In the spirit of this anything-but-ordinary year, we’re shaking things up with the fifth installment of our annual Top Denver Design contest. The following pages include our first-ever Editors’ Choice and Readers’ Choice awards, a comprehensive list of Denver’s 46 best design resources—from where to buy one-of-a-kind antiques to who to call for new hardwood flooring. (Our editorial team’s picks are listed and annotated first, followed by the winning shops and services chosen by our style-savvy readers.) And if that’s not enough to jumpstart the home-makeover plans you whipped up during your recent time at home, we’re also sharing five of the most stunning residential spaces in and around the Mile High City. Get ready for inspiration overload.


Photo by JC Buck, courtesy of Coda Studio

Home Furnishings

Coda Studio
2020 has a lot of explaining to do, but at least it’s given us CODA Studio, which opened in Cherry Creek North in February. The home furnishings showroom—the Malibu-born company’s first outpost—offers bespoke modern pieces that showcase excellent craftsmanship, natural textures, and exotic woods. The shop exudes a kind of beach-meets-mountains vibe, enhanced with a small, smart collection of accessories and art from top-notch local and national sources. (We’re especially fond of the handwoven Bali baskets and Joshua Tree blankets made near the beloved national park.) Best of all, you can get your customized furnishings within 6–8 weeks—typical shops take about twice as long to deliver the goods—and CODA offers design services if you need some help choosing from its many gorgeous offerings. 248 Detroit St., 720-610-7727
Readers’ Choice: Design Wright Studios, 2800 Walnut St., Suite 600, 303-955-7751


Photo courtesy of Jess Blackwell Photography

White Peacock
When the Brass Bed’s Molly Myers, Olivia Louis, and Doug Parsons announced they’d be opening a Cherry Creek North store devoted to all things tabletop (plus home accessories and gifts), we knew we were in for something stylish. What we didn’t envision? Mixing Rosenthal’s edgy, tattoo-inspired china with Grandma’s favorite Royal Crown Derby patterns. But creating such unconventional combinations is exactly what White Peacock encourages customers—and bridal-registry-builders—to do with its broad inventory of traditional, contemporary, and avant-garde china, crystal, glassware, flatware, and textiles sourced from all over the world. 2440 E. Third Ave., 303-954-8333
Readers’ Choice: Peppercorn, 1235 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-449-5847

Home Decor

Miller Lane Mercantile
In a world of online retail, walking through this Berkeley neighborhood shop—and admiring its inventory of small-batch goods—feels like a dose of self-care. Owner Calli Swofford has an eye for selecting the loveliest home decor (we’re sure she has secret powers when it comes to sourcing ceramics, candlesticks, and tableware) and creating vignettes that show patrons how to use these items in their homes. Almost everything you’ll find here is made by independent or small-scale makers, which means it’s an ideal spot to buy gifts (including apothecary and jewelry), too. 4315 W. 44th Ave., 720-328-5091
Readers’ Choice: Homebody, 2920 E. Sixth Ave., 720-739-0860

Antique & Vintage Furnishings

Eron Johnson Antiques
It’s easy to lose an hour—or, let’s be real, a whole afternoon—at Eron Johnson Antiques’ sprawling showroom in the Valverde neighborhood. The antiques emporium showcases more than 3,500 pieces of furniture, lighting, accessories, and architectural salvage—ranging from 17th-century Portuguese cupboards to 1950s Scandinavian tableware to wrought-iron balconies reclaimed from a historic Colorado Springs hotel—that delight discerning collectors, design enthusiasts, and history buffs alike. Bonus: An extensive online inventory with detailed product descriptions makes wish-listing a breeze. 377 S. Lipan St., Suite B, 303-777-8700
Readers’ Choice: Capsule, 15 E. 11th Ave., 720-633-3704


Circa Lighting
Fans of timeless lighting designs rejoiced when Circa Lighting—the Savannah-based purveyor of fixtures with a clean, classic style—chose the Denver Design District for its thirteenth outpost, opting to make its selection of decorative table, ceiling, wall, floor, and exterior lighting available to the public in addition to the trade. If you aren’t working with a designer, the 4,510-square-foot showroom’s interactive digital displays make it simple to choose the perfect piece from fixtures by design superstars—including Aerin, Kelly Wearstler, and Thomas O’Brien. Denver Design District, 601 S. Broadway, Suite B, 303-586-1181
Readers’ Choice: Ultra Design Center, IDC Building, 590 Quivas St., Third Floor, 303-571-5611

