A look at our 2019 missoula parade of homes home, built by Hoyt Homes

Becky Broeder Design had the pleasure of designing this home for Hoyt Homes and with the generous help of Radius Gallery.  The design concept in finishes was contemporary, but timeless.  In staging the home, the concept was to create a home gallery that is quiet and restrained, allowing the incredibly vibrant local art to be the focus. The outcome was a light, airy, visually interesting and rich interior.

Why would you (not) hire an interior designer?

As part of Radius Gallery’s Show, Design / Desire (08/24/18 – 09/22/18), a show I guest curated featuring Ty Best from Caste Design and a host of talented artists, this is installment 2 of 5 written installments regarding my role as an interior designer.

Why hire us?

I used to spend a lot of time and energy demystifying the profession of interior design because there are many misconceptions about us. People think we’re only for the wealthy, or free design services at a retail setting will suffice, or we’re bossy control freaks that will take over your project, or interior design isn’t rocket science and anyone can do it. The industry has been doing a better job advocating for ourselves, our research, and our work and I think builders and consumers in Montana are seeing what we bring to the table.

1. We save money.

  • Selecting the wrong products for an interior renovation or remodel can cost you a lot more money, unnecessary anxiety, and time lost.
  • Selecting appropriate, durable finishes and fixtures save in the long run. We know how to sort through selections that will come with the most value while performing the best, for the longest.
  • Many design elements, treatments, and finishes are more energy efficient, causing a huge potential for cost savings in energy consumption.
  • We’ve done heaps of research on products and sources and know where to look for more information.  We know the products on the market and we’re constantly introduced to new exciting things.
  • We stay on budget.  We make decisions on time, making sure the project stays on schedule.
  • It’s important to have an advocate during the building / renovation process. Many subcontractors cut corners, which is unnerving, bad logic, and costs to redo.  Having decades of experience in construction, I can recognize talent and expertise and I only work with reputable subcontractors I trust and know.  And if a contractor I’m not familiar with is already on board, I will discuss with them their approach, techniques, and gather an understanding of their process and personality.    

2. We save time.

  • Coordinating and managing the logistics of multiple products and installations requires a considerable amount of skill, experience, and patience- a process that can be frustrating and overwhelming for a lot of people.
  • We are masters at multi-tasking and organization.
  • Often in new construction and remodeling projects, one encounters unanticipated or unrecognized problems.  We broker solutions to those issues.  
  • Communication is incredibly important.  I make sure the project is done correctly and as openly as possible.  I’ve found that managing expectations is key, both with the builder and with the client.  People like to know what’s coming.
  • We are problem solvers, not problem creators.  As unexpected situations arise, I approach each scenario with creativity, optimism, and with the eyes of knowing we’ll find the best solution as a team.

3. We are educated and qualified.

  • Organizations such as AIA, ASID, NKBA, and LEED require standards that are stringent for continued membership.  Continuing education requirements must be achieved and reported every two years, keeping designers up to date on the latest research, trends, products, and techniques.
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) accreditation requires a substantial amount of specific training and education, as well as having to pass a LEED AP (Accredited Professional) exam.  LEED offers various specialties in the building industry.
  • It’s important to ask design professionals what their qualifications are. I have a Master’s Degree of Fine Art in Interior Design & Architecture from an accredited design university, am a member of ASID, and have a LEED Building Design and Construction accreditation.

5.  We get it.

  • We begin every project by asking a lot of questions, making observations, and listening closely to answers, wishes, likes, dislikes, looking at use of the space and uncovering and defining design goals.
  • Careful analysis provides a better understanding of the needs and wants of the project by taking every user’s view of the environment into consideration.
  • We create a unified, cohesive environment.  For what goes into my process, please read the previous post about the principles and elements of interior design.

6. We have trade-only access.

  • Hiring a professional designer allows you access to countless showrooms  and workrooms available only to design professionals.
  • Retail ‘free design services’ aren’t free.  They are sales people trying to sell their product, even if it’s not the product or vendor that’s right for the project.
  • Professional designers receive discounts on the whole gamut of vendors and I pass discounts on to my clients.

As a professional interior designers, it’s our goal to provide you with a thoroughly satisfying experience using our design and project management skills, and the contractors and installers we recommend.

It’s never too soon to bring an interior designer into the project.  As a critical member of the design team, we ensure that consideration is placed on design from the inside out, making beautiful, safe environments as smoothly as possible.

Thanks for reading,


What is Interior Design? A (Closer) Look.

