East Coast Meets the Rockies in the Mile High City


Fresh Perspective in Colorado

East coast influences inform a casual yet sophisticated Denver home.

Stone Entrance with Coffee Table and Stools and Pendant

Architect John Woodward Mink devised a Denver home with a New England-style farmhouse feel, which designer Sue Burgess appointed with contemporary furnishings and the owner’s antiques. A rug and a circular table, both antiques, gather in the entry, where sconces by Formations flank the entrance to the living room.

Neutral Fireplace Living Room with Gold Storage and Sofas

A painting by Franz Kline hangs above the limestone fireplace in the living room, where Burgess placed a sofa by Caperton Collection from Holly Hunt in Washington, D.C. The coffee table is by Dessin Fournir, and the pendant is by Formations.

Picasso Sculpture Antique Chest and Painting Entrance

The homeowner’s art collection is displayed throughout the home. In the entry hall, a painting by Joan Miró hangs above an antique William and Mary burl-wood chest. The sculpture is by Pablo Picasso.

Tang Dynasty Horse Sculpture Dining Room With Large Windows

In the breakfast area, a chandelier by Formations is suspended above chairs from the client’s collection and a custom Lorraine Refectory table by Gregorius Pineo. The Chinese terra-cotta sculpture is from the Tang Dynasty.

Lantern Pendants Wooden Kitchen with Sit-In Island

Pendants from Michael S Smith’s Jasper collection hang in the kitchen, which was designed by Mikal Otten of Exquisite Kitchen Design. The cabinetry is made of pickled white oak and capped with marble countertops by Brekhus Tile & Stone. The bar chairs are by La Forge Française.

Antique Wooden Hutch with Ceramics Inside

An iron-and-glass pendant by Formations is suspended near a massive antique wood hutch that holds pottery pieces from the resident’s collection. The stone tile of the floor lends an organic quality to the space.

Wrought Iron Chandelier Stairwell with Vaulted Ceiling Skylights

A large iron chandelier by Formations graces the stairwell, where Mink designed several skylights to flood the area with sunlight. An antique quilt is draped over a wrought-iron railing made by Modern Craftsman, adding an old-world quality to the space.

Blue Sofa Upstairs Family Room with Sliding Wood Barn Door and Clock

In the upstairs family room, Burgess created a feeling of calm by covering a sofa, armchairs and ottomans by R. Jones & Associates with a pale blue woven cotton by Calvin Fabrics. The sea-grass carpet is by Stark, and the custom coffee table is by David Iatesta.

Stone Hallway with Mirror and Chest and Pendant

A hallway leading to the master suite brings the outside textures in with walls marked by sandstone, which was installed by JD Masonry. The glass-and-metal pendant is by Formations, and the chest and mirror are pieces from the client’s collection.

Vaulted Wood Beam Ceiling Master Bedroom with Fireplace and Artwork and Wood Armoir

Mink gave the master bedroom an airy feel with a pitched ceiling and large windows. Burgess flanked a custom bed with sculptural table lamps, all by Dessin Fournir from Holly Hunt. The armchairs and imposing armoire are from the owner’s collection; the drapery fabric is by Hodsoll McKenzie.

Large Tub Master Bathroom with Patterned Rug, Picasso Art, and Dog Laying Down

An antique rug adds a touch of softness to the light-filled master bathroom, which features an Empire tub by Waterworks. The wide-plank white-oak flooring is by Front Range Floor Specialists, and the sconces are by Visual Comfort & Co. The sculpture is by Pablo Picasso.

Porch Swing Veranda with Outdoor Furniture and Potted Flowers

Mink gave the master bedroom’s veranda a substantial feel by lining the space with columns made of heavy timbers. The porch swing, armchairs and ottomans are pieces from the client’s existing collection.

Traditional Colorado Home Rear Exterior with Stonework and Yard

On the rear façade, Mink designed an expansive outdoor covered terrace. The building, constructed by Chris Withers with a home automation system by Residential Systems, features steeply pitched cedar-shingle roofs installed by Wilson Brothers; the windows are by Loewen. Landscape designer Troy Shimp gave the area a verdant lawn and an informal stone pathway.

