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I met the elegant Cassandra Lohr at the Denver Art Museum for a special “sold-out” premier screening event featuring a film she and Lee Bowen produced “China’s Great History As It Is Told By Two 18th Century Screens.”  A few years later, we met again at the wedding of our late, great friend, singer Pete Martinez. The next meeting, sadly enough, took place at the celebration of life for Pete.

Lohr is a nationally recognized interior designer with projects in Aspen, Vail, Denver, Santa Fe and beyond.  The style of her design projects range from traditional to contemporary, rustic to elegant, and mansions to mountain cabins. Cassandra’s career success has broadened into working with private art collections, various media, and television - with a flair for both traditional and contemporary work.

Cassandra was honored with the cover and feature article in Architectural Digest, and then again included in their special edition, “Twentieth Century Architectural Digest: 100 Years of Design.” Magazine publications also featuring her work are Trump Style, Luxe Magazine, and Colorado Homes & Lifestyles Magazine. Her work can be found in numerous coffee table books, such as “Spectacular Homes of Colorado.”
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Lohr’s design was showcased on the national television “CBS Morning Show” with Harry Smith and Paula Zahn, and as well on HGTV.  Cassandra’s own eight-part television series was aired on “Tribute Broadcasting Morning News” in Denver.

In addition to her acknowledged design work, Cassandra has served as an administrator for a private collection of antiquities.  She was the innovator/developer for the production of an arts and history documentary for a major museum and national television broadcast.

Lohr’s top priority and passion have been creating excellent experiences for her clients, and she commits to the project from beginning to completion – and usually walks away with many new admirers and friends.

A pioneer in her field, Cassandra Lohr has been transforming unique homes and businesses for many satisfied clients.  The gracious ginger-headed beauty is also a delight to go to lunch with; and I think we will be making many future lunch dates to come.  

(To view Cassandra's design portfolio:  www.cassandradesigns.com)

How & why did you get involved in the world of interior design? 
My first experience was designing our own condominium in Vail, and then I was asked by Lion Square management to be their in-house designer.

What is your favorite style of home…. More traditional or contemporary?  Is it possible to have a blend?  Over the course of my career, I have enjoyed working on a wide-range of different design styles.  I have blended styles at times to add interest.

What distinguishes you most from other interior designers? I have been involved in so many unique design projects. 

What’s the story behind the tepee on the cover of Architectural Digest?
A friend riding a yellow Harley Davidson pulled up to me as I was walking down Main Street in Aspen, and said “Hey Cassandra I have a design job for you.”  I responded “Great.” and then he informed me, “It’s a tepee.”  “I don’t do tepees Greg.”  He drove off, saying “You’ll do this one!”   As serendipity would have it, I was invited to a dinner party at Madam Dewey Surkano’s (the former first lady of Indonesia) home that same evening. The dinner was in celebration of the birth of a white buffalo, and the dress code was white.  Seated next to me was a striking Native American man by the name of John Eagle Day. During the course of the dinner, I asked John if he had any idea where I might find a tepee?

During that dinner the tepee project launched. On my client’s wish list was a king size bed, a large sofa, an entertainment center with a wine bar and pop up television, and of course a good size desk where he could write his novel.  Then factor in sloped canvas walls, an oval shaped room with a sizeable firepit in the middle of the room. This luxe “no budget” tepee attracted a feature article and cover in Architectural Digest, and as well was featured on the national CBS morning news show.

What is your fondest childhood memory?  In the summers, my brother and I would travel by train out of Union Station to visit our grandparents in Nebraska.  It was such a spoiling experience.  Many days were spent boating and swimming at “Linoma Beach”.  At a clubhouse on the sand, we dined on cheeseburgers and chocolate malts, spending all loose change on the jukebox.

Who do you most admire in this world? Well, if we can focus on the Denver area, Annabel Bowlen would be the first to come to mind.  Annabel is not only beautiful and elegant, but I also find her to be genuinely kind and gracious. I was honored to work with Annabel on her “Cherish the Children” charity for a number of years. 

What is your own personal style?  The architecture of my home  in Cherry Creek was contemporary with high vaulted ceilings, light birch hardwood floors, and large windows that went almost floor to ceiling. “Eclectic” would best way to describe my home’s interiors. I like to create a comfortable and inviting space, blended with great art, beautiful rugs, and elegant antique pieces.   

I’ve heard the term “The Wow Factor” in decorating, what does that mean to you – as well as “cutting edge” – is it as important as staying with tradition if that’s what your client prefers? First and foremost, I always want to work with my clients to bring their design vision into reality. With that being said, the “Wow Factor” is something I want to create in every design project. It begins with the architectural design.  In the interior, the “Wow Factor” can be achieved with a stunning piece of art.  I am always searching for beautiful and unique pieces that will really make a statement.

