Becky Miller flips through a notebook called Your Wolff Home that she inherited from the previous owners of her 1956 Denver “California Contemporary,” designed by H.B. Wolff. The pages are full of sage advice about using “alkaloid” exterior house paint on the “Texture III” siding, which it touts as having “less shrinkage, warping and peeling,” and cleaning the mahogany paneling with “any good wall washing preparation. Deep scratches … can be repaired with a colored resin stick available in most department stores.” Try asking for that at your local Macy’s.
There’s a list of planting suggestions heavy on the junipers: upright juniper, Savin juniper, Armstrong juniper, Tamarix juniper, Pfitzer juniper. Oh, and an American linden tree if you like. Miller’s linden out front was in its full June glory with chartreuse leaves screaming in the sun. Part of Lynwood, in the Virginia Village area of Denver (got all that?), the four-block area is made up of five or six basic models built by H.B. Wolff & Company. Surrounding the tract are traditional little brick ranches, Denver’s most typical midcentury housing solution. Miller, a realtor and restaurant owner, bought the house in 2002.
“After finding this neighborhood online, I became obsessed with it because it was so cool,” she says. “At the time it was very affordable. Most homes here are between 1,230 and 1,290 square feet. I saw this same house with an addition on it for $230,000. This is definitely a niche neighborhood—my friends thought I was crazy to move out of Wash Park. A lot of people don’t appreciate this architecture; it’s bizarre to them.” Wash Park—more properly Washington Park—is the place to live in Denver, with its Queen Anne Victorians and bungalows.
H.B. Wolff in The Boonies
Coming up in part 2, Becky Miller revels in her newfound love for midcentury architecture and design while the rest of Denver stays to what they know.