Photo Courtesy of Joe McGuire Design
by design
Q & A with Three Top Front Range Designers

When you surround yourself with what you love, life seems a little brighter. That’s why the way we decorate our homes—with a unique combination of colors, patterns, textures, and finishes—is such an important part of settling into a space or breathing new life into a room that you already adore.

LIV Sotheby’s International Realty had the chance to sit down with some of the most respected interior designers across the state to learn more about what it means to craft a uniquely “Colorado” home, and get some more insight into what it takes to make a house a beautifully designed home.

By Amanda Molitor
boulder and aspen
Joe McGuire Design
For those who want their home to be a true oasis, look no further than Joe McGuire Design—a local design firm based in both Boulder and Aspen. Led by Joe McGuire and Matthew Tenzin, the firm prides itself on a holistic approach to creating contemporary spaces with a sense of place and a connection to nature. During this conversation with Tenzin, he explained that, “There’s a serene element in our work where we try to achieve balance and harmony in a space.”
“We look at what people are drawn to, what gives them energy, what excites them, so that they can surround themselves with objects that are beautiful, meaningful, and uplifting.”
What does “Colorado style” look like to you?
Considering that one of the reasons people choose to live in Colorado is the proximity to stunning landscapes and wildlife, it’s easy to see why natural elements make their way into our homes. I think that incorporating nature into the home is a style that a lot of people are craving right now. Wanting to feel the way they do when they are outside their home means making a connection between the environment and the interior design.
How do you help someone find their style?
Style is so personal. We encourage our clients to tune into what resonates with them, rather than looking at the latest trend on the internet. Because while all of that can be inspiring and help you come up with new ideas, we go about helping someone find their style in a deeper and more intentional way. We look at what people are drawn to, what gives them energy, what excites them, so that they can surround themselves with objects that are beautiful, meaningful, and uplifting.
What new challenges have you seen as a designer since the start of the pandemic?
There is this prioritizing of the home that is just unprecedented. People really need their homes to function in so many more ways. It’s been a fun challenge to maximize space more than ever and find new ways to think about design. From a design perspective, a lot of our clients are wanting to keep spaces open, balanced, and less cluttered so that it doesn’t feel so overwhelming being inside all the time. Outdoor spaces around the home have become an enormous area of investment and opportunity.
What advice would you give to someone trying to design their own home?
When it comes to designing your own home, go slow and ask for advice. It’s so easy to order furniture with a few clicks, but taking the time to order finish samples, double-check dimensions, and investigate the comfort and quality will pay off every time.
To learn more, visit
Photos Courtesy of Joe McGuire Design
Joe McGuire Design bedroom
Joe McGuire Design living area
Nadia Watts
Since 2009, Nadia Watts has been creating incredible interiors across the country from her studio based in Denver. Through a collaborative approach in which she truly gets to know her clients and their personal style, she transforms spaces into beautiful expressions of each and every person she works with.
“There isn’t a right or wrong when it comes to your home. It’s what you want to be surrounded with. You create a loved home that way.”
What does “Colorado style” look like to you?
Colorado is an interesting place where you have very few people who have been here for generations. People moving here bring their own styles with them – so the “Colorado style” is more of a lifestyle, where you cherish the outdoors, than a home style. To match that, I approach Colorado style by incorporating natural materials and local pieces into the design. Petrified wood, raw wood, minerals, and even furniture or art made by local artisans can all help connect a space to its surroundings.
What’s a tip or trick that you want to share with homeowners?
Scale can make or break a room. For example, the placement of art can add balance or imbalance to a room. When I worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I learned that the average eye-level height for most people is five feet—so the center should be hung at five feet. When there are no pieces of furniture below pictures, this is a good rule of thumb to follow.
As a designer, what are some of the toughest challenges you face?
It’s my job to create any style for my clients. I’ve designed spaces that are very contemporary, very traditional, and everything in between. Understanding the difference between what the client says and what they actually want is the challenge that we accept as creatives in this industry.
What is the hallmark of good design?
I want clients to smile when they walk into their homes, and I want their living spaces to reflect them and what they love. If they continue to enjoy and delight in their home for years to come, then I have successfully done my job to create a place that is well-designed. Because each of my clients is unique in their style and the construction of their home, I tell them that there is no right or wrong design, but rather what feels right and what acts as an outward reflection of them.
To learn more, visit
Photos Courtesy of Nadia Watts / Emily Minton-Redfield
Nadia Watts kitchen
Nadia Watts kitchen table
Griffin Design Source
Griffin Design Source, which is headed by Ramey Caulkins, is one of Denver’s most trusted sources for home style. Having worked on amazing homes from around the world, Caulkins brings a unique perspective on design to houses along the Front Range and beyond. Timeless, layered looks that seamlessly blend beloved objects and chic furnishing and finishes are her specialty and what has gained her recognition as a design leader in Colorado.
“It’s the extra layer of special items that you inherited from family members, bought while on a vacation, or made that make a home rather than just a house filled with stuff.”
What does “Colorado style” look like to you?
If you look around the state, it’s not saturated with any one kind of style, because we have such a mix of people who live here or have moved here. But for those looking to achieve a more “Colorado” aesthetic, it’s all about the balance between grit and grace. You can incorporate Western art or pieces without compromising on style or sophistication by using those pieces in unexpected ways—like draping cowhide rugs over the sofa or using them as a bathmat—not doing things that are too cliché.
How do you make an interior feel not only beautiful, but personal?
When styling your home, I find that two-thirds of the things in your home can be purchased with a designer, but then let the final third be personal pieces that you’ve collected over your lifetime or things that mean something to you. It’s the extra layer of special items that you inherited from family members, bought while on a vacation, or made that make a home rather than just a house filled with stuff.
As a designer, what are some of the toughest challenges you face?
I think that the biggest challenge with design is getting clients to wait. There is a very thoughtful component to how you thread your house together. We all live in this mentality of “how quickly can I get it” and the rapid execution isn’t always the most valuable execution. Being comfortable with the pause and waiting for the right pieces can result in great design as opposed to good design.
Are there certain trends emerging that you are excited to see in homes this year?
Interior design should not be about following the trends. When I’m working with a client, I want their home to feel completely timeless. My goal is to have my client be able to walk into their home in 10 years and still love the way it looks.
To learn more, visit
Griffin Design living area
Griffin Design bar
Photos Courtesy of Ramey Caulkins of Griffin Design Source