Reinvigorating History in a Highlands Renovation

As interior designers with an interest in the history of architecture and evolution of design, we love the opportunity to work within a historic home. When these opportunities present themselves, our approach is always to reinvigorate the home with a modernized, timeless version of the original historic charm. In other words – we are not in the business of removing or covering up the architectural aspects that reflect the home’s history and story.

For our Historic Highlands Renovation project located in Denver, we were entrusted to remodel the kitchen and utility room within a duplex dating back to 1903. As the home was historic, our main objective was to tie the historical significance of the home’s architecture and the surrounding neighborhood into the updated design. In addition, our clients were professionals in the restaurant industry and had a passion for cooking. This meant the kitchen had to be highly functional and equipped with the newest cooking technology. By focusing on updating and installing a few standout features, we were able to create a space that was reinvigorated with history without lacking in form and functionality.



Upon stepping into the duplex for the first time, Julie Brayton was inspired by some of the existing features and knew immediately that they needed to remain. One of which was the trim and molding present throughout the entire house. The caveat: the stain didn’t match in all areas. To maintain this historic aspect and increase its impact, we matched the stain throughout the home and re-stained where necessary. We also widened the opening to the kitchen and matched the custom trim work to what was existing. Now, when you walk into the home, your eyes are immediately drawn to the trim and molding, of which both the style and stain are reminiscent of the early 1900s.

A second feature that the clients owned yet weren’t utilizing was an antique heirloom spice cabinet that had been passed down to them. It wasn’t in the best shape and needed cleaning up, but it was well worth the work. After re-staining and installing it in the wall, the spice cabinet is now a standout feature that speaks to the history of both the family and the home.



To achieve the charming, historic look the clients craved, the Brayton Interiors team paired existing features with newly installed features – all of which reflected the time the home was originally built. Although the plan was to keep the walls white, we knew they could use an element of interest. For this space and the design objectives, the element of interest came in the form of tongue and groove paneling on all of the kitchen walls. In addition, for a pop of color, we installed custom kitchen cabinets painted in Ichyra Blue, a classic, timeless, and elevated color. To top off the kitchen update, we installed antique brass hardware, similar to what you would find if you stepped into 1903.


The before and after pictures speak to how small design details make all the difference for reflecting a certain time period or achieving a certain level of impact. By approaching the project with intentional plans for existing and new features, the updated kitchen perfectly married the clients’ two goals: historic, original charm in a functional, high-end space.

Contact Brayton Interiors today for timeless, luxury design and high-quality customer service.