Living Memories

This is the house that a Greenwood Village family built—twice.

By Sharon Withers

When Jennifer Fronk helped her father plant young trees around their new home in Greenwood Village some 40 years ago, she never dreamt she would one day build another house among those trees.

But that is exactly what she and her husband Reed did. After living in Canada for a number of years, they returned to Denver and looked for a home. The timing was right and in 2008, Jennifer, the youngest of four children, and Reed purchased the home she grew up in from her parents.

“I remember planting the ponderosa pine with my Dad,” Jennifer says. “They were tiny little pines in coffee cans and cost 50 cents each.” The Fronks were able to keep every one of the original Ponderosa pines and most of the important trees on the property when they rebuilt the house.

In thinking about the home and the family, several priorities bubbled to the top of their list. They wanted to expand the home yet keep the views of the Front Range and—of course—the trees. The feel of the home and the layout were also important to them, as were the tennis court and swimming pool. “We wanted to have our siblings and families here for holidays, to make it a gathering place where everyone could feel they were home, again,” Jennifer says. “We wanted it to be an easy, gracious home, and not at all pretentious. We wanted a low profile.”

Who better to enlist on their project than the architect of the original house, Bill Wunderlich?

“The original house was one of my first residential projects as an architect,” says Wunderlich, principal of Wunderlich Design.

The plan to expand the existing ‘60s ranch was scrapped right up front. It turned out the house was structurally inadequate to accommodate a second story.

“Jennifer pretty much gave me free rein. Of course, they told me the areas and rooms they wanted.” Wunderlich kept the location of the rooms in the house, the tennis court and the swimming pool similar, creating a sense of continuity.

Knowing the house and property was not the only advantage this team had. “We had an advantage with the outdoors. We were able to save most of the trees and original footprint,” Wunderlich says. “The house looks like it’s always been there. It has a sense of permanency.”

Wunderlich looked for every opportunity he could find to integrate the indoors and outdoors. The four seasons room may be the best example. “When the pocket doors are open, you don’t have any walls,” says Wunderlich. “It is totally open air.” It’s not clear if you are indoors, or when you went outdoors, if indeed you did. Another set of doors also allows the Fronks to close off the room from the kitchen.

Patios are found at every turn and level, each capitalizing on the views and spaces of the house. The interior space throughout the home is arranged to play up the indoor-outdoor design.

The open, spacious arrangement of the furnishings lends itself to being opened up to the outdoor spaces. Materials such as carrera marble, stained glass, exquisite woodwork, interesting light fixtures and barrel vault ceilings are hallmarks of the house.

“I call the hall light fixtures ‘house jewelry,” says Jennifer. When it came to making a home for her jewelry and accessories, she polled her friends and asked them what one thing they would want in a fantasy closet. One friend suggested a three-way mirror with wing panels that fold in. Another came up with a scarf island with shallow drawers such as what you might find in an exclusive boutique. “Now, whenever I am in my closet, I remember who gave me which idea for features in my closet.”

Jennifer claims a lifelong love of design, but little formal training. She recruited her childhood friend, Nancy Holliday of NPH Design in Denver, to help her. “I personally designed about 80 percent of the house, and picked every quarter inch of trim myself.” That attention to detail and the emphasis on function is evident in the architectural design as well as the interiors.

The new home makes a bold, creative statement, yet retains the feel of the first home. Today, Jennifer is just as much at home as she was when she helped her father plant Ponderosa pines out of a coffee can.

Interior Designer: Nancy Holliday, NPH Design

303.995.9809

Architect: William A. Wunderlich II

303.521.7692 | wunderlich-design.com

Builder: Keene Z. Smith, KZ Smith and Company, Inc.

303.320.1930 | kzsmith.com

Square Feet: old 3,000 | new 8,700