An ultra-fresh version of Suburban Ranch

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Karli and Nils Erickson love what you might call bold houses.

About a decade ago, the couple commissioned architects Brad Tomecek and Kevin Sietmann and interior designer Andrea Schumacher—then rising talent in the Denver design world and now in-demand leaders in their field—to build an architectural masterpiece in Denver’s Lower Highland neighborhood. The resulting house (dubbed the Shield House for its curved exterior wall) was so remarkable that it made the cover of the very first issue of 5280 home in 2012. “This was an incredibly special project,” says Tomecek, director of Tomecek Studio Architecture. “People still walk by the house, take a step back and say, ‘Did I see that right?'”

5280 Home June/July 2022

But in 2017, the Ericksons decided they (and their two young sons) had outgrown their urban home and needed to move to the “openness, quiet, and solitude” of the suburbs, says Karli. They bought a 1950’s ranch home in idyllic Bow Mar, where the miles of lots are shaded by mature trees and where the boys “could ride their bikes to the beach [neighborhood] See,” adds Karli. After living in the estate’s cramped mid-century home for six months and realizing it would stay forever, the couple set about rebuilding. And – why mess with perfection? — they hired the very design team that designed their LoHi knockout: Tomecek Studio Architecture and Andrea Schumacher Interiors, plus, on recommendation from friends, Justin Bride of Ascent Contracting.

The town of Bow Mar has housing restrictions to maintain its character, and given these conditions, the team decided a ranch house would be the best approach — not just any ranch. “Our wheelhouses are exotic houses,” says Tomecek. “This was about keeping the feel of the original neighborhood, but we wanted to try different textures and details.” For example, he points to the home’s mix of vertical wood and cedar paneling and off-center gables. “The house is inspired by Bow Mar’s one-story ranch homes, but it adds a subtle, modern twist to the design,” he says.

Building a home to Tomecek Studio specifications is not for the faint of heart. Case in point: the home’s large custom windows, many with off-center spires. “The frame of the house consists of steel beams and columns coupled with timber trusses and bar-framed roof panels, all surrounding floor-to-ceiling windows,” says Bride. “All of these elements required extensive planning to ensure the items could be precisely manufactured and delivered on time.” Add to that precise interior elements like the slab-concrete fireplace, glass-enclosed wine cellar, closet-less doors, and hidden yoga room next to the Master bedroom (with a door camouflaged with wallpaper), and there was plenty of room for error. But fortunately, even with a global pandemic beginning during the completion phase of the 6,200-square-foot build-out, the Ericksons and their design team were pleased with how smoothly the project went. (Photos of Nils with Tomecek and the bride even hang on the family room gallery wall.)

Interior designer Andrea Schumacher, a friend and neighbor of the Ericksons, agrees: “Because I worked with the architects on the previous house, it was a natural transition to this house,” says the designer. “We got started right away and – without ego – worked on solving the problem.” For the design, she and Karli developed an aesthetic that the designer calls “Midcentury with a traditional twist”. Karli explains: “We wanted the style of this house to feel a little more transient. This house needed to accommodate both modern life and my grandmother’s antique collections from her travels when she was young.” The kitchen of the house with its mix of cabinet styles – gray Shaker-style fronts along the perimeter, walnut tops on the fridge and pantry, and a teal one Campaign cabinet style coffee station – embodies this contemporary yet classic directive. In the living room, custom sofas mingle with a blue Moroccan rug, the work of artist Benjamin Joseph Strawn, and found and inherited objects.

“As much as we loved our home in LoHi, this move has really given us some room to grow and made our kids feel more independent,” says Karli. “We have so much respect for the architecture and design of our last home as well as this home. The more unique a home is, the more it becomes part of your memories.”


design professionals
Architecture – Tomecek Studio
architecture interior design – Andrea Schumacher Interiors
construction – Ascension Contract

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