SubscribeAvailable Now
A few custom pieces—chairs purchased through Etsy, and a hutch by ModShop in Los Angeles—add pizzazz to a dining set comprising a long table from Restoration Hardware and chairs from CB2. Photo by Callie Hobbs. Styling by Natalie Warady.

How to Create a Personality-Infused Space

In their Denver home, the entrepreneurial clan behind Deny Designs blends playful patterns and bright colors into spaces as vibrant as their family.

|

If you’ve ever purchased a shower curtain or duvet cover adorned with a striking work of art, you probably have Kim and Dustin Nyhus to thank. The Denver couple founded Deny Designs—reportedly the first e-commerce company to allow customers to order printed art pieces on home decor products from creatives around the globe—in 2011.

Photo by Callie Hobbs. Styling by Natalie Warady.

“We started Deny Designs with one item: a wall-hanging jewelry box that Dustin had created for me as a gift several years prior,” recalls Kim, a former television producer for HGTV and Food Network. “Women kept coming over and asking him to build one for them, and we finally had enough requests that we thought, ‘Maybe there’s something to this!’” Later that year, Deny Designs launched print-on-demand shower curtains and duvet covers featuring designs from various artists. Now, shoppers can order a wide range of products—think: mugs, trays, coasters, consoles, coffee tables, and tapestries—displaying any one of countless artworks from the firm’s gallery. “At the time, nobody was doing it, and it was this crazy idea,” Kim says. “Artists were making art solely to be put on the wall, then we revolutionized it so now you can put the art anywhere in your home.”

Advertisement

No surprise that the couple, who sold the business in 2017 to Leaf Group (though Dustin is the brand’s senior vice president of product development), live in a vibrant, playfully decorated home. “We try not to take ourselves very seriously,” Kim says of their tastes, which infuse every inch of their 3,900-square-foot abode near the University of Denver. Read on for their recipe for a personalized space.

The table features a vibrant watercolor motif by Jacqueline Maldonado. Photo by Callie Hobbs. Styling by Natalie Warady.

Choose (Finishes) Wisely
With their three young sons in mind, Dustin and Kim opted for what they thought was a bulletproof finish for their breakfast nook’s tufted-back banquette: wipeable white vinyl. “We sat down for our first meal there, and our youngest son spilled watermelon on it,” Kim recalls. “Apparently watermelon has something in it that stains vinyl!” Eventually, the spot came out—with the help of some boat cleaner.

Hide A Thrill
Dustin built the breakfast nook with help from his twin nine-year-olds, Liam and Landon. “We have pictures of them on our back patio in a make-shift wood shop—with tools and safety goggles—which we dated and stuck inside the nook,” Kim says. “They will be sealed in there until the day it’s torn down.” Sneaking a secret that only your family knows about into your home? Priceless.

Daydream wallpaper by Julia Rothman for Hygge & West is a perky counterpoint to the custom white-vinyl banquette designed by homeowner Dustin Nyhus. Photo by Callie Hobbs. Styling by Natalie Warady.

Give The “Fifth Wall” Some Oomph
Kim and Dustin covered their dining room ceiling with Spoonflower’s Madamoiselle Palais Butterfly wallpaper. The vibrant pattern was created by Utah-based artist Holli Zollinger, whose work can be found in the Deny Art Gallery (though at the time of this home’s design, Deny Designs didn’t make wallpaper.) “The wallcovering is what gives this room its personality,” Kimsays. “In every room, we’re always trying to accomplish that one thing that makes it stand out and be different.”

Photo by Callie Hobbs

Make Your Own Art
The couple worked together to install yarn letters that spell out the bubbly phrase: Champagne All Day. “The walls are so long in our dining room, sometimes it’s really hard to know what to do,” Kim says. “This was a great way to add color and fill the space.” Dustin printed out the letters at full scale, hammered in “the thinnest nails you can find,” he says, and then the couple started playing with yarn. Four hours later, they had a one-of-a-kind art installation.

Advertisement
Photo by Callie Hobbs. Styling by Natalie Warady.

Live (Really, Live) Outside
When the couple created an outdoor living space two years ago, they made it as indoorsy as they could, adding a TV, fireplace, and fridge stocked with beer and wine. “The key for us was bringing the inside out to make sure the [indoor and outdoor living rooms] looked like parts of the same space,” Dustin says. “In the winter, outdoor heaters do a good job of making sure it’s warm enough to enjoy.”

Weather-resistant fabrics on the West Elm outdoor sectional ensure it will withstand inevitable spills. The throw pillows are from Deny Designs; the chairs and coffee table are from West Elm. Photo by Callie Hobbs. Styling by Natalie Warady.

Pay Attention To Materials
“Because the backdrop [to the outdoor living area] is our garage, we added wood wall slats for hanging plants to warm things up a bit,” Dustin says. “Looking at gray stucco isn’t exactly appealing.” The couple chose the same white quartz for the outdoor and indoor fireplaces—proof that one smart material can be used repeatedly to great effect.

Get The Look:

Re-create the Nyhus family’s vibrant vibe in your own home with these picks.—by Natalie Warady and Hilary Masell Oswald

Fall in Colorado

Newsletter Signup

Keep me up to date on the latest trends and happenings around Denver. 5280 has a newsletter for everyone. Sign Up