New/old look at 24th & Platte

       The southeast corner of Platte Avenue and 24th Street has been graced by a major makeover during the past three years.

Dave and Pat Dinsmore stand in front of the duplex they recently built (they live on the upper two floors) at 2385 W. Platte Ave. (the southeast corner of Platte and 24th Street). The previous dwelling on the site was a crack house that had to be torn down.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Formerly the site of a crack house, that structure was torn down and replaced by a modern white duplex with gables and other historic touches.
       The property owners and general contractors - Patricia and David Dinsmore - are also now the proud occupants of the two-story, nearly 2,000-square-foot upstairs. A 1,200-square-foot basement apartment has a separate entrance and garage space; rental of it is helping the couple pay off project costs.
       A real-estate agent, Pat had known about 2385 W. Platte Ave. when the former house was condemned. She and David, then living in Palmer Park, thought the location would be ideal. “We always liked the Westside,” she said. “I love to sell here and drive around over here.” Now that they're residents, they try to walk as much as they can, to Bancroft Park events or for shopping, banking and mailing letters in Old Colorado City.
       She didn't want to reveal the total construction cost, but estimated that some of the “extras” raised the amount by close to $20,000. A major unexpected expense was having to install 24-foot-deep support caissons to offset the potentially unstable bentonite clay the house sits on. “So if there's an earthquake, we'll be fine,” she quipped.
       The design goal was for a dwelling with “old farmhouse” and “Victorian” aspects, so as to be compatible with the many historic old buildings in their neighborhood, said Pat, who acted as general contractor. In that spirit, the final product includes a big front porch, three gables, tall windows (though wider than traditional historic style to let in more light), a steep roof pitch (which required larger than normal trusses) and vinyl siding (intended to look like traditional lap siding), she recounted.
       Inside can be found more historical touches, including crafted woodwork and specialized sink fixtures and lighting.
       Because of cost issues and personal desires, the house was not built in a “totally true” historic manner, Pat noted. Examples are attached garages (theirs adjoins the tenant's), the use of vinyl for the siding and the lack of wood beadwork on the interior. However, for aesthetic reasons, the couple faced the garages onto the alley by the property's east boundary so they can't be readily seen from the street.
       Steve Obering, the architect who has been developing the design guidelines for a proposed Westside historic overlay zone, complimented 2385 W. Platte Ave. at a recent guidelines meeting, praising the gables in particular and saying that although the building isn't 100 percent historic in style, it “could have been a lot worse.”
       The house is insulated by reinforced steel/styrofoam blocks which, in conjunction with heated floors, takes away the need for heating ducts.
       To reduce sound passing between the upstairs and downstairs units, a thick layer of concrete was poured between them.
       “Very little noise transfers through,” Pat said.
       For the most part, the work has been “well received,” she said. Other than one or two remarks she's heard that the house is “too honking big,” as she put it, “when I've been outside working on the yard or the flowers, I've gotten nothing but compliments.”
       When some grafitti “artists” tagged the side of the house one night, the Dinsmores were comforted by a nearby resident who told them that those who did it “weren't your real neighbors.”

Westside Pioneer article