The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
Several years ago, when Utah-based interior design firm Studio McGee was just famous and not über-famous—thanks in part to a debut book, Make Life Beautiful, hit Netflix show Dream Home Makeover, and e-commerce platform McGee & Co.—principal Shea McGee tackled the remodel of a charming Denver home.
It wasn’t the biggest home on the leafy street in Hilltop, nor the flashiest. But as soon as Ashley Swapp and her husband, Tom, saw the 1932 Tudor, they were smitten. The 2,400-square-foot house oozed enough historic character to overshadow its age-related shortcomings (dark interior and awkward, misused space), and they knew it was just a matter of finding the right designer to help make it their own. “We always wanted to live in an older neighborhood in an older home with charm,” Swapp says.
A floral designer with a trained eye, Swapp was no stranger to style—something she has in common with her college friend McGee. Despite the distance, Swapp brought on Studio McGee’s design team for the renovation and signed off on an aesthetic they call “clean eclectic”—a mix of traditional, modern, and rustic styles that preserves classic elements while creating a fresh, energized take on the Tudor. It’s historic but current.
Shea has always had such a distinct style,” Swapp says. “I pretty much said, ‘Just have fun.’” And wow, did that approach pay off. To avid followers of design feeds on social media, photos of Swapp’s renovated kitchen—with its green cabinets and black-and-white cement floor tile—and her classic-yet-modern living room probably look familiar: They’ve been liked and linked a whole lot. While it’s hard to pinpoint what’s in the special sauce that makes this home so darn pin-able, it probably has something to do with the design-magic trifecta: the right house, the right homeowner, and the right designer. “This was the last house we looked at, with these huge trees everywhere, and as we drove up the street, we just fell in love,” Swapp says of her first glimpse of the Tudor. And after Studio McGee’s team swooped in to reimagine and polish up every room, we can’t help but like it, too.
“I like big furniture pieces to be neutral and textiles and accessories to bring in the color,” designer Shea McGee says. In the living room, a neutral Masinissa rug by Dash & Albert and linen Barton sofa by Serena & Lily set the neutral tone, while Zak & Fox throw pillows (from Studio McGee’s e-commerce site) draw the eye by repeating the peacock blues and deep greens from the kitchen, dining room, and bedroom.
A light wood West Elm Industrial Storage Desk and a wood-trimmed chair create a sleek desk nook in the living room, while a whimsical botanical print from McGee & Co. softens the space.
Neutrals with pops of color bring together the home’s living room.
In the dining room, a glimmering Morris chandelier makes a statement, as do jet-black, Scandi-sleek dining chairs paired with a natural wood trestle table.
Sleek minimalist accents like floating wood shelves are paired with a classic Rohl farmhouse sink and retro-inspired Smeg refrigerator. A gold Waterstone faucet blends seamlessly with stainless-steel appliances, and the bold-print floor tile from the Cement Tile Shop adds some serious character. The green kitchen cabinetry (painted Forest Green by Benjamin Moore)—a departure from trending light-painted kitchens—was Swapp’s only must-have.
The blue-green tint of the wall color changes with the sunlight and showcases the crisp white trim, dresser, and Serena & Lily bedding.
The main bathroom’s floating vanity from Rejuvenation not only looks sleek, but also has a hidden drawer with a ton of storage. Swapp had considered medicine cabinets outdated, but this modern, mirrored version from Restoration Hardware changed her mind.
Interior Design: Shea McGee, Studio McGee