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urbandwellers™ share “Their Lofty Workplace” in this Denver Post My House featured article

urbandwellers™ share “Their Lofty Workplace” in this Denver Post My House featured article

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LIFESTYLE > HOME & GARDEN

Their lofty workspace

A move into a Ballpark condo forced this duo to downsize — and a home-furnishings venture was born.
Sheba R. Wheeler  |  The Denver Post
Published: November 4, 2011 At 5:19 pm | Updated: May 2, 2016 At 6:18 pm

Bruce Littlehorn and Larry Beard Jr.’s home-furnishings company was bred out of downsizing necessity. What fit into their former home — a 3,500-square-foot house in Green Mountain — just wasn’t going to work in their less than 1,000 square foot condo in downtown Denver. So these partners in life and work engineered every product sold by their business to solve a space problem. And eventually, their home became the showroom.

“We are our target audience,” says Beard, 42, a graphic designer. “We live here and immersed ourselves in this lifestyle.”

As empty-nesters, this couple of 13 years moved into their second-story Ballpark Neighborhood loft nearly eight years ago. They’d searched for a converted warehouse or historic building.

They landed in a condo in the WaterTower Lofts that now spotlights urbandwellers’ products. (See more at urbandwellersonline.com.) But the pieces are so streamlined and their placement so natural that this showroom feels like any other warm, modern, urbane home.

But even before the homeowners’ moved to the city from the suburbs, Littlehorn and Beard developed an appetite for interior design by crafting furniture and art for Project Angel Heart benefit auctions. Friends urged the couple to pursue design work professionally, and urbandwellers was born in 2008.

The couple’s showroom-home now spotlights products from their collections: wall systems and a go-cart coffee table from the “hom” line (pronounced home), indoor fountains from their “flo” line (pronounced flow), “shin” (shine) light towers and “mor” (more) signature jewelry. The only thing that might clue a visitor to the fact that this home doubles as a business space is the conspicuous absence of dust and clutter.

Beard admits to having “a little bit of OCD.” He credits his army background, and his mother, for training him to keep things tidy.

“Everyone has that junk drawer,” Beard says. “But if it’s concealed, who cares?”

Just past the front door, visitors see how Beard and Littlehorn dealt with what was a lack of storage: They replaced an expanse of empty wall space that stretched from the front hall into the living room with a modular, custom wall system. A low, horizontal credenza there makes the hall space that much more functional.

The wall system is more than your average cabinets. These homeowners say they “interact” with it every day: They might treat a guest to a refreshment from its integrated dry bar, grab cooking supplies from a bookcase that doubles as a pantry, or work at the twin office station that otherwise hides a computer and files.

“The wall system has brought the most utility and purpose to our life,” says Littlehorn, 49, a computer programmer.

“The wall system has brought the most utility and purpose to our life,” says Littlehorn, 49, a computer programmer.

A portion of the credenza even serves as a bench where guests often congregate during parties. As many as 75 people have comfortably lingered in this condo where the inhabitants relish hosting parties.

“We rarely have potlucks,” says Beard, an Indiana native who grew up in a family where Sunday dinner was a major affair. “When we invite people to our home … we feel it’s our job to entertain and serve them.”

Their uber-cabinets even include a secret, hidden space inside for the litter box belonging to their cat, Jinxy.

And it should come as little surprise that soon urbandwellers will launch a line of feline products that will include an art installation that doubles as a feeding station and grows with the pet.

“All the products in our home support everyone living in this environment,” Beard says, “including … our (animal) companions.”

Other features in the home provide comfort and spiritual well-being, Littlehorn adds.

For instance, Littlehorn enjoys waking up to the soothing trickle of the “arfoil” water feature, a self-contained, splash-free piece of art that drowns out urban noise. Black polished stones anchor the piece that’s often adorned with fresh-cut flowers or live plants.

Littlehorn meditates near it, and pets are welcome to drink from it.

When night falls, a dramatic light fixture takes center stage in the condo. The standing lightscape tower — dubbed “blosom” — features six, internal, liquid wax candles that cast a tree branch design on the surrounding concrete, brick, steel, wood and glass surfaces. From the bedroom, these light “branches” can be seen dancing on the wall like flames flickering from a fireplace.

“It’s hard to get people to leave this room when the lights are on,” Beard says.

Sheba R. Wheeler: 303-954-1283 or swheeler@denverpost.com

Photos by Cyrus McCrimmon | The Denver Post

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