Visitors to this late-1960s contemporary home might half expect to find socialite Lee Radziwill lounging in a Pucci caftan on the sleek, velvet sofa. When David Orlovsky and K.C. Veio first saw the house in Denver’s Polo Club district in 2013, they recognized it for the unique gem that it was. Designed by Chicago architects Loebl, Schlossman, Bennett, & Dart (the firm that would later design Chicago’s Water Tower Place) for a Samsonite Luggage Co. heiress, the house was built for large-scale entertaining but comfortable living. Veio was familiar with the house—the grandparents of a high school friend had owned it—and the couple appreciated how special the Polo Club neighborhood was.
Still, the house needed work. A lot of work. “It felt like a giant bunker,” Veio says. The couple wanted to bring down the scale a bit and add warm touches throughout. “The design challenge was melding a recent major addition into what was originally a terrific contemporary home built in 1969,” Orlovsky says. A skillful remodel by architect Angela Feddersen of Elevate Architecture restored the wow factor. “We had great professional help from Angela and designer Mary Wright of Designwright Studios,” Orlovsky says. The result is a cool 9,253-square-foot, four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath pad spread over three floors in a park-like setting.
The home’s inconspicuous facade doesn’t overwhelm from the street. In fact, the first hint that there is something interesting here comes from the front gates, created by Denver sculptor Emmett Culligan in his RiNo fabrication studio. (A Culligan piece also graces the courtyard.) When guests step into the foyer and round the corner, they are invariably stunned by the magnificent fireplace with its towering wall of Italian marble, presiding over the long living room like a giant Rorschach test.
The couple added wood paneling that both warmed and transformed the home’s voluminous spaces into cozier areas. Gray-finished white oak floors flow through the main floor, seamlessly tying the media room and bar into the living, dining and kitchen spaces. Exotic hardwoods are used liberally throughout to add interest and depth.
Sapele wood, a reddish golden-brown African hardwood, complements calacatta marble countertops in the kitchen by William Ohs. Natural walnut panels the media room and the library. Neutral paint colors and grasscloth wall coverings provide a gallery backdrop for the couple’s collection of Russian impressionist and 19th-century American landscape paintings. Boldly colored and textured wallpapers by Ralph Lauren and deeply saturated fabrics grace the dining room. Mod, ’60s-style chandeliers hang from beamed, wood-paneled ceilings and cast their glow in hallways and rooms.
Upstairs, the master bath has the feel of a luxury spa with a wooden, onyx-topped mahogany back-to-back vanity and a steam shower surrounded by rich Turkish marble.
For authenticity, the couple turned to iconic furniture manufacturers of the period, buying new pieces of reissued designs and materials. Bright orange bucket chairs by Knoll, the original designer and manufacturer, surround an acrylic-based ghost table in an intimate seating area. “We call it the Dick Cavett set,” Orlovsky says. A long sofa by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams covered in deep marine velvet seems to float on the long shag pile rug in front of the fireplace.
Guests can slip into a jewel box of a powder room papered in Jinping Dragon, a shimmering gold Ralph Lauren design featuring golden velvet dragons. Crema Cielo onyx, the same stone used on the library’s fireplace, tops the vanity with its opulent golden fixtures.
The house stands ready to fill with visitors, host overnight guests and throw wild parties with a stylish ’60s vibe that Radziwill (or her sister, Jackie O) would have loved.