2018 Circle of Excellence: Interior Designer Angela Harris
Founder, principal & creative director, TRIO Environments, Denver and New York
Model Home, Lone Tree [Photo by Eric Lucero]
This year’s Circle of Excellence recipients continue to elevate our landscape and enhance their legacies. Here, learn about winning interior designer Angela Harris.
A native Coloradan, Angela Harris grew up in a thriving family printing business founded by her paternal grandparents that had more than 300 employees. “I would go to work with my dad and play with my cousins, building big houses out of cardboard 3M boxes,” she recalls of her earliest residential design efforts. And then there was the Tuff Shed in the yard that she tricked out with furniture, flower boxes and a red door.
Armed with luck, entrepreneurship and design talent in her genetic code, Harris added a long list of degrees and accreditations to her tool kit before launching TRIO Environments in 1999. She’s since grown it from a basement business with a staff of one to a powerhouse just outside the Denver Design Center with more than 20 employees and 120 projects installed last year, ranging from small residential interiors to commercial buildings, multifamily apartment complexes, single-family model homes and custom product lines.
Portrait by Jennifer Olson
In addition to her own custom interior designs, highlights include The TRIO Collection, a collaboration with developer Joyce Homes that features new luxury residences on 1.5-acre sites in East Parker; custom seating and tables through her Trio Atelier collection; and responsible product designs for manufacturers such as Nourison, TileBar and Phillips Collection, which is launching a line of TRIO’s products in April at High Point.
As her diversity of activities suggests, Harris could give the Energizer bunny a good run. “Every day is different, and every design is different,” she says. “We’re a boutique design firm that approaches each project as its own art piece.”
Denver Highlands Multifamily Project [Photo by Eric Lucero]
BALANCING ACT: “In order to be able to deliver exceptional, unexpected design that resonates with the target market, you need to understand budgets and timelines and all those things that need to support the creativity. Delivering design that’s unexpected might not matter unless it’s on budget. It’s important to balance the business and creative sides.”
THE ACTIVE LIFE: “In winter, I’m a snowboarder. During the summer, every morning at 5:30, I hike with our golden retriever, Jazz, on the trails out the back door of our house, a little sanctuary on top of a hill in Morrison.”
SAIL AWAY: “Before our son, Landon, was born five years ago, my husband, Drake, and I used to sail to places like Thailand and Tahiti just for inspiration. One of my favorite places is Harbour Island in the Bahamas. It’s small, quaint and the people there are so beautiful and giving. As part of our 3% program—committed to donating that amount of our gross revenues to nonprofit and pro bono work—we’re building a classroom there to help children struggling in the primary schools.”
Denver Highlands Multifamily Project [Photo by Adrian Tiemens]
ART OF DESIGN: “With Alliance Residential, we did an apartment complex in Denver’s River North Art District. We knew this was the most creatively charged setting, so we decided to push the envelope, with huge black-and-white tile floors and lots of artwork—literally sparks of curiosity around every corner. It was just the right amount of wrong.”
ROCKY MOUNTAIN ROOTS: “I am completely blessed to be a native Coloradan. You can work 12 hours a day and then, a couple of hours later, be on top of a mountain skiing. Colorado reminds me that the world is much bigger than any one of us. It's an amazing place to develop and do whatever journey is distinctively yours.”