When architect John Woodward Mink’s client decided to move from the Washington, D.C., area to Denver, she wanted to bring a little bit of an East Coast feel with her. “She loved her house there and wanted something similar,” he says. “She also wanted something that had a great connection to the outdoors.” The client, a single woman with grown children, had lived in the District of Columbia vicinity for many years and was eager for a change. “I’d regularly spend time at our vacation home in the Colorado mountains, and I just decided this is where I want to be now,” she says. “I was ready for a simpler lifestyle and for a house that was easier to maintain.” Once her mind was set on Colorado, she sold her mountain property and began the process of building anew in the Mile High City. 

Though the homeowner knew her designer would be Sue Burgess—who is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and had worked with her previously—the right architect required a search. “I interviewed different people and chose John because he really listened and understood what I wanted,” she says. “He knows Colorado well and has done some great work here.” 

The client’s new Denver lot offered “towering ponderosa pines and beautiful rose gardens,” Mink says—along with a 1950s ranch-style home he had to raze. “I generally don’t like to tear down existing architecture, but there wasn’t a way to make that house work for my client,” he explains. For the clean slate, the architect, who aims to achieve a “casual elegance” in his designs, created a contemporary version of a New England-style farmhouse. The three-level home, which includes a basement, is clad with stucco and sandstone—a nod to the Colorado locale. Mink also sheathed a series of rooflines that pitch at 45-degree angles with premium-grade cedar shingles. “I created an articulated floor plan that brings down the scale so the house doesn’t look like one big box,” he says. “There are deep overhangs as well as large Douglas-fir columns and beams that give a sense of solidity and permanence.” Inside, white-oak floors and walls made with the same sandstone used on the exterior bring some of those outside materials in. “The sandstone is from Telluride Stone Company, and it was installed with a full bed mortar application,” says the project’s builder, Chris Withers

In configuring the layout, Mink placed the master suite on the lower level, with the main living spaces. “The homeowner wanted to be able to live primarily on the first floor and have guest suites on the upper level for her children when they come to visit,” he says. Burgess then appointed the spaces with a curated mix of contemporary items and the client’s antiques while employing textured fabrics within a subtle palette to play off the structure’s tactile backdrop. “The client was very interested in simple but sophisticated elements,” she says. “There are linen blends in many of the rooms and plenty of wool rugs, too.” Linen dresses the chairs in the formal dining room, for example, and a blend of the material was used for the room’s draperies. 

Just off the dining room, a large Joan Mitchell painting hangs in the entry. “The client’s art collection is magnificent, and we wanted the interiors to complement it,” Burgess says. In this area, she paired an antique table from the owner’s collection with Dennis & Leen upholstered benches and sconces by Formations. “She has collected many wonderful antiques,” Burgess says. “We brought them here and reworked them for this house.” The designer opted for a similar mix in the adjacent living room, where a work by Franz Kline hangs prominently above the fireplace. Here, she suspended a Formations pendant over a Dessin Fournir coffee table encircled by a Caperton Collection sofa and two of the client’s antique armchairs. 

At the end of the entry hall, the great room—which holds the kitchen, breakfast and sitting areas—features expansive windows and French doors that open to a large covered terrace with a fireplace. “If the sun is shining, she can open the doors and move between the inside and the outside during all 12 months of the year,” Mink says. That indoor-outdoor connection, as well as the house’s materiality, inspired the design for the grounds. “The client pointed me in the direction of something relaxed and almost cottage-like in feeling,” says landscape designer Troy Shimp, who picked up the same sandstone used for the house to create pathways on the property. “I planted a boxwood hedge that frames hydrangeas near the entrance to provide some structure and then added mixtures of flowering trees and shrubs such as dwarf crabapples, serviceberry, pear and Daphne.” 

Inside and outside, the house was designed to recall the resident’s former and beloved home on the East Coast while also embracing the beauty of its Denver locale. “Some houses are giant and just there to impress,” Mink says. “This client wanted the opposite of that. She wanted something understated, approachable and typical of Colorado.” 

Laura Mauk