Today we’d like to introduce you to Kellie Barlow.
Hi Kellie, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
It started with a notion that space transforms the way we live. Enamored by the power of architecture, I started my degree only to graduate during a heavy recession. My path felt lost for a few years, but those detours only served to help me later on. I finally found my way back into residential architecture and thrived working on large multi-family projects in Southern California.
When I became a mother, the tone shifted, and the challenge became how to do what I loved and be with the ones I loved even more. Architecture isn’t a family-friendly career. I advocated for my family and was able to work part-time and remotely before this was available for most in my field. A calmer lifestyle, and more time with family, lured my husband and I to Colorado. But this meant giving up an exciting, growing leadership role because the transfer required me to work full time. I chose my family.
That choice, over and over again, has opened up unique opportunities for me. After having my 3rd child during quarantine, that hunger for design and improving lives through space found me again–during late nights at the kitchen table, sketching elevations and plans of friends’ kitchen remodels after everyone was in bed.
Soon, friends around the country were asking for design advice, one needed help completing an abandoned addition design. Within a month, I had my first solo projects and I dived back into familiar technology but with new rhythms. This analytical mind, driven by connection, built this business on only referrals. Remodeling, interior designs and single-family residential design brought me even closer to transforming the way we live, down to how neighbors and friends, clients and families engaged with the space within the walls of their home and beyond. My love for my own family and for the families in our community is what my business is about.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
As a stay-at-home mother and business owner, I am able to manage several projects at a time well. However, the inevitable sick child, family challenge, or even vacation time often means that client demands cannot be met at my usual lightning-speed turnaround.
Also, as my business has grown, the demands on my time have grown. I have the challenge and luxury to be more selective about the projects I take on, but it is so hard to say no when I love to help others.
I take my work very personally, so disappointing others has been the most difficult part, learning how to manage expectations.
My current challenge is expanding the contractors that I work with and seeking out the best teams to bring dreams to life.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am known for my deep analysis and emphasis on experience over aesthetics. I will explore every option to ensure that my clients are able to evaluate the possibilities for their circumstances. At times, this means 8 options for an especially challenging space. But, the magic begins when the clients and I meet and bring together their impressions and collaborate live in their virtual space to create a final design. Collaboration is also a hallmark of my process, as I like to involve contractors, vendors and other professionals early in the process and encourage communication and teamwork. Currently, I specialize in remodeling and additions for single-family homes, but I also have a few commercial and multi-family projects. I am open-minded, flexible, and always look for ways to learn and grow while providing the best services I can.
Any big plans?
I have a passion for mentorship, teaching, and community development. In the future, I have plans to begin education and training series, mentor other emerging professionals especially women and minorities. I also am working on a new aspect of my business investing in and renovating properties as we watch our communities age and transform to help our neighborhoods support a new generation of homeowners. Finally, I look forward to an architect-developer role in which I can design and construct sustainable and affordable communities.
- On Site Consultation Fee $100-$250 depending on scope and location