Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

How Kieding is Creating Flexible and Collaborative Workspaces for the Modern Era

Since 1974, Kieding interior architecture and design has consulted on, planned and designed more than 12,000 projects in the Denver area and in 26 states, with projects ranging in size from 500 to 500,000 square feet. The firm specializes in corporate office planning and interior design consulting services largely for office spaces but also for some light industrial, retail and small medical offices. 

Though the company is named for founder Warren Kieding, the firm today is 100% woman-owned by architect Tia Jenkins and designers Katie Winter and Kim Hoff. After 10 years at the company, Jenkins bought the firm from Kieding in 2007. Hoff and Winter became co-owners two years ago. 

Just as workers were forced to be flexible and businesses to pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic, designers of business spaces focused on flexibility to create spaces for the new paradigms in work. 

READ: Creating a Home Office — Optimizing Audio Stimulation and Sound Quality for Productivity

“The office is now competing with the comforts of home,” Winter says. “What makes it feel good is that it feels more like a hospitality space, like a restaurant or hotel feels like. Amenities are key to that. Your space is inviting with a great break area where you can chat with your co-workers.”  

More appealing common spaces and multi-purpose kitchens are overtaking bland coffee break areas and utilitarian lunchrooms. Cubicles are on the outs, but shared workstations with standup desk options and lockers to store personal items are trending, Winter says. 

“Collaborative spaces must feature a variety of seating types and environments,” Hoff adds. “Workspaces continue to incorporate right-sized smaller private offices. These offices feature larger glass sidelights for better natural light to the interior.” 

READ: TARRA — A New Way for Women to Work

Private offices are still important but have shrunk as more people work a hybrid schedule with more time from home. Instead of grand reception areas and huge conference rooms, businesses are spending money on technology and smaller huddle rooms that can double as Zoom rooms. 

When many businesses slowed down during the pandemic, the team at Kieding stayed busy redesigning office spaces as businesses continued to morph operations and schedules. In some cases, building owners saw the opportunity of fewer people in office buildings to remodel common corridors and restrooms, Winter says. 

At Kieding, the design process starts with a computerized “test fit” using Revit software to make sure the new tenant’s needs will be a good fit for the building space. During the pandemic’s supply chain disruptions, Kieding designers worked to choose the top three options of products to make sure projects stayed on schedule.  

“A lot of clients are building owners who build out for tenants coming into the building who want to be moved in as quickly as possible,” Winter says. “We can get a space plan done in days, not weeks. We know the pace of tenant finish work, and we know when we get a request, time is really important to them.” 

Jenkins, a licensed architect for 40 years, says as the work environment has changed to more hybrid schedules, employee training has become more of a challenge. 

READ: 5 Tips for Building a Strong Company Culture in a Hybrid Work Environment

“The biggest challenge we have is maintaining the critical mentorship and training specific to our employees within a hybrid work environment between home and office,” Jenkins says. “It is much harder to teach employees how to ‘read’ clients and communicate effectively in the computer environment than it is at a real face-to-face meeting.” 

When Kieding and its team moved into a new space in September 2021 on South Monaco Parkway, they gutted and redesigned their space to exemplify the comfortable, flexible workspaces they also design for clients. 

“We definitely went the route of ‘work everywhere,’ and collaboration is why people come to the office,” says Winter, who has been with the firm for 22 years. “We have four areas where people could meet together. We have those numerous spots for two to four people working together on a project.” 

Like their clients who want flexibility in workspaces and schedules, the 15 employees at Kieding usually spend one day a week working from home. 


Suzie C. Romig is a freelance journalist who has lived in Colorado since 1991. Her byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the state on topics ranging from small businesses to raising children to energy efficiency. She can be reached at [email protected]

How one Denver company pivoted from profits to virus protection

Kieding 2
Jenkins first used the “psychedelic” print for the company’s marketing.

Tia Jenkins has a new-found respect for serendipity.

Jenkins is owner and architect at Kieding, a Denver-based interior architecture and design firm. She’s also a prolific seamstress with five sewing machines and a portfolio of handiwork from toys and holiday ornaments to quilts and clothing. But it is COVID-19 that offered her and the firm a unique opportunity at precisely the right time.

“Face masks were very tough to get early on,” Jenkins said. “People have forgotten that. As the shutdown was coming to an end, I was most concerned with the safety of our staff and management coming back into the office. Even Amazon masks were on back order until June, or later. I was pretty sure at that point that I could put together pieces that would offer both style and protection.”

So, with a stockpile of random quilt fabric, Jenkins began sewing together cotton masks for Kieding’s office team.

