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Interior designer Allie McMunn and her husband, Ryan, had their pick of any city in the United States when they decided to leave the Big Apple in 2019 to raise their young son in a more laid-back locale. Denver was an easy choice—“because it was the only city we both could agree on,” Allie laughs—and purchasing this 1921 Georgian near Cheesman Park was a no-brainer too. “It felt right from the first time we set foot inside,” Allie says. “I’m from Boston, and this felt a bit like a traditional, New England home, which you don’t see often in Denver.”
The designer knew that the grand dwelling—which had all the strict symmetries and decorative embellishments of classic Georgian architecture—could feel “very fussy, very easily, and that was definitely not my goal,” she says. Here, she shares how she infused its interiors with lightness, life, and a seamless contemporary design that nods to 1921 and 2022.
5280 Home: Denver may be new to you, but you’re no stranger to renovating old homes. Allie McMunn: By the time I left New York, I was mostly designing prewar apartments on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, so I knew what I was getting into—but the scale was dramatically different here.
Did you update all 8,775 square feet of your new home?
We painted the entire interior and replaced the creaky wood floors with thin oak planks that are true to the original style. The kitchen layout didn’t make sense and you could just see the 1990s in the finishes, so we decided to gut it and open it to the adjacent sunroom, which snowballed into us refreshing most of the house. The only spaces we didn’t have to touch were the second-floor bathrooms, which had been renovated by the previous owners.
Your palette of soft blues and greens, plus sisals and rattans, imparts a breezy vibe.
My friends joke that my homes should be on the coast of South Carolina—and I do gravitate toward that Southern, girly style. In the living room, there’s a giant piece of artwork that Susan Vecsey created by slowly dripping sky-blue paint down a linen canvas; I pulled that blue throughout the room, from the armchairs right down to the chessboard.
What were you looking for when selecting new furniture pieces?
I wanted some super-durable pieces that lean modern—like the living room’s bright-white lacquered coffee table and the breakfast room’s Saarinen tulip table—and upholstered pieces with a decent structure, which helps them feel more traditional. And, of course, indoor/outdoor fabrics that can hold up to my son.
Speaking of your son, tell us about his adorable nursery.
I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite room in the house. I fell in love with the wallpaper and the design spiraled from that—from the piece of modern art in such pretty, soft tones to the fringed ottoman-on-wheels. I love a fringe; no one really uses it anymore, but it’s a traditional design element that’s also so much fun. Which is the juxtaposition I was after—here and in every room.