Designer Impressions June 2019

Designer dialogues

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John Rowland, AIA, and Sarah Broughton, AIA, NCIDQ

John Rowland, AIA, and Sarah Broughton, AIA, NCIDQ

We sat down with Colorado-based interior and architectural designers, John Rowland, and Sarah Broughton, to discover the importance of designing and integrating the interior along with the architecture and landscape.

What inspired your passion for interior design?

Architecture to us is as much about the inside as the outside. Great architecture is holistic and a procession from the exterior to the interior. We are inspired by thoughtful, smart interiors that get better with age and that give a sense of place. Interior design is integral to our work and our process involves designing and integrating the interior along with the architecture and landscape.

Who are your design mentors, if any?

We are drawn to designers who work on all scales and are pushing their craft. John Pawson, Kengo Kuma, Patricia Urquiloa and Hiroshi Sugimoto are at the top of our list currently.

What are the most important decorative elements in your home?

Our home is designed like a ship so that we can utilize our square inches. We custom designed much of our own furniture so that it is the right scale and fits just right. We also have a singular palette, which allows the spaces, the art and the indoor/outdoor connection to take center stage.

Designer Impressions June 2019

Architecture to us is as much about the inside as the outside. Great architecture is holistic and a procession from the exterior to the interior.

What are your three most important elements when designing a bedroom or room?

We study and work hard to achieve balanced natural light as much as possible. Much of our work is in Colorado, where we have a harsh southern aspect. We balance this acute light with portals and openings, allowing the light to be diffused. Proportion of space is critical. Students of scale, we are measuring constantly and designing so that spaces innately achieve the intended feeling through proportion. We design with art. We collaborate with artists and often work with art patrons, many of whom look at architecture as the ultimate sculpture!

Why is quality of sleep important to you?

Sleep is a commodity and critical to our creativity. We create calming bedrooms that exude warmth through materials and inspire a respite. We design many of our beds so that they are custom to each client’s own personal sleep needs. No TVs in bedrooms!

From your experience, what is the best decorating advice you can offer someone?

Be timeless with your decorating and not trendy. Use restraint and distill the design to the essence. Let life and art fill the rooms and allow the decorating to act as a backdrop that lets it all unfold.

What upcoming projects are you looking forward to?

We are very excited about the new W Hotel in Aspen opening in July 2019. This has been a five-year project for us and the modern mountain chalet design has been a huge addition to the city of Aspen. Over the next year, we are completing several legacy houses for multi-generations and we are honored to be able to bring our holistic design approach to these special pieces of architecture and interior design.

Designer Impressions June 2019

What is your Style of Living?

We have a "less is more" aesthetic and our style of living is easy for living and entertaining. Our spaces are flexible and adaptable so that they are easily enjoyed alone and with a group. Since we design a lot of our own furniture, many of our projects have built-in elements, such as banquettes for intimate and larger dinner parties.

What are your “Frette Favourites"?

We love the light quilts. We have a more tailored look and the light quilt allows for a crisp design look in the bedroom. And, the soft sheets!

Where do you go for design inspiration?

We travel for design inspiration. Earlier this month, we were in the art islands in Japan and were blown away by the centuries-old Art Houses art installations, the Tadao Ando architecture and the Teshima Art Museum. We spend a lot of time in nature and were inspired by the seasons and raw beauty.

What is your favorite book, magazine, or site related to design?

We love books and are constantly expanding our library, which consists of history, art, design and architecture books. Wallpaper* magazine is a favorite and we love their travel guides. Indagare travel website is another reference.

What is on your nightstand?

Books, a deck of cards made by the Haas Brothers that Nikki Haas recently gave me and a notepad for writing down middle-of-the-night thoughts.

To see more of John Rowland and Sarah Broughton's projects, visit

Pictures photographed by Brent Moss