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,


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:

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S Home (8 of 27)
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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:

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S Home (17 of 27)
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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!


moving on to 2016: a look at design trends to ditch

As an interior designer who loves a good remodel, I’ve seen a lot of dated design trends meet their end.  Eventually, I’ll come across one that is embraced, like in the case of a Mid-Century Modern Ranch we restored, resurrected, and modernized classic Mid-Century design elements, right down to the crinoline, triple pleated draperies.  More often, however, it’s a matter of a client having a very strong aversion to what is going on in their home.

Here are some trends that I would not be opposed to saying farewell to:

Text as Décor.  We’ve all seen it.  The inspirational ‘family’ or ‘love’ or ‘EAT’ written on the wall in a scroll-y font that is meant to personalize a space.  In this age of constant stimulation and engagement,  I’m voting for more serene, visually peaceful environments.  And I love design elements that don’t state the obvious.  A collage of family photos is much more personal than a literal statement.  Careful color selection is more likely to make me want to dine than a verb.

The Chevron.  It’s such a bold and overused pattern. Herringbone and Parquet, are are similar, but timeless and much more subtle.  Chevron is very hard edged, graphic, and noisy. It’s like a visual alarm.


Faux Finish and Faux Looks.  Having worked as a faux finisher in Tucson while going to design school, it’s ironic that I now think it’s passé.  But in our region, it’s often dated and overstated.  Also, having seen enough sponged walls to last me awhile, reminiscent of the original DIY movement, I’m going to advise to DIY a solid, solitary, lovely coat of paint instead.  Digital imaging has made it possible for anything to look like any other thing, but I’m still fond of materials that aren’t trying to be something else.   I do, however, love faux fur to add warmth and texture without having to lose the life of a critter.  Here’s an example of a faux finished kitchen:

Microwave Hood.  Having a microwave dangle above the cooktop is heavy and somewhat ominous. Microwave design has advanced to include more options than just on the countertop version or above the hood.  Consider a microwave drawer or housing it in an unused upper cabinet that has close proximity to the fridge.


Tiled / Grouted Countertops.  I’ve had a tiled countertop in a kitchen.  The grout lines are a nightmare to keep clean, surface was uneven and tippy, and it looked drab, dated.  I don’t recommend tile countertops with grout lines unless you’re really set on no other option.  Some tile manufacturers are offering very large format porcelain tiles that are nearly slab sized, like from Oregon Tile & Marble.  Using a run of large formatted tile instead of marble eliminates having to seal the stone or worry about the stone.  Large format tile can be used to create a beautifully clean, modern, and seamless aesthetic when tied into the backsplash well.

Here’s hoping you have a fresh layer of snow, an optimistic outlook, and an inspiring New Year.

Thanks for reading,


Update on Scolatti Girls’ Home Addition and Remodel

The holidays are here and things are moving at breakneck speed on this charitable addition and remodel project, thanks to the hard work of JM Moran & Company Construction and the generous help from our subcontractors.  Framing has all been done, aided by a crew of family friends that came up from Arizona who contributed more stylized accents including a groin vault in a hallway and other details.  Anatoly Levchenko has roughed in all of the plumbing, generously working after hours.  Alex at Anchor Electric spent several days laying out the lighting and switching plan we’ve thoughtfully arrived at. Windows and doors were installed, donated by Boyce Lumber. Matt from Fire and Ice is spray foaming insulation today and tomorrow, so we’ll be ready for that inspection in the next few days.  We’ve come up with a fantastic kitchen design with appliances donated from Fred’s Appliance and with the help of ABC /FOX Montana, Kalee’s work family.  Talented Logan at Boyce Lumber and I finalized the kitchen plan and cabinets are on order, also donated by Boyce.  Tyler, from JM Moran & Company Construction and I are ordering interior doors and all door hardware today.  Will and Chad, owners of Independent Roofing , are ready to put the roof and siding on shortly.

Here are a few pictures of the progress.

Future Kitchen, framed and renderings:

philips 2.0

Entry, opening up into the living / hangout zone:

philips 2.2
philips 2.1

From the open concept hangout zone / kitchen area looking through to the bedrooms and bathroom:


And, exterior view:


I am still incredibly impressed with the generosity of the members of the Missoula building industry and I am so proud to be able to work alongside REALLY GOOD people who I am honored to consider my friends.  This project has humbled me and also proven to me what community can accomplish.  It’s been a lesson for me to keep running forward, make good decisions, and not get bogged down in details or perfect presentation drawings.  It’s moving so fast because of compassion and love, and I’ve had to hustle to stay a step ahead with immediate decisions, for sure!

Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays.


white is so….white

“Black and white are absolute…expressing the most delicate vibration, the most profound tranquility, and unlimited profundity.” — Shiko Munakata.

Benjamin Moore color experts have deemed a white as the 2016 Color of the Year, OC-117 ‘Simply White’, to be exact.  My younger self would be appalled, as I’ve always navigated in heavily saturated tones, but now, to my complete surprise, I’m undeniably drawn to whites, off-whites, and cream whites.  What’s changed?  Personally, I’d have to point to the presence of chaos in recent life events, more stressful obligations, and my absolute disdain for turmoil, aggrevation, and discord.  I don’t like to argue, like I used to.  I don’t like to live in clutter, like I used to. I don’t mind complete silence, which I used to avoid.

I’ve gone white.

Color psychologists argue that the color white evokes peacefulness and is reminiscent of goodness.  It’s clean, quiet, and airy in interior environments and has been shown to aid in mental clarity.  In my own practice, I’ve seen it used widely with clients that are embarking on a new beginning or significant life change after loss, sadness, chaos.  In Chinese culture and Medieval Europe, white is the color of mourning, unlike black in Western culture.

And let’s not forget the significance of raising the white flag.  Known as a universal sign of truce, I would argue that, for a multitude of horrific reasons, humanity may be craving more peace.

Thank goodness for the color of white.  Bring it on.