PUBLISHED: June 17, 2014 at 8:48 am | UPDATED: April 27, 2016 at 2:07 am
LAKEWOOD — After a six-month search for a house that could also serve as a recording studio, the moment had come for Glenn Sawyer and Rich Veltrop.
The music producers had found their dream location — a 7,800-square-foot acoustically unique home built in the 1950s— tucked away behind a private lake on Jewell Avenue in Lakewood.
Before any possibility of moving in, however, they had to soothe fears the owner and leasing agent had about the sounds of electric guitars, crashing drums and reverberating bass coursing through the neighborhood.
Sawyer, 30, hooked up a guitar and amplifier inside the house and turned it on full volume.
“They could barely hear it,” Veltrop, 51, said of people listening outside the house.
Since that day almost 18 months ago, the duo have transformed the house into an organic recording studio — dubbed the Spot Studios — with different rooms creating unique sounds.
The cathedral room, with its high vaulted ceiling, exposed beams, floor-to-ceiling windows and tile floors, is ideal for creating large, expansive sounds.
“There’s a lot of natural reverb in that room, so you’re hearing the drums come off the wall, and that’s how you kind of get this big drum, John Bonham sound,” Sawyer said.
A few feet away is the front room. The ceiling is low, and while the floor space is larger than many apartments, the sound is tight and crisp.
Most of the vocal production takes place in the basement, with its sound-buffering walls. A loft overlooking the cathedral is the guts of the operation: computers, mixing boards, speakers and electronic equipment course through the space.
The house started out as a small cabin in the 1950s and was built by Emmett Heitler, said his daughter Gail Klapper, who owns the house and other nearby properties.
“My dad was an engineer by background and he just loved to build onto that house. Every year it was a new project,” Klapper said of her father, who ran Denver’s Samsonite Corp.
She said the property has been in her family for generations and her parents, especially her mom, Dorothy — who was chair of the board of the Denver Symphony when it was called that in the 1970s — would appreciate what Sawyer and Veltrop have done.
“She would always invite musicians to come play in the house, and what they’re doing right now is very consistent with how my parents lived their lives,” Klapper said. “We think they would have loved it.”
The space still retains most of its original features, with vintage wood cabinets and furniture adorning many rooms. The house has an open, airy feel with sunlight streaming in through the ample window space.
Sawyer and Veltrop teamed up three years ago while working in a northern California recording studio.
Veltrop has spent most of his life in the profession and worked with artists ranging from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to Rage Against the Machine. Sawyer said he has a strong background in hip hop, rock and pop music.
They decided to pursue their dream by opening a recording studio and chose the Denver area because of its vibrant music scene.
Finding the perfect location that serves as home, musical inspiration and recording studio has exceeded their wildest expectations.
Veltrop added: “There’s a big creative difference coming into a place like this as opposed to a studio in the back of a rug warehouse or in a strip mall somewhere.”
Austin Briggs: 303-954-1729, firstname.lastname@example.org