As part of Radius Gallery’s Show, Design / Desire (08/24/18 – 09/22/18), a show I guest curated featuring Ty Best from Caste Design and a host of talented artists, I’m doing 5 written installments regarding my role as an interior designer.

What is Interior Design?

As a relatively new profession, Interior Design is constantly evolving and is often confusing to the general public.  Interior design is the art and science of creating or renovating an interior environment to achieve a healthy and more aesthetically pleasing environment for those using the space.  People generally understand that I, as an interior designer, research, plan, coordinate, and often manage the projects of enhancing the interiors of buildings.  This spans from conceptual development to space planning, programming, site inspections, communication, to execution of the design. What may be surprising are the fundamentals and elements that go into my process as an interior designer.

What began 100 years ago as Interior Decoration, two pioneers, Elsie de Wolfe in the U.S. and Syrie Maugham in England, are considered the first professional designers.  Independent of one another, they created the profession as a direct departure from the small dark spaces that were their upbringing: Victorian architecture and interiors.  They each responded with an approach that was light (even white), cheery, more open and the public noticed because it felt good and functioned better at that time. 

As home expenditure increased after the 1950s, interior design and decoration books / magazines were published and largely accessible to the masses. Universities and art schools began to teach the principles and practices of interior design, creating curriculums that expanded the field far beyond just decoration.  As the interior design profession evolved to create specialties, regulation became enacted, and the effort to achieve interior environments that aid in quality of life and safety for all users became paramount. 

I pride myself in creating environments that are beautiful, functional, safe, and inspirational.  My background is in interior architecture and design, so my approach is designing the whole environment from the inside out.  This includes moving walls, framing views, and creating highly functional spaces that are adorned beautifully.  Structural changes and decisions regarding plausibility and safety are always made with an engineer, architect, and / or contractor in the conversation.

Interior design is a creative pursuit, however, it relies heavily on research, listening, study, findings, and fundamentals.  We’ve all been in an environment where no design thought was taken into account. Ugh. Conversely, we’ve experienced environments where the principles were askew.  Yikes. There are 6 design fundamentals, known as the Principles of Design, which serve as the basis for interior design.  They are scale, proportion, rhythm, emphasis, balance, and harmony.  These principles and how they are evaluated determine whether an interior is magnificent, mediocre, or just wrong.

Principles of Design:

Scale– Refers to the entire perspective of the space.  The objective is for objects to be harmonious in dimension and mass.  Objects relate to and enhance each other.

Proportion– Measures the ratio of the parts to the whole. This is a mathematical equation that also settles in as a feeling: The Golden Ratio, which is also widely found in the natural world.

Rhythm– Informed by the flow within a room, then throughout the environment. An environment follows a beat and isn’t erratic.

Emphasis– The importance of a focal point or points within a room or space.

Balance– Achieving equilibrium.  This can be obtained via symmetry, asymmetry, or radially.

Harmony– Creation of a feeling of unification and an agreeable whole. It all makes sense and it’s timeless.

While design fundamentals serve as my guide, Design Elements are the minutia that inform every fine artists’ work. These have been defined and refined over the course of history. The design elements are light, color, texture, pattern, line, space, shape, form, and mass.  Each element informs and enhances the interior environment and have symbiotic relationships with each other.

Design Elements:

Light– Whether natural or man-made, light is the element that without, the other elements have no significance.  An interior environment relies on many layers of lighting to succeed: general, task, ambient, and decorative. I am of the school that the more layers and options to operate the layers, the better.  Also, the accuracy of color, texture, and pattern depend 100% on the quality, quantity, and temperature of light.

Color– Perhaps the most evocative of the elements, color and its effects on human behaviors have been widely studied.  I’ve done extensive research on how to evoke behavior through color.  What I would put in a preschool is quite different than a restaurant.  Color is also deeply personal and subjective as certain colors remind us of seasons, experiences, and memories.

Texture– The actual tangible surface of a material.  Texture enhances an experience in an interior environment and adds another sensory element to a space.  My aesthetic has been consistently texture driven.  I’ll often use texture in lieu of color for subtlety or restraint.

Pattern– The order of an arrangement of forms on fabric, wall coverings, rugs. Pattern can be small, medium, and large in scale, and I often use them strategically in tandem with other patterns.

Line– Used to create width and height, or the appearance of activity, movement, and flow. Horizontal line is considered secure or restful; vertical achieves expanse or tension; angular is more hyperactive; while curvilinear denotes softness. I’ll often use a combination, with one prevailing to give the overall desired emotive effect.