Rug Shop

Top Rug
Photo courtesy of Integral Thread

Integral Thread
Heirloom-quality rugs from around the world line the 30-foot-high walls of this Denver Design District showroom (formerly called Organic Looms Denver), which specializes in hand-knotted, natural-fiber rugs and custom designs. You won’t find ultra-traditional, true Oriental, or antique rugs here. Instead, owner Stephanie Holmes works with 20 weaving companies to curate and create modern, tribal, geometric, and transitional designs—all environmentally sustainable, biodegradable, and completely recyclable. Also on offer: tapestry and textile art and a vintage line of one-of-a-kind Turkish pieces. Denver Design District, 595 S. Broadway, Suite 104E, 303-282-4444
Readers’ Choice: Artisan Rug Gallery, 2800 Walnut St., Suite 600, 303-825-0064

Garden Shop/Nursery

Birdsall & Co.
If you can’t find a perfect plant-pot combo at one of Birdsall’s two locations—the beloved boutique in Englewood or the newer urban nursery in RiNo—we don’t know what to tell you. The company’s expansive inventory includes charming plants hand-picked by mother-daughter owners Annie and Morgan Huston, fountains and containers to suit every style (don’t miss the handsome cast-stone options from Campania International), small pots, whimsical garden accessories, and seasonal home decor. “For us, the garden should be a comfortable extension of your home,” Morgan says, “and no room is complete without a houseplant—or three. No one is judging.” 2870 S. Broadway, Englewood; the Urban Nursery, 3040 Blake St., Suite 131, 303-722-2535
Readers’ Choice: City Floral Greenhouse & Garden Center, 1440 Kearney St., 303-399-1177

Tile Shop

Julep Tile Company
Ask us to name our favorite tile-producing towns around the world, and our list will undoubtedly include Louisville—as in the city just north of Denver. Why? It’s home base for Julep Tile Company, a studio known for decorative tile with a modern-vintage vibe. Co-owner Kirsten Sharp takes cues from bygone textile and wallpaper patterns when creating her designs (like Hiser, inspired by a wallcovering discovered underneath layers of paint in her brother’s bedroom closet), which are hand-pressed, trimmed, and glazed before transforming into softly colored works of art. Louisville, 303-656-5098
Readers’ Choice: Decorative Materials, Denver Design District, 595 S. Broadway, Suite 121E, 303-722-1333

Outdoor Furniture

Creative Living
On the hunt for modern decor for the patio or porch? Skip the big-box stores and head to the Art District on Santa Fe. Since 2011, it’s been home to Creative Living, where clean-lined furnishings from brands including Loll Designs, Cane-Line, Houe, and Kannoa mingle with sculpture and wall art, concrete and metal fire pits, and minimalist fountains and planters—many by Colorado makers. If an outdoor kitchen is your dream, connect with a designer at onsite sister company Artisan Outdoor Kitchens, which offers lines by Brown Jordan and Danver. 1101 N. Santa Fe Drive, 720-222-9509
Readers’ Choice: HW Home, 199 Clayton Lane, 303-394-9222

Household Supplies

Joy Fill
Brittany Iseli is on a mission that’s encapsulated by her charming refill shop in northwest Denver: “I want people to know how easy and important it is to nix plastic,” she says. To that end, Joy Fill sells eco-friendly, nontoxic home and body products you can buy without creating landfill waste in the form of plastic bottles. The shop carries dozens of everyday products from brands Iseli carefully vets. “Refilling is just one of the many ways we can help reduce our carbon footprints,” she says, “but my hope is this one little lifestyle change can spark a revolution.” 3843 Tennyson St., 303-500-7890
Readers’ Choice: Homefill Co. Refill Station, inside Modern Nomad, 2936 Larimer St., 720-255-6070

Host Gift

Photo courtesy of Bloom By Anuschka

Bloom by Anuschka
Before you bring your favorite party host another scented candle, browse this Cherry Creek North boutique that’s known for super-lush floral arrangements, but also brims with exuberant accents for home and wardrobe. You’ll feel like you’re walking through a jewelry box as you browse sparkling crystals, exotic baubles, vibrant textiles and art, and glossy coffee-table books. And if you must get a candle, make it one of Cire Trudon’s quirky wax busts (our pick: Napoleon in jet black)—which is guaranteed to be the most talked-about guest at the party. 300 University Blvd., 720-941-2862
Reader’s Choice: Homebody, 2920 E. Sixth Ave.,720-739-0860


