Meet Denver Design Contest Winner Shelley Sims

During The Design Contest from C.A.I. Designs Denver, four amazing designers created a vignette in the Denver showroom. Each designer teamed up with a preselected student of Interior Design, had one hour to select pieces from existing inventory, and one hour to create their most inspired design using their selections. At the end of the time limit, we photographed each design and gave other designers a chance to vote on their favorite. The winning designer was Shelley Sims of Thrive Design. We took a few minutes to find out more about Shelley and her student Design Assistant for the contest, Miriam Griffin.

Q. Which piece in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?

A. I have a client in Keystone that has a family house that I’ve been able to work for over the years. I’ve been able to do something in each of the rooms including completely remodeling the kitchen and the master bath along with the other five bathrooms. To me, it’s the most fun and exciting project. We were able to preserve some of the parent’s design aspects while bringing the house current. The end result was a beautiful place for people who come to Colorado to enjoy the outdoors. Plus the client has been so fun to work with because they have ideas of their own that we incorporate into the home. I also get the opportunity to offer all of my great ideas so the end result is even better than any of us could imagine. I’m very grateful for them. See more of Shelley’s work here.

Q. Which interior design course was the most difficult for you and why?

A. Oddly enough I didn’t actually go to design school. I went to fashion merchandising and marketing school. That’s where I realized my love for textiles, color and design. I was trying to become a buyer or a department manager for one of the big stores like Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s, but right after I finished school I realized I was way more creative than I thought I was. So when I left New York City to come back to Colorado, I started doing visual merchandising at the Denver Merchandise Mart. Not only was I doing window displays, I very quickly worked my way into working on rooms and remodeling pool show rooms. A few years later I got an opportunity to do a remodel on a home. It was then that I realized that I love Interior Design and that I had design skills that I didn’t even know existed.

Q. Who is your biggest design influence?

A. Kelly Wearstler

Q. Where did you draw your inspiration from for your vignette?

A. Based on a couple of comments that the student Miriam had mentioned, I just made up in my mind that she was going to be the client. So I asked her to go around and pick things that she loved. We made up a scenario that she had just traveled around the world and that she had returned with treasures from her trip. She was then hosting a party where she was inviting all her friends to come over and learn about her travels. It was a really great example for her to be able to be the client as well as the designer at the same time. It made it really fun.

Q. If you could give future designers one piece of advice, what would it be? 

A. Based on that experience I would suggest they go spend a day with a couple of different designers. By doing this, they can be inspired by how each of us work so very differently. There’s not one “right” way. Each one of us bring our variety of experiences, teachings, trainings, learnings and personalities into the projects. So every room is a one-of-a-kind custom art piece.

Q. Which school do you attend?

A. Pike Peak Community College

Q. What is your favorite design class?

A. It is a tie between Accessorizing and Space Planning.

Q. Who is your biggest design influence?

A. If I am being honest I don’t have a design influence. I don’t know much about the design world seeing as I jumped into interior design head first with no clue what to expect. I’m learning as I go and meeting great people. The people that I have met along the way, who have helped me and taught me, have been my biggest influencers, I cannot wait to either work with them in the future or be like them.

Q. What are your career plans after graduation?

A. I haven’t figured that out yet but I’m excited to. I’m hoping to go into commercial design and that’s all I know right now.

Q. What was the number one thing you learned while taking part in The Design Contest? And Why?

A. Being able to work with all four designers made me realize that they all think and work differently. Every vignette was beautiful but the path we took to get to the finished product was different for each designer. It was crazy to see how each performed and it helped me see which methods were more proficient.

Clearly Fashionable

You know her or maybe you are her, that chic girl who always looks good no matter the situation.  Brimming with effortless style yet understated and lovely, she is the envy of many yet lets others stand out.  

Translate these qualities to furniture and we can’t help but think of that star of small spaces, acrylic furniture.  Uncompetitive yet playful, acrylic can complement and enhance almost any room style.  Since the peak of plexiglass in the 1970’s, this creative material has been seen in fashionable rooms everywhere.  

