After becoming an expert at house upkeep with the help of notes the previous owners wrote about her new California Contemporary in Denver (Part 1), Becky Miller watches as others realize what a gem the neighborhood is (Part 2), for better or worse.
Her pet peeve is when people come to a modern neighborhood and put in pseudo-Victorian lampposts or other architecturally inappropriate quick fixes. “It’s so readily available and affordable that some tend to do that. But the people who are buying these houses are paying a premium, so they’re generally not doing inexpensive repairs. There’s a great example on the corner of a developer who came in and fixed up one of these houses with big-box warehouse elements throughout.
“It’s been on the market for I can’t tell you how long. The remodel wasn’t consistent with the house so the appeal is gone.” Since moving in, she’s landscaped, painted, torn out the carpet covering the wood floors and had them refinished, tiled a bath, had a wood floor put down in the family room and opened up the kitchen by removing bookshelves on the dining room wall and replacing them with a large pass-through.
The house is also responsible for Miller’s evolving interior design aesthetic, coming as she was from a post-collegiate thrift-store-velvet-couch background at her Wash Park condo. “My initial urge was to buy all designer furniture like Knoll reissues and make it completely retro. I started to do that and then I realized that’s not totally me and I don’t have the budget for it,” she says. “I had to do some soul searching and say, ‘Forget trying to be something; do what you love and make yourself feel at home,’ I had to make an atmosphere that I really wanted to be in.”
She sometimes wonders if she should go back into a condo without the upkeep and yard issues that are hard to fit into her busy work schedule. “But the more I do to the house, the more I love it. And I ask myself if I sell, what would I buy? I would want another California contemporary, and I’d want to fix it up.”