Ahead of the Curve

How an unusual lot resulted in design inspiration for one Northwest Denver family.

September 2012

The curve is the home’s dominant feature. Friends and neighbors affectionately refer to it as the sail, or ship’s hull, or whalebone; the architects have dubbed it the “shield house” for the buffer the curve creates from the neighbors. The shield is crafted from Douglas fir timbers—each vertical rib is connected with wooden shims and dowels, not glue or nails. Inside, the curve gives contrast to the staircase’s Jenga-like horizontal wood slabs and scoops sunlight from the third-story windows to create an organic, dappled-forest vibe.

Andrea Schumacher and Shadie Copeland of Denver’s O Interior Design were brought onboard to do the interiors. “The homeowners wanted to create a space that exudes a sense of fun for their kids, while also being a sophisticated place for entertaining,” Copeland says. Playful splashes of color, texture, and pattern—like the Gainsborough slate-blue velvet fabric on the kitchen banquette and the powder room’s graphic-print Sanderson wallpaper—bring this vision to life.

Outside, a spacious backyard makes room for an edible garden, outdoor kitchen, sandbox, and deck—which doubles as a stage and seating for impromptu children’s performances. Landscape architect Courtney McRickard of Denver’s Three Sixty Design created the yard’s pièce de résistance, the fireplace seating area, where a vertically hung, laser-cut image of the constellation Perseus (in the sky directly over Colorado every summer) is backlit, creating a luminous setting for conversation. The result is a series of seamless spaces that are sunlit and welcoming and offer unexpected richness.