Something To Give… First up: Jordan Vaughn

***Our “Something To Give…” blog series highlights members, family, friends, and/or supporters of Women in Design-Denver Chapter that have generously offered to donate a bit of their talent as a prize for the 2012 End of Year Event.***

Today’s feature article finds me on a rooftop overlooking a stunning panaroma of downtown Denver with Jordan Vaughn, President/Owner of Von Design, Inc. and his Sister Micaila, a member of WiD since 2011.  This site is where Jordan recently relocated the furniture design company that he began in 2002 at just 20 years old. But don’t be impressed yet!…he’s just one test away from becoming a licensed architect and is hoping this space will not only establish a fresh new haven for furniture-making but also showcase the style of building he’s capable of both designing and constructing.

OK, now you can be impressed.  And not only is he talented but he’s offered to donate one of his fabulous pedestal cabinet pieces as a prize at the 2012 WiD End of Year Event! Cheers Jordan!  For more examples of his work, definitely visit  (Well worth a browse!)

Comfortably reclined in lawn chairs on the roof of Jordan’s recently completed building, the three of us unwound from our work days while taking in one good-looking view of Denver and we asked Jordan some questions as both a furniture designer and future architect.  Here’s some of what he had to say:


Tell me about a memorable project:

You’re looking at it.  The main one that stands out is this building.  It’s the biggest and most rewarding project I’ve taken on to date because I was acting as the architect, contractor and the trade crew with an extremely limited budget.  I learned that I like building things where there is not a client always driving the design, where you’re kind of free to continue to refine details as construction progresses.


What is your favorite part of your job?

Being able to let my mind run wild and to come away with something that is deliverable from that.  Being able to innovate, create, and fabricate in a collaborative environment.

Do you prefer the end product or the process?

I think I’ve always found that the end goal is never as satisfying as you think it will be. So I’m learning to enjoy the process as it evolves.

If there were an element of this profession that frustrates you what would that be?

The regulatory processes…the fact that architects are undervalued and too often stifled by clients that become attached to their ideals, cluttering the design process.

Can you name a woman who has been influential in your life?

(Micaila giggles)

The one that jumps out more than anyone is Zaha Hadid.  Just because she’s changing architecture, she’s royalty and has huge resources. She understands the perception of what her clients need and pushes the limits of what is possible.


What inspires you?


Micaila adds: I knew you were gonna say that!

because there is so much intricacy and detail that is already part of the natural process, if you look at a leaf…everything’s been done before, everything has a source.


What are you currently looking forward to?

Personally, having a better work/life mix and being able to step away enough from this project to have a social life again.  Professionally, I’m looking forward to aligning with other designers and seeing what other possibilities are out there now that the fabrication facility is completed.


Name one word/phrase to describe how you feel at the beginning of a typical day?

“What am I going to create today?”


If you were a building material what would you be?

A piece of raw steel. To show all my trials and tribulations, every experience I’ve been through.  I like truth in material, it doesn’t go away, it’s all there, you’re not trying to hide anything.


What utensil/tool/device could you not live without?

My new CNC router.

Micaila adds: You don’t even have that yet!

…Well, I’m just about to not be able to live without it!


How would clients describe you?

Detail oriented, passionate, good listener.  I always hear what they have to say and come back with my best solution for it.


In your opinion, what’s the benefit from having a woman on a design team?

A female brings a balance versus just a bunch of guys working together, especially if it’s a woman that can cross over and understands what it takes to get things built.

I think that’s part of the challenge of women in architecture is that there is a disconnect in the stereotype that they don’t know how things go together.


Micaila adds:  I think women come from a more emotional based thought process at times. Men are more analytical, structural.


Finish this sentence:  Success is…:

Loving what you do.

No hestitation.  And I feel that he does.

Want to keep up to date with what's happening at Von Design, Inc.?  Go ahead and “like” the official facebook page here:

Thank you Jordan and Micaila!

Written by Carisa Donahue

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