Archive for the ‘Interiors’ Category

The Art of Fire

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009


I’ve done a lot of fireplace research over the years, and I always come back to Rais, my all-time-favorite fireplace manufacturer.  Rais stoves range from the classically designed to modern, and pay homage to clean, simple and elegant Scandinavian design.

I’m hoping to use the Rais R60 in a current remodel project and someday…someday…I plan on purchasing the Pina for my house.  The Pina would be a perfect addition to the sunroom and a nice way to add some extra warmth on a cold winter day.  Here are three of my favorite interior models plus a new outdoor fireplace.


RAIS R60: the original Rais wood burning insert.


RAIS X-BASIC: striking linear design with eco-wise burning technology.


RAIS PINA: award willing design can be mounted on a pivoting base.


RAIS GIZEH: sculptural outdoor barbecue or fireplace for the garden.

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Beautiful Concrete: Concrete Revolution

Monday, November 30th, 2009


I am of the opinion that concrete is a beautiful material.  I’ve been particularly interested in decorative (sometimes referred to as “domestic”) concrete over the past few years, and try to use it as budgets allow for counters, fireplace surrounds and other interior details.  To be frank, I’d use it all over the place if I could!  Only steel comes before concrete on my list of all-time-favorite finish materials.


I love the monolithic nature of custom cast concrete sinks.  This seamless quality and depth of material are difficult to achieve using natural stone or a quartz product.  Also possible with concrete is a wrapping and sculptural quality, as seen below in the counter slab turned shower bench.


Simple fireplace boxes can be transformed into a feature design element using concrete to create a unique fireplace surround.  The possibilities are endless.



Concrete Revolution in Denver, Colorado is a source for interior concrete fabrication and installation that I highly recommend.   Please visit their website for inspiration and information!

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Sunshine Canyon Remodel

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

We were hired to transform a 1960’s brick ranch house on a beautiful foothills site into a home worthy of its surroundings.  The owner was interested in an aesthetic that married the Colorado mining vernacular with a mountain modern style.


a “before” shot complete with Marley the puppy

We have proposed a design solution that combines heavy timber and steel detailing with stone and reclaimed barnwood cladding.  The existing gable roof will be removed, the interior of the home gutted, and a new timber truss system will allow for an open and soaring floor plan with expressed structure and plentiful windows.  A small steel-framed addition will allow for a more functional kitchen and adds interest to the exterior massing.



proposed “after” renderings

Stay tuned for more details as this Sunshine Canyon project progresses.

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Elkstone 21 Taking Shape

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Elkstone 21 is an 85,000 square foot, 21-unit luxury condominium project set in Telluride’s Mountain Village with sweeping, panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.  Construction began on this project in the Fall of 2008 and is scheduled for completion Spring 2010.


I was in Telluride a few weeks ago and spent a day walking through the project.  It is such a treat to see something that took years to draw start to take shape in three dimensions.  All the unit layouts are unique and range from 1,500 square foot flats to three large (over 4,500 square feet) penthouse units.  We shaped the units around a mountain modern design aesthetic, with open floor plans, clean and contemporary bathroom layouts, and an emphasis on views.


Stone veneer goes up on the building exterior.


View from a third floor unit


Each unit has a least one deck, balcony or patio.


A typical living room view.


Vaulted ceiling and view of the surrounding aspen from a penthouse library.


Framing of a two-story penthouse unit featuring an open stair.

I will be making frequent visits to the Elkstone project over the coming months.  I’m extremely excited for the units to get closed up and to see the finishes go in.  The Owners plan an open house in December at which time the Wine Lounge will be completed and serve as an on-site sales office.  To see renderings of the project go to

Please visit for additional project and sales information.

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krDESIGNco loves Heath Ceramics

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

I was introduced to Heath Ceramics years ago while visiting a girlfriend in Berkeley, California.  We spent a day at their Sausalito factory and showroom and I was immediately in awe.  Founded in 1948 by Edith Heath, Heath Ceramics is known for handcrafting tile and tableware for those who appreciate classic, modern design paired with functionality.



Heath’s pieces live in the permanent collection of the MoMA as well as in hotels, restaurants, retailers and homes that focus on exceptional design.


Since Edith Heath became the first non-architect to win the prestigious AIA Gold Medal Award for the exterior tile on Pasadena’s Norton Simon museum, Heath’s ceramic tile has been known for its high quality and design-leading aesthetics.


Interior of Skirkanich Hall at University of Pennsylvania


Residential home exterior by Addison Strong

Heath Ceramics is one of the few remaining mid-century American potteries still in existence today.  Not only am I drawn to their work because I love the form, color, pattern and texture of everything Heath creates, I am also inspired by Edith Heath’s vision and impact as a strong and talented woman making her mark by following her dreams.


