Originally built in 1924, 890 South Josephine was one of the first homes built in Bonnie Brae. We purchased the house in 1985 after a year of searching for the perfect location in this unique neighborhood. (We literally walked up and down every street (twice) until we found the block we wanted.) This narrow, curved street with mature trees also happened to have a house for sale—one that could be renovated.
We hired acclaimed Denver architect, Doug Walter to help us with our search, as we did not want to buy a property that was not a good renovation candidate. Doug has received multiple awards for his designs. We spent 1-1/2 years working with Doug on the design with a focus on two aspects:
Michael Collins of Michael Collins Fine Home Building and Michael Shuster of Wildwood Joinery and Design were hired as contractors for the project. Doug and Michael Collins were also the principals involved in the home office in 1995. Michael Shuster specializes in craftsman design (the seven-inch poplar baseboards throughout the home are a result of his insistence that the original character of the house be preserved.) He also brought in Dave Boykin and Tom Pearce of Boykin Pearce Associates to design the custom cherry fireplace mantle. We were so thrilled with the mantle that we hired them to design the custom cherry, curly maple and etched glass buffet.
The kitchen was custom designed and built by Dennis Kircher. Although considered “dated” by today’s standards, the cabinetry and countertops including dovetail joints, high-end (German) door hinges, cherry faced sliding drawers, cherry accents and bull noses are the highest quality and were built to last. We installed a Sub-Zero refrigerator because we wanted the very best refrigeration. After much thought with regard to a new kitchen renovation prior to putting our house on the market, we decided to leave it “as-is” because we thought that the new owners would want to live with the existing kitchen for a while and then replace it, if desired, with their own dream kitchen. We took this into consideration when pricing the house.
During the design phase we struggled over whether the upstairs should include multiple bedrooms (including a master with en-suite bath) or simply a large master with everything. Although our daughter was just a baby at the time we opted for the large single master suite with sun-room/spa, en-suite bath, large walk-in closet and sitting area. Instead of designing for mass resale we decided on the master “retreat” complete with lots of light and space. Our daughter’s bedroom (the original master on the main floor) turned out to be the perfect space for her growing up.
We have a special appreciation for built-ins, all of which are included with the home. The master suite armoire (roughly the equivalent of five (5) dressers), the cherry bookshelves in the downstairs bedroom/den and the office cabinetry were all built by Vass Inc.
The original house had a one-car detached garage—with the driveway running the length of the lot—and a small back yard. We wanted to have a spacious two-car attached garage with a mudroom so we could ignore inclement weather.
Our goal for the new backyard was to create a patio that was more like an extended room of the house rather than a back yard. The large catalpa tree on the south side provides amazing shade during the summer months. Although small, this outdoor area has proven to be a perfect space for entertaining. We even hosted a wedding with one hundred guests there.
This house has brought use so much joy over the past twenty-four years. We raised our twenty-five year old daughter here. We’ve spent countless hours walking around Wash Park 3-4 times a week. Truth-be-told, part of our buying criteria years ago was the ability to walk to The Bonnie Brae Tavern for pizza as well as Bonnie Brae Ice Cream. Anyone who knows Bonnie Brae knows that you don’t just buy a house, you buy the neighborhood.