Custom Colorado Pyrography Artwork by UrbanDEN

It’s no secret that Coloradans are very proud of their home state! As a transplant that emigrated here from Florida over 7 years ago, I’m officially a proud Coloradan, too!

I was living in the Florida Keys, where my family lives, and kept dreaming of moving West to the Rocky Mountains where I had spent a few summers hiking and working as a conservationist.  Being a mid-twenty something single person, I was looking for a larger city that was either in or extremely close to the high country and wilderness…Denver was really the only option I could come up with.  So, after giving it very little thought and not knowing a single person in Denver, I came up with a timeline and plan and moved out here to begin a new chapter in my life.  It was hands-down the best decision I ever made.  I fell in love with Denver, and more specifically, the Colorado high country, almost instantly.

Coming from Florida, however, I was not expecting the overwhelming state pride I encountered with Coloradans…there were Colorado flags, stickers, hats, and t-shirts everywhere.  People in Florida only really showed pride in their chosen college or professional football teams so state pride was sort of a foreign concept to me.  But it’s very easy to see and understand why there is so much Colorado pride…we truly live in one of the most beautiful places…and apparently a LOT of people agree, as evidenced by the surging number of people moving here every day.

Naturally, I wanted to exhibit my Colorado pride in some way.  I’ve never been one for bumper stickers and I’ve never been a fan of using flags made from weather resistant material as interior decoration…they look great outside but I didn’t have a space to fly one…so what was I to do?  I had contemplated making a Colorado flag out of stained wood but the idea just never inspired me to action.  I knew that whatever I created, I wanted to replicate it and share it with other art-loving, proud Coloradans which meant it not only had to be well-made but also unique with great attention to detail.  So the brainstorming and experimenting began…

I’ve always loved wood.  The smell of it.  The feel of it.  The variation in it.  I’d had experience with pyrography (technique of burning images into wood) many, many years ago and when that somehow popped into my head, I immediately jumped at the idea.  After numerous experiments and trial runs and all the other tribulations and doubt that come along with creation, I finally settled on a concept and set out to perfect it.

I’ve kept the “prototypes” for myself and they are displayed around our house…with all their imperfections and unedited beauty (if you’re into that sort of thing).  But here are the one-of-a-kind ‘production’ pieces that I’ve had at markets and began selling through word of mouth and friends:


XL size in Flag Blue with gorgeous poplar hardwood frame


XL size with natural wood stains and a pop of blue wood dye in C. Framed with premium pine stained Provincial.


Large size in sky blue color scheme with setting sun C motif. Framed in premium pine with walnut stain.


Medium size with sunset sky color scheme and floating C motif. Framed in premium pine with ebony stain.


Small size with mountain skyline only, sunset sky, and broncos colors. Premium pine frame stained blue.


Small size with sky blue color scheme and over-laying, centered C motif


Mountain State Flag in medium size

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2 foot square with sky blue color scheme. Framed in premium pine with walnut stain.


Collection of other motifs we do. Simple Denver skyline, all natural stain scheme floating C motif, sky blue color scheme 3 layer mountain motif, Denver skyline with C motif, as well as our small square designs. Small, medium, and large sizes shown.

All of the artwork is hand-made.  Each piece is made from high-quality, hand-selected 1/2″ birch plywood.  I free-hand the mountains and draw everything onto the wood before burning it in.  Once the wood burning is complete, I use a variety of wood stains and tinted dyes to add color and shading while still allowing all of the beautiful wood grain to show through.  Each piece is then finished with satin polyurethane on everything except the raw wood mountains allowing the true tones of the wood to shine.  They are truly a labor of love!

If you are interested in ordering a custom piece of artwork, please send me an email or leave a comment.  There will be a few “custom” listings in the Etsy shop as well. Additionally, I will be adding listings for all pieces that are already completed and not yet sold.

