A Conversation with Rachel Obernesser
With over eight years of working in high-end residential design, commercial design, and design project management in the Vail Valley, nationwide, and even in Sydney, Australia, Rachel continues to her share her love of design by joining us at Collective Design Group as a Senior Designer.
Rachel's experienced eye for design and stance on the importance of client-designer relationships has helped her create numerous beautiful spaces that reflect who her clients are and what they love. “In order to produce holistic and personal design, I really dig deep and get to know my clients. I enjoy that each project is different based on my client’s lifestyle and aesthetic and love how they each present their own challenges.”
Here we get to know Rachel, what has inspired her design career, her favorite aspect of design, and how she helps her clients create the spaces of their dreams through her personal approach and attention to detail.
How did you know you wanted to be a designer?
I have had an artistic mind from a young age and knew I would end up in a career where I could use my creativity. Once I started to redesign my bedroom every other month in middle school, I think I, along with my family and friends, knew I would focus on interior design.
Can you remember the first space that had a big impact on your interior design career?
Absolutely! My first full gut/remodel that I both designed and managed in 2016. It was a penthouse unit at the Ritz Carlton in Bachelor Gulch. The clients wanted to achieve a mountain rustic, ski chalet look. We incorporated barn wood, stone, and a mix of textured fabrics. It was both exciting and challenging! This was such a big moment of success for me. I knew it was the beginning of a lifelong career.
How do you describe your job as a designer?
My job as a designer is to make my client's vision of home come to life and to create a functional, comfortable living space that reflects their personal aesthetic and lifestyle.
How do you manage the variety of clients and types of projects?
I work well in a fast-paced work environment. Since the beginning of my career, I have always juggled numerous projects at once with very different styles, personalities and surroundings all over the country. Each project has its own story and unique timeline, so it’s easy for me to keep them organized and compartmentalized.
Walk me through the beginning of your design process…
Digging deep and getting to know each client from the beginning is so important. I like to get to know my client’s style by pulling inspiration images from Houzz or Pinterest. Then I make sure to discuss what they want to utilize their house for, how they intend to use the space, and simple things like the colors they enjoy bringing into the space.
How important is the relationship when designing a client’s home?
The most important! I love bringing my client's vision of home to life. That happens with proper communication and many in-depth conversations throughout the design process. That way, we can establish a great designer-client relationship of openness and trust.
How do you help clients whose design aesthetic might not be like yours?
This is my favorite part about design! I make sure to design to my client’s individual style. That is what design is all about. It a reflection of what you love and who you are.
How do you make sure your client’s house feels like home?
I like to include earthy materials, soft textures, and colors that make them feel comfortable. Adding warmth can be done in so many ways - through lighting, fabrics, paint, accessories and more. It is important to communicate throughout the design process in order to incorporate those details that make a house a home.
What does a successful project mean to you?
A happy client. A very, very, very happy client!
What spaces are you currently designing?
An assortment of projects with different styles and scopes of work. I started working with Oshi, Senior Designer, on a remodel in Breckenridge and a project in Winter Park. Now I am starting a few new projects in Summit County, one being a new build which I am very excited about.
What do you see for the future of design?
There’s been an increase in design projects this past year now that people are spending more time at home. Residential design’s focus will continue to incorporate comfort and lifestyle. People want to relax and unwind in their spaces. Their home is their sanctuary. They also want their home to serve its intended purpose, emphasizing functionality.
Finish this sentence. Every home needs…
Timeless design with an extraordinary powder room!
What do you like best about your line of work?
I love that each day is different and exciting.
What made you want to be a part of the Collective team?
We have the most amazing group of professionals. There is so much positivity, encouragement and trust in the team. I am so lucky to be a part of the Collective family!
What are you looking forward to most in your career at Collective?
Creating and building relationships, designing timeless spaces and helping to continue Collective’s growth in design.