During the last 5 months, we have had an incredibly rare opportunity to interview 35 of the most well-respected modern design businesses—architects, designers, builders, furniture studios, manufacturers—about the concept of “Colorado Modern” design.

One of the most defining aspects of this emerging style is  a very distinct connection between indoors and outdoors; a seamless transition achieved through large expanses of windows and design elements that create harmony rather than contrast.

“The outdoor landscape is wild mix of textures. A stream bed can have smooth stones honed by the flow of water, next to a jagged boulder. An aspen tree sits next to a pine,” says Mikal Otten, owner of Exquisite Kitchen Design. “Connecting to the outdoors doesn’t just have to be physical.”

This kind of texture, achieved through rough hewn wood, local stone, brushed metal, beetle kill pine, reclaimed wood siding and flooring, is a design element that came up over and over again in our research.

Dale Hubbard of Surround Architecture suggests that “there is a renewed interested in things that are handmade with a lot of texture, perhaps as a reaction to our persistent two-dimensional digital experience.” This sentiment is echoed by many other architects and designers, including Workshop 8, which uses these durable materials—stucco, cementitious siding, stone, brick, metal, and reclaimed or sustainably harvested wood—because they also withstand the heat, wind, cold, and snow of the Colorado climate.

Ultimately, though, it’s not really about WHY or HOW we use these materials, but rather the feelings they evoke as we move about our lives and daily tasks. Coloradans are surrounded by all of this incredible natural beauty, why would we want our interiors to clash or detract from it?

Brad Fentress from Studio Como captured it perfectly when he said: “At the end of the day, it’s not about things. It’s about the feeling you get when you come home. It’s about a commitment to living a meaningful life.”