Denver Children’s Home had the land and the vision: a transitional group home for teen girls on a lot it already owned in Park Hill. What it didn’t have was someone to build it.
Annie and Jordan Obermann started out doing simple home remodels. As the number and complexity of their projects grew, they decided to launch Forge & Bow, a Fort Collins-based design-build firm, in 2016. Since then, their projects have drawn national attention—and a pilot for HGTV.
Q. What’s unique about Forge & Bow’s approach to projects?
A. The design + build approach differs from the typical design, bid, build model because it integrates all parts of the process: architects, interior designers, project developers, estimators, project managers and support staff under one roof. This cuts down on finger pointing, managing multiple independent businesses, and miscommunication. With that said, oftentimes in the design + build approach, the build side of things “wins.” What this means is that most design + build companies are organized by builders with the idea that the design is there to support them, meaning decisions are often made with the ease of build in mind. And though that isn’t a terrible idea, some of the beauty of design is often lost. We really attempt to create a positive tension between the two, allowing both sides of the process to shine. We care deeply about both the quality of design and the quality of build, and we strive to be the best at both.
Q. Are there any emerging building or design trends that you’re excited about?
A. I’m not sure if this is a trend because this is how we’ve been designing for years, but it seems that simplicity is returning. Hopefully the days of Colorado Mountain Modern with overly complex roof systems, exterior facade elements that serve no real purpose, poor massing broken up by ill-placed materials (like rusted metal siding) has passed! We believe that residential architecture is a reflection of the people it serves, and that comes with both a past and future. Therefore, we should look to the past where the architectural details and interior design elements served a purpose, where timeless design conjures up beautiful memories, all while integrating today’s function and scientifically advanced building methods.
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Q. Is there any advice you’d share with fellow professionals interested in starting their own firm?
A. Good luck! But seriously, surround yourself with people who inspire you and who are more experienced than you, and the rest will take care of itself. Also, enjoy and be passionate about what you do. This industry can be very demanding, so make sure that you love your work… and love when you’re not at work too!