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A colorful rug from Floor Coverings by CPA complements the brass finishes in a wood-topped dining table from Restoration Hardware, a fireplace screen from Etsy, and a branch-like chandelier from C.A.I. Designs. The abstract color field painting is by Marcia Myers. Photography by Emily Minton Redfield.

Peek Inside: A Century-Old Park Hill Home Gets a Major Facelift

What happens when a straightforward renovation project suddenly becomes a total home transformation? For this century-old Park Hill home: design magic.

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When Brandi and Scott Fuller purchased their 1914 Georgian home on one of Denver’s most beautiful boulevards, they knew what they were getting into—sort of. “The very first time we walked through it, Scott said, ‘This house is a money pit,’ ” Brandi says. “But when we bought it anyway, we told ourselves, We’re just going to do these few things.”

From the front, the red-brick Georgian looks much as it did when it was built in 1914. One exception: The once-black front door now sports a rich blue hue. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield.

Those things included expanding and remodeling the kitchen—which felt far too small for the 8,000-square-foot house and their newly combined family of seven—and also adding an ensuite bathroom to two upstairs bedrooms, a walk-in master bedroom closet, and a basement home gym.

The couple knew from experience—she was the director of business development for Denver-based Oz Architecture; he secures financing for commercial real estate projects all over the country—that a construction project’s scope, budget, and timeline are bound to change a bit. But they never imagined that their seemingly straightforward list of updates would expand to become a near-complete remodel of their home.

Homeowner Brandi Fuller furnished her office with a feminine, eclectic mix of furnishings “that I knew would make me happy,” she says: a lacquered-wood desk from HW Home, Lucite chairs, vibrant yellow wallpaper, a bright-pink rug, and a portrait of her daughter—painted by her daughter’s best friend when both girls were six years old. The crystal chandelier came with the house. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield.

It all started with the kitchen floor. A slipshod prior renovation had left it sagging, according to the project’s architect, Toby Branch of Branch Architecture Studio, and lifting it—“a delicate process that required significant interventions on the basement level,” he says—led to a full structural remodel of the kitchen floor and basement ceiling below, not to mention repairs to a new network of cracks that spread along the main level’s plaster walls.

A faceted-crystal chandelier crowns the living room, where a statement painting by California artist Hung Liu hangs above the mantel. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield.

The upstairs updates followed a similar trajectory: Transforming two of the children’s bedroom closets into bathrooms required some unexpected construction—and also inspired Brandi and Scott to overhaul their master bathroom. While they were at it, they remodeled the third-floor bathroom and bedrooms, restored a bedroom suite above the garage, replaced most of the home’s lead pipes, and added a HVAC system for good measure. “It’s like the instance when you get a new sofa and then your drapes look like they need replaced, so you replace the drapes and then you need to paint the walls,” Brandi says of the snowballing project. “We would change elements to make one room more fabulous, and then we’d look at another room and think, ‘Gosh, we should probably make this room more fabulous too.’”

The homeowners let their then-13-year-old daughter design her own bedroom, which she furnished with a bed and dresser from Anthropologie. A Lucite bubble chair hangs from the ceiling in the adjacent dressing room. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield.

Outside, the list of improvements—initially limited to repairing the original red-brick walls, sanding, and painting—also grew: The architect enclosed the walkway between the garage and house to accommodate a new mudroom, and added a French door and metal staircase to connect the kitchen to the yard, which “works as another living room for 10 months a year,” Brandi says. There, the property’s original brick hardscaping frames manicured new plantings designed by Lifescape Colorado and patches of artificial turf that look like emerald-green rugs. “The previous owner had installed the turf, and, given the shade and the difficulty of maintaining grass, we decided to keep it,” Brandi says.

Rug-like patches of artificial turf and all-weather wicker lounge chairs from Restoration Hardware—bordered by new landscaping by Lifescape Colorado—let the backyard function as an outdoor living room all summer long and well into Colorado’s sunny winter months. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield.

