Spotlight by Western Windows

Western Window Systems fabricates beautiful modern windows and doors - we wish we could use these all the time! We specified them for a mid century modern project we completed in 2015 and Western Windows recently spotlighted the project on their website. Thanks Western Windows for the nice write up!  Read about it here:


Modern woodburning fireplaces

Wood fireplaces have typically been a central element to most homes built prior to 2000. All of our mcm homes here in the Krisana Park neighborhood of Denver were originally designed with wood fireplaces. Over time, people have chosen to convert them to gas fireplaces for ease of use, budget, and/or because the flues started to crack. Our flue was also suffering from minor cracking, for which the cost to repair was going to be about $1,500. Enjoying the warmth, smell, and coziness of a wood burning fireplace was important to us, but we didn’t want to be limited by the Denver’s fire burning restrictions either. So we explored wood fireplace inserts, which are basically high efficiency wood stoves that fit within the fireplace opening, and come with their own own flue and chimney cap. We wanted a modern solution, not a traditional looking wood stove.  So we looked at the Morsø, fabricated by a Danish company, naturally. The Morsø 5660 fireplace insert is an ”innovative advanced combustion system supplied with tertiary air, enabling the stove to comply with the requirements for environmentally-conscious heating”. This EPA approved unit allows you to burn any day of the year regardless of burn restrictions – plus it’s simple to use and appeals to the modern aesthetic!

We purchased our Morsø through Rocky Mountain Stove and had it installed by Fireplace & Grill Experts. They built an oversized seamless matching steel face plate that covered the larger opening which we think gives it a more finished look. The total cost was about $5,500. We are so excited to have a real wood burning fireplace now. Coming home to the smell of wood burning and real flames of warmth cannot be beat!

Advantages of a Custom Home

What are the benefits of starting from scratch?

We do a lot of lovingly updated renovations to existing homes, but sometimes a new build is the only way to go when you are looking for the perfect home for your family and lifestyle.  This can be a challenging endeavor. 

You don’t want to pay top dollar for other people’s taste. You wonder what they were thinking with the layouts. Ultimately, you may choose to buy a home that was designed for someone else – or something generic that appeals to the masses. Often this results in a transitional aesthetic, because the house must be attractive to everyone so that it sells! If you are lucky, you can find a home that’s perfect for you, but it’s rare. If you choose to stay where you are, or renovate, existing conditions may not allow for you to create the layout you really want or the aesthetic that you prefer.


Open living plans might be the trend at the moment, but does it work for your lifestyle? Cabinetry can vary greatly, with lavish designs and ornamentation, when you prefer modern and simple lines. Perhaps the spaces are “updated” with cheap products that anyone could pick up at Home Depot. You can often be swayed because everything looks new. Remember what’s in your wall is equally, if not more, important - and HGTV has probably done the biggest disservice by almost never focusing on systems, windows, and insulation – and only focusing on a quick and unrealistic 2 week renovation with a simple lipstick job. 


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So, what am I getting at? Consider for a moment that this is probably the most expensive investment you will probably ever make. Think about how well-designed spaces can make you feel. Home should not just be a generic 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom place, but rather it should be customized to your individual needs and tastes.

When we designed our own custom home, we carefully considered how we wanted to live and how we wanted to feel while using the home. Space, at least in Denver, is at a premium, and every square inch counts and must be functional. Our list of priorities included naturally lit spaces, connection between interior and exterior, an open loft-like space, modest-sized bedrooms on a 2nd level, an office, and a full height basement that could accommodate our future needs.  Additionally, we wanted to build a “green” home and wanted to be responsible in our product and mechanical system choices. This all led to us building a SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels) home with natural and sustainable products – and a design that was decidedly Scandinavian in design and function. The simplicity of the design and materials were thoughtfully considered and we think our home was truly a reflection of our lifestyle.

Contact us if you are thinking about the possibility of a new build!

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Updates on two of our MCM projects

Check out the design progress below on our two latest mid-century modern projects.  To learn more about each project, follow the project page link.

Hilltop MCM

SORAA - LED replacement bulbs

SORAA PAR20/PAR30 bulbs with a halogen PAR20 on the right.

We've explored various LED replacement bulbs (also called "lamps" in the lighting world) as they have entered the market over the last couple of years, however, none have provided the quality of light we've experienced from the SORAA products.  A shout-out to Margo at Illumination Systems here in Denver for turning us on to these great lamps.  

After testing a couple of G10 and now PAR20/PAR30 bulbs, we went all in and replaced all non-LED fixtures in our entire house.  There are definitely some up front costs, however, when you install one of these bulbs next to a regular incandescent or halogen - the contrast is amazing.  An incandescent or halogen feels dim and yellowed out, while the LED has a beautiful even beam spread with color rendering that feels museum quality.  Everything feels crisper and brighter, and colors (including whites) feel like they do with real daylight.

If you don't have the budget to purchase integrated LED light fixtures, we think that using these products in your conventional fixtures is the next best thing.

Even the lenses have a more modern and clean feel

Maria Empanada - Handcrafted 2nd Location

Very happy to be working on a second location for the great Argentinian bakery Maria Empanada! They will be taking over a space in Greenwood Village at the Belleview Promenade. The current scheme we are exploring will have a major curved architectural wood screen element that warms up the space and speaks to the uniqueness of Lorena’s craft of creating great fresh food. Also planned is a big sun mural that will mimic their Broadway location with a set of four large steel wall panels that will have punched holes to allow the whole piece to be back lit.

For this project we are thrilled to have two great talented friends collaborating on the project. Chris ( brings his expertise with tenant improvement work, while Marcel of 641West Design has a lot of experience with design to fabrication of complex geometries out of wood and steel. More to come! 

New Modern Duplex On The Boards...

Word of mouth leads are the best…  

On the boards now at Cadence Design Studio…New modern duplex project in Englewood, Colorado, located near South Broadway shops and one of our favorite bakeries – the amazing French bakery Trompeau. It’s also not too far from one of our other projects further up the street - Maria Empanada ~ Empanada Artisans. 

With live venues like Herman’s Hideaway and the Gothic Theater nearby, this project caters to young professionals and couples who want to be near a hopping area but not pay the kind of rates seen in nearby Platt Park or LoDo. 

Both units will have about 2000 SF of living space with three bedrooms, a ground office, and four bathrooms. They will include lots of large windows for plenty of natural daylighting with a focus on an open layout on the main living spaces. Large second floor en-suite bedrooms with direct access to large outdoor balconies will provide great views of the foothills. The upper floor master bedrooms will also include vaulted ceilings that reach upwards of 17’ high!  The main floors will include ample home offices for telecommuting and a clean open layout with high ceilings to create spaces with a loft-like feel.

Two-car garages with room for storing all the outdoor toys we Coloradans enjoy and rear patios will round out the main levels.

Stay tuned for blog posts on the progress of this project.