Space– Whether small spaces or expansive, the amount of space or appearance of such, makes the human psyche respond positively.   We crave small spaces, we crave larger spaces.  It often depends on our mood and our background.  I find it equally important to carefully balance positive space (filled area) with negative space (unfilled area).  Traffic space is always an important negative space consideration for function and sanity.

Shape– The two-dimensional outlines of things / spaces. This a consideration in desired effect for balance and harmony.

Form– The three-dimensional configuration or construction of things / spaces.  Does the form follow function?  Does it make sense logically and aesthetically?

Mass– The actual or optical density of an object or building.  Is it too heavy?  Is it wimpy?  Do I want the effect to be monolithic or airy?

All of the above principles and elements inform each turn in my approach to interior design (and probably life, to be honest).  I’ve always described the practice of interior design as a logical art: a balance of problem solving, creativity, rules, and breaking rules. My days are spent with an incredible amount of thought going into every decision and detail.  Interior designers are curators of many different mediums (lighting, art, furniture, textiles), craft (excellence in the trades), technology, and architecture (what a human experiences as they live in and use the space): multi-faceted, impactful on a daily basis, important, and often over-looked.

complete renovation of one of the rattlesnake’s oldest farmhouses

Known as Foxglove Cottage, this former B & B was purchased by a young family hoping to save much of the building, both structurally and in exterior character. Confluence Construction was the general contractor on this magnificent project, where a tricky process of engineering ensued.  The home was gutted, then redesigned by Becky Broeder with custom finishes & high end fixtures throughout.  Each piece of lumber was hand selected at Heritage Timber by Becky and Bruce, the cabinet maker.  Considering sensitivities to artificial light and allergens, this home was thoughtfully designed to maximize daylighting.  Selection of healthy, mindful, regionally sourced materials prevailed, and locally made custom furnishings are being built to further fill the space.  The result is a light, airy, customized environment that truly reflects the personalities of the homeowners & the architecture, and displays Becky’s texture-driven aesthetic.


hospitality design expo 2016

I attended my first HD Expo, the largest design expo I, personally, have ever attended.  The venue was at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and I had a hunch it was going to be a good experience from the minute I got there.  The kind gentleman at the reception desk upgraded me to a Penthouse my first night at no additional cost.  Talk about studying hospitality interiors.  I got to take in an incredible environment, first hand.

Here are a few photos of my decadent pad on the 62nd floor, the top of Mandalay Bay overlooking The Strip:


After switching gears and meeting up with my travel mate, Shannon, I wandered the three day show that welcomes over 10,000 designers, architects, and hotel owners and features more than 800 hospitality design manufacturers and vendors.  It was a productive venture.  I opened new accounts, learned about innovative products, services, and solutions, developed existing relationships, and gained an incredible amount of inspiration.

It’s an exciting time for lighting.  I discovered a couple of made-in-California companies I am happy with, as well as familiar stand-by companies.


Innovations in materials and great geometric looks in tile:


The sky is the limit in wall panels, made of nearly anything and everything, creatively adding interest, texture, lighting accents, and acoustic performance:


And my favorite plumbing fixture at the show.  I read about American Standard and their innovative new faucets that are made through a 3D printer in Metropolis Magazine on my way down to Las Vegas.  The water actually flows through each tiny channel creating a great flow and look:


Thanks for taking a look.  Here’s to great design!


a sweet master suite

I had the pleasure of creating a serene master suite for a wonderful couple that live hectic, stressful lives.  We began by closing up an office that was adjacent to the bedroom, then allowing access to that room from the master bedroom.  The master closet was originally located in the master bath, so I moved the master closet to what used to be the office, making an enormous master bath and master his & hers closet located on either side of the master bedroom.  I designed and locally commissioned two barn doors to separate the spaces.  My design concept was inspired by the landscape of Montana in the winter: white, grey, light blue, and straw colors and a lot of texture, with the goal of achieving a peaceful, serene, and elegant retreat. When I found the marble, aptly named, ‘Winter Cloud’, my heart sang and it served as the hub of the wheel, with each design decision a spoke off of the hub from there. Marble, wood, stone, hand-forged iron, wool, and organic cotton were important contributors  in making this interior rich.  I put a lot of thought into lighting, layering ambient light, directed light onto the stone accents, and task lighting throughout.  Have a look:

