One for the History Books

Photos: David Patterson Photography

Cherry Hills Village property
Because it’s positioned at the back of the property, the home’s exterior was made to stand out—but not with your typical “architectural gobbly-gook,” says architect Paul Mahony. Instead, the managing partner at KGA Studio Architects points to the home’s “perfect proportions and craftsmanship,” featuring select special details.

When the proverbial they say to expect the unexpected when diving into a home remodel, the proverbial they are not wrong: permits can halt construction for weeks, cockeyed pipes can be discovered, paint colors can turn out all wrong and so on. This is not where things got interesting in this Cherry Hills Village cottage, though.

The story for its new homeowners, who had been looking for a haven with enough space for visiting children and grandchildren, started after an unignorable roadblock came to light. The home’s original foundation could not support the remodel work they had planned, which meant they needed to rebuild from the ground up.

Despite the fresh start, they changed almost nothing in their blueprint.

The initial renovation strategy was kept nearly identical, with the original first-floor space not made much bigger. A bit of proof: The main level of the original structure measured 3,483 square feet. The main level of the new build is 4,184 square feet. They also didn’t move the home’s placement on their 2.2-acre property an inch. Nestled into the lot’s back corner, the previous owner had created “this oasis of different species of trees, at different ages, layered very nicely,” that the homeowners were determined to preserve, says KGA Studio Architects’ Paul Mahony.

Perhaps this is all because preservation was the name of the game in their makeover tactics. The homeowners were looking to display authentic elements of old English country estates—keeping things as historically accurate as possible. They enlisted Mahony, Steve Diamond of Diamond Homes and interior designer Richelle Ashmore of Your Natural Home to bring the vision to life. “We wanted an old-world feel; a peaceful cottage that would feel like it had been on the site for years,” the homeowner says.

Mahony hit the history books for genuine exterior essentials and emerged with swooping eaves on the roof—constructed from imported slate—copper detailing on the downspouts, nearly full-stucco siding and towering (and skinny) red-brick chimneys, which lead to the estate’s most interesting indoor detail.

The interior features six fireplaces—three of which have antique surrounds and firebrick sourced from Europe—paying homage to a time when homes were heated solely through hearths. “The fireplaces were a key element for us,” says the homeowner. “Their character helped lend to the feeling of being rooted in the deep history of another time.”

Ashmore accompanied the cozy centerpieces with antique furniture from Denver’s Eron Johnson Antiques and a diverse array of surfaces to create the essence of a “little haven nestled in the woods,” she says. Adds Mahony: “One of the things you find with these old English designs is that there is a lot of texture on the walls; a lot of times because the homes grow over years and generations, so you have different materials.”

The team did create a second floor (which was the initial reason for the renovation) to make room for two suites for visiting family. They also redesignated other areas per the homeowners’ strict intentions: “We wanted a comfortable home free of cavernous spaces—one where a single person could feel at ease in any room.” So, each living area was made to have a purpose, including his and her offices—his with a chest for fly-fishing rods and hers set up for yoga—a banquette for playing cards and even an archery range in the basement.

The housewide mission was also, of course, to take advantage of those forested sight lines. Every room, except the master closet, has doors to a patio or outdoor path. In short, “our new home has an old English style with a cottage sensibility,” the homeowner says. “It’s the kind of home you might expect to find hidden in the trees in the English countryside, surrounded by lovely gardens.”

Paul Mahony
KGA Studio Architects

Steve Diamond
Diamond Homes

Richelle Ashmore
Your Natural Home