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The difference between Modern and Contemporary in Denver Homes

by nancy
July 24, 2014


What is the difference between a “modern” Denver home and a “contemporary” Denver home?  It is a question that comes up and one that  buyers ask whenever they are looking for a modern or contemporary Denver home.  There is a lot of confusion between the real meanings of these terms and it can certainly be confusing when looking for your next house.  In searching for a good answer to this question, here is great article in Realty Times.

According to the article, the label “modern” in architecture and design indicates an exact time period in our design history during the 20th century. Modern design came into its own in the 1920’s and 30’s and strongly reflects the emergence of new technology and advances in engineering. It means that relies heavily on mechanized design. Modern design plays heavily on vertical and horizontal lines. The frilly and ornamental nature of previous styles was pushed aside for the clean lines and new utilitarian aesthetic. 

Here are some examples of modern Denver homes that are sometimes called California ranches like in the Virginia Vale neighborhood.  A lot of buyers like the open feeling of these homes vs. the box type rooms you find in the Craftsman homes in Park Hill and Sunnyside.

What’s important to remember is that modern style doesn’t change. What was once modern, is always “modern.” Contemporary, on the other hand, is an ever changing term. It is used to define what is trendy and in style now. Of course … 20 years from now, something entirely different will be contemporary.  What is architecture doing in the present moment? That is contemporary. Today’s trends see many builder focusing on green designs, with larger projects seeking LEED certification.  Here are some examples of Denver contemporary architecture. 


 A lot of the modern architecture is found in Lodo or using infill housing in some of the cities most historic neighborhoods like LoHi, Highlands, Sloans Lake and even Washington Park.  Much of the newer construction around Cherry Creek North has this feel.  Some neighborhood groups feel this detracts from the historic feel of the neighborhoods.

How do you feel about the Modern home?  What will it look like years from now or will it stand the test of time?  Check around some of these neighborhoods and see what you think.  Saturdays and Sundays are always a great time to check out neighborhoods and see if you could see yourself living in one.



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