In the end, the renovations covered 6,000 square feet—but the structural changes were just the beginning. The house retained many of its original architectural details: old windows and millwork, 2-inch-wide wood-plank floors, marble fireplace surrounds, even the call boxes once used to summon “the help.” And the next challenge was marrying those antique details with modern updates.

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In the expanded and remodeled kitchen, an 8-foot-long, Taj-Mahal-quartzite-topped island connects to a built-in walnut dining table—perfect for homework, art projects, and casual family meals. The chevron-patterned flooring—created with planks of quarter-sawn white oak—“has the look of a rug,” says kitchen designer Mikal Otten. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield.

The kitchen served as a laboratory for the vintage-meets-modern style concoction. “Brandi wanted a traditional kitchen with soft contemporary touches,” says Mikal Otten, owner and lead designer of Exquisite Kitchen Design and the brains behind the new room. “Achieving that was all about incorporating a few traditional details without getting too carried away.” For example, custom cabinets with a simple cove profile and soft white brushstroke finish “have a feel of tradition, but are simplified and cleaner,” Otten says. Ethereal blue glass backsplash tile “nods to the brick style that we often see done, but adds a soft contemporary touch,” he says. And the farmhouse sink, which “back in the day might have been white porcelain,” he notes, is stainless steel—“a cleaner, sexier, edgier choice.” A walnut coffee-bar armoire and chevron-patterned wood flooring incorporate more turn-of-the-century flavor. “In homes from this period, people would often give one room a special floor treatment,” Otten says. “We got away from that, and it’s fun to see it coming back again.”

A custom runner from Floor Coverings by CPA dresses up the home’s original staircase. A custom artwork—inspired by the classic Beatles song and commissioned by Denver-based design/build firm Make West—hangs above a midcentury-style credenza. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield.

In every room here, in fact, the floorcovering literally anchors the decor. “We started with the rug in each room and worked up from there,” Brandi says. In the dining room, a modern floral-patterned rug with pops of orange and charcoal gray dictated the silk shantung wallcovering, branch-like brass chandelier, and clear Lucite chairs that preserve the view of the floor. In the living room, a neutral rug inspired the quiet mix of gray crushed-velvet-upholstered sofas, marble-topped coffee table, and ring-shaped crystal chandelier. And in the foyer, a custom stair runner with a cherry-blossom-inspired pattern shares the spotlight with a midcentury-style credenza and bold custom artwork.

A well-loved old sofa and new Kira Tibetan fur ottoman from Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams create a cozy sitting area in the master bedroom. The navy-and-gray grasscloth wallcovering is from Town in the Denver Design District Collection. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield.

“It’s a real mixture of styles,” Brandi says of the furnishings she and Scott selected for this house. “The look is largely transitional, but every once in a while, there are midcentury and contemporary and bohemian pieces. Luckily it all came together in the end.”

The remodeled master bathroom has floor-to-ceiling style, thanks to new stone tile, a spacious glass-walled shower, a custom vanity with sleek metal accents, and a long soaking tub—“I wanted to have the biggest tub we could fit in there,” Brandi says. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield.

According to Branch, the project’s success was less about luck and more about the integrity of a century-old home. “Yes, older buildings tend to sag a bit and have some structural issues, but it seems they’re very forgiving,” he says. “You can repair their structural flaws and make modern updates, and still not lose their character.” Living proof: One total transformation later and this home’s beautiful bones still stand strong.

An eye-catching drapery fabric—which Brandi spotted during a trip to the Denver Design District—provided the jumping-off point for the master bedroom’s soothing blue-gray-and-taupe color scheme. A Strada flush-mount light fixture in Gild, by Kelly Wearstler, presides over the serene space. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield.

Design Pros

Architecture and interior finish selections: Toby Branch and Danielle McMahon, Branch Architecture Studio
Interior design: Homeowners Brandi and Scott Fuller
Kitchen design: Mikal Otten, Exquisite Kitchen Design
Construction: Colorado Urban Builders
Landscape design: Lifescape Colorado

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