Colorado Expressions
December 2010

Maison Magnifique
In the movie "My Fair Lady". Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), a snobbish professor of linguistics believes he can take Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), a poor. unrefined Cockney flower girl, and transform her into a lady of elegance.

Borrowing equity from the theme of the eight·time Oscar winning film. one could say that the brick residence in Old Crestmoor was akin to Eliza Doolittle. Built in 1940. the home had its fine points. but needed lhe hand of Henry Higgins to make it into an absolute delight.

"The house had been remodeled and added on to a number of times over the years, some more successfuUy than others," said Dean lindsey, a principal at Nest Architectural Design. "The original, more formal parts of the house were lovely and had good bone structure. The back

of the house and the second level was another story."

Characterized as French eclectic in the Norman style, the home had a wonderful front exterior profile that included a turret with a conical roof. The back of the house, while it had access points to the backyard, offered room for improvement.

Respectful of the Architectural History
"We wanted to keep the beautiful French architecture and historical value of the home intact," said the homeowner." lt was important for us to make it

a comfortable, yet elegant home that also fit the needs of our active family." The entry, stairwell. living room and dining room, in Nest's opinion, simply needed to be freshened up and made more contemporary. The rest of the house was very compartmentalized, so the focus of Lindsey, his colleagues and the owners was on giving the spaces more breathing room.  

A covered patio addition was oddly configured space and blocked light from the adjacent living room.  The kitchen was cramped and not functional. Upstairs, all four bedrooms

were undersized. and the bathrooms small and dated. A circuitous route through a bedroom closet to access the playroom atop the garage underscored the floor plan's odd routing.

A Trio of Design Directions
Better informed by a 12-page questionnaire completed by the homeowners, the architects at Nest developed three design schemes for each of the home's levels. "The intention is to show our clients a variety of ways to accomplish what they're after," explained Lindsey. "Once we've explored all of the possibilities, we mix

and match ideas, then define a plan that makes sense."

Shepherded by Old Greenwich Builders in Cherry Creek, construction began with the demolition of the original covered patio, the garage and select walls on the back of the house. The renovation allowed spaces to be extended further into the backyard, focusing on the kitchen, family room and breakfast nook.

The quirky covered patio is now a library with a sizeable window that allows sunlight; the study was replaced with a large family room whose French doors invite backyard

visits. The breakfast nook showcases a half-moon banquette, bank of windows and handmade. circular table. Almost twice its size, the new kitchen deserves a cameo on Food Network. Its island features a handcrafted wood top and rows of storage drawers. Premium grade appliances accompany custom cabinetry in adding the finishing touches.

Larger, More Dramatic Spaces
Just off the kitchen, the new covered patio is a welcoming space and it, too, opens to the backyard. Above the three-car garage is a spacious playroom,

complete with toy boxes, computer desks and lounging area for the family.

On the second floor, the makeover spawned generously-sized bedrooms with roomy closets. The master suite now has a master bath with Jack & Jill vanities and an oval tub. New features upstairs include a sitting area in the master suite, a laundry room and an office.  Wide-plank hardwood floors, a feature of the original residence, now comprise most of the surfaces on the main floor, and furnishings and finishes introduced by the interior designer enrich the


"My goal was to honor the integrity of this wonderful 1940's French Normandy home," commented Elaine Harms of Elaine Harms Interiors.  "I achieved this with the use of exquisite fabrics and a monochromatic palate to make the interiors light, calm. elegant, and yet surprising. The use of unique, custom pieces in each room makes the home truly one·of-a-kind."

Formerly a footprint of 3,866 square-feet, the living space grew to 6,061 square feet through a transformation that took approximately 16 months

from initial planning meeting to completion. "With the collaborative effort from our architect, designer and builder, our vision and expectations for the home were exceeded," said the homeowner. "We created a home where we can have fun with our family and are proud to entertain family and friends."

You could say that the Professor Higgins-esque efforts were a great success.