An inside look at the nerdiest guesthouse in Boulder.
—Image courtesy of Matthew Sisson
When Matthew Sisson fell for Boulder, he fell hard. Three years ago, he attended Boulder Startup Week, which is held each May to bring together tech gurus and entrepreneurs in the shadow of the Flatirons. Ninety days later, the former Bostonian was calling the People’s Republic home.
Once here, the graphic designer wanted to share his passion for Boulder with other like-minded techies across the country. But how? When he met Tommy West, a small-business attorney, the idea for Pixel Space—an apartment they designed specifically with startup recruits in mind—took shape. The high-tech living quarters, priced at $239 for a night’s stay, are located just off the Pearl Street Mall. The apartment provides would-be Boulderites with a place to crash and an authentic Boulder experience—all in the name of charming the country’s top tech minds and luring the next generation of Colorado entrepreneurs to the Front Range.
Pixel Space is designed by geeks, for geeks. Chic geeks, that is. “We tried to make everything functionally designed and Boulder-inspired,” West says. “We wanted it to look good but also feel good.” The bedroom doors are crafted from reclaimed wood. Edison bulbs hang from exposed pipes, giving the space a steampunk feel. There’s even a set of ABC blocks from woodblock manufacturer Uncle Goose that spell “Pixel Space.”
Upon arrival, Pixel Space guests receive a stack of “experience” cards good for freebies at local businesses. The cards are designed to let them experience handpicked Boulder locations and activities: five cups of coffee or tea at Ozo Coffee, free pints at West Flanders Brewing Co., a one-day pass for One Boulder Fitness, and even a bike for a day courtesy of Boulder B-cycles.
Crafted from three different types of birch wood, a 3-D map of downtown Boulder, custom-made by Brooklyn artist Kasia Wisniewski, hangs on the apartment’s entryway wall. Magnetic markers on the map indicate where guests
can use their “experience” cards.
Pixel Space is a tech-savvy building, with lights and locks that can be controlled from a Wi-Fi device. Guests receive a code to enter the apartment, where they’ll find abundant wall outlets that accommodate USB cords without an adapter. The apartment is also equipped with flat-screen televisions and a Super Nintendo for well-deserved downtime.
“The experience cards and the location of Pixel Space are awesome—a good way to show off the city.” —Casey Hopkins, who stayed at Pixel Space and is now the head of community and digital marketing at Boulder startup Revolv