Please visit the Heath Ceramics website at I hope that you’ll appreciate their work as much as I do!

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Top 20 Under 40

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

I am extremely honored and humbled to have been named to Mountain Living Magazine’s innagural Top 20 Under 40 Designer list.

Top 20 Under 40
The Future of High-Country Design

Meet the West’s next generation of talent. From Bozeman to Aspen, Steamboat to Santa Fe, these 20 young pros have a fresh perspective that’s changing the way we live. Think you love high-country design now? Just wait until you see what’s next.

Please visit our PRESS page to view the complete article and to download a PDF.


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A Change Will Do You Good

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Welcome to our new Blog! keira ritter design company has many interesting things to share with clients, colleagues, family and friends. We have decided that blogging is the best way to communicate news, events, project updates, interesting material discoveries, and all things design related. Please check back often and give us your feedback!

Our first blog entry coincides with the arrival of the April issue of Colorado Homes & Lifestyles Magazines on newsstands. We are honored to have been selected for inclusion in the annual Remodel Issue of CH&L which features our Loft in the Mountains project.

Please visit to view the article online or read below to see the article in its entirety. Look on our Work page under Loft in the Mountains to see the full selection of project images by Ben Tremper Photography.

Designer Keira Ritter tells CH&L how she transformed her 1968 home in the Boulder foothills into a mountain loft.


CH&L: You call your home “a loft in the mountains.” Tell us why.
Keira Ritter: After working on multiple loft-style projects, I wanted to combine an open floor plan with more of a mountain aesthetic, so the “loft in the mountains” idea was born. I always strive to create a unique fusion of industrial and organic, and our home became the perfect canvas for this approach.

So you began with an interesting design concept. What did you hope to achieve?
The home was originally built in 1968 and was very compartmentalized. We removed walls, added windows and used exposed steel detailing inside and out to emphasize the industrial qualities we both love. The home in its original state didn’t take advantage of the surrounding landscape, a problem I fixed by using materials that complement the color palette outside. We also added a sculptural porch canopy, which peels away in layers as it stretches away from the house and into the soft grasses.

We wanted a sense of cohesiveness throughout the house, so we repeated certain details—like the custom iron-and-stainless-steel guardrail you see on the second-floor lofts, which tie in with the steel columns in the sunroom and exposed steel framing in the living room. And the birch slab doors with rusted steel kick-plates tie the materials outside with materials we used indoors. Plus, they add a sense of warmth.

loftinthemountains_blog_01Those of us who have been through a remodel know that design goals evolve over the course of the project. Is that true even for a designer’s own home?
Definitely! The design went through several iterations, thanks to budget constraints that made us re-work our ideas. The big question we kept asking was: how can we use ordinary materials in extraordinary ways? For example, most designers don’t use raw steel as a finish material in residential interiors, but I love steel, so decided to use it as an accent or design feature wherever possible.

We also had our fair share of surprises, just like anyone going through a remodel. During demo, we discovered that the south sunroom wall wasn’t supported adequately, so we would need to reinforce it. The typical solution would be to bury columns in the wall, but we wanted to do something a little different, so I designed 25-foot steel columns that solved our structural problem and created a prominent design element.

That’s a bold solution.
Well, my house functions as my laboratory. It’s where I test my ideas. I want to be sure that these unconventional methods work before I encourage my clients to take risks in their own spaces, and thus far it’s been very successful.

We’re always interested in how a location influences design, and if you’re going to be bold, Boulder seems like a community ready to embrace it.
There’s a lot of creative thought in Boulder and a growing appreciation for good design. Our home is a bit edgier than most, but it’s been well received. It’s rewarding to share our project with our community. Complete strangers have stopped by, asked questions about the house, taken pictures—it’s a pleasure.

We certainly have our favorite features of your home, like the beautiful rust patina on the fireplace mantle. What do you like best?
There is this amazing combination of hard materials and beautiful mountain light that creates a sense of warmth you wouldn’t expect from a house full of steel, stone and aluminum. We found the right blend of color, material, texture and light—and we’ve ended up with an extremely serene space.

There’s one piece of this remodel story that’s not so much about the materials or structures. This home was originally your fiancé’s, and your relationship grew over the course of the remodel. Does the finished result reflect your relationship at all?
Believe it or not, Joe and I agreed about the design direction from the very beginning. We’re both creative and innovative people, and the house is proof! Our individual tastes have contributed to the overall vision: Joe loves Bang & Olufsen and Philippe Starck—and motorsports. I collect Eames furniture, books, plants and anything orange. We thrived on the process of bouncing ideas off one another, and our home really is an expression of our personalities.

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