Price list (prices may vary some for custom touches):

Extra-Large: 38 inches wide by 20 inches tall.  Framing adds approximately 4 inches.
Unframed: $295  With Premium Pine Frame: $350  Poplar frame: $375                                                          Other hardwood frames available for market prices

Large: 32 inches wide by 16 inches tall.  Framing adds approximately 4 inches.       Unframed: $195  With Premium Pine Frame: $245  Poplar frame: $275                                                 Other hardwood frames available for market prices

Medium:  24 inches wide by 12 inches tall.  Framing adds approximately 3 inches.           Unframed: $135  With Premium Pine Frame: $165

Small: 20 inches wide by 10 inches tall.  Framing adds approximately 2.5 inches.           Unframed: $100  With Premium Pine Frame: $130

Large Square:  24 inches wide by 24 inches tall.  Framing adds approximately 4 inches.   Unframed: $215  With Premium Pine Frame: $265  Poplar frame: $295                                 Other hardwood frames available for market prices

Small Square: 6 inches. $25

All pieces come ready to hand with framing wire already installed.

The booth all set up as the market officially opened

UrbanDEN is back at it!

It’s been a while since I last updated here…life sometimes gets busy and last summer market season was spent painting houses and buildings rather than furniture, canvas, and wood.  This spring, though, allowed me the time to not just paint some great new pieces of furniture, but also to upcycle some traditional/vintage pieces into something entirely new, build some new custom plywood occasional tables, and focus more on wall art! It’s been a wonderful few months and I’m extremely excited with the responses I’ve received on my new endeavors.

In May, I kicked off this summer’s open-air market season with the always wonderful Horseshoe Craft and Flea market in the Berkeley neighborhood.  As always seems to be the case with the first market of the season, I was racing the clock and trying to complete everything on my ambitious list in time which meant many late nights and many long days.  But when the day came, everything was ready, everything was gorgeous, and I was excited to share it all with the wonderful crowds that the Horseshoe Market always brings out.

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The booth all set up as the market officially opened

Of course, it wouldn’t be an UrbanDEN space without LOTS of vibrant and cheerful colors!
We were all set up and ready for an awesome day by 9am.  Mother Nature had other plans, though, and the day started off overcast, dreary, and cold…it stayed this way for a couple of hours and then progressively got worse.  Around 11 am the drizzling rain started, and soon gave way to pouring rain, which soon gave way to hail and thunder and lightning and flooding.  I had to rearrange the entire booth to squeeze everything in under the tent to protect it from the weather, and then we ended up having to zip the entire tent up, essentially closed up shop, to wait out the hail and thunderstorms.


A peek in to the bunker where we waited out the worst of the weather

Thankfully, at some point around 1, the market organizers came around and announced they are calling off the market and we were allowed to pack up and head for the warmth and dry of home.

Even though we endured some crazy weather and the market was shut down early, it was still a good day.  I sold a few pieces of my Colorado pyrography (see next post) art, including the beautiful centerpiece to a very excited couple, and met some great people who really enjoyed seeing the beautiful work I pour my heart into creating.

Here are some pictures of the furniture pieces we had at the market, many of which are, or will soon be, available for purchase in our Etsy shop:

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Happy Declaration of Independence Day!

239 years ago tomorrow, some of the greatest minds in history, and certainly in American history, came together and adopted (and later signed) one of the most important documents in the world: the Declaration of Independence.  One of the 13 colonies that voted in favor of declaring Independence from England was Rhode Island.  Why am I bringing up Rhode Island?  Because today I am sharing with you a beautiful furniture renewal that is not only a bit patriotic, but also found it’s way to me after a long, long, long journey that, at one point, went through Rhode Island.

When I picked this wonderful antique secretary desk and began prepping it for it’s facelift, I found, shoved into the back of one of the mail slots, a navy blue check register with gold foiling that read Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company.  In utter amazement, when I opened the register, I saw, in beautiful cursive hand-writing (a skill that sadly has been forgotten in the past), dates from November and December of 1933!  It was such a beautiful piece of forgotten history that I immediately decided to design the facelift around the check register.  The result was this absolutely gorgeous navy blue finish, polished brass handles, and a drawer face that is decoupaged with the yellowed pages found inside the register.  I loved the final result so much that, unlike the telephone table from the previous post, the desk has found it’s way into a permanent place in my heart and home. Without further ado, please enjoy pictures of this beautiful piece!