If it’s been awhile since you’ve used acrylic in a design, think of it as a solution to balance a busy living space or to add a hip update to a stale dining room.  The possibilities are endless.  Here are a few of our favorite acrylic pieces to add to your projects right now.

Gain a whole new perspective on acrylic furniture during our CEU presentation at Denver Launch Spring Market. Interlude Home’s VP of Sales Sean McFadden will explain acrylic’s history and why it is the clear choice for fashion forward designers everywhere. GET ALL THE DETAILS & REGISTER NOW

Woodbridge Wows at C.A.I

If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Woodbridge Furniture owner Kevin Hinshaw, chances are the next time you see him, he will remember your name, your kids’ names and that of your family pet.  It is this personalized approach to business that Kevin and his father have instilled within the company that truly sets Woodbridge apart in the furniture industry. 

One of Kevin’s favorite pieces is the Jupe dining table which features self-storing leaves that extend the table to a 72″ round that is perfect for large family gatherings.

The story of this customer focused company began 16 years ago when Kevin and his father started the business.  Inspired by design and in love with the design process, they set out to build a brand that would have a reputation for timeless design.  Despite struggles and with a lot of hard work, they did just that.  Today, Woodbridge offers high quality finishes, best in class construction, and even custom paint and upholstery options so that you get exactly the look that you envision.    

C.A.I Designs is now proud to offer the complete Woodbridge line.  Visit us and take a look at what they have to offer for your next project. 

Have we peaked your curiosity?  Visit one of our showrooms to see these pieces.


Meet Randy| Denver Lighting Specialist

What is your past work experience/education?
I started my career in financial services and insurance. After my partner graduated Design School he started his design business and we were hired by a furniture store owner to do window coverings in his home. He liked us so much that he offered me a job in his store. My love of design helped me to do well and I was recruited by clients to join their new boutique furniture store. One day I asked, “What kind of lights do people use with this great contemporary furniture?” As a result, we went to Market and opened a few lines of lighting, which led to us abandoning furniture altogether. As a result, in 2001, I started selling lighting learning the industry from the ground up.

Where were you raised?
I grew up in Ft. Collins, Colorado and we moved to the Denver area when I went into Middle School.

What is your most rewarding project, and why?
In my capacity at YLighting, I worked with the Set Decorator of  Fifty Shades of Grey, among other film projects, who asked me for fixture suggestions, all of which made it into the films. Seeing my ideas brought to fruition was a great experience for me.

How would you characterize your design style?
My great love is Mid-Century Modern design. Using those clean lines as a base, I take the minimalist cold aspect of the style and warm it up with color, texture and restrained embellishment. Still clean and crisp yet warm and inviting.

In your experience working with C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
Obviously Visual Comfort is a favorite, not only of mine but also of our design clientele. Hubbardton Forge and Hammerton are always great because of their custom capabilities. Modern Forms and Tech Lighting are favorites for pushing the boundaries while making LED lighting that can work well in residential settings.  In furniture, Thayer Coggin is a huge favorite having sold them previously and always looking up to their iconic style.

What is your favorite color?
Blue of any hue

What do you like to do in your spare time?
My partner and I have a standing Pizza/Movie date for Friday nights and we are both avid music lovers. In my spare time I curate playlists on Spotify which have thousands of followers.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican food is my weakness. I was nearly 12 the first time I tried it and the memory is as fresh as if it was yesterday. Love at first bite, definitely.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there anything you do to get inspired when you hit a slump?
My partner inspires me in many ways. Not only is his impeccable design style a source of inspiration, the fact that he NEVER complains no matter what’s going on has also taught me a valuable lesson. If I hit a slump, I remember to be grateful first of all.  Next, being Danish, I go back and look at works by my favorite Danish design stars like Louis Poulsen and Verner Panton to get my creative mojo working.

Any last words for us you’d like to share? 
Follow me on Instagram @LuxuryHomesStaging

Randy can be reached at the Denver C.A.I. Designs Showroom at randyj@caidesigns.net or by phone at (303) 282-8100 x6972