“There was no aesthetic consideration, which is ironic, of course, since we’re a design firm,” she said, but the goal then was to make certain that the office had redundancy in place for sanitizing stations, COVID signage, and masks for employees and their families if they needed them.

“That seems like such a long time ago,” Jenkins admits. “All these things were happening at the same time, and all small companies were in the same boat, trying to assess what could be done to pick up business where it left off.”

One of those concerns for Jenkins was the firm’s marketing program.

Kieding 1
Tia Jenkins sports an early face mask used in the company’s marketing campaign boxes.

The planned marketing campaign consisted of a tribute to the 1960’s social movement with its unique design aesthetic as a way to soften the discord in the U.S. government and American society in general. Jenkins describes the campaign as “a bit on the esoteric side.”

“We didn’t want to address or even refer to the politics of an already chaotic election year. That’s not what we’re about,” she explained. “It was and is about fun with design and how that translates to the modern office.”

The feature item of the campaign was a custom-designed box filled with 1960’s-style replica memorabilia. The problem was that this phase of the firm’s campaign was designed to be high-touch. That is, Kieding senior project managers were to hand deliver the boxes to key clients across the metro area. COVID-19 quelled that notion.

“There is always more impact when you can offer a marketing piece in person,” Jenkins pointed out. “A lot of our clients are also friends, but we weren’t going to compromise safety in any way by making non-essential office visits.”

While Jenkins and her team contemplated scrapping the program altogether, she floated the idea of adding face masks to the box. “Frankly, the whole 60s theme gift boxes in the midst of this pandemic seemed small, maybe even frivolous,” she explained. But the masks offered a practical tie-in, a real-time solution to just one small issue people were having with virus protection.

“We had to make the masks look like they were part of the presentation from the beginning,” she said. “Dropping in a piece made from plaid or polka-dot material just wasn’t going to cut it.”

So, Jenkins set upon the difficult task of finding enough “period-appropriate” cotton fabric along with elastic for the roughly 150 boxes in the company’s marketing inventory. After a few weeks, she had ordered enough materials to put together an assembly line for mass production, or as “mass” as her time would allow.

“We felt confident at that point that the masks were a compliment to the overall theme of the marketing piece,” she said. And Jenkins was correct. She began getting immediate feedback from the first group of recipients.

“People liked the color and lightness of the box and the 60s stuff, so the marketing side of it was working,” Jenkins said. But the masks immediately became the hot item. Within a short period of time, Jenkins began getting calls asking where the masks could be purchased.

“Those masks are uplifting. They’re very original, creative and colorful in our dreary world these days,” said Anne Stilson-Cope, president and owner of Centennial’s Corey Electrical Engineering. “They’re fun and different and my staff liked them immediately,” she said.

Corey was one of several industry firms early on that asked to purchase the masks in quantity, but Jenkins had no plan to sell them. Instead, she asked that those companies make donations to their favorite charities.

“There was no organized process for that,” Jenkins pointed out. “It was off-the-cuff. But most told me they would donate $100 to $200, which is very generous. The goal from our perspective was to pay it forward, and that is exactly what they offered to do as well. We were very happy about that.”

By early summer, the market was flooded with masks of every conceivable theme, color, size and shape, none of which mattered to Jenkins. “It never was a competition and there never was a profit motive,” she explained. In fact, interest in the Kieding masks remained steady, even growing into the summer months. Jenkins added new inventory with themes to match the autumn season, Halloween and Thanksgiving, the presidential election, the holidays, and the new year.

“Those masks are so charming,” said Liz Taylor, partner at ColeTaylor, a Denver-based commercial property management company.

“They’re very well-made, and come in all kinds of color combinations,” she pointed out. “We had gotten masks for our building with our company logo on them, but we prefer to wear the Kieding ones.” Taylor and her firm contributed to the Food Bank of the Rockies in lieu of payment for the masks.

Jenkins said that she has made over 500 masks to date and will continue to add to the inventory with “amusing” and seasonal themes.

“I enjoy the whole process,” Jenkins admitted. “Yes, this activity helps me personally with the stress of this pandemic. The busywork is distracting and therapeutic. But the return for us is that we’re protecting people and hopefully putting a smile on their faces at the same time.”

And what of those five sewing machines? “Well, you have to have the right tools if you’re seriously creative,” Jenkins said. “You’ve got to be prepared for bumps in the road. You’ve got to have more than one way to solve problems, and you’ve got to be able to pivot quickly. Just like interior architecture.”

Denver-based Kieding is a woman-owned business. Tia Jenkins has owned and operated the firm since 2007.