Ever since husband-and-wife Peter and Judy Taggart began collecting art and textiles from around the world, they’ve favored pieces that offer a glimpse of their maker, from fabrics capturing an artisan’s unique techniques to paintings that highlight an artist’s every gesture. And so, the highest compliment they could pay to interior designer Ashley Jacobs—who teamed up with general contractor Kirk McConnell to help these New Jersey transplants personalize their new home near Denver’s Washington Park—is that the interiors she created reveal hints of their story at every turn.
When it was built in 2018, the home had been tailored to owners with more traditional tastes than the Taggarts, who desired a clean canvas for their colorful collections. Its architecture required little updating, however, save for the addition of a glass-walled wine room next to the lower-level bar. This meant Jacobs could immediately focus on subduing the interior finishes. “We kept a lot of key features, like the iron staircase railings, wood ceiling beams and warm brown wood floors, but we simplified the palette,” she says. “The trim and ceilings are now painted a bright white and the walls are one of my favorite warmer whites, which provides a great backdrop for art without making the house look like a stark gallery.”
To complete this fresh scene, Jacobs layered in textured finishes with motifs that showcase the craftsmanship behind their creation. “For me, it indicates the sense that a person has touched something,” Judy explains. In the kitchen, for example, a custom, hand-grained stainless-steel hood reveals the brushstrokes of a local artisan. And around the primary bedroom’s fireplace, there’s new, navy-blue handmade tile “with a beautiful undulation that creates a rich texture,” Jacobs notes.
When her clients purchased this property, the designer had recently completed the remodel of their nearby town house—a part-time residence as they transitioned to Colorado—and some furnishings from that project, in addition to pieces from the Taggarts’ traditional East Coast home, found their way into these rooms. The breakfast area’s chairs and angular brass pendant, for instance, are existing items that Jacobs paired with a modern pedestal table. A well-loved wooden table and set of woven chairs found a home in the formal dining room, too. And an inviting upholstered armchair inspired the primary bedroom’s reading nook, which Jacobs finished with a hide rug and stitched-leather ottoman.
“Some of the pieces have a patina to them and others don’t, and I like the tension it creates—that juxtaposition of something shiny with something a little beat up,” Judy says. Such unlikely marriages result in arrangements that “feel like they’ve always been together,” Jacobs adds. “We were looking for pieces to finish scenes that Judy had already started to set.”
When it came to showcasing artwork, however, the interiors provided opportunities for fresh perspectives. “This home has exquisite wall space, which allowed Judy to display a larger selection of their art,” Jacobs notes. When the designer removed the second-floor landing’s built-in desk nook, for example, she made way for a gallery wall that the Taggarts filled with vibrant oil paintings in gilded frames. Meanwhile, downstairs, an empty dining room wall became the canvas for a collection of a dozen handmade baskets.
Perhaps most meaningful of all, the Taggarts’ bedroom displays an assortment of sketches by Judy’s grandfather, who created movie posters for 20th Century Fox. “For fun, he did fine art painting and taught himself sculpture, so, growing up, we always had original art around our house,” shares Judy, whose passion for collecting once inspired her to launch an art consulting business in New Jersey. “Now, I love when I can get to know artists and learn their stories. It makes it more meaningful to have their work in our home.”
United in these rooms, such treasured finds tell another tale—one of a couple that has lovingly curated them over the years. “It feels like us,” Judy enthuses about their reimagined residence. Adds Jacobs: “It reflects where they are now: starting fresh in Denver.”