Whether it's at his Denver showroom or at home in his modernist Hilltop ranch, Mikhail Dantes embodies minimalist elegance. Meet the Front Range's most in-demand designer—who's defining Denver style.
Mikhail Dantes opens the front door to his midcentury revival in Hilltop accompanied by his dog Oskar. Fourth in a family of O-named dogs (Ophelia, Oliver, and Olivia round out the pack), Dantes' tail-wagging beagle looks like he belongs in this home: His fur—muted gray, chocolate brown, and dove white—effortlessly complements the exquisite contemporary furniture that surrounds him. The same goes for Dantes, who, dressed in a flawless, three-shades-of-gray ensemble by French designer Lanvin (accessorized with shiny black Dolce & Gabbana shoes), effortlessly blends into his surroundings.
This enviable perfection might be intimidating were it not for Dantes' disarming demeanor. "Come on, let's have a seat," he offers gently. No matter that the "seat" is an original chrome chair by midcentury-modern furniture designer Milo Baughman. For the slender, dark-haired Dantes, 44, design is not about ego. Rather, it's an effortless, Zenlike elegance—one that he's cultivated slowly over 19 years in the Denver design world. The fact that his dog matches his sofa (whether intentional or not) just makes him that much more likeable. It's his job to surround himself with beautiful—and beautifully coordinated—things.
"When I come up with a concept for a client's home, I usually get it right the first time," Dantes says, a little reluctantly, when explaining his design process. "I don't want to sound like I'm bragging. It's just that I'm really good at listening to people."
If Dantes seems humbly confident, it's because he's earned it. When he was 24, he opened his own residential design business, D+D Interiors, which has since become one of Denver's most sought-after firms. And when he's not pulling paint swatches for the high-end clientele at D+D (the second "D" is for his brother, Ron Dantes, who keeps the books), you'll find Dantes meticulously tweaking displays at Town, the three furniture showrooms—totaling 20,000 square feet—which he co-owns at the Denver Design District.
Dantes opened the first Town store out of necessity: Unable to find the kinds of high-end furniture and fabric lines his clients' homes called for, he decided the best answer was to open his own shop. So in 2003, he and his business partner—and life partner—Eddy Doumas (an accomplished designer with A-list clientele in Vail and Avon) created the Town Showroom, which championed craftsmanship, and introduced Denverites to designers like Maxine Snider, Helene Aumont, and Victoria Hagan. Shortly after Town came Town Studio and Baker at Town, two more showrooms from the duo, which showcase (slightly) more affordable designers like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Baker, and the venerable Barbara Barry.