Emily & Jonathan's Urban Homestead

House Tour

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Name: Emily & Jonathan Power, with Ramona (almost 2) and Ottoman, the Wheaten Terrier (there’s also four goats, three chickens, and two ducks who live out back).
Location: Lower Highland (LoHi) Neighborhood, Denver, Colorado
Size: 564 square feet 
Years lived in: 3 years; rented / owned

Almost three and a half years ago, the Power family decided to put down roots in a 1910s charmer located in the (now ever so popular) Lower Highland neighborhood of Denver. Just as the name implies, these two are indeed a power couple. They have their hands in multiple creative endeavors at once and yet some how manage to be incredibly talented at them all. 

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Most days you will find Jonathan whipping up savory concoctions either at the hip coffee hotspot, Crema (co-owned with close friend Noah Price) or creating the week's palate-wowing menu at his new restaurant, Populist. You will find community networker extraordinaire Emily blogging and running her children's vintage clothing store, all with (soon to be powerful woman herself) little Ramona by her side. To me, this couple represents one of the most beautiful ways of life; a life spent pursuing passions, raising a family, creating space for fellowship with great friends, eating amazing food from their own backyard garden, and living fully within their means. Nothing about their home is fussy, overstated or ostentatious. It's exactly what you would expect it to be, energetic and creative, just like the lives they live. It's a place filled with incredible character, beautiful style, and the warmth and wealth that should encompass every family’s home. 

Like many homes in the historic LoHi neighborhood, this home has a story, one dating all the way back to the early 1900s. Walking through the space, Emily tells me how the home originally lacked plumbing and once housed servants to the wealthy inhabitants up the hill. Each of the neighbors shares the same basic home with differing layouts, depending on the preference of the individual renovator. The Powers' space boasts a bright and airy living/dining front room (the central station of this bustling homestead), a small bed and bath down the hall, and a small yet highly efficient (chef's) kitchen anchoring the back. Despite the small square footage, the bright white walls and mid century, eclectic vibe make this home feel open, airy, and inspiring. 

The smell of hot coffee streams in from the kitchen as Jonathan brings in a fresh pot of french press (just the finest local roast, of course!) for his two ladies. I sit back amazed at how perfectly this home reflects this warm, stylish family and impressed with how they have been able to turn their space into something truly unique in just three and a half years.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Our style leans toward minimal, earthy, modern, practical, and fun.

Inspiration: Our limited square footage has been an inspiration in itself, since we have to really consider the space whenever we bring anything into our home. Because it’s so small, it’s obvious when there’s a need to be filled or, on the other hand (and most often), when there’s something taking up valuable real estate. We listen to that and how we feel in our space with the items and colors around us.

Additionally, I (Emily) read many online design blogs, of which Apartment Therapy is obviously one. And over the years I have consistently been drawn to bright, white spaces that allow the art and textiles of the home’s owner to shine. Because many of our goods are found or thrifted items (or from estate sales and Craigslist and travel) we wanted to make sure the majority of our space was simple and allowed for those items to come together cohesively

Favorite Element: The open but cozy living space ensures we’re almost always right near each other. I suppose this could also be our least favorite element as well on certain days...

Biggest Challenge: Especially with Jonathan being a chef, it’s really hard to fully enjoy the small kitchen located in the back of the house, which doesn’t get much light. This isn’t necessarily because of its size, as we’ve finally tweaked it to be incredibly efficient. We just know that kitchens are the center of a household and where everyone congregates and our kitchen just cannot be that. If more than two people are in there it’s a crowd. And not a fun one at that. It’s a big bummer.

What Friends Say: Rustic but modern. Cozy (read: really really small). A little urban homestead. Minimalist, but still warm. Inspiring, as far as making a very limited space work for a family. Carefully curated. Excellent use of space that's pleasantly busy but not crowded, keeping form and function in mind. These are direct quotes, so thanks to my friends for their help in answering this question!

