interior design firms boulder co

Become a more empowered homeowner with these five expert tips on hiring a professional and qualified contractor.

This article is the first of a four-part series about making smart decisions before embarking on your home remodel project.

So, you want to remodel your home in some capacity. How do you know how to find highly qualified professionals to make your desired changes? How do you find someone to actually help you articulate your vision and then help you take the necessary steps to make it come to life? 

This has always been a complex process, with decisions at every turn. Home remodeling has become even more complicated by the pressure and unrealistic expectations perpetrated by the myriad of home remodeling shows on television, in which projects occur quickly and for an unrealistic price tag. These shows are enticing with their shiny and swiftly completed projects, but the reality is much more nuanced.

Building codes, materials, product specification differentiation, what makes something builder-grade versus box-store, the ability to assess the quality of the electricians, plumbers, framers, installers, site managers, contractors, architects, electrical/mechanical and structural engineers, designers, and kitchen and bath designers that you will inevitably need to work with… the home improvement industry can be overwhelmingly technical, difficult to understand, and more often than not, not totally transparent. How will you know that the “experts” you hire are qualified, connected to the community, loyal to the local codes, and familiar with the inspectors or at least capable of communicating well on your behalf?

Read the five tips in Colorado Homes & Lifestyles here.

When you walk into the Design Studio showroom, the furniture, accessories and artwork stop you in your tracks. The pieces are distinctive; the colors are luscious; the fabrics are luxurious. The ambiance is tempting and inspiring; the vignettes allow you to dream.

Design Studio is the dream child of entrepreneur Judy Goldman.

Goldman purchased the local firm Niwot Interiors in June 2016. After 18 months of corporate growth and development, Judy moved the company into its present, custom-built 6,000-square-foot space that includes the gorgeous retail showroom, a materials library and the design studio where the magic happens. In August 2016, Goldman rebranded the company into Design Studio Interior Solutions, now one of the region’s top residential and commercial interior design firms.

Goldman’s background in the fast-paced and high-powered world of finance and banking taught her well how to run a successful business. Her creative endeavors, such as graphic design, photography, and her work as a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, bring a balance and richness to her unique approach – the confluence of business transparency and creativity that is Design Studio.

From the very beginning, Judy’s mission for Design Studio has been grand, a business model that expands the client’s sense of what is possible, bringing together their vision and their day-to-day lifestyle, while always keeping their budget forefront. Goldman’s developed a company that includes a team of designers, projects managers, an in-house general contractor, merchandisers and finance professionals to provide superior customer service, outstanding design and a showroom that offers myriad ideas as soon as you walk in the door.

“Meaningful design is essential to life, a blend of functionality and beauty that allows people to live, work and play in comfortable, inspiring environments. Our thoughtful process ensures every space we create, and every detail we design, has a reason to exist. Our full-service team works alongside our clients to clearly define their vision, expectations, budget and the scope, goals and timelines of their projects,” Goldman shared. “Further, our team is able to bring to life projects of every size from a set of window treatments to a complete home remodel.designers, projects managers, an in-house general contractor, merchandisers and finance professionals to provide superior customer service, outstanding design and a showroom that offers myriad ideas as soon as you walk in the door. “Meaningful design is essential to life, a blend of functionality and beauty that allows people to live, work and play in comfortable, inspiring environments. Our thoughtful process ensures every space we create, and every detail we design, has a reason to exist. Our full-service team works alongside our clients to clearly define their vision, expectations, budget and the scope, goals and timelines of their projects,” Goldman shared. “Further, our team is able to bring to life projects of every size from a set of window treatments to a complete home remodel.

The Design Studio concept is perfectly exemplified by the company’s showroom, its gem and showpiece.

The showroom boasts a full complement of furniture, rugs, accessories and lamps for a wide range of tastes and styles. Goldman’s crackerjack design and merchandising team has filled the space with an array of handpicked sofas, chairs and tables from around the country and around the world. Original Art Deco chairs from late 1920s Italy sit side by side with a saddle leather armchair studded with nail heads. A selection of hide rugs add warmth, and a set of black and white inlaid nesting tables invite you to set down your martini.

