the Duncan Residence

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An urban house that does not overwhelm the street. A restrained use of elegant and timeless materials. A strong presence of well-defined outdoor “rooms”. A prominently displayed wine collection in addition to a “working” wine cellar.

The Owner was the Landscape Architect on the Project, producing a highly collaborative relationship and dialogue between architecture, interior design and landscape.

This ground up, newly constructed home, in Denver’s Bonnie Brae neighborhood is a sculptural, thoroughly modern, light-infused home that responds to the scale of its street and to the 1920’s International Style precedents nearby. It represents the ultimate in collaboration between the Owners: a Landscape Architect and Wine Collector, and the Architects, to create a subtle and crafted urban home.
The site is a linchpin between the one-story neighbors facing the street and those that sit taller along Bonnie Brae Boulevard. The entry sequence honors the rhythm of front porches of the street, and the two-story massing of the home mediates the very different scale of the curving street as it terminates at the boulevard. The natural slope of the site, and its geometry allows the massing of the house to expand vertically and horizontally as it moves from street to alley while maintaining a modest street presence.

The material choices reinforced the massing decisions: a “roman” brick, (modular height by 12 inch long) was chosen as the primary, nearly singular exterior material to reinforce horizontality, compress the home’s vertical presence, and distinguish it from so many “urban quilt” strategies so prevalent in urban residential design. To reinforce the connection of indoor and outdoor rooms, the same flooring material flows from interior to exterior.

“Absolute precision” describes the detailing and construction craft of the home; from the material decisions that support the programmatic, down to the invention of a backsplash receptacle cover.

The choreography of the home flowing from the street, and from the garage, slides seamlessly through indoor and outdoor rooms, encountering unique architectural moments, framed views, koi ponds, lighting effects, natural ventilation, art, wine, culminating in a roof deck at the third level.

The home is suffused with natural light through its weaving of interior and exterior spaces. The use of disappearing sliding-stacking doors blurs the distinction between interior and exterior, which, along with the use of stack effect in the stair volume to the roof, and tilt-turn operability of nearly every window, offers the opportunity to naturally ventilate the home and nearly eliminate the use of air conditioning. The selection of glass and window system provided a “whole assembly” ultra-low-U-value, balancing the large expanses of glazing.

Every outdoor space is considered and utilized, making use of every inch of the site. Even the roof is activated. The rooftop deck creates additional opportunities, both as another outdoor room, and to capture nearby views to Ellipse Park, and distant views to downtown Denver and the northern Front Range beyond. Access to the roof resulted in the sculptural, spine-like steel staircase, wrapped in glass, creating a “light cannon” injecting light throughout the core of the home.

In distilling the neighborhood context to its essentials, the team created a residence grounded in its setting, yet clearly speaking its own voice: creating an enduring, elegant urban home.

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Modern home with Kitchen, Engineered Quartz Counter, Ceramic Tile Floor, White Cabinet, Wood Cabinet, Accent Lighting, Recessed Lighting, Cooktops, Wall Oven, Range Hood, Wine Cooler, and Drop In Sink. Kitchen and Dining from Patio: the Wine display room is at right. Photo  of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Kitchen and Dining from Patio: the Wine display room is at right.

Modern home with Living Room, Accent Lighting, Wall Lighting, Porcelain Tile Floor, and Floor Lighting. Living Room sculpture plinth: Bronze Sculpture by Gail Folwell Photo 2 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Living Room sculpture plinth: Bronze Sculpture by Gail Folwell

Modern home with Living Room, Accent Lighting, and Porcelain Tile Floor. Living Room wine display Photo 3 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Living Room wine display

Modern home with Staircase, Wood Railing, Wood Tread, and Metal Railing. South Stair Photo 4 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

South Stair

Modern home with Bath Room, Engineered Quartz Counter, Porcelain Tile Floor, Undermount Sink, Freestanding Tub, Ceiling Lighting, Accent Lighting, Enclosed Shower, Porcelain Tile Wall, Recessed Lighting, and One Piece Toilet. Master Bathroom Photo 5 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Master Bathroom

