To say that this 1889 Victorian charmed Brady Burke and his husband Brendan would be an understatement. After meticulously house-hunting across Denver for weeks, the two were instantly enamored by the historic homes’ character and quirky details.
Ahead, see how Brady gave the centuries-old home a second lease on life in less than a year.
Balance Form & Function
Brady quickly got to work on the living room — a beautiful but impractical space that proved to be the biggest design challenge. “This is the only space to host friends, watch TV, and relax on the couch,” he explains. “It needed to be beautiful, functional, and comfortable.”
The designer managed to check all three boxes with carefully-selected, transitional furniture: “The white sofa is the true workhorse — it has removable back cushions and can be used as a chaise or daybed for overnight guests,” he explains. Finished with a cozy leather sofa and a lightweight two-seater bench, the living room is fit for hosting friends on Saturday and kicking back with Netflix come Sunday.
Develop a Signature Color Palette
To give the space an elevated designer touch, Brady developed a cohesive whole home color palette and stuck to it. From the kitchen and dining room to the guest bedroom (pictured above, featuring a chic platform bed from The Inside by Havenly in Black Bamboo Garden), the designer carried bold black, moody charcoal gray, warm cognac, and hints of blue throughout. “Paint is such a great way to breathe new life into a space without breaking the bank,” notes Brady. “We painted the trim, fireplace, and dining room in Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal, and it really created the modern Victorian feel that we were after.”
Upgrade the Light Fixtures
Speaking of “lightweight aesthetic upgrades,” Brady refreshed the light fixtures in every room in the home. “We installed pendant lights over the kitchen island, swapped fixtures in the living room and main bedroom, upgraded our flush mounts, and ‘hardwire hacked’ sconces into brick on either side of the fireplace.” (More on that genius five-step DIY here.) The modern fixtures juxtapose beautifully against the traditional details, like the crown moulding and original fireplace.
Add Pops of Texture
As natural-born hosts, Brady and Brendan wanted their home to feel as warm and inviting as possible. Brady sourced affordable textural accents, like rugs, throw pillows, blankets, and decorative wall hangings for added coziness. “I really made sure every nook felt layered, welcoming, and complete,” he notes.
Make Space for Personal Mementos
When asked for his best piece of advice when designing a cozy, personalized home, Brady doesn’t hesitate. “Always carve out space for pieces that spark joy or recall positive memories,” he explains. In addition to an entire black-and-white gallery wall of family photos, Brady installed a shelving unit specifically for treasured possessions, including travel mementoes, concert tickets, and baby photos.
“My favorite piece has to be the framed vintage architectural elevations hanging in our dining room,” he adds. “Brendan’s mom found them at an estate sale and hung them in his childhood home. She gifted them to him when he bought his first house.”
While Brady admits that he’s his own harshest critic, he’s incredibly proud of the finished product. “This space has become a true embodiment of who we are, and I love how everything came together,” he adds. “It inspires a sense of comfort and security, and I’m so grateful for that.”