Moving from Lake Michigan, a savvy couple builds a dream home that's also a wise investment.
A couple with grown children might seem like a strange match for Denver's up-and-coming Lower Highlands neighborhood. The area flourished in the last decade, becoming a trendy hub of mixed-use developments. The husband, who owns a real estate investment and development firm, agreed with his wife that the growing potential of Lower Highlands was a wise setting—and investment—for their new lives. Unlike their old family home off Lake Michigan, this dwelling would be designed with their wants in mind. Architect Chad Mitchell of Meridian 105 Architecture introduced them to a site not far from the Highland Bridge, and he designed an open-concept property that showed the versatility of modern architecture. “It was important to us that this structure…stand on its own two feet as a quality building with integrity both in the building form and in the materials,” Mitchell said. An open plan helped ameliorate the effects of the home's narrow plot—only 28 feet—and 6-foot elevation allowed for more privacy. But the couple didn’t want to be completely left alone: their daughter, an interior designer, helped her parents with furnishings.
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“Considering all of the foot traffic around their property, [the owners] made it very clear that they wanted to find a way to maintain as much privacy in the home as possible,” architect Chad Mitchell says of this Denver home. “Thus, the main floor of the home is elevated from the sidewalk by about six feet.” The exterior siding is red cedar with a custom Sherwin-Williams stain.
Mitchell says that the red cedar “provided a nice level of contrast from the white siding on top and helps to establish those two spaces as distinctly separate.” The siding is from James Hardie.
“Because the property is so narrow, we had to be strategic in laying out the plan,” Mitchell says. “Our goal was to create an open plan that spanned from exterior wall to exterior wall in order to make the home feel as large as possible.” Solid oak flooring fills the space and pendants from Kenroy Home illuminate the kitchen.
Mitchell wanted to detail the solid oak staircase with that same sense of openness, even though its materials are heavy. “We used a lot of raw steel and wood on the interior of the home,” Mitchell said. “This carries the authenticity of real materials from the building exterior to the building interior.” A custom fireplace sits on the patio.
Since this home was primarily for the couple, rather than their grown children, they wanted a luxurious master bedroom. A Kichler fan circulates air above the bed.
Carrara marble was used in the shower and on the countertops. The fixtures are from Hansgrohe.
“We were concerned that by elevating the first floor by six feet, we would be detaching the living space from the neighborhood,” Mitchell says. “Thus, we have an elevated exterior patio off of the rear that overlooks the sidewalk and brings the living space to the outdoors.”
Apart from a “generous” master bedroom, Mitchell says that the couple also wanted a rooftop deck to see views of downtown Denver. A sloped roof kept the building up to code, and the outdoor deck “was achieved by shifting the upper volume backwards from the front of the house,” he says.