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Nest Architectural Design added black brick detailing and light stone trim to an otherwise typical Denver Square to complement the blend of new and historic details inside the house. Photograph by David Lauer

Classic, Take Two

Take a traditional architectural style, update it for modern life, and what do you get? Practical--and beautiful--ideas to inspire your next renovation

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Paul and Susan Valas
Homeowners Paul and Susan Valas. Photograph by David Lauer

Our memories of our childhood homes have a kind of magical sheen that only nostalgia can impart.
So it’s no surprise that when Susan Valas, former owner of the Brass Bed in Cherry Creek, imagined the new house in which she and her husband, Paul, would spend their empty-nester years, she was inspired by her childhood home: a Foursquare in Buffalo, New York. But the traditional style, with its boxy form, wide front porch, and center dormer—which locals will recognize as a Denver Square—needed to blend with the couple’s grown-up preferences for contemporary furnishings and eclectic artwork.

Nest Architectural Design delivered with a 6,500-square-foot Wash Park house rooted in the historic style but with updates like wider and taller entryways and modern exterior details. “We didn’t want to lose sight of that traditional typology, but we also wanted to respond to the clients and the way they want to live,” says Scott Hamman, project manager at Nest. Interior designers Angela Coleman of Spec Design/Luxe Classic Kitchens & Interiors and Cassy Kicklighter Poole of Kaleidoscope Design layered on an energetic color palette and fused beloved antiques with custom furniture and finishes. The result is a home so vibrant and personal that Valas might sense a bit of magic in these rooms, too.

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Design Pros

Architecture: Nest Architectural Design
Interior Design: Cassy Kicklighter Poole, Kaleidoscope Design; Angela Coleman, Spec Design/Luxe Classic Kitchens & Interiors
Construction: Scott Kirkegaard and Jon Crabtree, AJ Kirkegaard Contractors Inc.


Steal this idea: A showpiece should simultaneously stand out and blend in. The bold peacock blue sofa is an obvious focal point, while its tailored style keeps it in line with the rest of the furnishings.


Steal this idea: Use symmetric details to create a cohesive feeling between rooms that face each other across a hallway. In this case, stained-glass transom windows mark the entrance to the living and dining rooms.


Steal this idea: Don’t be afraid to switch things up. “In every house you go into, you’ll see a wall color and a white trim,” says interior designer Cassy Kicklighter Poole. This upstairs guest room flips the predictable approach with off-white walls and green trim. Another fun switch-up: The ceiling is finished with floral wallpaper from York Wallcoverings.

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The interior designers layered on an energetic color palette and fused beloved antiques with custom furniture and finishes.


Steal this idea: Forgo the expected bath mat for something a bit more interesting, like the antique Kazak rug here. “People overlook those details in the bathroom,” Poole says. “The rug adds so much impact, color, and warmth to the space.”  

Valas master bathroom
The master bathroom may have an antique feel (hello, claw-foot tub), but the large wood vanity was actually custom made by Luxe Classic Kitchens & Interiors to look vintage. Photograph by David Lauer

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