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It takes about 10 seconds to figure out that Kirsten Coe isn’t your typical interior designer. A true Western girl with a cool, boots-on-the-desk vibe, she talks about gumption, hard work, and chasing “wild” ideas. Her mission is to make great design—“and more importantly, design thinking,” she says—accessible to everyone, which is why her full-service Denver firm, Lasso Design, tackles even the smallest of projects—from “a floor plan for the rockstar DIYer who needs help with their IKEA kitchen” to full-scale renos. “If there is a design problem, it will generate a fierce curiosity that drives the project,” Coe says. “Even the smallest ones take effort; there is no ‘easy button’ to good design.”
We sat down with Coe to discover what’s inspiring her now.
5280 Home: How does the West inform your work?
Kirsten Coe: I married into a Colorado-cowboy lineage and have learned firsthand how creative and industrious ranchers are. Ranchlands are like giant living textbooks on how to work with the climate and landscape, and judiciously select materials that will endure for hundreds of years and get better with age. The West is where I learned that constraints are what make a project better.
Is there a local spot that inspires you?
The Air Force Academy campus in Colorado Springs: the chapel’s stained glass, the new skylight in the Center for Character & Leadership Development [by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill], and the master plan. Every line aligns with every single building. It’s insane.
Name some great design details you’ve spotted around town.
I love the painted clawfoot tub at the local Kohler showroom, but the oldies are the best: the recycled-tile bathrooms and collection of radios on the wall at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox (the texture is wild!), the Cruise Room at the Oxford Hotel, and the chainsaws holding up the bar shelves at Beatrice & Woodsley.
And how about a few of your favorite local makers?
I love Marsha Robinson’s Strange Dirt [Art Deco-style botanical illustrations], Heidi Annalise’s mini landscape paintings, and Azure Furniture’s modern beetle-kill-pine pieces. More designers should be asking, “How much good can we create from a really bad situation?”
Your take on design trends?
Trends are boring. Authenticity is timeless.