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One-Stop Shop

Design Studio Interior Solutions Expands Offerings for Remodeling Clientele

Article by Sarah Howlett

Photography by Chris Reilmann

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

In only six years, Boulder’s Judy Goldman has brought her company from the small décor business it was when she bought it to, as of last year, a complete design center. The CEO of Design Studio Interior Solutions says her firm “has anything anyone needs for any kind of build or remodel,” including but not limited to counters, flooring, carpet, cabinetry hardware, lighting, furnishings, artwork and accessories.

Judy’s road to owning her own design studio, which includes a 6,000-square-foot showroom, had various twists and turns. She has lived in Boulder since 2010 and spent more than 20 years in finance and consulting in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, but she also studied graphic design and photography and worked as a Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef in the hospitality industry. In 2018, Judy was awarded the Rising Star Award by Colorado Biz and made its list of the top 100 women-owned businesses in Colorado.

The bulk of the Design Studio’s clients do partial remodels of kitchens, master baths and the like, but the firm also offers full remodels—all with a team of seven staffers. Last year, the Design Studio added interior architecture to its offerings, which means they’ll hire an architect and contractor for clients. “An architect tends not to be an interior architect, and they don’t do incredibly detailed selections for interior finishes,” Judy explains, but instead hires a designer to do that who then hands those plans to a contractor. By contrast, Design Studio offers a complete interior architecture drawing set for every room and applies materials—like layouts and tile choices—to the drawings in rendering.

How do they pull it off? “We have relationships with more vendors and products than almost anybody in this region and the benefit of hundreds upon hundreds of products a client can choose from, whereas with a designer, they’d go from showroom to showroom,” Judy says.

To provide this high level of service, Judy says it’s imperative to get to know the clients and their lifestyle—like their ages, whether they work from home, if they have kids or pets. “It’s a partnership,” she says. “Some of them make fast decisions—and some want to see dozens of kinds of subway tile.”

The Design Studio has several recent projects they’re proud of. For a new build condo in Boulder’s centrally-located Whittier neighborhood, a California family asked the firm to “just come up with an idea,” says Victoria Maxwell, senior vice president of client and showroom services.

“It was a blank slate, and we had fun with the décor, particularly with wallpaper,” Victoria says. Since so many trees are visible through the condo’s windows, natural colors like grays, beiges and dark olive were the driving force on that project, she adds, likening it to a luxury hotel’s “modern, glamourous treehouse.”

For a more suburban home in nearby Longmont, clients wanted hand-painted tile from Spain for a remodel of a kitchen and master bath. The goal vibe was warm and homey, with light-wood cabinetry, leaf greens and browns and creams. In Denver’s Highlands neighborhood, the client had fun with a mixed-tile floor. “Everybody wants a fabulous laundry room,” Victoria says. “That was an example of taking something outdated and making it fresh and more functional. Again, it was about working with the client and making it really personal for them.”

Though Victoria says there’s no single, most-desirable aesthetic across the Boulder area right now, she underlines the fact that the Design Studio doesn’t want to have one signature style they create over and over, either. “I really do think everyone wants something different,” she says. “It’s hearing the client, and bringing them the look that they want, working hand and hand and creating something special and unique.”

One of the realities of doing business right now are certain supply-chain issues, which have sometimes affected the timelines of projects. From plumbing vales to tile, lead times are growing—from six weeks, then two months, then four months seemingly overnight, Judy says—and it’s a challenge for her and her staff to communicate these swings to both contractors and clients. However, she says keeping in close touch with its partners is key to alleviating some issues.

“My team has its pulse on its relationships with vendors,” she says. “Contractors see this company as the leading indicator because we are always in touch with vendors and [know] what’s happening in various industries. They use us as a resource.”

Another differentiator that allows the Design Studio to offer top-tier service is its massive warehouse. “Especially with supply-chain issues, we can order at any time, collect the product in our warehouse and deliver on time,” Judy says. Often, a client’s items will arrive one at a time—think lighting, wallpaper, doors—but the warehouse can store it until needed on site. “Smaller designers have to pay a receiver to hold it and coordinate delivery,” she adds.

Judy also owns Front Range Design Center, an FF&E, warehousing, inventory management, procurement and logistics company servicing the building trade—think architects, builders, designers and contractors. Both companies focus on delivering exceptional client experiences with a budget-forward approach. She remains an active supporter of community-based charities such as Boulder’s Blue Sky Bridge and the JCC.