ROOT House || One


In the fall of 2012, we said yes to a year long work opportunity helping an Austin based Root Design client with the design and renovation of a family lake home she owned in southern Colorado.

The owner had tragically and heartbreakingly lost her husband a couple years prior in an avalanche, about the same time Ben and I had been swept through some devastating trauma in our own lives. As we all learn, the grief process lasts as long as it lasts. It comes in waves and is messy, and in our own times of brokenness, I can remember clinging to the words of a Chris Tomlin song that said“healing waters rise around us.” Those words became our mantra when healing seemed impossible. "Healing waters rise around us."


Over the course of our marriage, we had spent many vacations traveling to Ben’s family’s cabin on the Rio Grande in South Fork, Colorado, just across Wolf Creek Pass from Pagosa Springs, the place we were about to call home for a period of time.  Still, we knew next to nothing about what we were getting into as we pulled into the quaint little town and passed a sign that read, “Pagosa Springs, home of the Healing Waters.” 


Any fears I had suddenly calmed, and I knew we were exactly where we were supposed to be. Our mantra, our prayer, would literally, for a time, be our home. 

A white trailer was hitched on the back of our car as we turned into the gravel driveway of an old blue Victorian house my husband had found for rent on one of his site visits. In the front yard was a picket fence and tall pine trees and, in the back yard, an apple tree and a river. Next door was a park and a winding waterfront trail lined with boulders and natural hot springs, hence the name “healing waters.” The house was located on a street whose name translated to mean “beautiful” and, on Sundays, we walked to a church appropriately known as Grace. We did life there that year with our 9, 7, 5, and 2 year olds, met inspiring people, and, as foreshadowed the day we pulled into town, experienced seemingly impossible soul healing. When it was time to head back to Austin, we worked out a deal to purchase the little river home and turned it into a vacation rental to share with others. The Root House was born.


A lot of thought and time were put into how we could make everything as welcoming and comfortable as our budget would allow, and guest’s compliments to such were our greatest encouragement to keep it all going.  So we did. 

The past few years have brought some amazing Root Design projects, bucket-list adventures, and difficult losses. Loss, being one of the greatest teachers, has a way of breaking you down and breaking you open and breaking you free from self imposed constraints that may be holding you back from pursuing a dream stirring in you. For us, part of the dream, was to come back to the small mountain life for a time again. Not so easily, we relocated Root Design from a downtown Austin studio on 6th street to a downtown Pagosa, riverside barn next door to a park and right beside the blue Victorian we, again, call home. Together, we are redesigning parts of this little house as well as redesigning parts of how we do life. Our transplanted Root Design Company is currently working on collaborative projects in Texas, Colorado, the Jackson Hole area, and anywhere else fun. If you want to learn more or have a design project on your horizon, check more out here.

The Root House now welcomes guests in a new way sharing all things design, food, and life as we know it.

Cristi Dozier