Beautiful In Boulder: Food Lab

Beautiful In Boulder: Food Lab






As I stated Part IV of this series, design is becoming much more of a thing in Boulder; new spaces (retail, commercial, etc.) are embracing big style while old spaces are rushing to catch up. Obviously I LOVE this. I love walking into a space, no matter its function, and being overwhelmed by the design and forced to consider every last special touch, asking myself: What’s new? What have I not seen before? What do I love? What choice would I have never considered making… And the newest beautiful space in Boulder is Food Lab, talented chef Casey Eaton’s community-targeted culinary temple with a simple mission statement:

How would you describe/categorize the stye of the space? It’s modern, with a little bit of eclectic, like the details leftover from the original 1890 building that still are in place: exposed brick walls and very high ceilings.

What inspired you in the design process? What were your main sources of inspiration? I love Houzz. And it began with a little more color than the all white, but the color slowly kept disappearing with the white becoming more prominent. I like the very clean palette; the color comes from the food and the people.

What’s your favorite piece, accessory or detail? I love my chandeliers. They were a last minute under-pressure find from online boutique Et2 and I absolutely LOVE them. They are spirals of chrome with lights throughout, and I kind of think they look like a silver sos pad, in a really cool way. They put off great lighting too. I also love the Prosecco on tap.

Did you run into any difficulties and if so, how did you resolve them? **laughing hysterically**12 months of hitting every roadblock there was to hit! I cried, I ran a lot, but I learned to recover quickly from set backs and just charge ahead- that works way better than crying, by the way.

Please name the stores/vendors you sourced from. Anything local? JJ Collier’s art hangs in here- it’s crazy how well it fits the space because it was made before we knew each other! I used Atlas Flooring for cabinets, counters and floors. I used Contract appliance for the appliances. Duggan Construction built the space out and they rock!

What’s the biggest design obstacle that needed to be overcome? How did you do it? It is a long narrow building. I chose it for the location (1825 Pearl Street A), not the shape. We are right on the East end of pearl, which I love: next to Cured, across from Frasca and Pizzeria Locale, great company here! And parking is easy. I had a whole different set up in my mind for how the space would look, so it took some creative thinking on how to make it flow right for the chefs and clients. I now cant imagine it any other way…. it’s perfection.

Any plans for additional/added design elements?  I am always dreaming, thinking and concocting. And open to suggestions and comments. Mostly.





Time To Try

Time To Try

What I’m about to say seems so obvious you’re probably going to roll your eyes: the more effort you put into your personal style, the better it’s going to be. If your eyes have returned to their normal position, let me explain- my clients are, overwhelmingly, women who work and have children. They’re busy. They’re also accustomed to putting most everyone’s needs ahead of their own, and after years of this, many are so out of the habit of making an effort for themselves that they forget how. Does this sound familiar? I think this is probably true of every woman whose ever had a child.

So you stop getting manicures, putting on makeup (when you once did), and you stop trying with your wardrobe: trying to separate out what still fits and looks great with what doesn’t, trying to put together a few head-to-toe outfits that make you feel confident and beautiful, trying to make yourself wear the shoes or jeans that take a little more effort. Casual and comfortable become constant.

Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you sport your best for a trip to the grocery store or school drop off. You’re not wearing a ball gown to pick up bagels. But for lunch with a friend, an event at school, date night? Make the effort; it’s something you’re going to have to get back in the habit of doing so eventually wrangling into your skinny jeans, dry cleaning your favorite top, putting on lipstick, and doing the physical pyrotechnics necessary to get those knee-high boots on will no longer feel like work.

There’s just so much your clothing can work for you; you need to work for it too.

Thank you to my beautiful client Carolyn (pictured) for working it in this photo! 

Designer Spotlight: Royal Stag Custom Hats

Designer Spotlight: Royal Stag Custom Hats





Hats can be hard. I hear it all the time among my friends and clientele: ‘I could never pull off a hat’. I know exactly where they’re coming from. You need a lot of confidence because, without a doubt, hats draw attention. I remember watching one of my style mentors Dina Simone*- I’d go out with her a lot in New York City, and her fabulous style was always attention-getting; but when she wore a hat? It was head-turning, literally.

This has been my personal experience as well. I have a few hats in my collection and they are statement-making, none more so than Cate Leuenberger’s Royal Stag Custom Hats. Obviously they’re fabulous, which Cate will speak about below. For all of you who think you can’t pull the look? You can, and her wonderful work will give you the inspiration to try.

