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One-of-a-kind Denver Condo Unit Exudes Luxury


Judith King jokes that right around cocktail hour, friends drive past her high-rise condo near the Denver Country Club. They look up toward her two-story penthouse on the 17th floor, and pull over if they determine from the lights that “the bar is open.”

King is a hostess with “the mostest,” aided considerably by her 5,000-plus-square-foot home, which boasts 360-degree views, a 2,000-square-foot terrace and an understated, elegant look reminiscent of a luxury hotel.

“Judith’s unit is one of a kind,” says Brian Pesch, one of three developers of the building, which was completed in 1999 and designed, with input from the neighborhood, to be a gateway into West Washington Park. Pesch also oversaw the final build-out of King’s penthouse two years ago, which was a shell of a space that has been transformed into a modern showplace.

Visitors are greeted at the front door by a grand Rocky Mountain view. That same vista serves as the backdrop to King’s dining room, where a long table is paired with straight-back, upholstered leather benches. A Nepalese rug here has muted blue and brown stripes, one of several like it around the home.

A see-through fireplace separates King’s dining room from her living room, which is outfitted with deep, taupe, contemporary sofas. Subtle tropical flourishes — a palm frond throw pillow here, a bowl of shells there — are a nod to the years King lived in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and help soften the contemporary edge.

“It is such a wonderful home and so inviting that people simply do not want to leave,” Pesch says.

It follows that King has hosted a flurry of events since moving in, including political and philanthropic fundraisers, chichi birthday parties and fashion trunk shows.

“It’s a lot of work,” she says of becoming a party maven, “but it keeps me off the street.”

King is a mother and grandmother who once owned children’s toy stores. More recently, her life was consumed by caring for her late mother.

When it was time to leave her old house in the Country Club neighborhood, King says, “I wanted this spot.”

“This was the prettiest view in Denver,” adds King, who is recently single. “Just walking from one spot to another, it’s all view.”

Although King declines to share exactly how much she invested in buying and outfitting the penthouse, she will say that an interested buyer once offered her $7 million for it, which she declined. “I wanted to have a chance to live in it,” King says.

Aspen interior designer Noelle Hernandez was informed by King’s “impeccable style and taste” when she took on the task of planning the penthouse space.

The palette is neutral and understated, which helps draw the eye toward King’s artwork and handmade furniture. An open, airy Bulthaup kitchen is at the heart of the main floor layout, which enables people to interact regardless of where they are.

“To be up there,” says Hernandez, who counts this home among the crowning achievements of her 20-year career, “it’s like you’re somewhere else . . . it’s a world of its own.”

At least some of the drive to keep the colors and finishes simple was to create a frame for King’s significant collection of handmade furniture, most of which was completed by the team at Denver’s Boykin Pearce Associates.

Of King’s furniture, craftsman Dave Boykin says: “The emphasis is on elemental design, proportion instead of decoration.”

Boykin has collaborated with King on several pieces over the years. In that time, he says, both client and craftsman have embraced a more streamlined look.

“That kind of design is really difficult,” says Boykin, who can spend weeks walking a client through a technical design process that includes using computer software to conceive and tweak their vision.

“It’s really hard,” he says, “to boil down a piece of furniture to as few elements as possible.”

But that’s exactly what King requested for her penthouse. That high level of craftsmanship is repeated throughout the home. From the hidden-hinge, gray-stained, English sycamore doors to the African wenge wood floors made from lumber cut just for King, all of the finishes are distinct.

“This is my vision and what I planned to do all along,” says the homeowner. “It flows, and it’s a great party place . . . We’ve had so much fun here.”