You’re a locavore, sourcing your peaches from Palisade, your elk from Antonito, and your Bibb lettuce from the GrowHaus in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood. So why are you still buying generic furniture from China? It’s easy to outfit your home with beautiful pieces designed right here in the Mile High City—and we have just the list to get you started. These six Colorado companies dream up everything from cabinetry emblazoned with mountain peaks to powder-coated rocking chairs made from recycled steel. Meet them here—and welcome their work into your home. It’s a feel-good, look-good double win.
1. The Fearless Founder: Angela Harris
If you’ve ever heard Apple’s born-in-a-garage origin story, you know that inspiration often strikes in unlikely places. Angela Harris, principal and CEO of locally owned interior design and visual-merchandising firm Trio, certainly does. “I founded Trio out of my basement more than 20 years ago,” she says. Harris had been toiling for an engineering firm before taking the plunge and enrolling in decorating classes—and spending her last $500 on Trio business cards and other startup costs.
Her courage paid off: Trio now has more than 55 employees overseeing more than 100 projects across the country, and Harris recently designed a line of furniture for Phillips Collection, a to-the-trade furniture manufacturer that has created custom pieces for Trio clients for years. Her intent for each piece—designed at the Trio studio in LoHi and made by artisans in Indonesia—was to put a modern spin on iconic minimalist furniture. Think comfy seats carved into blocks of suar wood, and ladder-backed armchairs finished in gleaming brass. “The use of unified, linear pieces celebrates simplicity, authenticity, and negative space, while square styling, channel-tufting, and beautiful metal inlays make each piece feel special and timeless,” Harris says. “We’ve taken cues from the market to create something fresh and unexpected by balancing authenticity, artistic expression, and the beauty of natural forms. People want pieces that make them feel something.”
2. The Upstart: Format Fine Goods
It wasn’t long after Joel Edmondson accepted a job as a designer for Pottery Barn in San Francisco that his dream of West Coast living started to lose its luster. The designer, who’d worked for Lorin Marsh and Symbol Audio in New York City before moving to the so-called Best Coast, was a little shocked when the lifestyle wasn’t what he’d expected. “[My wife and I] were hoping to enjoy a better work/life balance in the Bay Area as opposed to New York, but we were disappointed by the expensive housing market and difficult commute,” he says. So in 2017, when his wife accepted a job in Denver—“a city everyone aspires to be in,” Edmondson says—he took it as a sign.
Figuring he wouldn’t be able to find a corporate furniture-design job, he used the move as an excuse to create his own line, Format Fine Goods, which he launched at New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in May 2017. “The work is inspired by the heritage of American craftsmanship, imagined in new forms and materials,” Edmondson says. “For example, the lighting features [the slip-casting ceramic-forming] technique: It’s traditionally used to make table wares and vessels, but we’re using it in a completely new way.”
Edmondson’s unexpected collection includes a collapsible guitar stand—made of sustainably forested ash or walnut wood—that would satisfy Jimi Hendrix, and the tube-like Arches bench, which looks like something the Jetsons would recline on. Plus, it’s all crafted in the USA: Upholstered items are bench-made in the furniture-opolis of High Point, North Carolina; larger pieces, in Minnesota, and the smaller pieces and lighting are assembled and finished in Edmondson’s home studio in the Whittier neighborhood.
3. The Maker: Objeti
“I come from a family of makers and entrepreneurs,” says Joseph Ribic, founder of Objeti. He’s not kidding about his hands-on inheritance. His father founded a precision aerospace manufacturing company (in layman’s terms: he made engine parts from superalloys) after moving from Slovenia to Ohio in 1970. So when Denver-based Ribic created his first furniture collection—which he unveiled at ICFF in 2010—he took inspiration from his roots. “The name Objeti is derived from the Slovenian word for ‘embrace,’ ” he says—a nod to the brand’s signature union of form and function.
Objeti fabricates its wares in-house and partners with artisans around the globe—think Amish woodworkers in Ohio, alabaster sculptors in Volterra, Italy, and even a Turkish fez-hat-maker who crafts Objeti’s Soft Tools pendant lamps, which feature white wool interiors and fez-burgundy shades.