Tell me about your collection? What do you design? How would you describe the style? I make high quality, handcrafted custom hats. The styles are classically oriented shapes like the fedora, homburg, gaucho or the derby with a modern spin. I make hats for ladies and gents that are rooted in classic men’s dress wear –  they are all timeless pieces that will last a lifetime. I have around 25 prototypes in my shop. Each are available for custom order and can be tweaked in all sorts of ways to fit the customers style and to make a truly one of a kind piece. Each hat is handmade at my workshop in North Boulder.

Why hats? I love hats. Aren’t they the coolest thing ever (besides shoes maybe)?

What is your design process? It’s all steam, fire, sanding and stitches… a truly magical process.  Most of my hats are custom to order. I meet with the client in person or by phone if they are out of state. I measure the client’s head to determine ideal size and shape of head – then we pick style, brim size, color and quality of felt and the trim (hatband). We make the hat and then its shipped out or picked up.

A lot of the development of the styles comes simply from working on hats. I learn new things and get new ideas from making mistakes and of course working with my customers.

Where do you get your inspiration? A lot of my inspiration comes from actual hats –  hats you see in movies, other hat makers, old magazines, traditional hats from other cultures, or vintage hats I find in thrift stores.

You make many different styles of hats- which is your most popular? There is no real ranking but “the Roy”, “the Clyde”,“the Prairie”, and “the Poplar” are definitely very popular hats.

You’ve created a special line for local boutique Nod & Rose- tell us about it? We do have our hats available at Nod & Rose: we have a rotating collection of ready made hats in different styles and sizes at the store, plus head measurements right there on custom orders. There’s also Royal Stag certificates for those who want to gift a hat; Nod & Rose will take the order, and I make the hat. All my custom orders are delivered within 4-6 weeks.

Since hats are an accessory, what role does fashion play in your life and your work? Hats are not just an accessory, they are functional. Besides looking very cool and being a great add-on to a look, they also protect us from sun and rain.

Fashion definitely plays a big role in my life. Fashion is art. It’s a way I can express myself in my appearance and in my work. A lot of inspiration comes from the culture of fashion and luckily but not to our surprise, hats are making a big comeback in the fashion world these last few years.

For your money, describe the perfect outfit to accompany a Royal Stag hat? Confidence is what makes people look good, so I always recommend buying whatever makes you feel great. Our hats are extremely versatile. They look great with the basic jeans and a t-shirt or it can easily dress for going out on the town.

Does your personal style influence your designs and, if so, how? I make hats that I wanna wear, in that sense – yes very much so.

Who is the woman who wears your designs? Where is she wearing them? A fashionable woman, a hat person, someone who has an appreciation for quality, a woman who wants a gorgeous custom made hat, a piece of art. Our hats are versatile. You can dress it up or dress it down, wear it to a wedding, Sunday morning brunch, on a bad hair day, or any day you just want that extra protection from the elements.

How do you feel about trends and how they do/don’t affect your designs? Trends don’t affect my designs too much. As I mentioned before there is something timeless about classic hats. They never go out of style. There are times where hats can become more popular or maybe less, but there will always be hat people whom love a well made hat.

Where can people find and purchase your hats? For now, contact me ( or call 303.619.7789), shop at Nod & Rose, or stop into The Bellwether Club in Denver. We also have some exciting news for 2016 where we will be in a New York and Los Angeles-based store by the Fall… Stay tuned!

*Her real name!


Artist Spotlight: Laura Krudener

Artist Spotlight: Laura Krudener






It seems that in this moment in time, everyone has a blog, everyone has a talent they want to share, a following they want to cultivate, a business (or two) they want to get off the ground… It can be difficult to separate the wheat from the shaft in this bottomless pit of internet, but painter Laura Krudener and her blog Among The Colors definitely needs to be known. Personally, Laura is my Goop– my go-to resource for recipes for food and living. Painting is her first love, and, as she discusses below, the one thing that informs all others-

How would you describe your art? Contemporary abstraction. My paintings are layered expressions of poured paint, drawn and painted line work, and a reverence for the space holding these moments together.