S Home (7 of 27)
S Home (8 of 27)
S Home (5 of 27)
S Home (4 of 27)
S Home (3 of 27)
S Home (2 of 27)
S Home (9 of 27)
S Home (10 of 27)
Schley Home (11 of 27)

a look at BBD’s latest interior design project

Here are some images of Becky Broeder Design’s most recent completed interior design project, a large remodel in Montana.  Inspired by Montana’s High Line, where the client was born and raised, this forested mountain home recalls the airiness and beauty of the prairie.  Becky designed every detail: custom cabinets, trim, crown, locally-made doors and much more.  Each detail was hand-drawn then masterfully crafted by Montana’s finest. Careful thought went into multi-layered lighting, functionality of spaces, and adherence to the consistent design aesthetic of Montana’s serenity.  Becky relied on her signature texture-driven approach, using natural elements such as stone, wood, and metal to create a peaceful and beautiful interior environment.  Balancing public spaces to entertain guests and family with  private spaces to relax and recharge were important considerations.  Every opportunity to make this home highly functional on a technological level were also taken.

These images show the kitchen, breakfast nook, and dining room, featuring a wall of custom built-ins:

S Home (23 of 27)
S Home (22 of 27)
S Home (21 of 27)
S Home (20 of 27)
S Home (19 of 27)
S Home (18 of 27)
S Home (17 of 27)
S Home (16 of 27)
Schley Home (14 of 27)

las vegas market

Last week I took the opportunity to attend the Las Vegas Market.  I went because, over and over, I hear, ‘I want what is unlike what everyone else has.’  I saw some really amazing things.  And spotted lots of trends.  As a designer, I don’t put much thought into trends, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.  There are design elements I kept seeing, some of which I have always had an affinity for: warm-toned metals (brushed and shiny brass), rose quartz colors everywhere (blush pink), horns are prolific (Montana’s contribution to style?), lots of African prints (seems like this is an every other year thing), high-gloss lacquered furniture seems to be taking the place of mirrored furniture, more tufted furniture than one can imagine, and raw wood case goods and accessories abound.  I love looking at what’s new, hot, trending, for the same reasons I love Fashion Week.  That said, I aspire to set trends versus follow them.  The most exciting part of attending Market for me was thinking about what I wasn’t seeing.  Gathering inspiration, especially where furniture is concerned.

I had a serendipitous moment, happening upon Design Icon, Thomas Pheasant.  He spoke to our fairly small group about his plight, his talent (yes, he’s not ashamed to admit that he’s a supreme talent, and in the most endearing way), his career, and his process.  I was thinking as he was talking, ‘I am exactly where I need to be’, which is something I questioned after 4 hour delays and three lay overs to get to a place I could drive to in a day.  Thomas is an incredible interior designer who truly enhances the interior architectural environment.  I’d say he’s modern neoclassical, but in the most approachable and modern, crisp, comfortable way.   He’s the master of making neutrals divine, and even makes color a neutral beautifully. And he designs furniture. Really nice furniture, for Baker and McGuire, and his Studio collection makes my heart sing.  Take a look: http://www.thomaspheasant.com/interiors/

He spoke heavily about finding your aesthetic, staying true to your creative self, and practice. He’s encouraged me to look elsewhere for custom or vintage sources and to regularly draw again.  I have always felt particularly drawn to designing furniture, even before I could create an entire interior to house it.  My Grandpa was a furniture maker and I was his shadow from a very young age, living right next door to his shop.  It was impressed upon me in the best way.  I made my first monstrosity of a piece, my own design, out of pine then stained my two least favorite colors now: golden, then red which turned it orange, in 1987, when I was 14 years old.  I loved that thing, even though it was out of square in so many ways and a horrendous color.

I’ve had the incredible opportunity to be able to design furniture and have it made locally.  We live among world-class artisans and being at Market reminded me to continue to use them.  My collaborative efforts in designing and creating furniture will never bore me.  I find a lot of joy in delivering something ‘unlike what everyone else has’.  It’s been so fun for me to be inspired by what I’ve seen, yet reinterpret it, tailored to my client, influenced by what my head chews on.

Here are a couple of photos of some showroom eye candy. I LOVED Christopher Guy, in particular…  Enjoy!

Market ex

Christopher Guy Showroom


Cyan Design-


Kravet Showroom-


Some other random showroom shots-


the skinny on building materials

I discuss the impact of the built environment on human health and wellness a lot, and I do so because where we use our bodies is just as important as what we put into our bodies.  The construction industry is seeking to meet new demands to improve, or at least not diminish, human health and wellness.  Focusing on building materials and finishes is a great place to start.