Ribic’s next venture, Fiction, launches in August and will bring products including modular bookshelves and powder-coated sheet-metal bookends to the masses. (Objeti will keep these products in stock for quick delivery.) “Ultimately, I want to create conversations through products,” Ribic says. “My goal is to entice people into needing to find out more about my designs. And I hope the owners of each piece are so infatuated with it that they have a sentimental story about how they found it or why they bought it.”
4. The Dream Team: DoubleButter
David Larabee and Dexter Thornton are like the PB&J of Denver’s design scene—better together. “We each had our own scuffling furniture companies in Denver when we hooked up in 2006 for a show at the now-defunct and sorely missed P Design Gallery in RiNo,” says Larabee, a self-taught artisan who entered the field after “many trials, many errors.” Thornton holds an industrial-design degree with a focus on furniture from Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. “We both needed a change and a partner,” Larabee says. “Someone to encourage the good ideas and to kill the bad ones early; someone to help carry the really heavy things.”
So the design duo founded DoubleButter, an outfit that makes all of its midcentury-inspired furniture designs in Denver and is now so beloved, the Denver Art Museum added two of its chairs—including the Roadrunner, made of oiled medium-density fiberboard—to its permanent collection. “It’s pretty clear, or at least we think it is, that we’ve got a deep respect for the midcentury design gods—the Eameses and Prouvé and Poul Kjærholm and on and on,” Larabee says. “And, of course, contemporary artists and designers too, like Piet Hein Eek and Tom Sachs.” One of DoubleButter’s newest offerings, the Grasshopper rocker, is made from recycled steel that can be powder-coated in a rainbow of VOC-free finishes.
Both Larabee and Thornton are ardent bicyclists who, during their rides through town, soak up much of Denver’s architecture as design inspiration. “We look at the honest use of materials—steel, glass, concrete, wood—in the engineered world,” Larabee says. “That stuff makes a big impression on you when you start to notice it.”
5. The Custom Queen: New Classics
The assembly-line approach to making furniture is as different as can be from the way things happen at the New Classics workshop, where only one or two artisans touch each piece. “This means an extremely high level of craftsmanship is required, from technical knowledge of veneers and hardwoods to a strong ability to problem-solve,” says owner Kirsten Zook. She should know: She bought the company from her mother, interior designer Sara Zook, who kick-started it 30 years ago when a Boulder client sought a custom reproduction of a marquetry-inlaid dressing table—and Zook couldn’t find an expert to build it. “During the 1980s, the design industry began to understand that clients wanted the antique look but modern functionality,” Zook says. “New Classics became known throughout the industry as the ‘dining table’ company due to our specialty and old-world craftsmanship.” Point proven: The firm now works with some of the most boldfaced decorator names in the country, including McAlpine House and Suzanne Kasler.
New Classics is a fount of antique-inspired and modern looks, all of which are made to order in a 21,000-square-foot shop near Stapleton. (With your designer, you can buy the pieces locally through the Shanahan Collection at the Denver Design District.) Among its new wares: a mahogany side table with an arched detail in the base that evokes the spires of Europe’s ancient cathedrals, and the futuristic Boreas table with a steel-and-mica base. Further proof that quality trumps quantity: The majority of New Classics’ makers have worked at the firm for nearly 20 years. “It’s more like one big family than just a workplace,” Zook says.
6. The Family Startup: Denver Modern
Donnie Criswell didn’t set out to launch a furniture empire nearly 10 years ago—he just wanted to make a reclaimed-wood table for his home in Boulder. But after he met and married Lindsey Price Criswell, who had worked in consumer product consulting, the pair realized that Denverites had a yen for locally designed pieces that epitomize the city’s lifestyle—which includes “an appreciation for lasting beauty, a desire to be bold without being flashy, and a collaborative and community-driven environment,” Lindsey says. Having dipped their toes in the furniture-building biz (since 2013, they’ve been fashioning custom pieces for corporate clients including WeWork and Google—and, locally, Corvus Coffee and the Wolf’s Tailor), the duo felt they could transfer that aesthetic to a direct-to-consumer line that would appeal in Colorado and beyond.
