trio design


Topic: Like any good storyteller, TRIO Designs starts with good bones and layers in the essential details. Live from PCBC, Angela Harris shares how TRIO designs with consumers in mind.

Guest: Angela Harris, CEO of TRIO Designs


3 Tips for Success – Angela Harris:

  1. The first from my perspective is surround yourself with incredible people. People that are talented. People that have synergy. People that have great energy and aren’t afraid to push the envelope.
  2. Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. You have to constantly be reinventing yourself your company the way that you do things. I just think that that’s kind of where the secret sauce lies in terms of innovation.
  3. Find balance. It’s difficult, but it’s important in life.


Podcast Transcript:

James [00:00:00] So good to have you with us for another episode of CareyBrosPros. Hi I’m James.


Morris [00:00:04] And I’m Morris. As professionals were always looking to give our pro listeners great information instead of harder.


James [00:00:11] I liked that one.


Morris [00:00:11] Yeah. On this edition of CareyBrosPros we’re going to talk about. How builders come up with such smart designs for their various projects along with such stylish design.


James [00:00:27] There’s some thought that goes.


Morris [00:00:28] No no it’s all accidental.


James [00:00:30] By creative people by the way if you hear a little noise in the background that you don’t normally hear as part of our podcast that’s because CareyBrosPros is broadcasting today from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference called PCBC. you may know it if you’re a pro at the Mosconi Center in San Francisco.


Morris [00:00:50] And our guest is Angela Harris with TRIO.


James [00:00:55] Angela welcome to CareyBrosPros.


Angela [00:00:57] Well thank you for having me. I’m delighted to be here.


James [00:00:59] So share with us a little bit about what TRIO is.


Angela [00:01:03] I would love to share what Treo does. So TRIO is a full service interior design firm we work with builders and developers. So we approach design a little bit different. We look at how can we drive revenue to the bottom line through the design process. So we really concentrate on market driven design. We want to know what’s going on with our consumers and really what’s going to drive them to either lease or buy a product.


James [00:01:26] Wow. So it’s the inverted pyramid. It’s from the demand and up.


Morris [00:01:31] So you’re the person that places the interior walls locates the doors all the built in ceiling walls and floors.


Angela [00:01:39] Absolutely everything.


Morris [00:01:40] And then you also do furnishings as well. Or do you stop with the superstructure.


Angela [00:01:46] No. We do both. So our contracts are usually split out in two different contracts. We start with all of the interior design programming and it’s really all of the architectural interior design elements everything from RCPs to finished details to walls to so forth. And then in the second phase of our projects that we concentrate on the FF and E. So the furniture and fixtures and equipment.


Morris [00:02:08] Got it. And you even specify where receptacles and switches are going to go.


Angela [00:02:14] Absolutely everything. So we specify everything from the ground up.


Morris [00:02:18] Terrific. I love it.


James [00:02:19] Wow. I’m looking through your portfolio here and it’s absolutely beautiful photography done the photography is wonderful. But what the photos represent is just amazing.


Angela [00:02:30] Thank you. Thank you. I’m very proud of our team.


James [00:02:31] You started the company?


Angela [00:02:33] I did start the company.


James [00:02:34] You are the CEO.


Angela [00:02:35] I am the CEO.


James [00:02:37] When did you start the company and why?


Angela [00:02:39] OK so the company was started in 1999. I was working at an engineering firm at the time and I just didn’t have enough creative outlets. And I just wanted something different. I wanted to kind of fuse together the business side with the creative side in the marketplace and so I got back into interior design and just started out with doing one project here and one project there and one thing led to another and now we have an amazing team of over 16 designers and support staff and they’re just incredible people.


James [00:03:09] And you are located where?


Angela [00:03:10] We are headquartered in Denver and then we recently just acquired a team for the West Coast. And so we are going to open a West Coast office as well.


James [00:03:20] And your the footprint of our operation is where in the U.S?


Angela [00:03:24] Most of our projects are nationally so it’s coast to coast. But we do have some international work as well.


James [00:03:29] Wonderful. You work with high rise. Are you working with subdivision builders as well? Do you do any of that?


Angela [00:03:36] Yes. So about 50 percent of our business is multi-family development. So either high rise or apartment complexes retail that kind of thing. And then 50 percent is masterplan community work. So that’s the production builders sales centers amenity clubhouses so forth.


James [00:03:51] Wow. That keeps you awfully busy.


Angela [00:03:54] Very busy.


James [00:03:54] What message do you have for our pro audience listening. The builders with regard to making their product attractive to the end user the buying public and the thought process and how they with whom. They should align themselves and some best practices or advice that you can offer.


