Colby Walker Weaver and her father, Dewey Weaver, worked together to design Intermountain Renovations. Together they created a sanctuary that has become an ideal setting for the company’s growing needs. Their vision of Frank Lloyd Wright meets West Coast is a beautiful addition to Northeast Louisiana.
ARTICLE BY VANELIS RIVERA PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY MOORE CLARK
If you’ve driven down Tower Drive in Monroe, then you’ve glanced at the modern-style architectural building characterized by its sand-colored wood planks, sleek edges, and tinted windows. This prodigious construction is, in many ways, a reflection of the multi-faceted services of the family-owned InterMountain, which specializes in the management, development, and renovation of premium branded hotels nationwide. As the company kept expanding, it only made sense to create a workspace that embodied the company’s success, as well as its artistic vision and capabilities, holding true to the company’s tagline: “a business of a thousand details.”
Though headquarters have been located in Monroe for years, the company has its roots in Emporia, Kansas, where founder Dewey Weaver first developed his know-how of the hospitality industry in 1966. At the mere age of 11, he would frequent the Ramada Inn every day after school to work as a dishwasher in the hotel restaurant until closing time. When Dewey’s parents moved the family to Northwest Arkansas in 1969, they purchased a motel in Springdale, where Dewey continued to sharpen his service industry skills, from checking-in guests to cleaning rooms. After graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1978, he moved his family to Monroe, Louisiana, and alongside his father formed InterMountain Management.
Though now they boast two statement-making structures, the company’s origins are humble. Initially, operations began in a spare bedroom of his mother’s house, but by 2019, the company was in three different buildings, two of which they were leasing. The real need for the new building was that they were officing out of three different buildings on Tower Drive and needed more space for present and future growth because they did not plan on stopping… they planned to continue to grow and evolve. “So, we ran out of space. I mean, just plain and simple,” laughingly admits Colby Weaver Walker. Walker is the Senior Lead Designer for InterMountain Renovations, one of the companies under the InterMountain umbrella. She also oversees owner relationships as well as sales and marketing for the company. The result, the approximately 28,000 square feet of pristine architectural design that’s impossible to miss. “My father and I designed this with the intent of wanting it to be something that was like nothing else that was here locally,” continues Walker, describing the exterior of the building as Frank Lloyd Wright meets the West Coast. “My dad loves Frank Lloyd Wright.” And along the way, as she was designing the new space, he would come to her with magazine clippings, which allowed her to begin creating a mental vision board, which she then translated to the lead architect of the building. “I wanted this building to really showcase our capabilities as a design team and a construction team,” she affirms.
When conceptualizing the building, the InterMountain team kept in mind that InterMountain Renovations, comprised of design, purchasing, and project management, as well as the new construction team, would be working from that space. In other words, the building would also need to exhibit all aspects of what they do as a company. “We knew we were going to have so many people coming through here, we could say, ‘Hey, look, our design team designed that. And, we designed this.’” Unlike much of their commissioned work for hotels like the Marriott, Hyatt, or Hilton, which oftentimes require distinct brand requirements, designing their own workspace gave Walker a blank space to start from. “We were able to think outside of the box… and, so, we were able to do some really neat things and be really creative,” says Walker, considering the end result something that could “grow old with time, but not feel like it was outdated.” They were able to achieve this look pulling in a lot of natural elements like neutral walls layered with greenery, pops of color through furniture and art, and comfortably furnished lounge and patio areas. “We wanted it to be open and airy, yet be inviting. Not feel institutional, because it is big, we still wanted it to feel comfortable and like somewhere you’d want to sit and stay awhile,” she adds.
“The front door was a non-negotiable for us,” admits Walker, referring to the gargantuan pivot door (a swinging door that rotates on a vertical axis) at the main entrance. Anyone who has walked into their headquarters would agree that it’s an experience. “We wanted to make a statement when you walked into the building.” The door is one of the many elements of the lobby that was thought out. Walking in, your gaze is immediately drawn to the front desk. “Everybody asks about that front desk when they walk in,” gleams Walker regarding the impressive natural wood, canoe-sized desk. Her vision was for the front desk to look like a floating piece of wood, and though her father probably “questioned her at first,” he let her take lead. Naturally, she commissioned the masterful Kyle Snellenberger, who already had a 1000-year-old tree log pulled from the Ouachita River. Snellenberger and Walker worked closely together to create this focal piece that is really more like a work of art.
Because the company is team-oriented and functions from collaboration, the main workspaces are open instead of sectioned with cubicles. That way, team members can move amongst each other. “So, this is where all the magic happens for the hotels,” emphasizes Walker, walking into the material library, comprised of floor-to-ceiling cabinets occupying two walls lined with fabric swatch books hanging from hooks. Rolling library ladders rest at each end of the shelves, a huge leap from its previous occupancy—inside of Walker’s old office. “My office was cluttered at all times. You never knew what you would have to walk over or though,” she jokes. The new building clearly has afforded them more space, allowing rooms like the material library to also act as think tanks. “You can come in here. You can create. You’ve got everything that you need in one spot,” she says, explaining the importance of incorporating operational elements into workrooms, like tackable wall panels.
“We have three or four different task chairs throughout the building,” informs Walker, who went to Dallas and spent two to three days sitting on chairs with the sole purpose of finding the one that would be the most comfortable for all employees. “We sat in a ton of them. Had several brought in. It was a slightly daunting task,” she laughs. Keeping in mind their employees, also took the form of a sleek dining area that is often used for entertaining as well. Modern light fixtures keep with the contemporary elegance of the design and a NanaWall (bifold glass doors) flaunting an outdoor space complete with an outdoor kitchen. “At any given moment, you may find some of our team members sitting out here with their laptops or plans on a nice day working outside and just enjoying the space.”
Another Snellenberger original is featured in the building’s largest conference room. “We didn’t want it to be just your classical, stereotypical traditional conference table,” says Walker, which was no problem for the craftsman who delivered a 28-feet-long functional monument made from black walnut driven down from Oregon. “It’s an art piece in and of itself.” The details of the room also add to the stylish harmony of the room, like the clean texture created by the wood-paneled ceiling.
Keeping with the wood-slat theme is an incredibly chic lounge area seemingly straight out of Architectural Digest, featuring wood slat walls. “This was actually my dad’s idea,” says Walker. “He saw something similar in a magazine. He brought it to me and asked what I thought. I loved it! So, we figured out how to incorporate it where it made the most sense.” In addition to mood lighting created by disk pendant fixtures, the area is furnished with custom olive-green sofas, cushioned accent chairs, and a geometric wood coffee table. “It feels like a living room,” says Walker. They encourage employees to use the area as another place to get out of their offices and think and work.
We intentionally created a lot of spaces throughout the building for people to work from beyond their desk,” says Walker. Employees can take their laptops and work in a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces, take a break in the fitness room which features a Peloton bike. The phone systems can connect to employee cell phones, further encouraging a nuanced and holistic approach to the modern workday. “We tried to be forward-thinking with our space and with technology. We travel a lot for work and it affords us the opportunity to see a lot of different spaces in some of the most thriving cities in America. We were able to take things we have seen from our travels and incorporate them here to provide the best work environment possible for our employees,” asserts Walker who understands how difficult it can be to be creative when you are sitting in the same space you sit in every day. “So, let’s get up. Let’s get out. And think. Create.”
By extending mindful practices to employees and clients alike, InterMountain has proven that they are innovative beyond the work that they are commissioned for. With a respect to all the elements that result in a successful business, this family-centered enterprise is steadily expanding, a thousand details at a time.