Enter their new line of furniture and home accessories, Denver Modern, which the pair launched in 2018 and currently sells online; eventually, they’ll display and sell their wares in a Clayton neighborhood showroom as well. The collection feels just right for Colorado: “We use mixtures of blackened steel, concrete, white oak, leather, and more,” Lindsey says. Adds Donnie: “What Lindsey and I are drawn to is modern, but we don’t like ‘cold’ furniture you can’t feel comfortable in and don’t want to see in your own house.” This sensibility, plus a commitment to craftsmanship that’s difficult to find in mass-produced furnishings, makes the Criswells’ line an ideal source for your next perfect piece.
View the full story on 5280.
Interior “insta blogger”, Sarah Litvinchuk, was looking for the perfect coffee table to complete her full home renovation when she found Denver Modern.
She needed something that would mesh well with her natural color pallet and modern, minimal style.
When asked about her inspiration for the project, Sarah replied, "I’m inspired by bright, natural color palettes, and outdoor elements such a light wood, rattan, and greenery. With all the business that’s happening most of the time, it’s calming for me to use one basic color, and then mix in natural pieces and differing textures to add character and warmth."
When she discovered the Range coffee table, it was a no brainer.
Sarah discusses her proudest DIY, greatest challenge, best advice, and when Apartment Therapy asks Sarah what her biggest indulgence was on this project, she answers, "It’s either our coffee table in the living room or the skinny bench in the entry. Definitely not the most expensive items we have, but some I love most! Both took lots of time and research to find just the perfect piece for the space, and I think that says a lot. When it’s a unique find that not everyone has, I think it’s worth the extra money one might typically spend on the item—plus it adds character, and usually has a story behind it.
"Our coffee table was made by a husband and wife team who own a furniture shop in Denver, and I love that. The bench I found on Etsy and was shipped from the Netherlands! When you can tell a story about where something came from it makes it that much better (and it doesn’t hurt when it’s plain gorgeous!)"
Read Sarah's full story about her California Mountain house makeover on Apartment Therapy.
Photography by Ryan Dearth
It’s the holiday season in Colorado, and Eater has scoured Denver’s bars, shops, and restaurants for the best presents to give to local food lovers. From pantry essentials to cocktail ingredients, hand-stitched aprons, and knife sharpening services, we’ve got the home cooks and bartenders covered.
Looking to get out of the house with loved ones? A Winter Passport set will provide drink specials at locales across the Front Range and throughout the mountains. Or perhaps one staycation at a food-forward boutique hotel carries the right sentiment. Guests at these lodgings can just stumble upstairs after dinner in one of a handful of award-winning restaurants.
Here, you’ll find two options for custom or curated giftboxes, filled with local coffees, cheeses, candies, and crackers. Stocking stuffers? Check. Splurge items? Check check. Statement pieces? We’ve thrown in a few of those, too. Plus, a selection of gummies and CBD/THC teas for optional unwinding. Read on for 14 gifts and giving inspiration.
Denver Modern Serving Board
Local furniture and home goods company Denver Modern has designed for restaurants like the Wolf’s Tailor, Acreage, Leña, and Corvus Coffee. Now, home cooks and party hosts can have their own statement piece in a handmade black walnut and brushed brass serving board, you know, for all those cheeses, chocolates, and meats you’ve just purchased.
Cured Colorado Flagship Box
Boulder’s homey local pantry store offers a variety of charcuterie-packed gift boxes perfect for kitchen stocking, picknicking or dinner partying. The Colorado Flagship comes with Elevation salami, MouCo cheese, Nita Crisp crackers, Frasca red pepper jelly, a Nathan Miller chocolate bar, Greenbelly hot sauce, and more.
Dram Apothecary Syrups and Bitters
Salida-based Dram Apothecary creates hand-foraged bitters, syrups, and switchels that make for great gifts for the home bartender. Bottles can be purchased individually or bought in gift sets like the Alpine Manhattan kit, the Lemon Ginger Hot Toddy kit or the pack of six cocktail bitters. A fan favorite and Good Food Award winner is the Pine Syrup.
Carbon Knife Co Sharpening Stone or Service
RiNo-based Carbon Knife Company is worth a visit for its knowledgeable staff and jaw-dropping collection of Japanese knives and sharpening stones. Interested customers can hear the stories behind the makers and test their perfect blade and handle. For home cooks, the store’s knife repair and sharpening service is a thoughtful touch — one that Denver chefs utilize frequently.
