivot door leading out to a lush bamboo garden. Wallinger admits that the dramatic wallcovering might not be for every client. “It adds a huge dose of personality,” she says. “These people are no shrinking violets, so it’s perfect for them.” Another uncommon choice is found in the master bedroom, where a dark-hued Venetian plaster on one wall creates a sense of intimacy. “I absolutely disagree with the notion that black makes a room feel smaller,” says Wallinger. “And the plaster gives this room a wonderful texture, it’s almost like board-formed concrete.”
Meanwhile, landscape designer Chris Turner created or remade several outdoor spaces for family living and casual entertaining, including a dining pergola and a conversation area with a fire pit and precast concrete bench that both mimic limestone. “For the floating bench, we added Brazilian hardwood to bring warmth,” says Turner, who also incorporated dark-stained wood slats into the home’s steel-framed dining pergola. To stay true to the simplicity of the architecture, he installed beds with textural plants such as ornamental grasses.
Today, Wallinger says that the couple has succeeded in creating a home that shines with personality while maintaining its original midcentury panache. “It’s a result of them not playing it safe,” she says. As for the couple, they feel good about the home that began with a quick visit and ended in a full-blown remodel. “I feel this need to protect the history of anything that I’m a part of,” Matt says. “We stayed true to the vision that started some 75 years ago, and we feel good about that.”