Biggest Embarrassment: The floors in our kitchen: nasty linoleum on top of nastier linoleum. We already took some of it up in the bathroom. 

The lack of a door to our uninsulated “pantry” at the top of our back stairway. It was a poorly-done addition, and now we just have a blue, plaid set of thrifted curtains that go with absolutely nothing in the house to “help” with keeping the heat in. 

The lack of a door to our bathroom vanity. We redid everything in that room except for the toilet. and putting a door on our vanity. That was two years ago.

Proudest DIY: The bathroom. Everything but the toilet is new and done by Jonathan (he demo-ed everything, installed the window, refinished the original hardwood floors, poured the concrete sink, re-finagled the plumbing, put up all the tile, and let me boss him around in the meantime). This man is amazing.

Biggest Indulgence: Rugs. I can’t say no if i find a good kilim or woven rug or just a decent rug in good shape for cheap because hell! That’s a good find! You can’t even tell from these photos because we have such little space that they’re not even on our main floor. I just use them to cover the floors in the basement (which we hardly use!). Jonathan threatens me every time I come home with a new one. He swears that if he dies before me, I will end up burying myself in a pile of rugs accidentally. It’s really hard for me to part with them because a good rug is hard to find.

Best Advice: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Good ole’ William Morris. (Unless it’s extra rugs. Then hold on to those puppies.)

Dream Sources: Exotic travel.

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS 

  • walls and ceilings: Behr ultra pure white matte 
  • doors and baseboards: Behr ultra pure white semi-gloss (also used for bathroom and kitchen walls) 
  • bathroom door: Benjamin Moore, onyx
ENTRY  
  • coat rack: Eames hang-it-all
  • basket of shoes: thrifted farm basket
  • planter: Eest Elm 
  • all plants from denver store: Paulino Gardens
LIVING ROOM 
  • sofa: Dania
  • pillows: combination Craigslist and inherited from my grandparents who got them on a trip to turkey
  • rug: World Market
  • two vintage hardoy butterfly chairs: found in an alley in our neighborhood
  • black hardoy cover: Circa50 
  • paint splattered hardoy cover: Urban Outfitters
  • coffee table: our first non-wedding couple purchase from an antique mall in Milwaukee. we were so broke and so splurged.
  • vintage brass lamp: $15 find at a Salvation Army in a Denver suburb
  • Expedit: IKEA
  • naked woman figurine: my mother’s from when she lived in kenya as a child
  • goats bells: from my grandfather’s goat farm 
  • art prints behind sofa: the Greenhorns’ Etsy shop (our one year anniversary gift)
  • large black and white print: a part of a Felix Gonzalez Torres exhibit at the walker art center in Minneapolis

DINING ROOM


KITCHEN

  • cowhide wine rack: J.W. Bailey Saddlery out of Petersburg, Il (a gift from one of jonathan’s cooks, whose father makes them). 
  • moon calendar on fridge by jeremy rendina via Margins Imprint, bought at denver shop ironwood
  • shelving: Home Depot 
  • hardware: IKEA
  • industrial metal shelf: custom-made by Denver Cutlery
  • runner: IKEA

BEDROOM 

  • bed: IKEA
  • duvet: IKEA
  • throw: wool remnant from pendleton woolen mill store
  • large flower pillow: curtain fabric i found at a flea market in vienna that my mother made into a case for me 
  • throw pillows: thrifted pottery barn 
  • rug: West Elm 
  • side tables: estate sale
  • necklace holder: thrifted 
  • poster above bed: jeremy deller’s “what would neil young do,” picked up as part of an exhibit at the museum of contemporary art in Chicago 
  • BATHROOM 
  • sink: poured concrete DIY 
  • towels: Nate Berkus for Target 
  • shelves: Umbra via the Container Store 
  • bud vase: thrifted Jonathan Adler 
  • carved head: thrifted
  • step stool: IKEA
  • vintage beauty mirror: estate sale

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Thanks, Emily,Jonathan, little Ramona, and Ottoman!

(Images: Kathryn Bacalis)

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