Design Studio has two private collections of furniture – one classic and luxurious and the other contemporary and fun. Both collections are customizable with hundreds of fabrics in a rainbow of colors and textures available in the showroom.

And Design Studio is thrilled to present the Colorado premier of the furniture line James by Jimmy DeLaurentis. DeLaurentis, a former designer at Ralph Lauren, has created a gorgeous, and comfortable, new collection of pieces that evoke Hollywood in the 1940s. His use of Crayola colored velvets is a delight for the eye. DeLaurentis’ Capri Chairs, Alessandra Sofa and Ottoman and Isabella Sofa are currently on display in shades of emerald, tangerine and juniper.

The showroom’s newest addition, straight from Paris, is an iconic early example of the Carlton bookcase room divider by Ettore Sottsass of the Memphis Group, from 1981.

There are also wonderful candlesticks, vases, trays, napkins, throw pillows and other delicious accessories that are perfect gifts for every occasion.

“The fun of our showroom is the variety of products that we carry and the mix of styles that we present,” offered Victoria Maxwell, the showroom’s director. “We welcome our clients here so that their creativity can bloom. The showroom is a place to shop for that perfect cocktail table, for a wedding or hostess gift or a whole suite of furniture for your living.”

The spectacular showroom at Design Studio is place to visit, to explore, to shop and to manifest your dreams.

In 2010, Judy Goldman and her family moved to Boulder, lured by the lifestyle and landscape. Three years ago, a serious bike accident changed her life. During the long rehab and with unwavering support from her husband Charles, Judy unleashed her entrepreneurial spirit by purchasing a small interior design firm. Thanks to her three decades in the world of finance, as well as her training in graphic design, photography and her work as a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, this newest venture made perfect use of her finely tuned business sense and creative background.

Within two and a half years, she has grown the rebranded Design Studio into a multi-million national firm. In 2018, she was awarded the Rising Star Award by Colorado Biz and made their list of the top 100 women-owned businesses in Colorado.

“Women entrepreneurs and leaders today, I believe, have a responsibility to equip younger women with the tools and perspective to help guide their focus and develop appropriate parameters for the future,” Judy says.

Read more in Boulder Lifestyle.

Houses are truly made into homes through the efforts of the owners to not just personalize, but fully invest themselves in creating spaces that tell a unique story. Few houses exhibit this transition like this Boulder home remodel. Striking a balance between grandeur and detail, practicality and creativity, this Boulder home shines in its deliberate design, careful craftsmanship and the family story it represents.

A multi-year project, this venture was a collaborative design effort between Judy Goldman, homeowner and owner of Design Studio Interior Solutions, architect Leonard Thomas of Urban West Studio, and the framing team at Gilbert & Sons. Requiring drastic structural changes to fully realize the home’s expansive views while maintaining an intimate, inviting feel, the previous home was stripped to its two-by-fours and rebuilt with family, comfort and individuality in mind.

“This home was created with such heart,” says Goldman. “As people walk through it, I wanted to create subtle, yet powerful wow moments that would make them feel surprised and embraced by the space at the same time.”

Focusing on creating cozy, comfortable spaces within an open architectural plan, each room uniquely engages its occupants. The home also emphasizes the connections between its indoor and outdoor spaces, creating design continuity with features like the steel of the indoor staircase and banisters mirrored on the outdoor decks, and the main floor ceiling wooden beams that stretch unencumbered to the outdoor covered deck.

Aside from the stunning views overlooking Boulder and beyond, deliberately chosen design details also create moments of pause and awe throughout the home. From the energetic red of the glass tile in the guest bathroom to the recycled stoplight glass Vetrazzo countertops in the butler’s pantry, each unique element is understated, yet impactful.

The true beauty of the home also lies in how wholly it embodies the lifestyle and experiences, past and present, of the homeowners.

“This home truly tells the story of our lives,” says Goldman. “When people are in it, I want them to feel they’re part of it and experiencing that story themselves.”

Housing a unique art collection inspired by the owner’s world travels, the home is full of marquee elements that directly translate to a vacation, an excursion, an adventure. Perhaps the most notable of these details is the Murano glass chandelier extending from the top to nearly the bottom of the three-story staircase. Commissioned by Schiavon Massimiliano Art Team, this piece was designed by the family while on a trip to northern Italy. Each colorful disc is handmade, unique and illuminated with LED lights, making the experience of just being in the stairwell grand and enveloping.