What are some of the new interior design trends you see out there? 
The trend is definitely modern and has been for some time. 

You have done a lot of travel in your profession, what is one of the best trips you recall?

I especially enjoy the adventure of traveling to far off exotic places.  It’s such an great learning experience.  Among the most memorable were journeys around the world which included Tahiti, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Greece, and Europe.  However, the island of Maui feels most like home to me, and I travel there every time I have a chance. 

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now Cassandra?  Living life to the fullest, and spending special time with my lovely family and friends.  Also I would like to write a screenplay or novel about a story that’s been on my mind for years. 

What is the profile of the perfect client that could use the talents of Cassandra Lohr?
Over the years I have been blessed with so many wonderful clients.  It’s especially enjoyable when a client sees the design of their home as a creative and fun process

What’s the best advice you have for an aspiring young designer?
Listen to your heart, and follow your dream. The interior design industry is creative and very fulfilling, but it’s not all glamorous.  Behind the scenes you have to devote a lot of long hours to make it all happen. 

What will we find you doing on one of your days off – if you ever get one?
Nature inspires me, and each day I carve a little time out to enjoy it.  It’s easy to pull off since I am living on a lake with mountain views. At least once a week I take Zumba dance classes with a great group of ladies. Aspen summers are another favorite. Occasionally I travel there over long weekends to join my friends at social gatherings. The symphony concerts and polo tournaments there are great fun too.    

What fundraising activities are you involved in at this time?  A dear friend of mine, Houston Cowan founded “Challenge America,” a foundation that supports our military in need.  Singing sensations Amy Grant and Vince Gill are Co-Founders, and big supporters.  Over the years, I have worked with this charity, and most recently on their event “Nashville Comes to the Broadmoor.”  The event took place a few weeks ago and was successful beyond all expectations.  One of the evening’s highlights was the introduction of Frank Devita, a World War 11 veteran who told his story.  Frank was among the first to land on Omaha Beach when he was only 18 years old. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  Frank’s story was then followed by the beautiful song that Pete Martinez wrote “We Thank You,” performed by Molly Weaver and Mac Daly.

Who is your hero, and why?  My Dad was my loving hero, and I adored my Mother too.

When you were a little girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
A nurse.  I would line up my dolls on beds and take care of them.

What is a moment in your life you will never forget?
Oh my, it’s hard to choose just one.  One of the scariest?  Flying sideways through a blizzard in a small plane as we returned from a fashion photo shoot at the Las Hadas Resort in Manzanillo, Mexico.  I passed out more than once.

What do you most value in your friends? 
Trustworthy and kind first comes to mind. Interesting people, good conversation and humor.

What makes you laugh?
Kids

What makes you cry?
Sad movies, or any human or animal suffering. 

What do you consider your proudest achievement? 
Raising my family!  

Which of your projects have you found particularly challenging? 
Numerous Aspen projects with ridiculously short deadlines.  On more than one occasion, I was only given eight weeks to complete full custom interior design for mega Aspen homes. I had to bring in a team to pull it off. 

Who is the most interesting celebrity you’ve ever met? 
Living in Aspen for 10 years during the 90’s was an amazing experience. I designed homes for a royal family, and met many famous movie stars that frequented our small mountain town.  Here are a few memories: 

One of the most meaningful memories was an afternoon when I attended an event at John Denver’s Windstar Foundation.  During an intermission that afternoon, I was invited to join Mikhail Gorbachev and a handful of other people sitting on the grass near a stream. We shared ideas about how to bring people from all countries together in peace.

And, this memory dates back to my thirties when I attended a Gerald Ford Golf Tournament Banquet in Vail.  I sat next to a very nice man named Buzz. Over the course of dinner and conversation, he asked me what I did, and I explained. Then I asked Buzz what he did.  He replied with a smile, “Well I am the astronaut that went to the moon.”  I soon realized that I had been talking to Buzz Aldrin. 

Some of the other stars I've been fortunate to meet at social events and tournaments in Aspen: Michael Douglas, Jack Nicolson, George Hamilton, Clint Eastwood, John Denver, Bill Murray, Jimmy Buffet, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Jill St. John and Robert Wagner.  Most had homes in Aspen.   

What is your most treasured possession? Family photos and art collection.  

Aside from your family, tell me what you love the most?
My many wonderful and interesting friends.

What is your current state of mind?  Focused.  Positive

Is there somewhere other than Denver you would like to live?
Maybe someday?  Hawaii

What is something you would still like to learn to do – like play an instrument, learn a certain language?  Learn how to play golf.

What would you like to leave behind for future generations, or what would you like to be remembered for?  I hope to be remembered for bringing joy to others through my design work. Also I have been passionate about preserving the legacy of two historically important works of art, and educating the world about their fascinating history.