Flashback…to the Telephone Table days!

This post is a literal flashback…not just to an era when telephone tables were a necessity, but the telephone table featured here is a piece I finished over a year ago and never had the time to make a post about.  Just like I fondly remember having to sit in a chair near the telephone when talking with friends as a child, I also fondly remember the day I picked this beautiful piece of history and breathed new life into it with a bold color and some funky new upholstery.

When I brought this piece home it was in really sad condition.  The wood was banged up, scratched, and the varnish was all sorts of worn off and worn thin.  The seat was covered in a hideous 60s mottled beige vinyl that was not original to the piece nor stylish in any decade.

Telephone Table

1940’s telephone table with harp back and rare left-hand drum!

But as you can see, it had good bones and certainly deserved to be renewed and enjoyed for many more years.  I loved this table so much, that at first, I dreamed of redesigning it to fit in my own home.  Not only did I love the nod to Duncan Phyfe with that harp, but I also was thrilled that it was a rare left-hander’s telephone table.  The problem I ran into…and it’s a recurring problem in my household…is that I couldn’t find anything I could part ways with in order to make room for it. Sad face.

So, with the idea of redesigning this table for my home thrown out I decided to get a little playful and went with a funky HGTV upholstery fabric that I loved so much I had a few yards of it already stashed in my workshop.  I almost decided to pair it with a simple, sleek black finish but after seeing the fun fabric on the chair, I immediately settled on this beautiful shade of emerald.  Someone very much enjoyed pointing out that I was watching the Wizard of Oz while recovering the seat and that the inspiration had to have come from the Emerald City…but honestly, I have no idea where the inspiration came from!  I’m just glad it came because this table is a show-stopper and is much loved by the new owner in New York.



Geometric and Curvaceous

One of the most common questions I get asked at markets and through social media is “Where do you get your inspiration from?”  Shocker, right?  Most of the time, this question is asked casually and in a space where a short answer is required…and so my go-to response is usually “Everything.  From nature’s soft edges to architecture’s bold lines to  the laws of mathematics and geometry.” Short, concise, and encompassing.  For the few opportune moments where I am able to elaborate, I usually ramble on and on about personality tests like the Myers Briggs, left brain v right brain, rational and logical v emotional and erratic.  Truth is, I’m considered by many personality tests to be, for lack of a better phrase, a fence-straddler.  That is, I don’t fall neatly into any specific personality type.  I’m both creative and analytical, both left-brained and right-brained.  I very much enjoy the cold calculation of physics and math but can also easily get lost in the chaos of the abstract.  From the perspective of furniture and design, I’m easily influenced by both modern design and traditional.  I like sleek edges and bombastic curves.  I love saturated colors as well as neutrals.

But most of all, I enjoy contrast and opposition.  I find exquisite beauty in unexpected and prominent juxtapositions. That’s why I have no problem painting an ornate, century-old dresser in a bold, bright blue or painting a victorian-era desk in a sassy, vivid red.  And it’s also why I’ll take two French Provincial side tables, with all their curves and ornate handles, and reimagine them with a two-tone blue paint job and geometric frames stained on their wood tops!



Black and White…No, Black and Wood

Here at UrbanDEN, nothing gets my creativity flowing more than the simple two-tone pairing of beautiful wood grain and deep black tones.  It’s a classic scheme that is both modern and traditional, masculine and feminine, sexy and solid. And it’s always on our mind…so, naturally, when I started prepping this vintage desk for it’s redesign, I couldn’t stop thinking of how beautiful it would be in black with it’s beautiful wood top left unpainted and on full display.

After painting, I was feeling like it still needed something more…so I whipped out some stain and stenciled a fun zebra print all over the top!  The end result is both studious and whimsical, traditional and modern, and would fit in just about any style of room.  Let us know what you think!

The Hibiscus

Pretty in Pi….Orchid!

As everyone probably already knows, Pantone’s color of the year for 2014 is Orchid.  Orchid is a deep pink color with lavender and violet undertones.  It’s really a gorgeous color…but I was skeptical of it being the color of the year.  At first.  It is one of those colors that commands a room if used in large quantity, and thus I never thought it would be a good color for a larger piece of furniture.

