VISITORS TO THE new office of Urnise Dentistry in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, likely expect to be wowed by the vast White River National Forest and other rugged beauty thereabouts. Further visual surprises are plentiful, though, products of the vision of Dr. Karen Urnise, who opened this space less than a mile from her former building.

“Most of my patients are in awe of the design because my old space was so different,” says Dr. Urnise, 35 and past president of the Western Colorado Dental Association. “It has allowed me to do dentistry differently.”

From the start, the doctor knew she wanted a modern space. Like her fellow Design Competition winner Dr. Rebecca Facy, some 220 miles east in Colorado Springs, “I enjoy contemporary-art museums and thought it would be incredible to offer my community not just a dental office but a space that would bring some excitement.” As such, au courant features and finishes define the 3,377-square-foot interior of the gallery-like space. A neutral color palette, stained-concrete floor, graphic panels, etched glass, Eames-style chairs and canvas artwork complete the area, while ample natural light (all that Colorado sunshine, you know) filters in courtesy of the exposed ceilings and open-concept design.

“There’s nothing like opening the doors to a practice you’ve designed from the inside out,” Dr. Urnise exults. “I now feel like my office speaks to the dentistry we’re doing, and patients appreciate the investment we’ve made in their care.”

She had occupied the old, tired location for six years. A CenterPoint Design course hosted by Benco Dental “allowed me to figure out what I wanted,” she says, and a rebranding campaign that predated the new office by two years provided a good opportunity to sprinkle her new logo throughout.

A stroll down the hall shows off leading technology and operatories that boast spectacular views. (Decorative wall beams set on the angle are a conscious call-out to the silhouette of the peaks just outside.) It all came together in just four months, for $1.2 million (including the building’s $575,000 purchase price)—a full 60 days ahead of schedule. “I enjoy working in a space that makes me excited about my job,” Dr. Urnise says. “A place where patients can see that we’ve invested to bring state-of-the-art equipment, technology and design together for a great experience.”

“Be open with your design team in the beginning and make sure you get the floor plan you want before you start getting into final details. This crucial piece helped keep me on-budget. Also, pick a contractor who has experience building dental offices. This saved me so many times, because my contractor had questions for me about planning for equipment installation.”