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The check-in desk, with its limestone top and tufted-leather front (upholstered in Cortina Leathers’ Rustico Primavera), feels like a piece of beautiful furniture; a display of real brass keys, each encased in an embossed leather pouch by Denver brand Winter Session, signals the area’s function to guests. The wall color is a custom blend inspired by Benjamin Moore’s Dragonfly hue. Photograph by Raul Garcia

Take A Behind-the-Scenes Design Tour of the Ramble Hotel

We asked the designers and developer to disect the design details of the new RiNo boutique hotel's lavish lobby.

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Perhaps the loveliest of Denver’s fabulous new boutique lodging options, the seven-month-old Ramble Hotel blends materials, styles, and eras for a layered look that feels both glamorous and completely at home in north Denver’s industrial RiNo neighborhood. We asked the designers and developer to dissect the design of its lavish lobby—home to all-day eatery and bar Death & Co.—so you know just what to do to give your everyday living spaces that luxe getaway feel.

#1 The Eating Nook

A mix of natural and artificial lighting is key to helping spaces like this one work equally well for a cozy cup of coffee in the morning, a working lunch with a laptop, or a date-night dinner.

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Sunlight drenches the lobby through more than 16-foot-tall windows during the day. In the evening, thick velvet drapes (Clarke & Clarke’s Palais Velvet Indigo) are drawn to create a more romantic, exclusive ambience. “I’ve been in so many restaurants or bars that are beautifully designed, but the lights are too cool, too white on the spectrum,” says Ryan Diggins, a partner at Gravitas Development Group, which built the independently owned and operated hotel. His solution: custom crystal chandeliers by Spike Lighting—fitted with Philips Lighting’s Warm Glow LED bulbs that emit a whiter light during the day and dim to a golden hue at night.

Photograph by Raul Garcia

Bring It Home: A banquette is a great solution for a small eat-in kitchen, and—because it typically requires a custom design—a great opportunity to incorporate refined flourishes, according to Ashley Manhan, principal and co-founder of Los Angeles-based Avenue Interior Design, which directed the Ramble’s interior design concept. For Death & Co.’s row of booths, that special design moment comes in a simple brass rail across the top.

#2 The Bar

“The bar is the altar for the space,” developer Ryan Diggins says. “It needed to have a really strong presence.” And it does, thanks to an almost religious attention to detail.

To add a patina to the design, Diggins specified a blue-green plaster-esque wall treatment for the walls behind the bar and check-in desk. When real Venetian plaster proved too costly, he worked with a local drywaller to create a similar effect using a stucco material and a mix of light and dark sealants. Visible trowel marks add to the aged look. Says Diggins, “I think this was the best decision we made in the space. You see the movement [of the trowel marks], which I think is really visually pleasing.” The marble-topped bar (fabricated by Colorado Custom Stone) stands out thanks to a paneled facade crafted by woodworker Brian Trybus, whose shop is less than a block from the hotel. The wood is finished with a black stain that lets some of the grain peek through.

Photograph by Raul Garcia

Bring It Home: Another intricacy of Death & Co.’s bar is felt more than seen: the “ogee” (oversize bevel shape) edge on the polished Calacatta Caldia marble top. “It adds a nice touch that feels fancy and high-end,” says designer Manhan. And it’s available to anyone remodeling a kitchen or bathroom: “A lot of people, when they go to the Home Depot or wherever, aren’t even given that option,” Manhan says, “but it’s so easy; just ask the person fabricating your decorative edges.”

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Pick Like A Pro

Ryan Diggins, the visionary behind the Ramble Hotel, shares his favorite spots for architectural salvage.

1. Queen City Architectural Salvage
4750 Brighton Blvd.
Great For: “Vintage light fixtures.”

2. Reclaimed DesignWorks
601 S. Broadway
Great For: “Flooring and beams. The reclaimed beech-and-maple floors in the lobby came from here.”

3. Tom Kirk Architectural Salvage
Great For: “We found the green marble for our restrooms at his salvage yard—and all sorts of great random stuff!”

#3 The Sitting Room

“When I design a space, what I like to do is think through the conversation that’s supposed to happen in that arrangement,” Diggins says. “Where are you for that intimate one-on-one conversation? Where are you chatting with a group of friends?”

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The Ramble’s lobby is filled with a variety of perching options—small bistro tables surrounded by wing chairs, cushy sofas, tall-backed booths, stools at the marble-topped bar—all of which serve as seating for Death & Co., a bar and eatery whose relaxed daytime concept, DC/AM, gives way to more formal dinner and cocktail service at night. To make guests feel at home—and to achieve a slightly Old World aesthetic, even though the building is brand new—Diggins focused on an ethos of “relaxed elegance” rather than committing to a specific era or style.

Photograph by Raul Garcia

Bring It Home: The lobby’s custom leather-and-velvet sofas have apractical purpose: “They’re a little bigger and boxier to serve as almost an energy barrier,” between the lively bar and the more placid part of the foyer, Diggins says. It’s a concept easily applied to today’s popular open floor plans to create a smooth transition from activity-filled kitchen and dining areas to a quieter living room.

Design Pros

Architecture: Johnson Nathan Strohe
Interior design: Ashley Manhan and Andrea DeRosa, Avenue Interior Design
Construction: Tom Sprung, Dave Blakey, and Jordan Dame, Sprung Construction

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