A Colorful Home Serves As A Study In Functionality


A color-saturated makeover gives new life to an elegant turn-of-the-century home in Denver.

For this Denver family room, designer Miranda Cullen anchored an Anthony sectional by Brownstone Upholstery that's covered in a felted-wool fabric by Sanderson. The black-and-striped Carlotta nesting coffee tables by Made Goods adds a dose of pattern, while a pair of emerald Athena table lamps by Robert Abbey and a Dwell Studio Sutton Hand Knotted Prussian area rug infuses color into the space.

A double-sided fireplace creates an airy separation between the dining room and family room. In the dining room, Palecek's Lyon side chairs surround a circular Misty dining table by Mr. Brown London. Overhead, a Cinder chandelier by Renwil is crafted with gold-plated metal and white opaline glass.

Builder Rob Bacher installed Birch hardwood floors with a custom stain throughout the main living areas, creating a more cohesive look. The fireplace is clad in Modular Arts wall tile, painted in Sherwin-Williams' Seaworthy, was designed to fit a flat-screen television. A trio of tufted custom ottomans by Rooster Socks Furniture are upholstered in Fabricut velvet.

Cullen selected the house's new gray exterior color and Bacher custom milled the new front door to match the home's 1920s origins. A trio of Cala armchairs by Doshi Levien for Kettal are dressed in peacock-blue cushions that hint at the bold color found inside.

Shades of blue and brass details combine to stunning effect in the kitchen. A row of Brabbu N*20 counter stools are upholstered in ink-colored In the Moo'd leather and sit below a trio of Visual Comfort Goodman pendants in bronze and hand-rubbed antique brass. Glossy Cottage Field ceramic tiles by Waterworks line the backsplash.

The high-gloss lacquer walls done in Seaworthy by Sherwin-Williams set the tone for this high-drama living room. A quartet of creamy white Bernhardt Furniture armchairs are accented by glittering elements, such as the brass Dancing Leaves ceiling fixture by Global Views and the gold-leaf Starburst mirror by Mirror Image Home.

The Mones bookcase from CFC features octagonal shelves and was custom painted to match the walls. The clients requested the color blocked sorting of the books in their library.

The bright-blue study's elements are inspired by various eras, including the modern lines of the Atherton Shagreen Desk by Interlude Home, an antique-style Theodore Alexander Greek Key desk chair and a contemporary Boule De Cristal light fixture by RH.

The craft room features more bold color and pattern, such as the Imperial Trellis wallpaper by Schumacher and a custom paint color created to match and used on the built ins. The Broche light fixture by Crystorama was sourced at CAI Designs.

The first thing you notice when approaching this Denver home, reimagined by designer Miranda Cullen, is a trio of modern peacock chairs dressed in turquoise cushions perched confidently on the wraparound porch. The home’s high-style curb appeal offers just a hint of the color story that struts its stuff inside, where emerald green dining chairs pop against a high-gloss blue fireplace and a rainbow of color-blocked books fill the shelves in a living room painted an oceanic hue by Sherwin-Williams dubbed Seaworthy.

Clearly, homeowner Jon Kinning is not afraid of color–and for the designer that was a welcome change. “So many clients these days are asking for white and bright,” Cullen says. “Jon’s love of dark blues, greens and even hot pink was really refreshing.” And while the finished project is undoubtedly a chromatic statement–complete with magenta tufted-velvet ottomans and flocked black wallcoverings–at its heart, the house is actually study in strict functionality.

“I approached Duet Design Group because the house wasn’t really fulfilling my needs at the time,” says Jon, who is a father of two teenagers. “We weren’t utilizing the spaces and the furniture layout wasn’t comfortable.” The fact that that a full redesign would offer the opportunity to abandon the dated furnishings and reimagine a dull color scheme was an added bonus. Jon had purchased and expanded the residence, but over the years had found that much of its nearly 6,000 square feet was going unused, specifically a sprawling open-plan basement that the family almost never ventured into.

Cullen, along with designer and co-principal Devon Tobin, made a handful of simple yet strategic changes to the home’s layout that made a dramatic impact. For instance, they removed a bulky wall and fireplace in order to gracefully connect the living room, dining room and kitchen. “The huge existing fireplace chopped up the spaces and wasn’t really true to the architecture of the 1905 house,” says Cullen. A new svelte partial wall features a modern fire box that’s open on both sides and is lined in three-dimensional tile lacquered in a deep blue. The piece acts as an accent wall for the dining room, where a chandelier of lissome gold branches hangs above a modern white dining table.

These same bold blue tones take center stage in the adjacent living room, where the walls are painted the same high-gloss hue. Rich velvet curtains were sourced to match the shade and trimmed with a pearly white wood tassel fringe by Samuel & Sons. A pair of floor lamps with chrome shades, a 1920s style sunburst mirror and a chandelier made up of delicate gold leaves brings additional elements of glamour. And while Cullen didn’t feel the need to stay true to a single era or style while selecting furnishings and accessories, she did want to honor the elegant turn-of-the century architecture in order to create a more cohesive look throughout. “The house was built more than 100 years ago, and she wanted us to recreate all the original trim,” says general contractor Rob Bacher, who had all of the molding custom milled.

Cullen’s big test was the rarely used basement. In other parts of the house she opened up the rooms, but on this level the designer felt the problem was too much undivided space. She made another partial wall, this one fitted with a bar, to create separate areas for a home theater and a game room. One side contains a vintage arcade and a custom poker table emblazoned with the green-and-white logo of Jon’s alma mater, Colorado State University. In the movie room, instead of unwieldy theater chairs, Cullen opted for a massive L-shaped sofa fronted by a collection of ottomans that can be arranged as desired for extra seating. The media system is custom fitted with recessed niches behind the projection screen for the speakers, creating a big screen worthy surround sound experience.

And while the new basement got rave reviews from Jon, it was praise from an even more discerning critic that ultimately deemed the space a blockbuster. Jon’s 16-year-old daughter has taken to throwing regular end-of-the-week movie parties there for her friends. Close to a dozen teens fill the space on any given Friday, drawn by a vintage-style popcorn machine and a fully stocked candy bar in addition to the theater and the arcade games. The house has become the place where all the kids like to gather, and Jon says it’s the home’s defining moment. “I challenged the designers, saying that for me success would involve actually using that basement,” says Jon. “And they crushed it.”