Denise graduated with honors from St. Louis Community College in 1995 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Residential/Commercial Interior Design. She was contracted through the architectural firm Christner Inc. at Monsanto before taking a year off to backpack around the world with her husband. Upon their return, she worked as a Design Assistant at Neil Kelley Cabinets, in Portland, Oregon, and began training towards NKBA Certification. She continued there following the birth of her first child, then moved to the Denver area in December 2003 to be near family.
As the family grew, she alternated between “stay at home parent” and the design world, working as a Design Assistant at Facilitek Furniture for Business and then Pear Workplace Solutions. Following the arrival of her third child in 2006, Denise entered the educational field and worked as a paraprofessional in the Affective Needs, Preschool and Special Education (ILC) programs, as well as founding a community/school garden at Bradley International School.