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Interiors

A Victorian Home With Countless Treasures in Denver, CO

by Annie Werbler

When they first stumbled upon the late-19th-century enclave of Kingston Row, Frances and Thaddeus Harjeet were happily settled into a tiny apartment elsewhere in Denver, CO. This distinguished grouping of six homes in the city’s Five Points neighborhood maintains their original Victorian details such as wooden shingles and slate roofs — and the Harjeet home features modern conveniences like high ceilings, big windows, exposed brick walls, and an open-plan, third-floor master suite. Once they saw this place, the Harjeets were immediately charmed by the quirky old house with its rounded edges, misaligned surfaces, and slanted lines at every turn. Frances, the proprietor of a floral design, prop and event styling outfit called prema, decorated the painterly 2,600-square-foot rowhouse alongside husband Thaddeus, a student of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and their Boggle (Beagle/Boston Terrier) pup Artemis, who rules the roost and sleeps under their cozy duvet every night. Frances runs her design studio out of the home and creates huge messes of leaves and flowers all over the kitchen. She uses antique vases and vessels in her design work and prefers to display them around the house rather than storing them in boxes, awaiting events. With so many plants around, the home always feels fresh and alive.

As a young couple and small business owners, Frances and Thaddeus don’t have the means to make everything perfect, nor is that their desire. Certain rooms in the residence have odd proportions due to its age and history — it was once a tenement housing 30 residents! The couple aren’t fans of the wall-to-wall carpeting on the second floor and stairs, but they aren’t yet able to put in all new hardwoods. They’ve tried some creative solutions to these cosmetic concerns, such as investing in great area rugs and creating a custom stair runner to trick the eye away from drab carpeting. Frances purchased a huge antique kilim from a local specialty company, of which the border was removed to create a stair runner. The leftover pieces were then used to make an area rug for the living room and a small carpet for the parlor.

The home is full of treasures found by the pair on their travels, as well as pieces inherited from family members. Both teachers of Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga, Thaddeus and Frances have spent time traveling extensively in India and enjoy the vintage prints, textiles, and rugs that serve as a reminder of those journeys. The home is a repository of memories, childhood moments, adventures taken, and milestones marked. It ignites in Frances a passion for other design projects, and continues to evolve with her as she grows, collects, deepens, and refines her own aesthetic. —Annie