It’s this type of storytelling and individuality through design that Goldman looks to embody both in her own home and in her work at Design Studio Interior Solutions. Frequently hosting events for various local nonprofit organizations, Goldman hopes that her home embodies the same warmth and welcoming that she and her family feel they’ve found here in Colorado.

Since leaving the world of finance and taking over Boulder’s Design Studio Interior Solutions in 2016, Judy Goldman has more than quadrupled the interior design firm’s sales and added more than a dozen employees.

Goldman, a California native who is involved with local nonprofit groups, has been recognized as one of top woman-owned companies and by ColoradoBIZ Magazine.

We chatted with Goldman to learn more about the studio, her background and her business philosophy.


The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Q: You recently took over the studio. What was your business background prior to that?

I was in finance in New York, then I moved into the industry in Los Angeles. I was in finance and consulting for 20-plus years.

I traveled a lot with my consulting business and I had two small children. I wanted to be closer to my family, so I decided to go to culinary school. So I got a Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts degree and went into the hospitality industry.

Q: Have you always been interested in artistic endeavors like cooking and design?

Yes. I have a bit of a background and experience in architecture, photography. I’ve just got a real love for what I call “creative mechanics.”

Q: What do you mean by creative mechanics?

It’s sort of the term that I live by. When you look at some of the best creators, they work in a fairly structured environment. They have a discipline that’s wrapped around their creativity that allows them to perform at the highest level. That’s exactly what I’ve developed with my team here at Design Studio.

Going back to my culinary background, the same concept applies. Cooking is a process, but there is creativity within that process framework.

Q: How did you get involved with Design Studio?

I found out through a friend that the previous owner was selling the business. I said, ‘Wow, that’s interesting.’ So I reached out and went through the financials. Everything looked great, so I said, “Bingo!” The rest is history.

I love being in this environment, I love people who are thoughtful about things around them. I love the way this team at the studio looks at the world and the creative process. Being around that process is engaging, it’s interesting, it’s dynamic.

I’m not a designer, but I love supporting my design team. What I bring to the table is that notion of creative mechanics. I create a process, a system, best practices to support our designers and help them make the most of their creativity. I bring all of things together — I guess you could say it’s like a recipe!

Q: Does being in a place with as much natural outdoor beauty as Boulder inspire designers and facilitate creating beautiful interior spaces?

It think it’s actually both a gift and a challenge.

Because of the outdoor beauty here, we tend to have requests from our clients to create functional and very usable space.

When you look at, say for example, a New York City loft, you can fill it with extraordinary art and fancy patterns. Here it’s more about bringing the outdoors inside and creating usable space that takes advantage of our natural beauty. That can be more challenging, but it’s a really meaningful challenge for us.

If there were a James Bond award for kitchen gadgetry, Boulder homeowner Judy Goldman’s kitchen would qualify, thanks to its mix of design that combines precision tools with wow-the-guests gadgets. Her Sub-Zero Pro 48 features a glass window revealing the contents. In a “Q”-like move, the Dutch Made upper cabinets open with just a touch to reveal perfectly lined-up spices—exclusively from Morton & Bassett. Goldman selected her Thermador 48 oven not only because, as she attests, it can’t be beat for cooking at altitude, but also because it’s calibrated to keep a simmer at 100 degrees. Should she wish, she can treat guests to a perfect béarnaise, but she mostly uses it to make endless supplies of stock, “16 to 20 gallons at a time,” she says.

Although she has owned Design Studio Interior Solutions firm for two years, Goldman once ran her own catering company in San Francisco, so that helps explain such attention to detail. “I knew, having gone to culinary school, that I would do a lot of cooking and entertaining,” she says. “The kitchen is the center of my family and our life, so I wanted a couple of things in there—look, I wanted many things in there. [For starters,] it had to have an island that would transform from workstation to somewhere we could present a buffet.”

A custom cutting board does just that as it slides over the sink for maximum counter space, important for the Goldmans, who host several large fundraisers each year. Often, as many as 60 guests can take in the view of the Flatirons while marveling over the kitchen. Goldman also customized her Dutch Made cabinets to be long and narrow, allowing her to store platters for events. “I do not believe in deep shelving for pantries so things you buy at Costco are still there three years later.”