Modern home with Kitchen, Engineered Quartz Counter, Porcelain Tile Floor, Colorful Cabinet, Wood Cabinet, Ceiling Lighting, Recessed Lighting, Refrigerator, Accent Lighting, Wall Oven, and Undermount Sink. View from Pantry to East Patio through the Kitchen Photo 6 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

View from Pantry to East Patio through the Kitchen

Modern home with Bath Room, Porcelain Tile Floor, Recessed Lighting, Enclosed Shower, Ceramic Tile Wall, Ceiling Lighting, Accent Lighting, and One Piece Toilet. Master Bath: Shower and Toilet rooms Photo 7 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Master Bath: Shower and Toilet rooms

Modern home with Hallway and Porcelain Tile Floor. Entry Foyer Photo 8 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Entry Foyer

Modern home with Outdoor, Tile Patio, Porch, Deck, Small Pools, Tubs, Shower, Back Yard, Hardscapes, Landscape Lighting, and Flowers. Koi pond at West Patio Photo 9 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Koi pond at West Patio

Modern home with Staircase, Metal Tread, Wood Railing, Wood Tread, Glass Railing, and Metal Railing. Stair to Roof Photo 10 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Stair to Roof

Modern home with Outdoor, Trees, Side Yard, Front Yard, Walkways, Hardscapes, Raised Planters, Small Patio, Porch, Deck, Decking Patio, Porch, Deck, Tile Patio, Porch, Deck, Metal Fences, Wall, Horizontal Fences, Wall, and Landscape Lighting. View from the Street, from Southeast Photo 11 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

View from the Street, from Southeast

Modern home with Outdoor, Back Yard, Trees, Raised Planters, Walkways, Small Pools, Tubs, Shower, Large Patio, Porch, Deck, Tile Patio, Porch, Deck, and Landscape Lighting. View of West Patio Photo 12 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

View of West Patio

Modern home with Kitchen, Engineered Quartz Counter, Wood Cabinet, Porcelain Tile Floor, Colorful Cabinet, Ceiling Lighting, Recessed Lighting, Accent Lighting, Undermount Sink, Wall Oven, and Refrigerator. View of Dining Room and Kitchen Photo 13 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

View of Dining Room and Kitchen

Modern home with Outdoor, Front Yard, Shrubs, Trees, Small Pools, Tubs, Shower, Horizontal Fences, Wall, Landscape Lighting, Metal Fences, Wall, and Small Patio, Porch, Deck. Front Porch: Bronze sculpture by Gail Folwell Photo 14 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Front Porch: Bronze sculpture by Gail Folwell

Modern home with Bath Room, Engineered Quartz Counter, Accent Lighting, Porcelain Tile Floor, Undermount Sink, Wall Lighting, One Piece Toilet, and Ceramic Tile Wall. Powder Roomwith custom vanity sink and lighting detail Photo 15 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Powder Roomwith custom vanity sink and lighting detail

Modern home with Bedroom, Bed, Chair, Ceiling Lighting, Accent Lighting, Lamps, and Light Hardwood Floor. Master Bedroom Photo 16 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Master Bedroom

Modern home with Bath Room. View from Living Room Wine Display toward South Stair Photo 17 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

View from Living Room Wine Display toward South Stair

Modern home with Staircase, Metal Tread, Wood Tread, and Glass Railing. View to South with stair to Roof above Photo 18 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

View to South with stair to Roof above

Modern home with Living Room, Ottomans, Bench, Sofa, Chair, Shelves, Ceiling Lighting, Porcelain Tile Floor, Recessed Lighting, Accent Lighting, and Two-Sided Fireplace. Living Room Photo 19 of the Duncan ResidenceView Photos

Living Room

Main Level Floor Plan Photo 20 of the Duncan Residence modern homeView Photos

Main Level Floor Plan

Credits

Posted By
Architect
  • Semple Brown Architects and Designers
Interior Design
  • Semple Brown Architects and Designers
  • veselbrand (Kitchen)
  • 186 Lighting Design (Lighting)
Landscape Design
  • DESIGN acea
Builder
  • Old Greenwich Builders
Photographer

Overview

Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Style
  • Modern
  • Press

    Publications