Modern Farmhouse Collaboration

A Whole-House Renovation the Whole Family Adores

Article by Camille Wilson

Photography by Kylie Fitts

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

In search of a home to entertain, build memories and raise their three young daughters, David Allen and Paula Hansen knew they wanted something fresh, light and livable in Boulder. They explored undeveloped land for new construction and newly remodeled homes, ultimately deciding to pursue a whole-home renovation. Allen and Hansen purchased the house in The Reserve in September 2017, embarking on a one-year adventure resulting in their dream home.

Built in 1984, the house had not been updated and still contained original oak kitchen cabinets and dated architectural features such as sunken living areas. However, it was ripe with potential, and Allen knew right away they had found the clay they would mold. The couple hired Boulder-based Ellis Builds—a high-end custom home builder and renovation company serving Boulder County since 2002—to shepherd them through the project. An added bonus: the company president, David Ellis, is the couple’s brother-in-law, so they had added confidence knowing they were in professional, trustworthy hands.

No square-foot of the home was left untouched by this renovation—even the exterior. To accommodate the addition of a large wraparound front porch, the pitch of the front roofline needed to change, and square footage was added to the second level to create the bedroom layout they wanted and a larger bathroom for the three girls. It also allowed for his-and-her closets in the master suite.

Unique Personality

On the main level, they shuffled several rooms and leveled all the floors to improve the connectivity and flow throughout the home, and they added a mudroom that doubles as a laundry room. This kid-friendly multipurpose room was a non-negotiable for Hansen who says it is one of the family’s favorites.

“The multipurpose room is large enough that we were able to fit our old kitchen table in there to create a fun craft space for the girls,” David says. “After dinner they go in there and paint or draw or create something instead of asking to turn on the TV.”

Installation of the mudroom tile was a major milestone in the project, as it was the first realization of all the progress being made—a glimpse of the house turning into their home.

“It felt like it was just studs for so long, and then the drywall went up and it started to come together,” remembered Paula. “But when all the tile went in, we just got so excited, and it really came alive. We had picked some interesting shapes and colors for the laundry room, pantry and bathrooms and saw these tiles as a way to add our own personal style and uniqueness in a way we wouldn’t get tired of.”

At the heart of the home and acting as a grounding and welcoming space, the kitchen is another favorite. It features a bar-height quartz island large enough for the family of five to gather together, along with clean white Caesarstone quartz counters, custom white cabinets and floating wood shelves in a warm hue. JennAir appliances—a dual-fuel range and convection oven, professional-grade refrigerator and refrigerated drawers in the island—add style, quality and functionality.

The girls’ bathroom includes a fun, modern bird wallpaper, double sink and blue penny tile. Bright pink sconces add a pop of feminine color.

Trust and Collaboration

Hansen and Allen couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of this project and credit David Ellis for his experience and sixth sense to envision the final product when they could not.

“He really cares and was able to protect us from ourselves by catching a couple of changes needed in the design that we didn’t have the vision to see, but he knew we wouldn’t be happy with,” recalled David. “By nature, a project like this can be very transactional, but David really prioritized the final product over the process and guided us through the exhausting number of decisions we had to make.”

Jeanne Ellis handles marketing and public relations for Ellis Builds and is Paula’s sister. She says this remodel was especially fulfilling because of the contrast with the way projects usually end: by handing off the home to the client. Since their family lives here, they now get to see the love and experiences taking place in the home on an ongoing basis, making this a notably special transformation. She is proud of the team effort between the client, contractors and design professionals requiring excellent collaboration and communication to manage this job.

“We are so happy every time a client loves their new home,” says Jeanne. “It’s just beautiful. Regardless if they’re my family or not, that’s what you want to feel at the end of every project!”


Builder: David Ellis, Ellis Builds

Project Manager: Jon Petzke, Ellis Builds

Architect: Kyle Callahan, Kyle Callahan & Associates

Interior Designer: Kate Van Sluyter, Kimball Modern Interior Design

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