BY SHALEEN DESTEFANO
Bravery is following your dream and opening a brick and mortar during a pandemic in the year 2020. So in our eyes, Amy Rogala is a queen and deserves our full attention. Amy has beautifully curated a studio where she houses her own creations, offers interior design consultation and sells rare and stunning pieces for your home. We had the opportunity to watch her in action and learn more about her latest passion project.
We had moved to Denver and decided to build a house in 2009. I was tasked with selection of all home finish choices. At first, this seemed like a bit of a stretch for me since I was working full time in the science industry at the time. However, I ended up enjoying the process immensely. It came easy to me and fulfilled my creative side.
During the process of the kitchen counter fabrication, I had a small remnant of Calcutta marble left over. I was inspired to draw up a table design using the remnant, found a metal fabricator, and made my first table. A friend came over and saw the table and bought it that day. That prompted me to create a side business using marble remnants to design tables including consoles, coffee and side tables. Once again, I loved the creative process where I would pour through magazines researching and concepting different designs. That quickly led to finding remnants of fallen trees and making stump stools and side tables, and live edge tables from slices of wood. I even dabbled in beetle kill pine table design.
After five years of table design, my home was featured on the University Park Home Tour. People kept asking me for advice on everything from paint colors to furniture and art placement. By this time, my friends and family had been encouraging me to expand to home decorating. So I helped a few friends out, which led to referrals.
The last 10 years I’ve spent honing my craft – studying window coverings, color study, design trends and the rules of design. That evolved into my full service interior design business where I have done kitchen and basement remodels, as well as fireplace surrounds, patios and home renovations.
The evolution of my design approach quickly turned into what I affectionately label “hoarding” of products that I either made, designed or found so I was always ready with that perfect accent piece. This was infiltrating my home with swivel chairs, stumps, art, fabric…you name it. I was once again encouraged by friends and family who were saying “you should have a store.” I think what finally pushed me to do it was visiting High Point, North Carolina and Round Top, Texas to shop for a client. I noticed myself thinking, “I would love to sell that in a shop” or, “I can make that to sell.”
Tell us about your inventory. You have such a diverse mix of goods reminiscent of a high end market in Europe. Where do you find your goods?
The goods are a mix of pieces that I made, found, or had refurbished or reupholstered. I love to put a new fabric on a piece and call it re-loved, or upcycled. In Round Top, I focused on items that were unique “one-offs” or one-of-a-kind pieces. My wood remnant pieces transform as I work with them. For example, I created bookends from wood found in trash piles at woodlots. I decide what color to stain them on the fly, based on what’s inspiring me about the shape or texture. I have white, gold and even pink wood pieces. Much of the artwork in the shop is mine or from local artists. In fact, I’ve been in contact with and really want to keep local artists in the shop.
My vision is for 70% of the store to be unique finds, with the other 30% quality, trending home goods lines that I can re-order, and continually refresh the lines as tastes change. I am not afraid to admit that I am inspired by other people’s work and curating efforts. I shop stores in other cities and regions to research unique, timeless looks. I figure that everything has been done before, and it’s how you put your special spin on it that makes it appealing to others.
My process really varies for every medium. The woodworking ideas usually come to me on a day where I am very driven, and have a bunch of energy. I turn off my phone, get out my tools, and work all day. I have a general plan for the pieces – or an order in place, but really just wing it all day.
Other ideas evolve from accidental finds, or inspiration from a magazine or markets. Much of my upholstery work is this way. I love looking at magazines in my free time. When I was in Round Top, I met a woman who tie-dyed leather and hides and I thought, “I could do that and reupholster with it.” I became obsessed. I really get a vision or idea in my head and I can’t get it out until I make it happen. With that said, I have made a bunch of mistakes, and throw away some of the outcomes of my trial and error. But it’s worth it when I create a piece that I just love – and more importantly, that resonates with others.
You strike us as someone who is always evolving as an artist. What is on the horizon for you?
I agree with that statement. I am constantly changing my focus and inspired by so many things…a vacation, a magazine, a hotel. But honestly, I have no idea. I know I really want my store to be community based. After Covid slows down, I want to have local art shows, host art parties and other live events. I’d love to transform our parking lot into a market or interactive pop-up during the summer on the weekends. For my interior design work, I’d love to work on homes that I can publish, and really just keep making people happy.
The pandemic has primarily impacted our ability to do events and community-based interactions. No grand opening, no engagement on a larger scale, no floods of people shopping. But the bright side is I have more time to map out how to pull those off effectively. Awareness for the shop has to be slower and more organic until things change.
Women-owned businesses in this state know how to lift one another up. Who have you collaborated with in the past, and who do you hope to collaborate with as your store gains some traction?
I have a lot of experience and interest partnering with local female entrepreneurs. In the past I’ve done collaborative work with Cofi Leather and the Arts Students League of Denver. Some of my pieces have landed in Revampt Goods of Cherry Creek North. In January, I’ll be hosting a virtual fashion show at the shop with the founder of Never A Wallflower. I plan to carry Taylor & Tessier Jewelry from Aspen and the work of Colorado fine artists. And the owner of A Line Boutique has graciously offered to host a Rogala Design pop-up event in her space, which is very exciting! I plan on hosting consistent events and collaborations once Covid subsides.
It is refreshing and inspiring to see you work, Amy. We are so excited for what’s to come for you and your boutique! Visit, and support local at Rogala Design at 2911 S. Broadway in Englewood. Check her out on facebook and instagram at @rogaladesign.