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I am not color- or pattern-averse, as you can probably tell,” laughs Denver interior designer Miranda Cullen, describing the ultra-eclectic decor inside her newly constructed Littleton home. “If a piece speaks to me, I find a way to incorporate it. I love to say that nothing in here goes, but everything complements.”
Cullen, the founder and principal of residential design firm Inside Stories, moved into this 5,500-square-foot, Cape Cod–style stunner in 2020 with her husband, Don; their two teenage children, Reagan and Jonah; and a gaggle of pets including four dogs, two cats, and a hamster—after living for 14 years in a cramped Highlands Ranch home that was less than half the size. With its blank canvas and ample space, the new semi-custom home offered Cullen plenty of room to make a statement. “When we design a home for a client, we do a lot of work with personality and character. A home needs to be a direct reflection of the people who live in it,” she says of her design process. So, when it came to decorating her own home? “I am a quirky person, so I knew my house had to have a quirky personality,” she says. “My style is sort of a hot mess—and I love it!”
Cullen’s aesthetic inspired sophisticated, maximalist interiors that marry real-life functionality with an eclectic mix of old, beloved pieces and new, interesting finds. “I love collections,” she says. “My older pieces I’ve curated over a lifetime. There are a handful of treasures that are family heirlooms and others I have collected during travels.”
The designer’s living room is a prime example of the harmonious marriage of old and new. A black heirloom piano serves as the room’s centerpiece, but it’s punched up with a fresh, velvet-stripe fabric on the bench and an attention-grabbing, wooden-bead chandelier overhead. The modern black-and-white rug is topped with a smaller, well-worn antique rug, and an antique accent chair—scored online and recovered in a striking linear fabric—adds visual interest. Instead of returning a gold-framed mirror that shattered during delivery (supply chain delays would have meant a yearlong wait for a replacement), Cullen commissioned her friend, local artist Erin Schoenbeck, to paint a contemporary canvas to fit the frame (seen on page 46); the custom piece leans against the wall below a collection of custom-framed Hunt Slonem bunny prints. To contrast with the contemporary art, Cullen selected a traditional floral linen fabric for the window coverings.
More eye-candy awaits in other rooms: In the main bedroom, a House of Hackney cheetah-base lamp with magenta-fringed shade sits atop a navy-blue desk at the foot of the bed; a 3.5-foot-wide, tassel-trimmed light fixture and custom neon sign liven things up in the game room; and in the powder room, there’s what Cullen describes as the “out of control” combination of large-scale Osborne & Little magnolia-print wallpaper, sculptural Made Goods mirror, and bulbous Visual Comfort light fixture. “I always make sure that each room has its own special something,” she says. “I feel that it’s my job as a designer to show people that there is something beyond the minimalist, all-white-walls route that is so popular.” And after touring Cullen’s house, we’re ready to embrace our quirky, colorful side, too.