Name: Aaron & Wendy Congleton
Location: Mayfair, Denver, Colorado
Size: 2,640 square feet
Years lived in: 13 years; Own
Aaron and Wendy's house could easily be mistaken for a shrine to the gods of mid-century modernism, but even more fascinating than the pieces themselves are the stories of how they were acquired.
The Congletons have an arsenal of friends and family who are always on the lookout for interesting pieces to add to their home. Basement envy aside, one of my favorite areas in the house is the birch breakfast table with orange Herman Miller shell chairs. According to legend, Aaron and his friend Zach were scooting around Denver during a rally when Zach spotted a large stack of the chairs in what looked to be a junk pile. Fifty bucks later he had a wealth of shell chairs, and Aaron and Wendy were lucky enough to be gifted two. The tales of treasures go on and on, including one juicy Craigslist score: a very large Cado wall unit for $100!
Aaron and Wendy love to cook, and grow a good amount of their own fruits and vegetables as well as keeping chickens. Loretta, Patsy, Wanda and Dolly were added to the side yard a few years ago, and at the time, were among the first few chickens to be licensed in the city of Denver. Chickens, Koi fish, grapevines, pumpkins, rescue dogs and a sweet kitty make this lovely house an even lovelier home.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: We love kitsch and MCM. The coziness of kitsch tends to burnish the hard sterile feeling of modern. Case Study #8 is about the best example of this. I think about that house a lot. Personal mementos are what make that house great. It's a modern home that fells human. I like that approach to modernism.
Inspiration: We are using our house as our primary inspiration. We have tried to keep the spirit of our restoration more about the past than the present.
Favorite Element: The original owner was a brick mason who obviously was proud of his abilities. All around the house there are neat little examples of his talent and skill. One wall is built up with a checkerboard pattern, while another is herringbone. The house sports two sweet fireplaces. Each has its own vibe. We have really tried to keep that spirit alive as we work on the house.
Biggest Challenge: Daily wear and tear is a challenge. Some of our earlier remodel projects are looking a little long in the tooth. Our kitchen has seen massive meals turned out pretty frequently. This has taken a toll on the sink, countertops and floor. We are about to get bids on new concrete work, and a little tuck point here and there. Etc, etc, etc. Such is the life of a home owner.
What Friends Say: The best quote was "Time to set the watch back 60 years". Most of our friends get it. In fact, a lot of our furniture and housewares are gifts or hookups from friends. We have made a lot of friends because of their shared interest in mid-century modern, Italian scooters, and food.
Biggest Embarrassment: That would be the "Jesus Room". This is the room that has died for the sins of all the other rooms. It is a dark place filled with sports equipment and other stuff that really doesn't fit in with the decor. It's a mess, but a necessary mess.
Proudest DIY: That's hard… we rarely hire out work. We can look around and see our handiwork all around. Some projects went better than others. Some projects are still in progress. I really like the way the kitchen turned out. We built all the cabinets and built-ins out of 3/4" birch plywood from Home depot. We also tore out the stairwell wall to open the space up, double our countertop space, and eke out some nice built-ins.
Biggest Indulgence: 1967 Alfa Romeo GTV… but that's another story.
Best Advice: Take your time. Retail purchases rarely come with a story. Most of our finds come with a good memory or even a story that goes along with it.
Dream Sources: Good friends who share the bug.
Resources of Note:
- • Butterfly Chairs: Garage Sale
- • Nelson Bench: Bought from our friend Robert
• Blonde Console: Decade (thanks Kris!)
• Sette: Craigslist... refinished the wood and had Calico Corners reupholstered the cushions with Sunbrella fabric (thanks Brooke!)
• Jens Risom Credenza: Craigslist find
• Ligne Roset Coffee Table: Mecca Modern
• Cherry Eames LCW, Modernica Bubble Lamp, Nesson Floor Lamp: Modern Classics (thanks Rick!)
• Wire Base Tables: Herman Miller stock sale
• Eames 670 Chair: Bought it from our friend Wendi at Unek Environments
• Cameroon Masks: A gift from Gui-patrice & Christy
• Alessi BaybyBoop vase: A gift from David
• Monument Valley Photo: Cry Baby Ranch (thanks Roxane!)
- • Danish Credenza: Craigslist find
• Eames DCMs: Bought from our friend Robert
• Bicycle Prints: Denver Art Crank (thanks Josh and Tran!)
• Chandelier: Murano Italy
- • Cabinets: Built by us
• Kohler Double Drainboard Kitchen Sink: original to the house
• Obligatory Stainless Steel Appliances: Sears
• Eames Aluminum Group Table: Ebay for the base and we made the top with Baltic birch to match the cabinets
• PH5: Ebay for the lamp, and we built the arch out of electrical conduit and wood.
• Eames DSWs: our friend Zach found the shells and the dowel bases came from Rick at Modern Classics.
• Dinnerbell: Cry Baby Ranch (thanks Roxane!)
- • Paul McCobb Bedroom Set: Bought from a friend and awesome hairdresser Russ
• Saarinen Arm Chair: A gift from our friend Robert
• Bedding and Lamps: Ikea
• Heywood Wakefield Vanity: Modern Classics (thanks Rick)
• Route 66 Map: Cry Baby Ranch (thanks Roxane)
• Bill Amunndson- "Gas Food And Elvis": The Zip Gallery
- • Sink and Bath Faucet Sets: Sign of the Crab from Do it Yourself Plumbing
• Bathtub: Kohler from Do it Yourself Plumbing
• Tile: Hakatai Tile
• Other fixtures are original to the house.
- • Bar and Umanoff Barstools: These were left with the house when we bought it.
• Nelson side table. Herman Miller clearance sale
• Eames RAR and DAR: Bought them from our friend Robert
• Cado Wall Unit: Craigslist find for $100
• Sofa: Ikea
• Lane Tables: Crown Mercantile (we miss you Russel)
• Dr Pepper Machine: The Denver Pepsi Cola Bottling Company
• Velvet Elvis: The In Crowd Albuquerque
• Josh Wills "13 Star Flag": the man himself
• Eames Aluminum Group Lounge and Ottoman: ebay we restored the slings with materials bought from Graham Mancha in the UK
Thanks, Aaron and Wendy!
(Images: Ashley Poskin)
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