An emerging concern is whether or not a material contains toxicants.  Toxicants are chemicals synthesized or concentrated by manufacturing that are harmful to our health.  They may negatively impact the functioning of respiratory, neurological, endocrine, and other bodily systems.  And even though we’ve come a long way in reporting data that relates to recycled and regionally sourced content, we still know very little about a materials ‘ingredients’ and how they will affect an occupant’s health.  We now know, after decades of delay between science and practice, that lead and asbestos are not to be used at all costs. We are, however, still in the incubation phase of regulating toxicants.  And beyond that, it’s rare that a product even declares what it is actually comprised of.  The newest version of LEED rewards projects that source at least 20 materials where the manufacturers have fully disclosed the ingredients it contains.  This is proven through third-party entities and published on the Health Product Declaration online database.    It is my hope that just like the FDA requires compositional data from food manufacturers, we will have the same access to a product’s ingredients in the building industry.  And just like those that choose to eat artificial, bad-for-you ingredients, there will be consumers / builders who will still opt to go the unhealthy route, which is unfortunate.

As a LEED AP,  it was drilled into me years ago to be aware of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in products such as paint, the presence of formaldehyde in particleboard, and the toxicity of flame retardants on furniture and stain guard on carpets.  However, we’re learning more and more every time I turn around about the real threat of a lot of common building products and finishes to human health and wellbeing.  A recent study showed that minimizing VOCs in an office environment significantly improved cognition.  This isn’t just great for the inhabitants, but for business’ bottom lines, as well.  Healthcare environments have eliminated formaldehyde, which in turn has led to a reduction in asthma symptoms by over half.  These types of measures have been shown to be more cost effective than clinical treatments of related illnesses.

What can you do?  If you’re embarking on a new project or remodel, early planning is key.  Hiring a qualified design or building professional who knows how to navigate through the threat of ‘green washing’ is a good route to go.  If you go it alone, research, research, research.  There is information available that is trustworthy.  Here are a couple of third party organizations that certify, report, or catalog healthy materials: Cradle to Cradle, Pharos, and GreenWizard.  In my own practice, there are times when it’s unavoidable to source some less-healthy products because of durability, code, availability, cost, but when I have the opportunity to substitute a ‘good’ finish with a ‘bad’ finish, I feel it’s my obligation to my clients, family, and friends to do so.

It’s important to know that there are options. Many manufacturers are preparing themselves for the inevitable trend of consumers requiring more information on products’ impacts on their health and wellbeing, and are taking strides in providing more data for us to make informed decisions.

the power of positive

I chose interior design as my passion and life work because I love to help people live happy, healthy, productive, peaceful lives. My education has drilled into me the importance of designing for health and safety, which is paramount to the decisions we make as designers every day.  Taking this a step further, I believe in designing for mental health and safety.  In our society, bombarded by negative stimuli and inundated with bad stuff, it’s imperative to our mental and physical health to find peace and quiet.  The American Society of Interior Designers, ASID, states on their website that ‘in addition to designing environments that reduce stress, promote healing and are safe, trained and qualified interior designers need to apply their skills to create spaces that foster self-realization and unleash human potential.’  Personally, I think the best antidote to the noise of anger, greed, and narcissism is in training myself to think positive, loving, and helpful thoughts.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the proven power of positivity and how I can apply that to my professional practice.

Much of my work is on residential projects, where I’m working very closely with clients to create sanctuaries that are comfortable, inspirational, restful, peaceful, and provide a healthy balance between solitary spaces to recharge and gathering spaces to stay connected with loved ones.  Barbara L. Fredrickson wrote an article entitled Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Personal Resources, which scientifically asserts that people’s daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources: increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms.  The long term result was proven to be increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.  So how can we adopt this practice and achieve these results in our own environments at home or work?

As a designer, it’s my job to get to know my clients well enough to anticipate and design for their needs.  This involves designing for things they may not even know they need, but I know they will appreciate on a conscious AND subconscious level.  The answers aren’t universal, they are very personal, but there are things that I know about humans in environments that can be applied to most people. Among universal design elements that feed our positive side are increased day lighting, getting outdoors daily, movement, and exploring & implementing that delicate balance between quite contemplation or mediation with social engagement or interaction.  Finding a way to allow yourself to make these things a priority, then asking yourself what makes you feel your best you are important steps in being mindful about how your environment either aids or inhibits positive thinking.

I will be looking further into design elements that help aid in quality of life in coming posts.  Thanks for reading and think positive!