Photography by Ashley Sawtelle

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This floral arrangement on the kitchen side table (an old family piece) of Frances and Thaddeus Harjeet was designed in a large Tuscan vase that Frances' mother gifted to her last year at Christmas. The clock is from IKEA, and the paint color is a custom blend of two different Benjamin Moore shades.
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The couple recently painted their kitchen cabinets white over an existing light maple finish. The string light fixtures were made for Frances by IndustrialRewind. She put cut crystal lightbulbs in them that create interesting reflections on the ceiling when lit. The other two small chandeliers are from Pottery Barn.
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Artemis models an overdyed West Elm patchwork rug near the exterior kitchen door.
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A Florentine tray with cuttings is displayed atop a vintage runner leftover from the pair's wedding. Frances' old-school Felco pruners are the best on the market, according to her.
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Bottles and vases Frances uses in her design work find a permanent home in the kitchen cabinets. There was a wine fridge in this space previously, but the homeowners removed it, sold it on Craigslist, and created this space in which to display some of their favorite vessels.
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Frances has an overwhelming love for houseplants, particularly ferns and orchids.
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Looking back toward the kitchen from the dining room. A corner glass cabinet belonged to Frances' paternal grandmother and showcases some of her own antique teacup and figurine collections. After months of antiquing for the right pieces, Frances gave up the search and sprung for this simple Provencal table and mismatched velvet chairs from Anthropologie.
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The dining room's floral, overdyed rug was purchased at ABC Carpet & Home. Table and chairs come from Anthropologie. Her mother gave Frances the antique bowl as a housewarming gift, and she rotates the plants in it seasonally - currently it holds African violets and moss.
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The ballerina painting behind the dining table was a gift from dear family friend and portrait artist Ying-He Liu. Thaddeus chose the paint color for this room. Frances originally picked a light blue-grey, but she's thrilled with the depth and dimension added by this more saturated tone.
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The parlor's street-facing side of the room shows a thrifted green hutch that contains treasured china and silver, which are mostly family heirlooms. The two parlor chairs and table are French from the 1940s. The crystal candelabra on the table was Frances' grandmother's - it used to have a pair, but that one was broken during a move. The Murano glass floral motif chandelier is the home's pride and joy.
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In the front hall's main stairway, the treads and risers are covered with a custom runner cut from the border of an antique kilim rug. Frances and Thaddeus framed favorite photographs and vintage Indian deity prints for their gallery wall.
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In the front hall, a mini Ficus lyrata (or fiddle-leaf fig tree) is potted in a Chinese painted pot Frances found at Sarkisian's, a fabulous 100+-year-old institution in Denver specializing in Asian antiques.
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In the living room, the leftover kilim from the stair runner was made into an area rug. The purple velvet couch belonged to Frances' grandmother. It used to be royal blue but the color faded over time.
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Artemis stops to smell the flowers on an antique brass table in the living room.
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"What I love most about my home is how it is both a space in which I create and collect as well as rest and dream." - Frances Harjeet
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In the living room storage unit, books, puzzles, knick-knacks, vintage arrows, and a folded Rajasthani embroidered umbrella sit on the top shelf next to Frances' ukulele. An embroidered Suzani pillow was purchased at the Seret & Sons in Santa Fe, and a Sferra blanket was a wedding present from a favorite aunt. The hand-painted Tibetan mandala was a birthday present years ago from Frances' mother.
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Artemis the pup, Frances, and Thaddeus Harjeet in their Five Points, Colorado living room.
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Back in the front hall with a small table given to Frances by her mother. She had a pair of them and gave one to her and one to her sister. The homeowners almost always have fresh flowers on this table, which are typically leftovers from weddings and events. A small gilt mirror was found at a local antique shop. It was in bad shape at the time, so Frances painted it with gold leaf before hanging.
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Looking down the stairway toward the framed Indian prints and antique kilim runner.
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The third floor master suite's four-post bed actually came with the house! Frances and Thaddeus figure the previous owners didn't want the hassle of bringing it down the stairs. She added the linen and gold thread curtains with fabric purchased in India. The silk rug was found in Rajasthan on a trip she took with her mother when she was in college.
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The vintage trunk at the foot of the bed came from a junktique shop in Denver. The Lyrata tree is here courtesy of Frances' wholesale greenhouse account, which is a godsend considering her addiction to plants. The chair and ottoman come from her teenage bedroom and were purchased in her hometown of Charlottesville, VA many years ago. The carved wooden piece on the mantel is from Indonesia. It is flanked by two porcelain vases that sat on her great-grandparents' mantel in Connecticut years ago.
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In the opposite corner of the bedroom sit a bureau and mirror that once belonged to Frances' grandmother, beside the chair and ottoman from her own teenage bedroom.
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Despite originally coming from her grandmother, the bureau and mirror were used by Frances' mother during her childhood, so she has many memories of sneaking around looking for Christmas presents in its side cabinets. The low table to the right was owned by her other grandmother.
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In the yoga room, the rug was brought to the couple from a friend in Mysore. The sheepksins are used for their nightly Kundalini meditations. The hanging Majolika planter is over one hundred years old and was purchased at a small antique shop in Denver that specializes in fine European items. On the wall hangs a large print of Garuda the pair brought home from India in their suitcase. It is still in its original frame which is falling to pieces but too cool to dissemble.
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Detail of a silk embroidered curtain by the window in the yoga room. The panel was used as a table runner at Frances and Thaddeus' wedding rehearsal dinner. They had brought it home from their first trip to India together because the animals on it reminded Frances of the film "The Darjeeling Limited."
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Kingston Row in Denver, Colorado is made up of of six separate homes. They were built in the 1890s and still have original Victorian detailing such as wooden shingle and slate roofs. Thad's little scooter guards the front door.
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The interior layout of Frances and Thaddeus Harjeet's three-story Victorian Kingston Row home.

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