The comfort zone. That’s what we’ve nicknamed this year’s Denver Life Magazine Designer Showhouse. Because for all its “showiness”—the custom furniture and tile work, the extravagant wallpapers, the bling-y chandeliers, and the roughly 30 pieces of jaw-dropping artwork from Mirada Fine Art Gallery—it also feels like a real home.
“Each space was designed with comfort and functionality in mind. Things can be beautiful and still be used every day. No space in your home should go unlived in,” says Caylin Engle, lead designer at Caliber Construction, which worked with Denver Life Magazine, David Pauuw Design, and more than a dozen top Colorado interior designers to transform an empty Washington Park lot into this 5,000-square-foot urban oasis.
“Sometimes you find yourself in homes where you know a certain room might not ever get used, but I think whoever moves into this house is going to touch every square inch,” says Cassy Kicklighter Poole of Kaleidoscope Design, who designed the richly appointed first-floor study. “The house flows really nicely, the rooms speak to one another well, and I love that it’s on a corner lot.”
It’s true: The location, on a south-facing lot only a few blocks from Washington Park, can’t be beat. Even the designers who worked on the house were impressed. “It’s on a stunning corner lot on a beautiful leafy street in a great neighborhood that has wonderful boutiques, coffee shops, and restaurants,” says Denise Taylor of Cathers Home. “We actually went off to lunch one day while we were decorating and ended up hitting about five places. We went for lunch in one, stopped in the next and had coffee, went to a pastry shop, and then, to keep ourselves from eating more, went shopping and got our nails done! The fact that you can do all of those things in the same neighborhood reminds me of London, where I’m from. I would move into this house in a second.”
The house will be open to the public from Sept. 8 to 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday (closed Mondays). For the fourth straight year, 100 percent of the $20 fee (11 and under, $5) will directly benefit Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver.
The property’s backstory is unusual: After the lot was bought and scraped by one construction company, and plans drawn up by David Pauuw Design for a new spec home, it was sold to a married couple who asked Pauuw to tweak his plans. Then the couple decided they’d prefer to go with an already-built home, so the property (and the house plans) were sold to Brad Liber and his team at Caliber Construction, who thought they’d found the makings of a great 2018 Showhouse.
First, working with Paauw, they changed a few key things in the plans: “Based on discussions with realtors in the neighborhood, we knew we wanted to have four bedrooms on the second floor, and when we realized that the house faced the park and the mountains, we decided to move the master suite from the back to the front, to capture the sunsets,” says Engle. “Everyone on that floor still has access to a bathroom, closet, and a good-sized bedroom, and the master bath is connected to the laundry, which is really nice.”
Caliber tweaked the exterior, too, adding pewter limestone from Materials Marketing (which provided all of the stone and tile in the bathrooms, kitchen, butler’s pantry, and elsewhere throughout the house), a rustic white brick from North Carolina, a shed roof, modern-feel bronze trim, and a solid walnut slatted door stained in ebony. They also created an expansive social area in front. “In a corner lot, the front yard is really important,” says Engle. “Wash Park is a neighborhood where people are out on bikes or walking their dogs all the time. Having a really great place to sit in front of the house was important, and the green space also balances out the size of the home, which is 3,700 square feet above ground.”
Walk inside and you find a classic main-floor plan: A center hall with a study to the right and a dining room to the left. The dining space has huge sliders that open onto the front patio; on the back side of the dining space is a butler’s pantry that leads into a stylish, open kitchen that has a large eat-in area and abuts the home’s main living space. Sliders in the back provide access to the backyard patio and stand-alone garage.
To create a livable lower floor, Caliber dug deep enough to allow for 10-foot ceilings in the basement, which includes a main entertaining area (complete with a bar, glassed-in wine closet, and pool table), plus two extra bedrooms and a full bath, perfect for guests, an exercise room, or an office.
“The house is really well thought out with a neat layout and feels so comfortable,” says Corinne Ekle of C2Designs.“It’s not what you would normally see in Wash Park. The natural wood floors against the white walls feel fresh, and the exterior façade and stonework are unique and make for a beautiful home.”
Engle worked hard to keep things consistent throughout, using Ultra Design Center as the main lighting source and Mirada Fine Art as the sole art source, while still giving the designers room to have fun. “They did a good job keeping the designers in tune with each other. As you walk through, it feels like one designer did the whole place,” says Lindsay Kenison of Christy Sports. Adds her colleague Shawn Rokosz: “Even the color scheme from the patio flows into the kitchen and living room.”
The result is a house that already feels like a home. “Every space feels really great to be in,” says Wendy Yates of AbigailElise Interiors, who designed the top-floor loft. “As you walk in, you are drawn to continue throughout the house rather than stop in every room. It has a really easygoing flow.”