Who or what influences you/your work? Where do you draw your inspiration? My work in an art historical sense is influenced by the surrealist work of Max Ernst, the color field work of Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis, and the poured techniques of Jackson Pollock. From a contemporary perspective, my work is inspired by many things, from quantum physics to gardening, from the fashion and design industries to topographic photography of the earth. That’s what makes it contemporary, its vulnerability to a multitude of influences, inspirations and contemplation.

Describe the process of creating your art? How do you begin? How long does it typically take to complete a piece? How do you know when something is done? My paintings are each informed through a series of created movements from the paint itself. Each layer of movement informs the next, be it poured paint or drawn line. I like to work on 5 or so paintings at once, bouncing back and forth between them. I work horizontally and on the floor.  Each layer of acrylic paint takes any where from one day to several days to dry, so it is good to have many in process paintings going at once. Often what happens in one painting will inspire a reaction in a different painting in the series. It is great fun to see how the paintings converse with each other.

Which of your pieces are you exceptionally happy with/proud of? Why? Each painting I finish I am happy with for different reasons. Each painting is a mystery unto it’s own. If I am not happy with a painting, it doesn’t resolve itself into a complete painting. If a painting is really rubbing me the wrong way, I try to find a way to look at it differently and figure out what it wants next. Sometimes this is simply not possible, and then the painting and I part ways. The painting gets destroyed and the stretcher bars reused. Destruction is part of the creative process. If I am not going to be happy with a painting, that painting gets destroyed.  This may sound a little harsh, but it is also very liberating. Who am I to think every painting I embark upon is going to be good? And at the same time, if I am I not going to be happy with a painting, then why put it out into the world? I only want to share work with others that strikes me in a certain way, makes me feel something, be it happiness, wonder or in the best of cases, freedom.

What are your goals for this year? The next 5 years? This next year I am taking some time to experiment with new processes within my methods of painting. I am really intrigued by natural dyes and pigments and bringing these items into my painting vocabulary. It’s a cool opportunity for me to bring my love of gardening into the painting process. I am giving myself permission to learn something new and see how that will apply to a process I have been seriously invested in for about 9 years. It’s time to enter this process from a new entry point. I want to take this next year and discover these new spaces and how to bring them to the work.

As for 5 years, my goals in 5 years from now are for the work to be in a place that I can not yet imagine. My goal is for the work to guide me, surprise me, and whisper the way. Some of best advice I received in graduate school was from a favorite mentor of mine, Linda Bessemer. She urged for me to focus on the work, not the career. The career will come if the main focus is on the work itself. That isn’t to say that I don’t stay up on my website, networking, social media, etc. etc. But my commitment in all of this is to the painting. Painting is what I am dedicating my life to, not a career in art. A career in art is a necessary part of me doing what I love, but it isn’t the goal… It’s the agreement.

What is your favorite part of being an artist? Least favorite? Being covered in paint, staring deep into the mystery of a painting, and not having a clue what to do next. Listening and waiting for creative inspiration to strike. Being at the humble mercy of the paintings themselves. This is my favorite part of being an artist. Least favorite? The negativity people put on the “burden” of being an artist. I feel it’s out dated and it’s a sad trap artists fall into. Art doesn’t owe us anything. The creative process doesn’t owe us anything. The art world doesn’t owe us anything. If you want to make art, then make art. But don’t feel like it is the art’s job to totally support you financially or that the art world owes you something. That is putting too much negativity and pressure on the work itself, and limits the freedom of the creative process.

Fill in the blank: I wouldn’t be caught dead ___. I wouldn’t be caught dead putting nothing on my walls. I don’t think it matters what you put on your walls, as long as it is something that reflects your personality, spirit, history, or evokes a memory. Walls are spaces yearning to tell a story; use them to tell yours.

Which contemporary artists do you admire? So many, but specifically as painters: Julie Mehretu, Mark Bradford, Chris Offili, and Marilyn Minter. Most recently I was introduced to the work of Dustin Yellin. Mind blown.

What are some of your other interests/hobbies? Dancing. I have been a dancer my entire life, technically before I was a painter. Now I take modern dance classes once or twice a week.  It makes my soul sing, and that is important. Writing, cooking, gardening, traveling, and skiing. And design. I have been a designer for the past 15 years alongside my art. I have worked in the textile industry, fashion industry and furniture industry. I have a lot of inspirational points and interests. I am very ADHD. That is one of the things that led me to start my blog, Among the Colors. I needed an outlet to express all these other creative passions that were pulling at my heart strings, and also figure out how they relate to my painting.