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Farmhouse Style With an Unusual Inspiration

A trip back in time helped in the design of the new home in Denver’s Washington Park region. A family was quickly outgrowing their bungalow in the area and had found a fantastic lot a few blocks away. They had more or less nailed down the brand new home’s design with architect John Mattingly of Chalet, but the whole group was a bit stumped as to what the exterior could look like.

“Our customer took a trip to Central Illinois, where he took a photo of his grandmother Esther’s late-1800s Italianate/Greek revival farmhouse,” Mattingly says. “It was be the perfect inspiration.”

The home’s design and gables worked in concert with all the rooflines Mattingly’s design ordered; a wraparound porch connects the front yard to the backyard. They dubbed the project Esther’s House. Construction commenced not a minute too soon — a few months after moving in, the family welcomed a fourth kid.

in a Glance
Who lives here: A family of 6
Location: Denver
Size: 3,700 square feet and a cellar around 2,000 square feet; 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths, 3 half baths (carries a guest suite in the cellar)


The lintels and large piece above the front door are Colorado sandstone. The massive piece weighs approximately 3,000 pounds; the group utilized a boom truck to put it. “The rock comes from a local quarry and feels in the home,” Mattingly says. “It has a gray, almost pinkish, throw that functions really well.” The bricks can also be neighborhood.

“This home has a quiet presence, and because of the design, it seems like it had been one of the first homes that predated the area,” he says.


This study is in the front of the home. The husband, Jeff, wanted something dramatic and distinct for the fireplace, and Mattingly knew that prefab mantels in the marketplace were not going to reduce it. He sourced this mantel through Chesney’s; it had been recovered from a castle in Scotland.

The art over the mantel is by local artist Duke Beardsley, who rides out to the stove with real cowboys. “Jeff isn’t really a Western man, but once I took him to Duke’s studio, he needed to have this,” Mattingly says. The marble-topped side table came from Grandma Esther’s inspirational Illinois farmhouse.


Jeff wanted a different Viking refrigerator and freezer, which afforded Mattingly the chance to set up a symmetrical kitchen with exceptional workstations. A wet pantry is just off the kitchen to the left, close to the refrigerator; a sterile pantry would be to the right, close to the freezer.

“There are just three or four exceptional work triangles formed via this configuration; we planned it out so people wouldn’t get in each other’s way whilst functioning from the kitchen,” the architect says.

Countertops: Calacatta Gold marble; pendant lighting: Meurice, Jonathan Adler; backsplash tile: 3-by-6 in pumice, Architectonics


The art shown here on the left can also be by Beardsley; each figure is a distinct hand-drawn cowboy.

Past the art is that the butler’s pantry, which connects the more public front areas of the home to the more personal areas from the back. “Any sort of beverage anybody needs and every type of glass is within this wet cabinet,” says Mattingly. This means that guests can serve themselves in parties without invading the more private kitchen.

Pendant lighting: Clemson Classic, Restoration Hardware; dishwasher: Viking; cabinet paint: Dove White, Benjamin Moore; sink: Verity, Kohler; art: Duke Beardsley


The open design produces a dining room that can be used for formal or casual dining. French doors lead to a terrace.

Chandelier: Marigot Eight Light Chandelier With Wood Beads, Visual Comfort; wall paint: Revere Pewter, Benjamin Moore; French doors: Pella


The open design also allows for a lot of fresh air — the windows behind the vent hood crank open and permit the breeze to flow in from your French doors.

Trestle table, dining bench, dining chairs: Noir


The dining room opens to this living room, delineated by a beautiful coffered ceiling. Leather furniture plus a mirror/TV over the mantel keep things low-key, comfortable and family friendly.


The flooring throughout the home are engineered wood.

Rug: custom, Coventry Carpets; table: Contrary, Noir; wall paint: Ballet White, Benjamin Moore


Upstairs the main hallway opens to the second-story den. Just outside of the shot on both sides of the area are assignments tables to your kids. The hand-crafted tile fireplace surround brings a more casual Arts and Crafts feeling. The mirror over the mantel is a plasma TV.

Sofas: leather, Town


A farmhouse sink in the kids’ bath is sized right to bathing the little ones.


The master bedroom is a serene retreat.

Wall paint: Clay Beige OC-11, Benjamin Moore; chandelier: Camilla, Pottery Barn; rug: Brookhaven in 515 mushroom, Godfrey Hirst


The master bath was begging with this particular millwork, Mattingly says. The gray walls pick up on the veining from the marble flooring.

Wall paint: Vintage Gray, Benjamin Moore


Mattingly designed this dressing table to resist the massive size of the master bath. It’s 9 feet long and stained a dark walnut, which plays off the gold in the Calacatta marble and the floor’s limestone inlay.

Mirrors, knobs: Restoration Hardware


A transparent glass shower door shows off more marble and marble inlay inside the stall. The home includes tankless water heaters that could keep up with the massive family.

Shower surround: Calacatta Gold marble and Nova Gold limestone

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