A Conversation with Elle Schwab
Elle’s designs are elegant, and simple. And although she didn’t know she wanted to be an interior designer at an early age, she had it in her all along. With projects touching everything design at Collective for the past two years and prior years of remodeling and finishing experience, she continues to bring her creative flair and style to the team and her clients.
After graduating with a degree in hospitality business, Elle quickly shifted her passion of working with others into her interior design career through client-designer relationships.
“I’ve always been very organized which directly translated into space planning. But when I started, I was actually scared of showing creativity. So quickly, I learned that with designer-client interior design I’m able to pull together other’s creativity which directly inspires mine.”
Here we get to know Elle, what inspires her style, her favorite pieces at Collective and how she personalizes progressive spaces for each of her clients.
Do you remember the first space that influenced you as a designer?
I’ll never forget going through the Summit County Parade of Homes for the first time. I remember being fascinated by the mountain-modern details and the layout of each space.
Where did you start interior design?
Right after graduation, I started with a kitchen and bath remodel company in Denver as a project manager and designer. I was thrown right into my own, individual projects and ran with it. From there, I moved on to a basement finishing company to learn about another aspect of design. It was different and interested me; starting a project with a blank canvas. I started looking for a different company where I could be a part of a team, learn and grow. That’s when I landed at Collective Design Group, two years ago. I’ve learned so much working with Lisa (Yates). Between Pinnacle Mountain Homes and Collective, I’ve completed 8 projects and have gotten to touch every bit of design here.
So now that you’ve done it all, what’s your favorite part of design?
I love full-gut remodels and my passion in design is space planning. I love designing kitchens because I’m the most experienced at it, having a background in kitchen remodel and cabinetry. I also love designing the kitchen since it’s a major focal point of the home and where you spend a lot of time. I especially love the open-concept space planning of opening the kitchen into the dining and living rooms. This layout continues to become more and more popular and remains stylish.
How would you describe your style?
My style is simple and sleek. I always try to add a little “wow” factor to each space.
How do you showcase that “wow” factor?
It’s usually a case good, which is a non-upholstered piece like a table. Something that’s made out of wood or metal. It can also be an upholstered piece, like a living room chair, depending on the boldness or uniqueness of the fabric.
Does that piece ever push clients out of their comfort zones?
Absolutely. Sometimes it’s difficult for clients to visualize the space with the furniture piece or bedding before it’s installed. Our job is to help them get to a full design they love even if it’s stepping out of their comfort zone at first.
What if you and your client disagree on that piece?
It always depends on the issue. If it’s a functional issue, it’s easy to sort out. If the piece works with the overall design, I’m here as the advocate while not trying to push my own style. We will always work though it to make a cohesive decision that’s personal to the client while being progressive and inspiring.
So, it all seems very personal when it comes to your client…
It’s very personal. We support our client’s style and what they’re envisioning and are there as designers to make that vision come to life. Everything is so customizable with us at Collective, too. We can really personalize the home by giving client’s a piece they already love or that’s completely customized all based on their aesthetic.
Do you have any pieces at Collective that you especially love right now?
I love our Eaton Nesting Cocktail Tables. They come as a set of three tables, two smaller, bunching tables that slide over the larger cocktail table. It’s a beautiful and timeless piece. I also love our Heathered Sofa with a mid-century modern design that works well with many mountain home aesthetics and is completely customizable, not to mention comfortable!
Go-to paint color?
Agreeable Grey by Sherman Williams. It’s my favorite neutral. You can use it anywhere and everywhere. It works in any space.
Finish this sentence. Every room needs…
The finishing touches to make it feel like home, whether it’s a throw or coasters or a picture frame. A house doesn’t feel like home until you put your favorite accessories and décor around.
How do you make sure your client’s house feels like home?
The best inspiration comes from the client, while bringing in our designer expertise. Together, we are making it the client’s perfect space, not my perfect space. If the client mentions something they’d love to include in their home, I can picture that perfect piece of furniture or accessory. We work with the client every step of the way to ensure that the space is theirs and that they love the end result.
What has been your favorite project at Collective?
Lisa and I recently completed a project where we were involved in every aspect of design. We got to pick our every fixed finish, draw-up the 3-tiered bunk beds, the furnishings and all accessories, which came directly from our furniture store. The clients were amazing. They originally though they wanted a very traditional design on the exterior but loved our idea of modernizing. They even coined the phrase “mod-dustrial”, modern and industrial. We really got to run with the project, and it turned out beautifully.
Do you like beginning or completing a project more?
100% completing a project. Getting to see the end product and have everything come together with an overly-pleased client is so rewarding.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love space planning to make it functional for the client and creating something unique.