This is a love story.
It was 2011 when Jonas DiCaprio saw the 1969 ranch house for the first time. Nestled in a quiet Cherry Hills neighborhood, the five-bedroom, four-bathroom structure had certainly seen better days, but DiCaprio could peer through to the home’s undeniable beauty. Floor-to-ceiling glass, a dramatic pitched roof, and globe lights hinted at a bygone aesthetic that he dedicates his work to preserving. "A majority of the projects I’m doing now are mid-century modern," said DiCaprio, owner of Design Platform. "I love the details."
He knew he had to be a part of this remodel process, no matter the buyer. He just hoped they’d let him. "One morning I woke up at 8:30, and the first thing my husband said was, "We’re going to look at a house," said Erin Hornstein in the picturesque version of the house she and her husband came to own in a whirlwind of events. Their realtor introduced them to DiCaprio, and the rest is history. "Immediately upon meeting Joe and Erin Hornstein and their son Bennett, I knew we were going to make something amazing," said DiCaprio.
With a background in construction, a degree in architecture, and a propensity for helping neglected retro homes reach their potential, DiCaprio was the perfect leader for the Hornsteins’ revamp. "We have consciously worked throughout the entire design and remodel to maintain all the distinct features that made this house and its architecture so unique," he said of the 6,000-square-foot home.
One of those features is the incredible positioning on a hillside that brings the backyard treetops to eye level once stepping through the door. "It’s like an oasis," said DiCaprio, but it wasn’t until he came along that this feature was able to shine. High walls broke up the great room into a series of smaller spaces, so he sunk the partitions waist-high, alleging for subtle distinction between the kitchen, living and dining areas with ought shrouding the openness that makes this property so enticing. Rethinking the value of each space while allowing the home’s innate advantages to surface was boldly carried into the bedroom spaces. "We decided to do something unthinkable in most real estate experts opinions," DiCaprio said of removing a full bathroom and bedroom. But one can hardly criticize this move when the new four-bedroom, three-bath layout seems intuitive and ample. "It felt like a maze before," he said. What was initially a peach room, an turquoise room, and a red room are now fresh, white walls allowing the architecture, furniture, and art to stand out instead.
A purple barn door concealing an office space in the master suite is a perfect example of the character opportunity that white walls provide. Plus, they don’t compete with the incomparable color and sunlight just outside the windows. To allow that light from the master bedroom to splash into the hallway, DiCaprio added high set interior windows. It’s a far cry from the cavernous hallways and other thoughtless ‘70s additions that the house endured for years. "The bathroom was Vegas," he said about the windowless master bath with floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The new bathroom melds seamlessly with the rest of the suite, and a custom floating walnut vanity by avenue:two is echoed in the closet and kitchen, bringing unity to the home that it desperately lacked.
"We were thrilled with Jonas and his team," Erin said. "We cannot say enough good things about the entire process." Considering the complete design/remodel only took two months, hit few snags, and culminated in perfection and friendship can only mean one thing: It was meant to be. And they all lived happily ever after.