After welcoming their second son into the world, a Denver couple began to rethink their streamlined modern home. “We needed more space and something that functioned well for a family,” the wife says. “We wanted a house that was cozier, with lots of pillows, throws and comfy armchairs.” They found what they were looking for in a Cherry Hills Village property that also fit their outdoorsy personalities. Located just south of Denver, the community features rolling hills, gravel roads and even some small horse farms and bridle paths. Once they saw it, they decided to stake their claim and build their dream house.
“I wanted a Cape Cod home with a lot of windows and high ceilings,” says the wife, whose husband’s family owns a house on Nantucket. “We love the way we feel when we’re there, so we wanted our home here to have the look and sensibility of the beach house, even though we’re in Colorado.”
The wife, who has a fashion industry background, developed some initial design ideas. She then worked with residential designer Matthew Guderjahn, who drew up plans and brought these ideas to life. The homeowners also enlisted designers Heather Brock–a close friend from college–and Jennifer Wundrow, both based in California’s Bay Area, to refine the home’s design and interiors.
The initial plans called for adding a wall that separated the entry from the rest of the house, but the design team suggested removing it–making for a very open plan. “We wanted to open things up, so the entry, dining room, kitchen and living space were connected,” Wundrow says. Joining the interior spaces to one another–and to the outside–made functional sense and created the seamless indoor-outdoor vibe that the couple desired. “We wanted it to all feel related and inviting,” the wife says. “We envisioned a space where you’d get a drink in the kitchen, and then maybe sit at the dining table and chat with someone, before moving into the cozy living room, either by the fire in the winter or next to the open French doors in the summer.”The kitchen, dining and living areas were oriented to face the mountains. “To take full advantage of those views, there aren’t any window treatments,” Brock says. Views aren’t the only thing coming in through the windows. “We made a big effort to bring in as much light as possible,” adds general contractor Carl Fuhri. For Fuhri, building the home had a special, personal meaning. “We typically design and construct homes in a foursquare or modern style, so it was fun to create something with a Cape Cod aesthetic. I’m from the East Coast, so it was like going home,” he says.
To make the home personal for the family, it was built with outdoor living in mind. “We expanded their back porch to add a grilling area as well as a fire pit,” says landscape designer Robert Hahn. “They can be entertaining out there while watching the kids and dogs run around.”
The design team kept the home’s interior palette fresh. “We wanted it light and bright, as a beach house would be with the sun out,” Brock says. “We also used blue as the new neutral–or the old neutral, because it’s so classic–and we added some texture to bring it all together.” Natural textures, which also lend a subtle mountain feel, came in the form of a raffia console, carved-wood light fixtures and hide-covered benches. Patterns were also added to the mix. “I loved all of the prints that the designers helped me bring in,” the wife says. “We were able to keep a lot of the furniture neutral and then bring in some fun color through accessories and art.”
For furnishings, the couple started from nearly zero. “They brought almost nothing from their old home because it was a midcentury modern Eichler-style,” Wundrow explains. “It wasn’t a fit for the new home.” Instead, they went for furniture that’s stylish yet designed for family living, like the upholstered chairs at either end of the dining table. “Those big end chairs are super comfortable,” the wife says. “In the morning I go in and sit with my computer and coffee where I can see the kids running around and my husband in the kitchen.”
Throughout the home, touches like vintage rugs lend character. “They add a lot of depth and dimension that you can’t get from a new floor covering,” Wundrow says. “It gives you the feeling that you didn’t design the room all at one time.” Meanwhile, the family’s art collection includes some pieces that are particularly special. “My mother-in-law is an artist in Nantucket, and we brought a lot of her artwork here,” the wife says. “And my sister-in-law is a photographer, so many of her photographs are in our house, and I love that.”
Beyond style, the home was designed for functionality. “We bike and hike and go camping, and I have a horse and dogs, so we have a lot of gear,” the wife says. “In our previous home, we didn’t have a lot of storage, so that was one thing that we were very thoughtful about.” The homeowners were also intent on using every space in their house, rather than devoting square footage to rooms that would be used less frequently. The basement, for example, is brighter than you’d expect, with a big open stairway that allows natural light to flood in. “My boys will go downstairs and play,” the wife says, “so it feels like a space that’s used for living as well as storage.”
Outside, Hahn created landscaping evoking a casual farmhouse aesthetic, to match the area’s rural feel. “We kept the more manicured areas close to the house and, out toward the property line, it’s more native grass,” Hahn says. “The emphasis was on year-round interest and big splashes of color through flowering shrubs. Having areas for their kids to play was also important.” There’s a big playset area for the kids, for example, and plenty of grassy areas.
“We love having kids and dogs running in and out and inviting friends over to grill and sit by the fire pit,” the wife says. “Everyone’s kind of everywhere. It’s cozy and and casual and light and bright–in other words, very us.”