At the age of 16, Woodland Designs owner and designer Karrie Stimits was already developing her passion and skill set for home design.
Her first job was working in her dad’s construction business doing whatever needed to be done — from siding installation to job cleanup. All these years later, Stimits continues this inspired focus.
“Interior design is a creative outlet for me being able to transform a space for someone to what they truly want it to be. The process as a whole is very satisfying,” she said.
Stimits started her own business, Woodland Designs (woodlanddesigns.net), in 2015, which she recently moved to a new location at 800 Research Drive, Suite 210, in Woodland Park. Her plan is to have a grand re-opening in spring of 2021, once she is settled into her new space.
She has been a resident of Woodland Park for over 20 years. Through her considerable work experience, Stimits now has close working relationships with many people and businesses involved in the home design business.
In the late 1990s, she began working at Brookhart’s, a building materials supply center in Woodland Park that was eventually bought out by Foxworth Galbraith Home Improvement Center. There, she honed her design skills over the next 10 years, making contacts with builders and homeowners and developing passion and expertise for cabinet/kitchen/bath design.
Knowing that interior design would be her lifelong career path, Stimits enrolled in an accelerated online program at Westwood College in Denver. She earned a bachelor’s degree in interior design, allowing her to branch out into full interior design projects.
In 2008, Stimits left Foxworth Galbraith and worked for design firms in Loveland and Colorado Springs, all the while continuing to cultivate her experience. In 2015, Stimits was ready to open her own showroom and Woodland Designs was born. She admits that running one’s own business is a great deal of work, but it gives her life the flexibility she wants and is challenging and fulfilling.
Fortunately the pandemic has had minimal effect on her business. A few projects were put on hold but otherwise business has carried on normally.
Projects can be as small as a powder room re-do, or simply choosing paint colors — or as extensive as a full house remodel. Stimits says her favorite projects are remodels, although she also designs new-construction interiors. She assists clients with clarifying their visions from concept to finished project.
“I act as a project lead, working closely with general contractors who are performing the work,” she said.
Stimits is the ideal person as she does the planning, develops drawings, sifts through samples with her clients and helps them keep from getting too overwhelmed with the myriad of details involved. Her job is to keep the big picture in mind while maintaining a cohesive and connected design.
When asked what her favorite design project has been so far, Stimits described a major remodel in the Lower Skyway neighborhood of Colorado Springs. There, she had the opportunity to put her considerable skills and long-term experience into play.
“What I loved about this project was working with the clients to achieve their very unique design aesthetic. They wanted something more modern with a midcentury flair … I was thrilled to dive into the process for this project. Their home was built in the 70s and was in desperate need of updating — everything was original! The final product was stunning and the interior was unrecognizable from the original space!”
Stimits is joined by two design assistants who are an integral part of her team. Lea Kauffman joined Woodland Designs 5½ years ago. She has an associate’s degree in interior design from Pikes Peak Community College. Kauffman not only participates in the business as a design assistant, but takes on her own design projects.
Kauffman says Stimits is “… a great boss because she is good at managing a combination of professionalism and personal touch to the work environment. She also carries this attribute into all her projects and brings forth her best with each client and their individual needs … Karrie is very dedicated to her work, family and the community.”
Tessa Lane is the newest member of the team, using her creativity not only as a design assistant but in her own business — Mountain Folk Photography.
Lane describes the gratitude she feels working at Woodland Designs, “Karrie has a natural warmth and spunk to her that invites others to be their best and most creative. I don’t know anyone like her and I know I’m lucky to learn from someone so exceptional.”
Stimits’ husband, Brian, is a captain for Northeast Teller County Fire Protection District. “He has been such an integral part of my success and is always willing to help me out in any capacity I need him to. Could not do this without him,” she says. Their children, Kayla and Wyatt, now teenagers, have always been Stimits’ first priority.
The success of Woodland Designs depends not only on perseverance and hard work but on seeking inspiration during down time. Stimits and her family are actively involved in camping, hiking, Jeeping, biking and snowboarding — particularly in Colorado and Utah. “I draw a lot of inspiration for colors and textures for my design projects from nature while out enjoying these activities … Things that occur in nature will never be a ‘trend’ and will stand the test of time when it comes to interior design.”
Stimits has found a satisfying and successful balance between her personal and professional lives, while ably attending to her own self-care. With the support of her family and colleagues, she maintains her passion for creating beautiful interior spaces.