Inside an Interior Designer's Light-Filled Midcentury Denver Ranch
When Molly Bevan saw this midcentury California ranch in Denver's Stokes Place neighborhood, she knew that with a little TLC, it would become the perfect home for her family. While adjacent to the city center, this quaint neighborhood was family-friendly and filled with historic ranch homes with large yards and quiet streets. Still, it took a little imagination for the interior designer to see potential through the layers of paint and bad decisions from previous owners—but with a little elbow grease and imagination, her vision shined through.
The Havenly designer had a clear vision to transform this dated space into the welcoming family home she shares with her husband, Terry, and her children, Jack, 7, and Annie, 5. Specifically, she envisioned a light and bright space filled with small pops of color, meaningful art, and treasured vintage pieces in keeping with the home's history. Tour this designer's midcentury sanctuary, and pick up a few tips for your own space.
"The home had all the great makings of a true midcentury ranch that needed an update," says Bevan. "The previous owners had chosen a color palette and finishings that felt outdated and not in keeping with the light and airy feel of the home. I knew that simple things such as a fresh coat of paint and new hardware could make all the difference!"
"Upon entering the home is our more formal living room," explains the designer. "I envisioned this space for entertaining friends and for the adults to relax from the day-to-day chaos. You can almost always find my husband sitting here in the evenings reading the latest Barron’s or Sports Illustrated."
The designer took her time to furnish the space, making sure that every item was one her family would cherish. "Each piece of art was curated over time as I came across it," she says. "Living with empty areas was okay with me if it meant finding the exact right piece. It was important to me to have variety among the art using various mediums from handmade arrows to a vintage 2-D Golden Gate Bridge made of molded plastic to a more modern and abstract painting on canvas. For the furniture, I chose clean lines and a mix of old and new. Nothing too ornate or overly designed."
"The driving goal for my home was to achieve an overall warm and inviting space that I could spend time with my family and friends in," says Bevan. "I also wanted the space to feel cohesive and have harmony throughout while still maintaining definition between the spaces."
The designer who describes her style as minimal and midcentury used the bright and airy quality of the house to inspire her décor: "I believe that clean and simple lines provide the foundation for a space, adding just the right amount of layers to make it feel curated. People today are looking for a balance of clean lines and open space—even if they can't articulate it—and they love help layering in meaningful pieces that make a home feel good."
Bevan started with all-white walls—a blank slate—and then slowly added in elements to help define the palette. "As pieces started coming together over time, the colors dictated themselves—neutrals and rich browns adorned with hints of black and gold," she says. "I gravitate toward more neutral tones overall, but I like to add punches of color through objects in the space from flowers to my vintage yellow ice bucket on the bar."
Adjacent to the living room is the dining room. "Given the open floor plan, it was important to me to find a table that had a small footprint to not weigh down the space or ruin the flow," explains the designer. "Some of my favorite pieces of art are on these walls and provide dimension to the space without feeling overwhelming." One of her favorite pieces in the entire house? Her glass dining room table. "I chose the glass top for its light feel and loved the wooden and metal base that complement the other wooden elements in the home. While the table has a presence, it doesn't feel disjointed from the other spaces in the home."
One of Bevan's main focus points was on the family room: "This is where we as a family spend most of our time. It was important for the space to feel cozy and comfortable without being cluttered," she explains. "I needed practical pieces that could take significant wear as well as ample storage for Jack and Annie's arts and crafts and board games. I wanted a space for my kids upstairs that felt theirs. I was very deliberate in my choices from a large glass coffee table that is virtually unbreakable to a leather sofa that can take significant wear and tear."
"The original built-in cabinets provide easy access for the kids and keep all the clutter tucked away when not in use." While the built-ins now provide much-needed storage, it took a while for the designer to find their true purpose: "It took me some time to figure out what to do with them," she says. "I wanted a simple and clean look, so I removed the shelves, painted the encasements white, and lived with it that way for a bit. I eventually chose to make the backdrop a gallery of photos of my children to complement the intent of the room and bring warmth to the space."
"The most dramatic and feel-good room in the house is the sunroom," says Bevan. "With its high ceilings, wood beams, and skylights, it provides such an uplifting welcome to the home. It is our gathering space when entertaining larger groups of family and friends—our eight-foot long table provides ample seating and lots of room for additional kiddos to saddle up."
One of her favorite finds is the midcentury credenza. "It took me a while to find the right piece to anchor the space without feeling heavy. I came across the credenza at a fabulous vintage store here in Denver and knew the second I saw it I had to have it! Designing requires a bit of patience. You might not always find the exact piece you are looking for. I have learned that I would rather live in an unfinished space and wait for that prized piece that feels specifically curated and custom." With her sunroom, the designer proved that the wait was, in fact, worth it—the credenza complementing the warm wood tones of the ceilings and chairs perfectly.
Next up: Emily Henderson's gorgeous midcentury home is for sale. Take the tour.