Winter Session Apron
Denver craftsmen Winter Session create bags, totes, and wallets but also supply the city’s bartenders and restaurant workers with durable aprons. The selvedge denim shop apron (pictured) is detailed with brass grommets, cotton ties, and comfy cross-back straps. It features chest and waist pockets for everything from a cell phone to plating tweezers.
Winter Edition Passports
Each year, the pocket-sized Passports sell like hotcakes to Denver booze enthusiasts. Their winter warmer editions feature two-for-one craft beverages (cocktails, beers or glasses of wine) at more than 60 local establishments, plus 10 coffee shop specials. The Mountain Passport is a good get for skiers, with 34 road-trip drinking spots. And the Colorado pack combines them all with deals across Denver, Boulder, Colo. Springs, and Fort Collins.
The Block Distilling Co. Spirits
One-year-old RiNo distillery The Block just came out with its first coffee liqueur made with Novo Coffee and packaged in a sweet and stylish little bottle. But gift givers should also check out the house vodka and seasonal gin bottles, which will add some flair (and function) to anyone’s bar cart.
Price: $18 or $31 (but only available at the distillery)
Boulder-based Fortuna chocolates is about to open its first tasting room and chocolate bar this season, but before then, customers should shop online and in specialty stores for these truffles, slabs, and cacao nibs. See flavors such as milk and fig, salty pistachio, and Palisade peaches.
Food Lovers’ Hotel Staycation
From the Source Hotel to Hotel Born, the Maven, the Crawford, and the Ramble (pictured), Denver now has a bed and board option for every taste and design preference. In RiNo, guests can choose from high-end cocktail bars or Israeli food. Near LoDo, the Dairy Block and Milk Market food hall provide plenty of all-day options. Union Station offers a weekend’s worth of dining out. In fact, better to book two nights for optimized eating and drinking.
Price: Varies, check with the hotels
Björn’s Colorado Honey
This Swedish-born producer comes from a long line of beekeepers and has carried the tradition all the way to Colorado where he makes local raw, whipped, and propolis honey. Customers should seriously check out the latter, which combines tree and plant resins and is taken by the spoonful to stave off sickness.
Manofatto Holiday Collection Giftbox
Italian slang for handmade, Manofatto packs an assortment of artisanal goodies into carefully designed gift boxes that can be customized or pre-selected. In the Holiday Collection/Made in Colorado box (pictured), there are Helliemae’s caramels, Cocktail Punk bitters, two Hygge Life Turkish cotton hand towels, a bag of hometown blend Sweet Bloom coffee, and more housewarming items.
Cult favorite Jojo’s Sriracha has set up shop in Pueblo and is using local Colorado chiles for its blends of green and red chili sauces. The wild fermented green sriracha is sour and funky, while the OGX packs some heat from its jalapeños. All are addictive and better than the store-bought alternative.
Death & Co Cocktail Book
Now with a Denver outpost, this infamous New York cocktail destination is known for its original coffee table bestseller, “Modern Classic Cocktails.” But fans of the bar and brand should look for the latest release, out this month, called the “Cocktail Codex.” It gets back to the basics, so customers can learn to master any old fashioned, martini, daiquiri, sidecar, whisky highball or flip.
Stillwater THC/CBD Teas and Gummies
The holidays are tough, and Colorado-based Stillwater offers low-dose CBD and THC gummies, teas, and “dissolvables” to get people through them. Maybe this gift is for a stressed-out sibling or parent, or maybe it’s a present for yourself (no judgment). The teas are especially relaxing in mellow mint and gentle green varieties.
Design of the Year
On a quiet commercial strip in Sunnyside, the 50-seat Wolf’s Tailor this summer made a big Denver debut. With major talent across its kitchen and behind the bar, there is a lot to love here. But the bones of the restaurant, translated from owner Kelly Whitaker’s philosophy to architect Nguyen Lawrence’s vision for the space, really hooked us from the start. This is the type of community gathering place to wander, savor, then repeat. In the warmer months, the experience starts as any neighborhood get together should, with a backyard garden party. Once inside, the setting is muted and moody, the focus hanging between shadows and light. And at the center of it all is the glass-encased kitchen, with a guaranteed show every night.
Husband-and-wife team launches Denver Modern, a furniture line with ‘a Denver-inspired aesthetic’