Cool Ranch

A Denver couple takes an outdated brick home from mediocre to midcentury modern.
May 2006
What Heather and Blake Mourer saw in the four-bedroom home in Crestmoor were two completely different houses. Their eyesight revealed floors covered with acres of bad shag and a kitchen that seemed like a dumping ground for avocado and gold appliances. “It was a perfect snapshot of all that was wrong with the 1970s,” says Heather, an interior designer and owner of One Home. What their imagination conjured up, however, was a stylish home reflecting the pair’s passion for art and design. Their mission? To remodel an ordinary ranch house into a sleek contemporary with references to its midcentury modern past, with a dream kitchen (designed themselves), stylish finishes, and plenty of space for their extensive collection of midcentury modern art and furniture—all the while creating homey rooms for themselves and their daughter.

Built in 1955, the house easily fits the label of “midcentury”—that stripped-down aesthetic popular from the end of World War II to the advent of postmodernism. In the parlance of the style, the Mourers’ 2,800-square-foot home falls somewhere between an ordinary Denver ranch and a more high-style California contemporary. While the exterior has the intersecting planes and large windows of the California approach, it’s sheathed in buttery blond and thin red bricks—a dead giveaway for a Denver ranch. In the California style, exterior elements are visible through glass walls and become interior elements. Here the fireplace alone pierces the inside from the outside, whereas the interior is—or was—pure Denver ranch: low ceilings, closed-off rooms, and drafty windows.