But I had this wonderful mid-century vanity chest in storage and thought, “why not?”  Why not, indeed.  After seeing the finished product, I would gladly redecorate the bedroom or the guest bedroom around this lovely dresser!

Without further ado, meet “The Hibiscus!”

The Hibiscus

Clean, simple, elegant!

The top of this dresser had a gorgeous grain pattern that I refused to cover up with paint, even though it had a few burn marks and water rings that had gone too deep to fix.  A medium walnut stain complemented the orchid beautifully as well as drew out the most interesting grain patterns.The Hibiscus

And look at those stunning, over-sized, crystal knobs!  I’ve been wanting to use those on a piece for a long time now and this seemed to be the most perfect piece for them!  Here’s a closer look:

The Hibiscus



Even though Orchid has plenty of depth already, I decided to add some dark antiquing wax to add a warmer tone and more depth.  I love how the wax settles in all the brush strokes, imperfections, and routed detailing.  For the raised details and the harp posts on the mirror, I added a little antique white paint:The Hibiscus The Hibiscus The Hibiscus


As you can see, the Hibiscus has been lightly distressed, especially over the accent paint.  This dresser is over 60 years old and I still wanted that character and history to show through.

And here’s one last look.  The sun was reflecting off of the sheen from the hand-buffed wax finish and really made the orchid POP!
The Hibiscus


And, of course, look at those gorgeous legs and the original wood casters!


If you love this piece, she is up for sale over in the Etsy shop!  Thanks for stopping by!


Another close look at the gold leafing.

S’il vous plaît répondre à la Lumiere et l’Elysée

Or, in English: Please meet The Lumiere and The Elyse!

They are very French.  Very Parisian boudoir.  Very French chic.  Very French country chic.  Very French Provincial.

You get the point!

When I acquired these pieces, they had that very drab and very dated creme yellow enamel finish thing going on (see below).  It HAD to go. Good thing they found their way to my workshop…seeing as re-imagining old, drab, dated pieces is what I do.



Now, if you’ve been following Urban DEN for a while, you know, or have figured it out, that I don’t really do neutral.  I mean, I do neutral sometimesAs with everything I do, I let the piece tell me what it wants…what color, what finish, what overall aesthetic.  I don’t really go in with a plan; as I’m prepping and cleaning a piece, I let my hands and my intuition do the talking and go from there.  Sometimes that “vibe” I get from the piece matches the idea I formulated in my head the minute I brought the piece back to the workshop, but more often than not, it doesn’t.  Well, with this set, the idea in my head was the exact “vibe” I tuned into while prepping these beautiful, majestic pieces.

That vibe was Paris Gray and French Linen.  And GILDING!

The Lumiere & The Elyse


Look at all that GILDING!  These two pieces had such beautiful French Provincial detailing…the swooping aprons, the scrolled feet, the curvy insets…all just begging to be gilded with luscious gold leaf.  I hand-laid gold leaf over every bit of it, too.  Hours upon hours upon hours of meticulous, steady-handed gilding and burnishing.  And it was worth every minute of it.  The gold leaf gilding is just stunning!  It’s amazing how much better real gold leaf looks compared to gold tinted gilding waxes.  It’s so gold and imperfect and authentic.

Look how the gold leaf pops on the details.

Look how the gold leaf pops on the details.

Another close look at the gold leafing.

Another close look at the gold leafing.


Doesn’t the Paris Gray and French Linen look wonderful together?  In addition to the authenticity of hand-laid gold leaf gilding, I also used antiquing dust and waxes to age the piece and add that age-worn depth to the paint finish.  It mimics years and years and years of dirt and grime settling into the brush strokes and nooks and crannies…all the places that a quick dusting and wipe down would have missed.  You can see it very clearly below:


Look at the wonderful curves of the nightstand!

Look at the wonderful curves of the nightstand!


As you can see, the nightstand and chest-on-chest aren’t an exact pair.  They are both classic French Provincial style but the nightstand has more Bombay influences mixed in.  With the gorgeous new Paris Gray & French Linen two-tone finish, though, they are a perfect match!