Angela [00:04:17] Well I think from our perspective you know we concentrate so much on who the target market is who the consumer is whether they’re buying a property or leasing a property and what they’re looking for. And today we have to be very cautious that we’re not making assumptions based on demographics. There’s a lot of integration in terms of what people are looking for. So for example a millennial buyer a millennial buyer that’s 31 that’s a father may not want the same type of thing that a millennial buyer that is 22 just coming out of college but they’re in the same demographic group. So we really kind of hone in on layering consumer behavior and what they’re looking for in terms of design trends and how we execute on that.


Morris [00:04:58] I was thinking of my group. There are a lot of us that have a lot of money and then those of us who are standing on the edge of the cliff waiting to die [laughs] We’re in the same demographic.


James [00:05:12] That says a lot.


Angela [00:05:13] Yeah.


James [00:05:13] That’s really a balancing act.


Angela [00:05:16] Well it’s become a much more complicated and layer kind of process.


James [00:05:19] Yeah.


Angela [00:05:19] There’s a lot of things you need to take into consideration as you’re making design decisions for your projects.


James [00:05:24] I mean you have to do the information gathering. You have to do the fact finding and then you have to create solutions.


Angela [00:05:32] And you have to tell the story. Yeah.


James [00:05:34] Yeah.


Angela [00:05:34] Connect all the dots.


James [00:05:35] So do you do that for builders. I mean you do that study and you say this is who your audience is. And this is what your audience wants.


Angela [00:05:46] Yes that’s exactly what we do and when we do that what happens is it validates the design decisions that we’re making. So in terms of what plumbing fixtures we’re specifying what lighting fixtures we’re specifying why we’re doing the floor transitions that we’re doing and why we’re merchandising and the capacity that we’re merchandising.


James [00:06:04] Now you’re not done with just concepts and you’re not done with virtual reality and that sort of thing you’re not done with plans. You go in and you do contract documents you do contract administration you do project management.


Angela [00:06:24] Absolutely we take a project from start to finish and that construction cycle is different for all of pur projects.


Morris [00:06:29] well thats what an architect does.


Angela [00:06:31] Yeah it could be you know one hundred and twenty day process or it could be a three to five year process. That’s right. Because we’re we’re taking it from start to finish.


James [00:06:39] Do you have a preference.


Angela [00:06:40] I don’t. I like having diverse kind of quirks though no I don’t I love them both.


James [00:06:45] Oh great.


Morris [00:06:45] Angela here on CareyBrosPros we’d like to ask our guests. To share. Three points for success. With our listeners. Can you share yours?


Angela [00:06:57] I can. I love this question. The first from my perspective is surround yourself with incredible people. People that are talented people that have synergy people that have great energy and aren’t afraid to kind of push the envelope and are in our perspective it’s the creative envelope. So my first one is always surround yourself with amazing people.


James [00:07:19] That’s what I do. Yeah good point. What’s next?


Angela [00:07:21] The next is don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. You have to constantly be reinventing yourself your company the way that you do things. I just think that that’s kind of where the secret sauce lies in terms of innovation.


Morris [00:07:35] And number three?


Angela [00:07:36] Number three is find balance. You know that’s always a hard thing and I think it’s important in life.


James [00:07:42] Do you?


Angela [00:07:42] It’s something I strive for every day. [ laughs].


Morris [00:07:44] Do as I say not as I do.


James [00:07:46] No you know what.


Morris [00:07:48] We both get it.


James [00:07:49] Before you can do it. You have to speak it.


Angela [00:07:53] Yeah.


Morris [00:07:53] I had to wait till I was 73 to have fun balance.


Angela [00:07:56] It’s very hard when you love what you do.


Morris [00:07:58] It really is.


Angela [00:07:59] I know it sounds like it’s it’s a cliché but it’s really true.


James [00:08:01] It’s true. I mean we find a lot of pleasure in our work. It’s just kind of like alright.


Angela [00:08:07] Yeah.


Morris [00:08:07] I was up to three thirty in the morning the other night. Doing drawings.


Angela [00:08:12] Yeah.


Morris [00:08:12] And it was like. I was. Angry. Because I had to be here the next morning and I. I just want to work all night long. It’s so fun.


Angela [00:08:22] Yeah it’s so fun. We’re so fortunate to work in the industry that we do.


James [00:08:25] And I’m looking through this beautiful brochure that you have a portfolio of your work. It’s just marvelous. And I see that there is no glass ceiling in your company. The preponderance of your team consist of women.


Angela [00:08:43] We do have some men.


James [00:08:44] I know that. We want you to know that we believe that women are more intelligent more creative more talented.


Angela [00:08:53] I won’t tell our V.P. of marketing and branding or our COO that. [laughs].


James [00:08:56] Good. Good. OK. Our thanks to Angela Harrison. You may learn more about TRIO by visiting their web site. It is


Morris [00:09:07] And remember you’ll find our guests information as well as additional podcasts. Videos. And articles on our website at


About The Author James Carey

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