In this week's Friday Feature we interviewed the masterminds behind Atelier Interior Design, a Denver-based full service interior design firm. Designers Katie Schroder and Erika Rundiks have over 25 years combined experience. Their designs are "driven by vibrant color and pattern, textural and sculptural details with eclectic style."
Katie and Erika were each inspired to be interior designers from a young age. Katie's mother worked with an interior designer on her own childhood home and would wait with baited breath for her mother to receive new items so she could help her unwrap them. Erika has always loved being in beautiful environments having traveled often from a young age and collecting beautiful treasures from around the world along the way.
TRELORA: What is the most important piece of advice you would give someone remodeling their home?
Atelier: Come up with a plan before you start. A well-designed home is all about the layers and if it's done well you can avoid spending money on every single item you don't think is quite perfect yet. They need to know what they're getting into monetarily so they're not surprised in the end. Sometimes people go into a project thinking "it can't be that much" and they're overwhelmed when they find out how much things actually cost. If you know numbers going into it then you can better allocate your money.
The rooms that people remodel the most are kitchens and bathrooms. So if you're going to remodel the kitchen then don't forget the backsplash. I think that's one of the most important areas to elevate the design and get the most bang for your buck. Give it a little more personality and exude something special.
Paint goes a long way too. Having someone professionally paint your home is amazing.
TRELORA: For a first time homebuyer who has a limited budget, what small improvements would you suggest to spruce up an outdated space?
Atelier: I would say paint, pillows and lighting. Switching out a dining room light can just "wow" you.
TRELORA: Do you have any other design advice for first-time home buyers?
Atelier: Don't embellish things that you don't want to notice. If it's an eyesore then you want it to go away so don't try to draw attention to it.
TRELORA: How does your creative process work when you're picking out different pieces and designing a space? How do you decide what matches and what doesn't?
Atelier: We both intentionally try not to match things. We love all kinds of textures like wood, metal, glass, ceramic, rough, smooth, shiny - it all depends on the client. For people who don't like too much pattern you're going to accentuate texture more because that will give them interest without scaring them.
You just really have to go for it and not overthink it. We also believe in your gut reaction. If you look at a room and your gut reaction is "this is fantastic" then you're onto something. People are naturally drawn to what they love and they just have to stop fighting it.
TRELORA: What's the best way to add some design elements to a home for the changes in seasons?
Atelier: I thin that any kind of arrangement is great. In the spring we love having willow branches and pussy willows and aspen leaves and cattails in the fall. In the winter having little spruce trees in the home is great. They're small, seasonally-driven inexpensive accessories that can really add to the design element.
Pillows, throws and candles are easy seasonal changes as well because all you're doing is changing the color and - voilà - you have a totally different look. We have a client that changes her patterned drapes for each season. If you have the money to do that it's a great way to make a big change.
TRELORA: What was your favorite project so far and why?
Atelier: We both love any kind of culture in a project. If a client has traveled a lot and they're interested in different kinds of ethnic patterns, textiles and motifs - sculptural artistic things.
Our clients came from New York and had never lived in a full-scale home before. They were recently married and had both traveled all over the world. Their families are art collectors and they're a very artistic couple.
We had maybe two or three meetings, which is rare. We had to do the entire house on a very fast pace, make all the decisions in one sitting and just make it happen.
We liked the house because it is really earthy and warm - it was quite a transformation. The fireplace was pink marble and the powder room was really red. We redid everything.
Their money went really far for what they got. Sometimes moving along quickly like that can keep you from getting bogged down in making those decisions. You just really have to trust in your designer because they're really helping and guiding you. They trusted us and let us go for it. She was pregnant at the time so we really had to make it happen fast. It was special.
[The photo below is from the Boulder Contemporary Home]