The Nelle is a 3 story, 4516 square foot, single family home is located in the Cherry Creek Neighborhood of Denver. The original structure was built in 1994. The design challenge was to use as much of the original structure as possible while creating a house for a young family that met their programmatic needs. This included adding a bedroom, a den, two bathrooms and more outdoor space. The original structure was built under the old code resulting in low ceilings and a roofline that made the house look and feel like “Half a House.” – Client/Mom
The design incorporated 40% of the original structure, rebuilding the 1st and 2nd floors, adding floor 2.5 and a roof deck, and renovating the remaining garden level, the garage, and floor 1.5.
The exterior form expresses the function of the split-level plan. The form was further driven by maximizing natural light using articulation of the form to help prevent solar heat gain. The house does not require artificial light during the day and the generous amount of glazing lets the sun help heat the space when the sun is low in the winter. The roof ridge of the top level was shifted north to allow greater surface area for solar panels and a steeper slope to the north for skylights. The panels were integrated into the roof on one plane making the panels nearly disappear. The building’s materials are plaster, metal, and glass.
The interior uses a palette of warm materials, highlighted by the use of copper in the rooms where entertaining happens. The bar/lounge and powder room were designed to feel like a speakeasy and a hotel lobby bathroom, respectively and were the only rooms where bold color was used.
The raised main level provides a feeling of defensible space on an active corner. The placement of windows allows for views out of the house while enhancing privacy from passers by. The kitchen/family room was designed as an open plan for modern living and is where the family spends most of their time.
The Master Bathroom was designed with the shower and bathtub between the his & hers vanities. The entire south façade has windows overlooking Cherry Creek, with the windows sitting high enough that the clients can take a shower and look out at the view with complete privacy.
The Den serves as an office and workout room. It is flooded with natural light with windows on the east and south and north facing skylights. This room can also be used as an overflow bedroom.
The house’s split level plan wraps around an atrium with a steel and wood stair. The stair was designed to resemble a folded piece of paper moving up in the space. The steel was finished with automotive paint that softly reflects the light from the windows that surround it. At the top of the stair, one steps onto the roof deck and is rewarded with dramatic mountain and city views. The roof deck functions like a second family room and excels as an entertaining area.