When the Denver Home Show rolls into the National Western Complex this weekend—March 18 to 20—Colorado’s favorite reality TV stars, Trista and Ryan Sutter, will grace the stage to encourage attendees to take risks in design and life. The couple, who met on the first season of the Bachelorette, currently resides in the Vail Valley, where Sutter serves as lieutenant in the Vail Fire Department and Trista works as a self-described “stay at home and work” mom. They recently filmed a pilot episode for a potential HGTV series called Rocky Mountain Reno, and although it didn’t get picked up, Denver Home Show-goers can look forward to the Sutters sharing behind-the-scenes details about being on HGTV and how filming the show fit into their bigger life philosophy. We caught up with Trista and Ryan to talk high-country design, leaps of faith, and surviving renovations.
5280: What can attendees of the Denver Home Show expect from your presentation?
Ryan Sutter: We’re not experts in any one field, so we decided to take a broad perspective. Our message is one a lot of people can relate to: Try new things without the fear of failure. If you’re thinking you need a change, go for it, whether that’s wandering around the Denver Home Show and looking for new ideas for your home or maybe a change in other areas of your life. Don’t be afraid of failure. We’ll definitely talk about how that fits with our experience with Rocky Mountain Reno. Although it’s not a show on HGTV now, it was a great opportunity.
Ryan, you have an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Colorado Boulder. How did the two of you gravitate toward a home renovation television project?
Ryan: Trista and I always loved to go look at houses together. I’m always interested in space and how rooms are organized. I’m big on efficiency in space.
Trista Sutter: Back in the day, I was a huge Extreme Makeover: Home Edition fan—not just for the home renovations, but for the inspirational factor. They really changed people’s lives. As for HGTV, I love any remodeling show. When we were getting ready for Rocky Mountain Reno, I’d just leave the channel on all day long.
How did the two of you merge your styles when you married?
Trista: When we looked at houses 13 years ago, I don’t think our styles were too far off. But when we walked into this place, we were attracted to different elements but both of us immediately knew it was the one. I feel like we have a core similarity in terms of mixing industrial feel with mountain design. Although in our home, Ryan is really interested in landscaping and does so much with that. I handle more of the interior.
Ryan: We definitely both have similar tastes in terms of mountain contemporary; we both like hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings. I tend to gravitate more toward simpler interiors, and she’s more Arts and Crafts.
Trista: Arts and Crafts?! I don’t think I’d call it that. I’d say sentimental—I love filling up our home with pictures of our kids and our family.
What makes renovations different in Colorado?
Trista: In Colorado, it’s all about the lifestyle. When people are renovating, it’s always about incorporating the environment into the design. That can be with reclaimed wood or woodwork or even the environmentally conscious paint products out there.
Any tips for couples managing renovations?
Ryan: My dad was an architect, and he always said he wished he’d gone to school to be a counselor. Really, it’s like anything in a marriage; there will be compromises and there will be concessions. I think a great way to manage it is to allow unique spaces for each of you. Trista is passionate about the master bedroom, so she takes the lead there. I have more involvement in designing the office.
Trista: Pick your battles. That goes with everything in my life, whether it’s in my relationship with Ryan or my relations with the kids. If he’s passionate about paint color or trim and you don’t care as much, let him have it. I also think it’s important to have grace for your partner. Give them some leeway when they are overwhelmed or stressed. Sometimes it only takes a moment.
Catch Trista and Ryan’s presentation on Saturday, March 19, at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., or on Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m. Adult admission is $11 at the door or $9 in advance online; children 12 and under are free. National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt St., 407-363-7653, homeshowdenver.com