WALLTAWK + DESIGN
When she talks about wallpaper, Batya Stepelman gets excited. “Today’s papers occupy the space where art and home decor intersect–but on the wall,” she says. They’re also the ultimate quick fix, she points out: “A single feature wall can usually be installed within hours, and it can completely transform the feel of a room.” Last October, the former Wall Street lawyer made her passion a business when she launched the Denver-based wallpaper boutique and design consultancy WallTawk + Design. “No one was representing the brands I love most and have installed in my own home,” the Brooklyn transplant explains of her company’s catalog of independent designers and artists. “They are thoughtful, meticulous and original, and they push boundaries.” Indeed, an eye-popping array of patterns–geometric, floral, animal and more–can be seen in the WallTawk showroom, located in Stepelman’s historic home in Congress Park. Here, she leads us through her favorite spots, from Cheesman Park to RiNo.
9 a.m. Start the morning with a cortado or cappuccino from Aviano Coffee in Cherry Creek North. The shop uses terrific beans and has a great selection of pastries as well as an outdoor patio.
10 a.m. Head to WallTawk, located in an 1895 Denver Square with Queen Anne details, and pore over unique wallpaper patterns from makers including Flavor Paper, Abnormals Anonymous, Abigail Borg, Calico, Eskayel and Fayce Textiles in addition to up-and-coming designers from across the globe.
11 a.m. Walk to the Denver Botanic Gardens, located in Cheesman Park. Visit the iconic Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory and the Japanese Sho-Fu-En garden, designed by Koichi Kawana in collaboration with Kai Kwahara. Don’t miss the exhibition of nine works by Alexander Calder, one of the 20th century’s most influential sculptors, on display until September 24.
1 p.m. Cross town for lunch at Stowaway Coffee & Kitchen in Denver’s River North Art District. The menu reflects the owner’s global travels–try the Levantine fatteh bowl and herb salad (layers of crunchy pita, tomatoes and eggplant topped with tahini sauce).
2 p.m. Walk or bike around the neighborhood to see some of the best street art in the country. Most of the murals were created by local artists, including Regan Rosburg, Mike Graves, Jeremy Burns and Anna Charney. If you’re craving beautiful tree-lined streets and historic Victorians, though, head a few blocks east and stroll through Curtis Park, which is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in the city.
4 p.m. Happy hour is at Bar Fausto, a RiNo restaurant offering delicious small plates like seasonal bruschetta, cheese, marinated olives, salads, wines and delicious craft cocktails (try the #52 or #56). The restaurant also has wallpapered bathrooms–and a photo booth to boot!
5 p.m. Make your way down Larimer Street toward Lower Downtown, stopping at the Denver Central Market, which houses a collection of small local businesses inside the 1920s-era H.H. Tammen Curio Company building. Grab a delicious treat from Temper Chocolates and Confections or a cocktail at Curio, the onsite bar.
6 p.m. As you approach LoDo, take in the beautiful architecture. Peek inside The Maven hotel (located at the Dairy Block) and view the rotating art gallery in the main lobby. Walk through Union Station, the historic train depot now home to fantastic restaurants, lounges, bookshops and flower stands.
7 p.m. Settle into El Five for dinner. This Lower Highland restaurant is decorated with vintage cinema posters from Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, and the interiors are just plain sexy! The fare is Mediterranean Basinmeets-Middle East. Get the green gazpacho, paella and baba ghanoush. Then watch the sunset over Denver (unobstructed views!) while you sip one of the bar’s killer sangrias.