Photo by Justin Martin Photography, courtesy of Boss Architecture

Architecture Firm

Boss Architecture
Kevin Stephenson and Chris Davis helm their 14-year-old architecture firm with a surprisingly simple modus operandi: Work with good, passionate people you like, and who like you in return. “It’s really not about project size or type or budget as the driver, it’s about who we work with,” Stephenson says. This personal approach has landed Boss Architecture some 120 projects—which run the gamut from modern single-family homes to public park structures to some of Denver’s hottest restaurants—and helped cement its reputation as a forward-thinking firm with an eye for refined spaces that perfectly balance form and function. 2546 15th St., 303-377-6322
Readers’ Choice: Unum Collaborative, 1490 N. Lafayette St., Suite 206, 720-467-2947


Arrigoni Woods
You might be a design geek if you daydream about the floors you’ll install in your future home—and for us, the European hardwoods from Arrigoni Woods are the stuff those dreams are made of. For more than 20 years, the Colorado-based firm (with clients across the country) has imported its high-end products from three suppliers in Western Europe, which means Arrigoni’s team knows the details of their products down to every nuance of finish. The company offers installation for Colorado clients, and all of us can feel good about the fact that the trees used are harvested in a sustainable fashion—which guarantees that gorgeous wood flooring will be available whenever we decide to turn our design dreams into reality. 2535 Walnut St., 720-370-1500 (other locations across Colorado)
Readers’ Choice: T&G Flooring, IDC Building, 590 Quivas St., 303-293-8600

Custom Millwork/Cabinetry

Kremer Inc.
Who do Denver’s elite interior designers and architects call when they are in need of beautiful custom-made cabinetry and furnishings for their clients’ homes? David Kremer, a German-born fine woodworker who landed in Denver in 2013 to devote more time to his other passions: skiing and cycling. Inspired by the minimalism movement and the traditional-techniques-meet-modern-aesthetic approach of European design, Kremer’s work has a quiet restraint that makes a space simply feel good, without begging for attention. 1875 E. 27th Ave., 720-421-7846
Readers’ Choice: Bulthaup Denver, 1038 Bannock St., 303-777-5409

Decorative Painter

Magpie Painting
If blank walls are making you yawn, Magpie Painting’s statement-making murals and intricate motifs could be the cure to your at-home ennui. The one-woman decorative-painting company opened up shop in Denver in 2010 and has been turning the walls—and ceilings—of residential rooms, local restaurants (check out her fruity mural at the new Mimosas brunch joint in Five Points), and hair salons into her canvases ever since. From wallpaper-esque patterns to gradient mountainscapes, each Magpie masterpiece is meant to add depth and vibrance to a space, and more importantly, to reflect a piece of the client’s story or brand. Mission accomplished. 415-225-2297
Readers’ Choice: Pamela Grace, Coloured Paint, 720-317-3799

Landscape Design

Photo by Tim Gillies, courtesy of Elevate By Design

Elevate By Design
There are landscapes that are lovely to behold, and then there are those that are meant to be lived in. Paul Wrona and Chris Turner (pictured above) and their team of designers and landscape architects are concerned with creating the latter—residential architecture that just happens to exist in the open air. Whether they’re working with sprawling estates, tight urban lots, or downtown rooftop patios, this studio brings innovation and site-sensitivity to every design solution, from an outdoor living room with a custom wall mural to a Japanese-teahouse-inspired poolside pavilion. 2828 N. Speer Blvd., Suite 120, 303-567-6300
Readers’ Choice: Design Workshop, 1390 Lawrence St., Suite 100, 303-623-5186

Interior Design Firm

Photo by Kimberly Gavin, styling by Elaine St. Louis

Cook Design House
Chances are, if you’ve seen a photo of a room designed by Jodi Cook, principal and owner of Cook Design House, you’ve thought, “Ooh, I want to live there.” The firm manages to create approachable spaces with a nod to classic design and an abundance of style—but without the aloofness that can sometimes infiltrate a perfectly coiffed home. With a reputation for down-to-earth friendliness and a high capacity for collaboration with architects, builders, and homeowners, Cook Design House reminds us all that creating a dream home should be downright fun. 2041 E. Virginia Ave., 970-401-4040
Readers’ Choice: Inside Stories by Duet Design Group, 5650 S. Windermere St., Littleton, 303-783-9327


Photo courtesy of Sacred Thistle

Sacred Thistle
Take our advice the next time you need to send flowers that make an impression: Enlist the help of the floral designers at Sacred Thistle, who will whip up a bouquet made of unusual—and unusually beautiful—flora. Inspired by the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi (or beauty in the imperfect), the Golden Triangle boutique incorporates unexpected elements like dandelion, milkweed, and foraged finds in their work, as well as specimens from their own gardens, which brim with strange flowers and plants. Even better: Sacred Thistle’s owners, mother-daughter duo Sydney and Cornelia Peterson, focus on seasonal blooms to mitigate the environmental impact of their quirky and fantastic bouquets. 1110 Acoma St., 720-598-6957
Readers’ Choice: The Perfect Petal, 3600 W. 32nd Ave., Suite B, 303-480-0966

