For Carrie Wolfer and Maggi Whitmer Thompson, their formative years working alongside each other at one of Aspen’s leading interior design firms has shaped their vision and collaboration as principals and partners of Della + Zella Interiors.
After landing at altitude following their collegiate art studies—Wolfer at University of Cincinnati and Thompson at the The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—they decided to branch out on their own seven years ago. The name of their company could have been easily coined Wolfer + Whitmer, but was realized by chance when their great-grandmothers came up in conversation while plotting their path. “We were thinking about family names, and I said, ‘The only one I like is my great-grandmother’s: Zella May,” explains Whitmer. “Carrie said, ‘Wait, what? My great-grandmother’s name was Della May.’”
Reflecting fondly about how their namesakes were both hardworking, creative, artistic types, Wolfer and Thompson proudly honor them through their work on a wide range of residential design projects. While the majority of their clients are local, Della + Zella—a sunny studio space on the banks of the Roaring Fork River in downtown Aspen—has also put its stylish stamp on homes in New York City; Austin, Texas; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Denver; and Chicago.
“The growth of our business has been very organic and built on the deep connections we have developed over the years in this community,” says Wolfer. “We are relationship-based and almost all of our clients come to us through word-of-mouth referrals.”
Della + Zella’s accessible and self-described down-to-earth approach is what sets it apart in a notoriously high-end market, while never compromising the duo’s expert eyes for high-end homes. It’s that juxtaposition that has earned them accolades, most recently taking third place as best interior designer in The Aspen Times’ Best of Aspen 2018 annual awards issue.
Whitmer says of their overall aesthetic: “We really appreciate traditional design, modern design and everything in between. We strive to make things feel up-to-date but classic and timeless at the same time... never trendy, but always unique.”
Of course, that’s always curated to the client. “We try to guide our clients to the best version of their personal taste,” adds Wolfer.
After they just unveiled a complete interior penthouse project in the new Mountainside Building at the Dancing Bear Aspen, we asked the chic collaborators to share their top picks of elements and accessories that make a mountain home a signature Della + Zella design (and a few of their favorite local haunts included too).
1. “These cozy yet luxurious handmade throws and pillows are a perfect layer for a mountain home,” says Wolfer. $650-$800, John Brooks, 601 S. Broadway L, Denver
2. “We love working with and supporting local craftsmen. We collaborated with David Rasmussen Designs to create this custom live-edge slab dining table with a faceted steel base and custom blackened steel details,” says Whitmer Thompson.
3. “Paris Underground has an amazing curated selection of antiques and vintage home decor primarily sourced from France,” says Whitmer Thompson. “It’s the perfect place to pick up last-minute client/hostess gifts. This fun ceramic lamp is a great piece to mix in with modern decor.” $600, 520 E. Durant Ave., Ste. 206
4. “Innovative Erden Rugs are woven with natural fibers, and some incorporate metal accents in the pile, which has never been done before,” says Wolfer. Kneedler Fauchère, 595 S. Broadway, Ste. 101, Denver
5. “The ultimate in lifestyle luxury, Holland & Sherry’s bespoke lines can be seamlessly integrated from hardware to trim to fabric to wallcovering for a perfectly coordinated look,” says Whitmer Thompson. John Brooks, 601 S. Broadway, Ste. L, Denver
6. “Statement marbles (or granite) elevate a classic neutral palette to a true showpiece,” says Wolfer. ”Eschewing the solid-surface look, let colors and tones from nature provide a focal point for kitchen or bath design.” Serrano’s Marble and Granite, 5398 County Road 154, Unit #7, Glenwood Springs
7. “Balance is key. To offset the solid mass of the slab walls, we used a small-scale custom two-tone glass Sicis mosaic. It adds the perfect layer of pattern and subtle sophistication,” says Wolfer. Decorative Materials, 150 Basalt Center Circle
8. “This artisan goods and coffee shop, Maker, is an amazing source for locally made textiles and ceramics. It’s such a fun concept. We pop in and grab a coffee and accessories!” says Whitmer Thompson. “We’re particularly fond of Giselle Hicks’ pottery.” $450-875, 614 E. Cooper Ave., makerandplace.com
9. “Wallcoverings are back in a big way,” says Whitmer Thompson. “The unique and fashion-forward designs from Élitis add so much interest. Powder baths or accent walls are a great way to add a luxe look without a huge investment.”