“I do not believe in deep shelving for pantries so things you buy at Costco are still there three years later.”—  Judy Goldman

When the guests arrive, their reaction demonstrates that her design has accomplished its mission. “They say, ‘Oh, my god. Wow!’” Goldman says. “Then I touch the upper cabinets that lift in two panels, and they’re speechless.”

“I’m a believer that when you think about design in the home it should be an extension of a homeowner’s personality and should be welcoming based on whatever the homeowner deems that to be,” Goldman says. For her kitchen, she wanted colors that weren’t trending but reflected her personality and art throughout the home, deciding to contrast the island in Benjamin Moore’s Classic Burgundy against wall cabinets in Chelsea Gray.

Goldman was also very strategic about where to stash items that aren’t in use. “I took a full inventory of the kitchen and thought about how to transfer it into the space. It took weeks and weeks just getting the idea of not only how to lay everything out, but what I needed in order to store what I had to make it user-friendly,” says Goldman.

The goal was to be sure that everything had a place inside cupboards, too, and things like lids weren’t stacked onto pots. The designer also knew she didn’t want unsightly outlets to ruin the effect of her backsplash of Roman brick Calacatta Gold, so she placed the strips underneath the cabinets.

Lighting would be critical too. “It’s dangerous to have low lighting while using sharp knives,” says Goldman. She chose EZ Jazz Venti Crystal Pendants to hang above the island and keep the space bright.

Goldman and her husband, Charlie, hired Leonard Thomas of UrbanWest Studio to reconfigure the kitchen so that the prep areas enjoy maximal views of the Flatirons, which upper cabinets had previously blocked. He also created a bookshelf to showcase Goldman’s cookbook collection that numbers into the hundreds. Goldman has been collecting since she was a teenager, when her aunt gifted her with the 1964 edition of Thoughts for Festive Foods. “It showed the days when we served colorful Jell-O molds, fringes on the legs of chicken and odd-colored food on ugly platters. I thought it was hilarious,” Goldman says. The rug is from Lolo Rugs and Gifts in Denver.

Goldman chose traditional colors that matched both her art and her personality. To wit: Benjamin Moore’s Classic Burgundy on the island cabinetry and Chelsea Gray for the wall cabinets by Dutch Made Custom Cabinetry. Unwilling to cut into her Decorative Materials backsplash, Goldman made sure all her outlets were located underneath cabinets and out of sight. The Palissandro Nuvolato marble island countertop is from Moros Fabrication.

I touch the upper cabinets that lift into two panels, and [guests are] speechless.’” — Judy Goldman

Goldman’s Sub-Zero Pro 48 refrigerator is a showstopper that allows for an immediate inventory. Her Thermador 48 range is calibrated to keep a simmer at 100 degrees.

Judy’s favorite things:

SPICES: Morton & Bassett are the only ones Goldman will use, because they are the freshest, she says.

KNIFE: “My go-to knife is a Global 13-inch Chef’s Knife. I love it because when you do proper cutting, like through a tomato, you glide; you don’t squish.”

COOKWARE: “I’ve been collecting All-Clad since 1984, because they are exceptional at heat distribution, with their five-ply bottoms.” Goldman owns 23 pieces, from sauté pans to butter warmers.

STOCKPOT: She relies on her stockpot with a spigot on the bottom for its ergonomics. “I can make 16 or 20 gallons at a time, and it drains clear broth from the bottom,” she explains. That keeps her from having to turn a heavy pot upside down after reducing the vegetables.

RANGE: “I love the star burners on my Thermador 48, because they distribute heat throughout the pan. The Extra Low burner cycles on and off to maintain temps as low as 100 degrees. It also has a 22,000 Btu burner. Even at altitude, this range performs super well. I love the vast available oven settings as well, from convection cook settings to proofing. I can get full-size sheet pans in the oven.”

SKILLET: Goldman says she will never grill steaks; she cooks them in her Lodge 12-inch Cast IronSkillet

Design Studio Interior Solutions
Our design center is located in Boulder, Colorado.
5400 Spine Rd Suite A, Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 652-1727