Small Wonder

How a designer and mother of three found paradisein 950 square feet.

December 2005

Laurel Quint was on a quest for the typical Denver real estate dream: an old home with character, in a neighborhood where the kids could play outside, and at a price that wasn't ridiculous. In the current market, rarely do all three come in one snug package. But when the single mother came across this stuccoed Art Deco cottage in Mayfair, she realized it also fit perfectly into the larger strategy she imagines for her life. Its 950 square feet made it the ideal transitional home for a self-employed woman with three young children.

Quint considers the house's petite proportions a distinct advantage. She wanted a place that would let her be close to her kids and her design business, Q Interior Design, which she runs out of the converted garage. "I also wanted something small enough that I could clean myself," she says. For now, she can manage the house, the kids, and the business easily, but Quint knows that as her business blossoms and the kids grow up, she'll move into larger digs and a more conventional office-that's the strategy.

Practicality aside, the home offered something even more appealing to this interior designer: good bones. First, a recent renovation on the kitchen and bath had already been completed. The home's hardwood floors and plaster walls gave her a neutral palette with which to play. It had a manageable yard, and the garden was mature. And most importantly, the majority of the rooms opened onto the outdoors. "It's like a little house that had been plucked out of Santa Monica and dropped into Denver," she says.