A Minimalistic Makeover Transforms This 1928 Denver Dwelling

Details

breakfast nook with white walls,...

Open to the kitchen and entryway, an elegant breakfast nook features a marble table embedded into the floor—an existing feature of the home. Four Hands’ Kurt dining chairs add a more modern touch. The pendant is from L’Aviva Home; inlaid Portuguese Azulejo tile doubles as wall art.

white hallway space with white...

In a nook off the entry hall, designers Molly Bevan and Kim Blankenburg paired Nuevo’s Clementine Occasional chair with a floor lamp from Anthropologie. Blue-and-white abstract artwork acquired by the homeowners references inlaid Azulejo tile found throughout the home.

living room area with prominent...

An RH sectional and coffee table join Kravet Durand benches wearing a Métaphores fabric to create a conversation area near the living room’s centerpiece: a fireplace with a preserved antique stone-and-tile surround. Katy Skelton Ellis Light chandeliers offer a counterpoint.

kitchen with white walls, cabinetry,...

Bright and modernized, the kitchen sports a new flipped layout and white cabinetry. Caeserstone Aterra Blanca countertops, a Lacanche range, Arhaus stools and glass pendants from Visual Comfort & Co. all play into the minimalist palette. Historic details including ceiling beams, limestone floors, Venetian plaster walls and original windows were preserved.

home office with built-in desk...

Millie, the family goldendoodle, relaxes in an office area opposite the kitchen. At the desk is Arteriors’ Bahati chair, while a Four Hands swivel chair makes for a cozy hangout spot nearby.

powder room with marble sink...

The powder room’s carved marble sink, brass fixtures and terra-cotta floor tile are original elements that the designers and owners opted to keep. A floral Alberto sconce by Julie Neill from Visual Comfort & Co. brings in a playful touch.

Like many century-old homes, this Denver Mediterranean Revival stands witness to plenty of history. Designed in 1928 by notable architecture firm Fisher & Fisher, the stately Belcaro brick residence was once the archetype of high design. But, by 2008, it had reached a Grey Gardens level of dishevelment, with developers eyeing it for demolition. Historic Denver, an urban preservation nonprofit, intervened, facilitating the purchase of the property by two antiques dealers who took on a full renovation to rescue it, painstakingly bringing all walls, floors and fixtures back to their Roaring ’20s glory. Fast forward to today and the storied home has switched hands again with the arrival of a new family whose style leans minimalistic and modern, ushering in a clean, light and bright look.

Initially, the house hadn’t appealed to the wife in particular. But, while hunting for a more spacious residence and a larger yard with her husband and three high-school- and college-aged children, her daughters urged her to still peek in. “The minute we walked through the front door, we felt the potential,” the wife recalls. “We saw the incredible stone floors, the Venetian plaster walls—and we were goners.” Plus, she notes of the previous owners, “They were so generous in conveying to us that they intended to provide a blank canvas for the next family; they gifted us with permission to take their masterpiece and make it ours, which was liberating.”

To do so, the new homeowners brought in designers Kim Blankenburg and Molly Bevan to reimagine the historic setting to suit their family’s lifestyle. “Our first walkthrough felt like a museum tour, with hundreds of antique furnishings and objets d’art tagged for an upcoming estate sale,” remembers Blankenburg. “But we fell in love with the home from the moment we saw it, too. The softness and depth of the white plaster walls became the perfect backdrop for our clients’ minimalist aesthetic.”

The Luxe Next In Design 99 honorees and their clients quickly agreed that the renovated floors (“art in and of themselves,” reflects the wife of their historic European hardwood and French limestone) would stay. As would the Venetian plaster walls, inlaid Portuguese Azulejo tile, the exposed wooden beams and five ornate fireplace surrounds, and the iron windows and doors with hand-forged hardware. As the new owners had purchased the home partially furnished, the pieces left behind were treated to a thorough edit. For example, the built-in white marble dining table in the breakfast nook was beautiful but stood at an unconventional height that didn’t fit most contemporary chairs. The family wanted it to go, “but we promised we could find chairs that would work,” says Bevan. They topped off the design with a geometric chandelier and kept the space’s blue-and-white wall tile as an art installation. “The idea was to honor the spirit and flow of the home, leading us to a design vision based around simplicity,” Blankenburg explains.

Simplicity also underscored the decision to replace each of the home’s 77 ornate light fixtures with clean-lined models—a look that creates refreshing contrast. To wit, the antique stone living room fireplace is now flanked by a pair of delicate blackened-brass-and-white-leather chandeliers; their construction of lines and curves also stands out against a squared-off sectional. In the kitchen, a row of glass pendants strikes a contemporary note against rustic exposed beams. In a different take, a plaster floral sconce was installed above the original marble sink of the powder room, “bridging the room’s historic elements with a playful modern aesthetic,” Bevan notes.

The antique-laden kitchen, they all agreed, needed an overhaul to fit the family’s needs. The owner desired more counter space and storage, and envisioned an island where the family could congregate while the kids complete their homework. And Bevan recalls: “The existing stone sink, sourced from an 18th-century silk factory, was stunning but impractical for everyday use. It was so shallow, our client was soaked head-to-toe every time she washed the dishes.” Brett La Hay of Inspire Kitchen Design Studio stepped in to help Bevan and Blankenburg revamp the space with plenty of cabinetry in a timeless white, new appliances and a much deeper sink that keeps splashes at bay. Certain details were preserved, however, including more inlaid tile that formerly served as the stove’s backsplash and now acts as wall art there as well. General contractor Ruben Ervin handled certain construction needs in the kitchen and adjoining fully renovated butler’s pantry; he also tackled the remodels of the primary bath, two secondary bathrooms and a main-level office space.

“It’s the combination of handmade elements, antique materials and thoughtfully curated details that contributes to the warmth of this home, but the overall aesthetic is clean without feeling stark,” observes Blankenburg. The owner concurs, adding: “I’m so proud we’ve been able to honor the history of this well-loved home and hang onto some of its most fundamental elements—we added our own chapter without ignoring the rest of the story.”