Ben and Cristi began Root in 2004, with a 9 month old baby in tow (the first of 4 to come) operating out of their little home in Austin, Texas, the city in which they were both born and raised. Cristi, a lover of words, adored the meaning of “root”, the source from which something grows. And since Root Design Company had a nice ring to it, a business was born.
Their work has grown to include all aspects of home design, boutique commercial projects, destination property development, and brand conception. They’ve experienced many seasons of abundance, as well as seasons of pruning. Always up for a challenge and good story, Root has played in fields across the country and has branched far beyond their imagination through a multitude of project types. They owe a big thank you to the dreams of clients who continue to make this possible.
Appreciative of the opportunity to work in a variety of places, Ben and Cristi recently shifted their basecamp, moving their family of six to a 100 year old Victorian riverfront home in the quaint mountain town of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The historic barn serves as the Root studio and headquarters for FIELD + FAR shop. Follow their journey at The Root House, where Texas roots gave way to mountain soul.
HUSBAND | DAD | WAYFINDER | DESIGNER | NON-PROFIT AMBASSADOR | ADVENTURER
How does an Austin, Texas guy with a somewhat obscure degree in Recreational Business from a small school in Colorado end up at the helm guiding world recognized projects from his historic barn nestled on the San Juan River? The same accident-prone child who excelled in sports yet struggled in academics who was most certainly unaware of the hidden talents that would, in time, become his craft. A craft he, indeed, did not choose, but rather one that chose him. The answer appears to boil down to a quote he heard early in life that became an unspoken motto and permission slip towards his natural tendency of risk taking:
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll be what you’ve always been.”
This saying captured Ben’s attention years ago and continually prods him towards adventure both in his personal life and his work life. He thrives on the unexpected. It’s the definitive reason no two Root projects are the same. One thing has remained constant, however: the conversation that starts them all. Ben has honed a unique skill of bridging the canyon of communication between client and project team. The strength of his process, rooted deep in experience and creative thinking, is what ensures a high likelihood of a quality and storied outcome.
Ben’s entrepreneurial spirit keeps him at the wheel of several other companies beyond Root. He owns Root Estates Company, a landscape maintenance service business in Austin, Texas with some of his family there. Additionally, he and his best friend along with their wives founded JOYCROW, a non-profit startup spurred by the #pimpinjoy movement. Ben also works part-time for Edify.org, where he assists with strategic development, fundraising and leads vision trips to Latin America throughout the year. Ben’s prior resume favorites consist of ski instructing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Ranch Manager at Young Life Wilderness Ranch outside Creede, Colorado.
Connect with Ben here.
WIFE | MOM OF FOUR | DREAMER | WRITER | CREATOR | RESEARCHER | COOK
Cristi married her opposite at the young age of 23 just after graduating from Texas A&M University in College Station. She has never broken a leg skiing, or shattered a collarbone while biking in an empty pool, or chipped a tooth while golfing, or flipped a jeep over a mountain pass or ignited a camp bonfire explosion singeing her eyebrows. Her husband, Ben, however, has done all the above and more. He has rarely been one to be afraid of living outside his comfort zone and has been one of Cristi’s greatest teachers of what might be possible just on the other side of fear. Failure there is a given, yet every setback is seemingly followed by a redemptive comeback. “Failing forward,” they call it. And such a mindset is what has helped build an unexpectedly distinctive portfolio.
Over the years, Cristi’s role has morphed and, most recently, has been defined as Content Curator for Root. This suits her perfectly, as her mind is always churning through the elements of the larger whole (the content) and how they can better steward (curate) them. She is caretaker of all things Root; how they look, feel, read and or sound. Unlike her risky counter part, Cristi’s go-to tendency is to be the cautious, observing type, overthinking nearly every aspect or dreaming up every detail of an idea. She will move around furniture in a room, or words in a paragraph, or morsels on a cheese tray till they meet her natural eyes aesthetic. Her gift is exactly that…putting things together….setting the table, so to speak, for a welcoming experience with the Root brand and its many offshoot endeavors. With this, she also manages the company blog, The Root House and FIELD + FAR shop.
Connect with Cristi here.