Love Your Hood

Mark + Jen McClung

Five Points, Denver

Before Mark and Jen even thought about getting into real estate, Jen’s mom Deb Albrandt had been in the field for years. When the couple started looking for their first house nearly seven years ago, Deb helped them find it. The three of them eventually started Starbuck Realty Group, which has blossomed into Love Your Hood today. This is the story of the life behind Mark and Jen’s home in Five Points.

What made you fall in love with this house?

Mark: We lived in a loft across from Union Station before moving here. We loved the tall ceilings, boxy nature of the architecture, and original elements that were still preserved. This Italianate felt the most like our loft of any of the houses we saw.

Jen: We didn’t have kids at the time, but I envisioned making waffles on Saturday mornings at the island and a fort underneath the odd deck jut-outs as well. We now have two kids and have had a lot of waffles at that island and the fort has conceptualized into a market/ice cream shop.

What prompted you to move here?

Three things:

  1. Grass for our dog. Try finding grass in LoDo for a dog that won’t lift a leg to potty on a tree.
  2. Doors on our rooms. Studio living isn’t made for growing families… or couples that don’t want to hear everything the other half does.
  3. A little more space from our neighbors. Loft living is fun. You just have to be prepared for neighbors that also have very fun lives… which may or may not not coordinate well with your schedule. Think of people living above you coming home at 2 am wearing stilettos when you have to be up at 6 am for work. Or the joy of their toilet running endlessly and starting to drip through the ceiling onto your forehead in the middle of the night. Now we have a solid 11.25″ of space between our house and our neighbors. No joke.

Have any special life occasions happened while living here?

To say this is our forever home is an understatement. Less than a year after moving in, we got married in our backyard surrounded by our dearest friends and family. Our only “kid” at the time was our beloved dog Bentley, who was our ring bearer along with our nephew.

About a year after that we launched what has become Love Your Hood out of our home office. Our first two kids along with another two dogs have been brought home for the first time here. We sadly said goodbye to Bentley for the last time in our backyard and we’re now about to welcome our third child to this home.

What do you love most about your neighborhood?

San Rafael is a sweet spot between downtown and City Park. We’re still able to walk or bike to Rockies games, like we did while living in the loft. And we love the historical homes in this neighborhood and the diversity of people that live here. It’s great being a part of a community of people that truly loves where they live.

Is there anything about your neighborhood that reminds you of your hometown?

Jen: Our street on Halloween. I have some great memories of trick-or-treating as a kid. The few blocks around us knocks the socks off of that experience! Even the adults get into it here, everyone is outside on their porches, and it is a blast!

Have you made any changes to your home since you bought it?

When we bought our house, the only thing we thought we’d change was the paint colors and rip up the carpet on the 2nd floor to put down hardwood. Ha! We ended up doing a small renovation, including closing in the third bedroom right before our first was born. To continue the baby + renovation theme, when a chunk of the floor fell out from our bedroom, it turned into us gutting and renovating the entire second floor. We got to move back into our house five days before our daughter was born, even though the work continued. Since then, we’ve landscaped the front and back yards, including adding a front patio so we can sit outside and meet with neighbors. The next major project will be digging out our basement and adding an addition. So much for just changing the paint!

Who would you love to connect with in your neighborhood?

Jen: I would love to connect more with other women business owners, moms, and homeschooling families.

Mark: I’d like to connect with families in the same stage of life. It’s nice to go through this crazy season with other people!

What are some of your neighborhood favs?

Coffee: Coffee at the Point! It’s very short walk from out house, open late, and has awesome coffee.

Park: Within Five Points, the new playground at Curtis Park is so much fun for our kids! We also love frequenting Benedict Fountain Park since it’s closer and has stellar views of the city.  But, overall you just can’t beat City Park. It’s only a mile from our house and we do so much life there as a family… The Zoo, The Nature & Science Museum, City Park Jazz, bike rides to the playground, runs with our dogs…

Restaurant: Oh, there are so many to choose from… one of our current favorites has been Los Chingones on Larimer.

Brewery: (Jen) We have way too many amazing options in Five Points. But my favorite is actually a winery. A friend introduced me to Infinite Monkey Theorem and it’s phenomenal… looking forward to enjoying some moscato after baby #3 arrives.

Baked Goods: We’ve had a few dietary restrictions surface in our family, so to accommodate those, Beet Box is a treat! But if I (Jen) fall off the wagon, a bagel from Rosenberg’s or croissant from Rolling Pin is what I’m going for.

Want to live in Five Points?

We can help! See homes available for sale in Five Points or reach out to us to help with your search.