A Conversation with Hillary Mork
You’ve probably seen Hillary Mork’s soul by now. It's often disguised as a stunning space. And those spaces - 15 or so if you're wondering - have become a staple of the Collective Design Group portfolio and acclaiming publications.
All in just two years.
Shaping space is in Hillary's DNA. "Growing up, my dad owned his own custom home construction business and my grandma was an interior designer. I grew up around it."
Originally from Eagle River, Wisconsin, Hillary swapped small-town life for a big-time career and world travel. After her freshman year at University of Wisconsin, she transferred to the Art Institute in Denver to chase her interior design dreams, joining the Collective Design Group team soon-after graduation.
Here we get to know Hillary, what inspires her designs, and how her relationship-first approach helps her create deeply personal interiors.
Can you remember the first space that had an impact on your design career?
Miami is the first place that comes to mind. The hotels are all unique and spectacular. The style isn’t what you’d typically see in residential design.
How would you describe your own style?
Eclectic, with a hint of bohemian elegance.
What has inspired and informed that?
Definitely traveling. I recently spent four months in southeast Asia. It gave me major design inspiration. There were so many unusual but beautiful restaurants and shops that sparked my interest in hospitality design.
I am thrilled to be working on Basecamp, our new office in Frisco. It will be my first commercial project.
Did you bring any décor back from your recent trip to Southeast Asia?
No décor but took a ton of photos for ideas. It helps me grow as a designer and have a different perspective.
Has your style evolved over time?
Yes, when I look back at what I used to like.... [laughs]
When you remember your first project, how do you feel? What was it?
When I started at Collective Design Group, I was put on several projects pretty quickly. I was certainly overwhelmed at the beginning. But it was such an incredible experience to have so many spaces to design in my first year and a half. Each client was so different which made it more fun. I’d say Chateau Bella Rose was my first.
Tell me about your favorite project.
The Lawrence’s. They trusted me and let me run with the project, let me push them out of their comfort zones, and ended up really happy. We developed a great relationship through the process.
How important is relationship when designing a client’s home?
Relationship is key. The better you know your client, the better the design turns out and the happier they are. I make sure to have a lot of interaction with them; asking a ton of questions, for how they see and use the space. Things they like and don’t like. I think it’s almost more helpful to ask what they don’t like right off the bat.
Do you always try to nudge clients out of their comfort zone?
Yes, but while still respecting their wishes. I’d never tell a client no but would guide them in a direction that I think is better.
What’s your favorite go-to basic paint color?
Benjamin Moore, Simply White. It works in any room, is creamy, and speaks to its name –
simple. The walls are the first thing I see when I walk into a space, whether its paint, tile, or wall covering.
What household item can you not live without?
A vintage rug needs to be in any home, hands down. A favorite personal piece of mine is a vintage wicker hanging chair, that I found at an antique shop in Denver.
What made you want to be a part of the Collective Design team?
I followed Collective throughout my college experience and got in touch after I moved to Summit County. Meeting the team sealed the deal. Everyone was super fun and easy to get along with.
What do you like best about your line of work?
I get to be creative every day and work on a ton of different projects. There’s never a dull moment.