COLORADO SPRINGS • After almost a decade in business, Julie Kay Design Studio has opened a storefront.
Julie Kay Riggin, owner of Julie Kay Design Studio, grew up in St. Louis, Mo., and attended the University of Missouri for Interior Design. While Riggin was growing up, his mother had a passion for decorating and decorating their family home through the seasons. With this, she acquired a knack for decorating at a young age.
“I always knew I was going to be an interior designer,” Riggin said. “I still like it.”
After college, Riggin began his career in Chicago working for high-end companies. After deciding the “Windy City” was too cold for her, Riggin moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she eventually met her husband. His service in the military took them across the country, including a return to Chicago and time in Kansas, Georgia and Virginia.
Eventually they ended up in Colorado Springs, having moved to the area from Washington, D.C. Knowing that this move would bring a chance to put down roots, Riggin decided the time was right to fulfill one of his dreams.
She started her interior design business in 2012 in Chicago. Now in Colorado, she connected with some of her former clients and started what would become a 10-year collection of projects with a master bathroom renovation. They moved to Colorado Springs in early 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and despite this they found the Pikes Peak area much less restrictive and welcoming during the pandemic than Washington, D.C.
“We knew it was a great place for us,” Riggin said. “We love the outdoors. We have two young children. We love to hike and do everything outdoors. We love the weather…and there are no bugs.
The move allowed Riggin to expand her business into a brick-and-mortar space, an idea she always had in mind whenever her family moved.
Last year, Riggin got a storefront at 12245 Voyager Parkway, Suite 174, in the Northgate neighborhood of Colorado Springs. Between obtaining the necessary permits and contractors doing the necessary work, the opening of Julie Kay Design Studio has been pushed back to March of this year. The grand opening of the store with the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce took place in early June.
As a military spouse, Riggin said having an office away from home was difficult and she always had to rebuild her business every two years with each move.
“I’m very happy to be here and root myself in the community,” she says.
Riggin felt that North Colorado Springs would be ideal for his first storefront because it provided a local location for Colorado Springs residents, who would no longer have to travel to Denver for similar services. Potential customers from the Tri-Lakes area and southern Douglas County would not have to travel to downtown Colorado Springs.
Julie Kay Design Studio is a full-service interior design studio and service. The store has a resource library with thousands of fabrics, wallpapers, tiles and other materials used for customer projects. The company’s scope of service is “no project too small or too big,” Riggin said, ranging from helping a walk-in customer find fabric to reupholster a piece of furniture to renovating a part of his house or the whole house.
“There really is nothing like what we have in this store in the whole city,” Riggin said.
In addition to being a resource for materials and products, the store space allows Riggin’s business to also be a showroom. Whatever is displayed inside the store, customers can purchase from the floor. The owner has made it her mission to provide her business with items at prices below retail.
“Things are expensive now,” Riggin said. “That’s one of the benefits I wanted to give people who come here. If you google an item in the showroom, it will be cheaper than (this) retail in our showroom. We’re cheaper than buying from Amazon or anywhere else, and it keeps things local and saves on shipping. … If it can be purchased online, we offer it cheaper.
The showroom also allows customers to try out some of the furniture pieces available and gives staff the opportunity to learn about each customer’s preferences, such as the desire for deep seats, high armrests, etc. This allows staff to source furniture frames and then look at fabrics to choose from.
“If someone likes a particular couch, they can buy it,” Riggin said. “But if they want it in another color or another leather, we can help them choose the fabric and order the part.”
Additionally, if clients are looking for something specific, Julie Kay Design Studio has accounts with hundreds of manufacturers from which Riggins and her staff can source and order specific items.
As the company enters its first few months of physical presence, Riggin said he plans to participate in community events and sponsorships. In fact, Riggin was selected as one of the designers for the second Joys of the Season Holiday Home Tour, hosted by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club. Dates for the 2022 event have yet to be announced. The tour is one of the club’s fundraisers to help fund its $1 million in grants to nonprofits, educational institutions and public service agencies.
To build a home ? When to hire an interior designer
With many new residential subdivisions being developed, which is another reason Riggin wanted his store to be located in the northern region of El Paso County, many new homeowners have the opportunity to design and build their home in start from nothing.
Riggin said that if new build owners are looking to hire an interior designer, the sooner the better their advice. Even if new homeowners already have a plan and are working with a builder or architect, an interior designer can be the professional to ask the appropriate questions for the design process.
“Get an interior designer in early,” Riggin said. “Others may not have asked the right questions to find out the function of a family’s lifestyle. I really make sure to ask lots of questions. You really don’t want to have to redo things at the end, as it can get expensive.
“It helps to have another eye on your plan to help make things the best for your family.”
For more information about Julie Kay Design Studio, visit the company’s website, JulieKayDesignStudio.com.