Ben and Cristi Dozier, co-owners of Pagosa Springs-based Root Design Co., never meant to bring home renovation television to Southwest Colorado.
But after moving to Pagosa Springs from Austin, Texas, the couple’s creations caught the eye of a New York producer, kick-starting their journey to their new HGTV series.
“The show was never the end-all for us. It was just an opportunity. It was a platform to serve others well,” Ben said.
The Doziers star in the series “Building Roots,” which follows the duo as they remodel homes throughout Southwest Colorado. More than three years in the making, the show is currently halfway through Season 1. But after about a decade working and living in Pagosa Springs, the two and their family are doing what the headline of their show suggests: building roots.
Ben’s connection to Southwest Colorado and the Western Slope dates back decades. His family would spend summers around South Fork and Creede before he went to school at Western Colorado University in Gunnison where he played football.
After returning to Texas, the Doziers, who were both born and raised in Austin, started Root Design Co. in the city in 2004.
The couple, who are in their 40s and have four children, first moved to the Pagosa Springs area in 2012 to complete the remodel of a lakeside cabin for a client whose husband had recently died.
“That was really our first time to Pagosa and (we) fell in love with it,” Ben said.
They set up an office in Pagosa Springs in 2012, but they went back and forth between Texas and Colorado before taking a risk and moving to the area full time in 2017.
Within a year of moving and reworking their business, a producer from So Much Film, a production company based in New York City, reached out through the business’ Instagram page about starting a television show.
“The conversation started late 2018 and it kind of trickled into emails and then into Skype calls and then recorded Skype calls,” Cristi said. “We could tell she really had read through our story and we connected in that. It was something we just felt comfortable with along the way.”
The producer pitched a home renovation series to several networks before it was ultimately picked up by HGTV, who helped the couple create a “sizzle,” or demo, reel.
The sizzle reel turned into a pilot in fall 2020, and the pilot turned into the “Building Roots” series, which premiered April 10.
“It was a three-plus year process from the first DM through Instagram to where we are today,” Cristi said.
The focus of the show is the Doziers’ work throughout southern and western Colorado as they remake homes into beautiful redesigns. The show follows projects in South Fork, Monte Vista, Pagosa Springs and Durango, among others.
For the Durango episode, the second in the series, the Doziers help a Fort Lewis College professor and his family transform their kitchen and deck near the school.
While the show highlights their work in Colorado, the duo remake homes throughout the country for Root Design Co. Much of their work has focused on Texas and Colorado, but they have also done projects in New Mexico, California and Louisiana, and they are currently working on a project in Missouri.
While a love of Southwest Colorado’s mountains and the outdoors are in part what drew the Doziers to Pagosa Springs, their approach to their work remains the same no matter where their project is located, Ben said.
The two try to incorporate natural materials such as wood beams and stone that are neutral and from the local places they’re working in. But it’s the homeowners, both who they are and their dreams for their homes, that lead the Doziers to their creations.
“Whether it’s Southwest Colorado or East Coast or West Coast, we derive inspiration from the client’s story,” Ben said. “We’re impacted by the surroundings of the story, whether it be in the mountains, or the rivers or the valleys. Those inspire us toward these projects.”
Each project begins with a conversation ideally over coffee that transforms into a relationship and guides the design, the first and arguably most important step of the remodel, Ben said.
As the show has come to fruition, so too have some of the couple’s other visions as they and their family strengthen their roots in Pagosa Springs.
In 2019, the pair bought a coffee shop that they frequented along the San Juan River in downtown Pagosa Springs as it was going up for sale. They have since transformed the space into an espresso and cocktail bar, a bakery and a lifestyle shop.
“It was a longtime dream that we never really knew how it was going to come to be. And then, when the right opportunity presented itself, it happened to be just down the river,” Cristi said. “We definitely wanted to invest into the community and create a place for locals that could also be experienced by tourists.”
While the Doziers have traded the buzz of Austin for the slower pace of Pagosa Springs, they have welcomed the move and the time that it has given them to embrace their family and their community.
“It comes with its sacrifices in a small town. There’s some conveniences you don’t have,” Ben said. “But the joys offset those inconveniences big time. There’s more time with family, kids and our marriage, and enjoying the small town community and getting outside more often instead of having to travel far away for those experiences.”
New episodes of “Building Roots” air at 7 p.m. Sunday local time on HGTV. The first four episodes have aired so far with another four set to make their premier this month.
Midway through the season, the Doziers have yet to hear if HGTV plans on ordering a second season.
“We’re just letting it air and enjoying it while we can, and everything’s in the network’s hands at this point,” Ben said.
Regardless of whether there’s a second season, the Doziers will continue to create their unique homes and expand their roots in Pagosa Springs and across Southwest Colorado.
“A tagline we’ve come to say along the way is that this whole process has become less about what we build and more about who we build up,” Cristi said. “Not that the building part isn’t important, but what has been built as far as the community and the family around the clients, the construction crew, the production crew and everyone involved has been such an awesome thing to be a part of and to experience.”