Classic and timeless French country look that would be beautiful in your home for years and years:

13 drawers...lots of storage!

13 drawers…lots of storage!

A stunning set!

A stunning set!


What do you think?  Do you love it?  I know that I do!  I may not do neutral very often, but when I do, and it comes out looking like this, I get very, very tempted to do more and more neutral finishes!  If done right, even neutral beauties can be absolute show-stoppers.

These beauties are offered for sale as a set.  You can find them over in the Etsy shop.  Thanks for stopping by!

The Janis & Joplin

Chairs.  We use them everyday.  And, for the most part, we don’t even notice them unless they hurt our backsides.  Am I right?  I know I’ve never spent much time thinking about or looking at the few chairs I have in my house.  I have no dining room or table, so I only have 4 chairs in my house…2 folding chairs that I pull out if I have more dinner guests than can fit on the couch, a hideously upholstered antique wing-back chair that I’ve yet to get around to updating, and, my favorite, a tufted leather executive armchair that I bought at the flea market for $1!!!

Clearly, chairs barely register on my radar.  In fact, when I’m out picking and finding great vintage furniture to redesign for Urban DEN, I rarely (read: never) come home with chairs.  So, when a client came to me and asked if I would re-do these two 60s era chairs for her, I eagerly jumped at the chance!  Her vision was neutral paint with that bold Urban DEN pop of color in the upholstery…but mid-project she reluctantly needed to abandon the project and was gracious enough to let me keep the chairs. 

I wasn’t really vibing with the white she had picked out, and I was so focused on other projects that I was unable to nail down a clear vision for them…so I set them aside for a while.  Finally, as I was painting some photo frames for the first market, inspiration hit!  My vision was similar to the client’s original vision…but in reverse!  I opted to use a bold, vibrant green on the chairs, and paired it with a neutral white, black, and gray ikat fabric for the seats.  Marvelous!

The Janis & Joplin

Great upholstery!

Great upholstery!

The Janis & Joplin

What do you think?  I had these at the last market and many people commented on how much they loved them!  And what about that fabulous yellow lacquer table?  I stripped the top and did the color-blocking with a light stain before sealing with my favorite wipe-on polyurethane.  I think it looks so great paired with the chairs.  Someone at the last market, though, already had some chairs at home they thought it would look great with and it went home with them.

The chairs, for now, are still available.  They’ll be going up in the Etsy shop next week if I don’t sell them at Sunday’s market.  If you’re interested in them before then, send me an email! 

A Custom Coloradan

Hello everyone! I sure have missed regularly blogging these past few months. Between work, getting new pieces prepared for the summer market season, life, and vacation, I just haven’t had much time to dedicate to the Urban DEN blog.

I’m thinking about creating a post to share with you some of the wonderful 27 state epic motorcycle tour that I took in June but first I have lots and lots of new furniture to share!

Before leaving town for that epic trip, I had a very important custom order deadline that I was extremely excited for. One of my best clients wanted to give an Urban DEN creation to a family member as a birthday gift…and they wanted it to be in the style of The Coloradan!  I absolutely love these dressers and haven’t done one since another client asked for a beach-themed version.  This client, though, wanted something more like the first but in a low and long version, rather than a taller chest.  As soon as I found the perfect dresser, I set to work immediately.  Using their list of favorite Colorado places, I came up with this:

The Coloradan II

It just so happens that the client’s favorite Colorado place is also MY favorite Colorado place.  Steamboat Springs!  I think Steamboat looks awesome as the focal point of this dresser.

I love how the wood just shows through the distressed white.

I love how the wood just shows through the distressed white.

The client was absolutely in love with the way it turned out and it made for one fantastic birthday present.  They wanted to get the chairs to go with it, but they had no space.  I must say, the chairs do go perfectly with it…

The Coloradan II

I’ll be showing the chairs off in another post; they began as a custom order for another client and then the client decided to go in a different direction and I decided to go BOLD with them!  Anyways…

If you are interested in owning your own customized version of this beautiful dresser, please email me.  I can make these dressers with any places/words that you would like (that means it doesn’t have to be Colorado specific!) and in any color combination!