LKW Business Partners Take An “In Sync” Approach to Interior Design
Best friends and business partners Jamie Critchlow and Kayce Newell celebrate 10 years at LKW Design Associates
Starting a business with your best friend might seem taboo, but to interior designers Jamie Critchlow and Kayce Newell, it’s ideal. Over a decade ago, the friends met while working together at an interior design firm. It was there that they bonded over their similar taste in design aesthetics.
“We decided to take a leap of faith,” says Newell. “We were both ready to pivot away from heavily rustic and traditional design and into something more updated.” So, the friends began LKW Design Associate in Critchlow’s spare bedroom. Now, 10 years later, their studio in Edwards, Colorado, is a base camp for projects in the Vail Valley and beyond.
While the interiors created by LKW Design Associate vary in style, the design team leans toward approachable luxury. “Kayce and I generally agree on designs, but every now and then, we have to tell the client ‘you’re the tiebreaker,’” Critchlow says. Fortunately, the clients they work with are often well traveled and culturally inspired. “They come to us with new and exciting ideas that push the envelope,” she says.
There’s no steadfast format to how the firm tackles residential projects. “Some people want to see three options while others just want to make adjustments to one,” Critchlow explains. Both designers play a role in every project because they believe their best work is produced together. Even outside the office, the business partners are in sync; unintentionally, they both had children at the same time, not once, but twice.
Being in the mountains, it’s no surprise that the design firm often works on vacation homes. According to Newell, the approach to designing a second home is different from a primary home. “I always encourage clients to bring in their own art collections,” she says. “That personalization can really make a vacation house a home.” Critchlow adds that second homes should be built with functionality in mind. For example, if the owners are planning to spend winters at their abode for skiing, the interiors should reflect that, with décor selected to withstand snowy footwear and mudrooms with storage space for gear.
As a free resource to potential clients, LKW Design Associate offers a downloadable PDF that Critchlow and Newell have coined the “project planning pack.” Says Critchlow, “Clients come to us at different stages. This tool is intended to allow homeowners to see where they’re at and pose questions to us.” Hiring an interior designer can be a research heavy task, and the PDF eliminates much of the guesswork. “While it’s a way for people to get to know us, it also helps determine if we’re the right fit for their end goal,” says Newell.