What’s On My Desk: Studio BV Founder Betsy Vohs
The desk of Studio BV founder Betsy Vohs

What’s On My Desk: Studio BV Founder Betsy Vohs

The books, fabrics, art, and champagne that inspire one of the Twin Cities' busiest commercial interior designers.

Lately, it seems that if a cool new office is opening in the Twin Cities, there’s a solid chance it was designed by Studio BV.

Evereve, nVent, and Nolo’s Kitchen are among the Minneapolis firm’s projects. After more than a decade in design, Betsy Vohs founded her boutique design and architecture firm just three years ago and has already grown to a team of 15 designers and architects. Vohs is deeply involved in the day-to-day work, from client meetings to art installations to photo shoots to setting books on a shelf. We took a peek inside the Studio BV office, to see what’s on the desk of its very busy, very visual CEO.

iPad: My iPad Pro is a big design tool and essential to my everyday work.  My designers can send me drawings and I can sketch over them to ideate together.  I take it everywhere with me.  

Design Materials: My desk is always covered in pieces of materials from the projects I am designing.  These specific material samples—marble penny round tile, white oak flooring, metal, tiles, fabrics, silk rug, leather—are from a new flagship salon project I am working on designing in Minneapolis.  I love having my work on my desk to feel the textures and play with the color swatches. 

Books: I always have several books on my desk.  Kinfolk Entrepreneur, Northern Comfort: The Nordic Art of Creative Living, and Poolside with Slim Aaron are among the new books I picked up on my most recent trip to Denmark.  They are design books and the photography makes me happy.  

Vases: This handblown white vase is from my friend Jackson Schwartz at Hennepin Made and the pink terra-cotta vase is from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.   

Candle: We burn a lot candles in the office.  It’s the little things that change your mood and make you feel better.  

Wood box: I found this cute little box from Epicureancs.com, and it holds my business cards. 

Plant: Succulents are my favorite plant. This one is from my favorite store, Madre Cacti Co in Northeast Minneapolis.   I also have a huge cactus in my office that weighs more than 300 pounds. I think it is the visual texture that I love so much.

Notecard: This “B” card was a note from a friend that I just received. I believe it is important to take the time to send out hand written notes and cards to your team and partners. 

Calendar: My puppy Freddy is a cover girl!  She is a one-year-old Mini Berni-Doodle, and recently won a dog contest to be featured in this calendar for design industry puppies.  She’s the month of May.

Veuve Clicquot Champagne: Anyone who knows me knows that I love champagne! One of my favorites is the Rose Veuve Clicquot and I always have some at the ready. My philosophy is you never know when you will need to celebrate.

About Her Work Space

Private office or open work space: Open workspace.  Architecture is a very collaborative industry and we have a non-hierarchical work culture at Studio BV.  We don’t have titles and focus on ideating together as a team to do our best work. My desk is in my studio in the back corner near the window.  I sit next to my team near the art gallery wall.  

View from your desk? My studio overlooks the North Loop and my view around my desk is surrounded by some very nice artwork.  My office is filled with paintings, weavings, paper art, collages and photography.  I love the story behind each piece of art and always obtain new art when I travel.  I have several print paintings by Todd Norsten in my office.  He is one my favorite artists and is a friend of mine.  

How much work do you do at your desk? I am probably at my desk 4 – 5 hours total during the week.  At any given time we have 20 projects happening and I do a lot of my work at client locations and am constantly in motion.  I am a people person and love the social nature of my work. 

Can you work at a messy desk? Yes, I can definitely work at a messy desk and most of the time it is messy. My sister, Dr. Kathleen Vohs, did research on the link between a creative mind and a messy desk that was featured in the New York Times.   She found that messiness fosters creativity, so I’m sticking with my messy desk.