Design/Build Firm

Because we believe that home design should “speak” to its location (nondescript details, be gone!), we’ve long been admirers of Chalet’s work. The team draws from the area’s vernacular to create homes that convey a sense of timelessness, even when a structure’s style is contemporary. Their secret? “When I was a kid, I really liked playing pretend—and as a designer, I still do,” says principal John Mattingly. “[For each home], I create a story line, so that there’s a sense of history, even mystery, when the home is complete.” Add to this creative approach the fact that Chalet employs feel-good elements in every design—gracious entries, excellent scale, thoughtful flow—and you’ve got a recipe for Denver’s loveliest homes. 517 E. Bayaud Ave., 303-282-0787
Readers’ Choice: Christie’s Design/Build Remodeling, 8350 Colorado Blvd., Firestone, 303-833-4715

Kitchen/Bath Design

Exquisite Kitchen Design
What do Colorado’s Redstone Castle, an Über-industrial Denver loft, and an elegant Cherry Hills estate have in common? The heart of each is a kitchen by Exquisite Kitchen Design. Helmed by owner and lead designer Mikal Otten—who followed his father into the kitchen-design industry and has, in turn, added several family members to his own team—the studio is known for incorporating precisely engineered details and often-unexpected materials into its artful spaces. But it’s when the cooktops are cranking that these kitchens really shine, with smart functionality that makes meal prep feel almost effortless. Denver Design District, 601 S. Broadway, Suite F, 303-282-0382
Readers’ Choice: Kitchen Distributors, 1309 W. Littleton Blvd., Littleton, 303-795-0665


Photo by Chayce Lanphear


Even if you aren’t familiar with the name Thomas Evans (or his professional moniker, Detour), you’ve likely seen his commanding work while strolling the streets of RiNo, East Colfax, or Capitol Hill. Evans’ recent urban murals—created in partnership with Boston-based graffiti artist Hiero Veiga—pay tribute to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and others whose deaths ignited this year’s worldwide protests for racial justice. Through abstract portraiture painted in his signature palette of vivid hues, Evans aims to “give a voice to the voiceless,” he says. “All art is activism in some form or fashion. Mine has a lot to do with representation and community.” 2400 Curtis St.
Readers’ Choice: Michael Dowling, 720-530-5401

Art Consultant

Nine Dot Arts
“Creativity is an essential business,” says Martha Weidmann, co-founder of Nine Dot Arts. Since 2009, the Denver-born art consultancy has transformed hotels, government buildings, corporate offices, hospitals, and multifamily residences into vibrant, art-filled spaces designed to wow. Our favorite Nine Dot Arts project? The Dairy Block pedestrian alley, which showcases 11 installations by local artists in just one city-block stretch, and, in turn, introduces the public to Denver’s thriving arts scene. Essential, indeed. 3734 Osage St., 303-999-0383
Readers’ Choice: Ann Benson Reidy, 424 Broadway, Suite 200, 303-522-2979

Art Gallery

Photo by Wes Magyar, courtesy of K Contemporary

K Contemporary
K Contemporary’s reaction to the trials of the past year is a shining example of constraint breeding creativity. Forced to temporarily shutter in March, the cutting-edge LoDo gallery took to the streets with the #ArtFindsUs project—a roving exhibition that displayed larger-than-life artworks on a billboard truck—and a live performance by acclaimed artist Carlos Martiel that was projected onto the 16th Street Mall clocktower. This is just a taste of the ingenuity that oozes from the three-year-old gallery owned by Doug Kacena, who approaches his beloved business with one question: “How do we get people to be more excited about and engaged with art again?” 1412 Wazee St., 303-590-9800
Readers’ Choice: Walker Fine Art, 300 W. 11th Ave., 303-355-8955

This article was originally published in 5280 Home December 2020/January 2021.
Christine DeOrio
Christine DeOrio
Christine DeOrio is 5280 Home’s senior editor.
Hilary Masell Oswald
Hilary Masell Oswald
As the former editor for two of 5280’s ancillary publications, Hilary Masell Oswald split her time between the vibrant design-and-architecture scene in the metro area for 5280 Home and the always-changing field of health for the annual 5280 Health.
Michelle Johnson
Michelle Johnson
Michelle Johnson is the home editor at 5280.