Tag Archives: hidden line design

Julie Swagar, Hidden Line Design

Up-And-Coming Interior Designers: Julie Swagar

Fresh Faces for Eclectic Spaces: Meet Julie Swagar, one of our four, featured up-and-coming interior designers in the Scottsdale area who may have varying styles, but all have one thing in common — their passion for design.

Q. When did you start designing?

A. When I bought my first house at 21 years old. It was 948 square feet and built in the ’50s. It had dirty, shag-green carpet; ugly, painted, metal kitchen cabinets; and peeling vinyl floors. I bought every residential design magazine I could get my hands on and watched a lot of HGTV. I did all the work myself from re-finishing the original hardwoods to installing a new kitchen. I have continued a hands-on approach throughout my years as a homeowner and as a designer. Remodeling my own homes has helped me understand the process and particulars of construction so that all of my projects are scheduled appropriately and run smoothly.

Q. Why did you decide to pursue interior designing as a career?

A. When I moved to Arizona in 2000, I left behind a music business career that would be difficult to continue here. I headed back to college to earn my B.S. in interior design because I had enjoyed the process of remodeling and received so many compliments on my finished projects. I worked in furniture space planning throughout those years to support myself.

Q. How would you describe your work or style? Does it have a unique look or feel?

A. My design process begins with a lot of questions for my clients to find what style(s) work for them. Sometimes they don’t know what they like, so it can be challenging. A lot of homes that I work in have a Tuscan & traditional feel, but my clients want a more youthful and transitional look. I firmly believe you have to respect the architecture of the home, but you can still mix styles carefully to obtain a coherent look that my clients are really happy with.

Q. Where do you draw your inspiration?

A. I like to draw it from a piece of furniture, an art object or a fabric pattern that means something to the client. From there I can develop a concept for the room. I’ve drawn inspiration from a child’s name, a plant and even a pair of shoes. When I share the concept, my clients are excited about the idea because it’s so personal to them.

Q. What’s one tip to readers who plan to redesign their room/home?

A. Hire a designer! Not just any designer, but someone who is educated and trustworthy. Find someone you really connect with and enjoy talking to. It’s a working relationship that really crosses the line into personal territory.

Q. What are your top three favorite, local store/boutiques to shop for items?

I love the vintage stores [in] downtown [Phoenix]. Sweet Salvage’s sales have become a favorite. Melrose Vintage and Rust & Roses are great places for unique pieces as well. For new furniture, lighting and accessories, I purchase direct from vendors so that my clients can benefit from great pricing.

Q. Your most memorable project?

A. I’m always ready for new experiences, so I was honored to complete a $400k exterior renovation for a client in Carefree. He gave me a lot of creative leeway and was very trusting since he was in Canada during the project. Working on the exterior stretched my creative side and broadened my experience in design.

View a few of Julie’s designs:

Julie Swagar's work Julie Swagar's work Julie Swagar's work

Julie Swagar
Hidden Line Design
(480) 290-4700

Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012

affordable design - Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012

A Nursery Transformation With Affordable Design, DIY Projects

Nursery Times: Local designer transforms a room with affordable design and unique DIY projects

Mix birds and crystals, mix in harlequin-patterned drapes and a grand chandelier, paint the walls pink, sprinkle a few do-it-yourself projects throughout the room, and you have yourself an elegant vintage nursery.

Using large pieces of furniture already owned by homeowners David and Brooke Ide, a remodeling project handled by Hidden Line Design in Scottsdale took a vintage approach to designing the nursery. And by taking an affordable design route, the owners were able to save between 30 and 40 percent off the total cost.

Julie Swagar, an interior designer with Hidden Line Design, scoured close-out stores such as Ross, TJ Maxx and The Rack; online retailers, including eBay; local antique shops; and even Target and Michael’s for discounted finds and deals. She also implemented a few DIY projects of her own.

“Affordable design isn’t just about finding ‘cheap’ things,” Swagar says. “It’s also about ‘transforming’ affordable pieces.”

And that she did. Swagar purchased plastic mirrors, paint and supplies through Ebay and transformed them to look like metal; she also added stick-on crystals to them, as well as the vinyl monograms hanging above the cribs, for just a few dollars.

“When I can’t use a large-scale item due to budget or design constraints, I like to find a piece that I can use in repetition to create a work of art,” Swagar says. “Little girls love dress-up, so the mirrors were a perfect fit for our European design.”

Another affordable project included a vintage side table with a removable shadow box top from Rust and Roses in Phoenix. Swagar added baby cards, hospital bracelets and photos, along with some mirrored birds. This side table is the Ides’ favorite aspect of the nursery.

“It is full of little items that have a lot of meaning to my family,” Brooke Ide says. “Plus, over time, we can change what is featured in the table with what stage the girls are going through. It is also the perfect height for our 17-month-old to look at the items and play with her toys on the table.

Hands-on: DIY Project

Affordable Design1. Prepare a work area, and work in a well-ventilated area. I used a large box to lay the mirrors on.
2. Tape off the mirrors carefully using blue painters tape.
3. Use a spray primer geared towards the material you are working with. In this case, we used Valspar’s plastic primer. Let dry according to the directions.
4. Spray with metal enamel paint. I used Valspar Brilliant Metals. Let dry, flip over and paint. Touch up both sides with a second coat. Be patient with the drying time. Don’t rush it!
5. Add décor. I added a small green jewel to each one to round out our concept.
— Julie Swagar

“It is old, tells a story and will be a piece in our family for a very long time,” she adds. “Hopefully one day one of the girls will have it in her children’s nursery.”

But it’s the inspiration behind the projects and nursery as a whole that’s so unique — the girls’ middle names.

“The girls’ middle names are Wren & Jewels, so I used their names to complete the concept with the vinyl monograms and accents of ‘birds and bling’ throughout the room,” Swagar says.

Stick-on crystals were added to the monograms above the cribs and mirrors dangling atop the pink walls, and birds were added to the shadow-box table.

Due to the high ceilings and open floor plan, the high-mounted, harlequin drapes became the focal point, making the space feel grander but “offering a soft warmth,” Swagar says.

“We wanted to create a room that they could grow into, a design that was timeless,” Swagar says. “The harlequin pattern was a perfect fit, as it exudes a traditional European flair while still being fun.”

Swagar stresses that it’s important not to under-value the size of furnishings, accessories, lighting and window coverings.

As for the drapes and chandelier, she says, “they made such a big impact and changed the room. The chandelier is the perfect scale and brought a sense of elegance to the room.”

So what will happen to the nursery as the children get older? Swagar has it covered. The cribs will turn into day beds until they move up to twin beds; and with a detachable table top on the vintage table, the owners have the option to replace the baby items with artwork or recent photos of the girls as they get older.

But the time spent on the room was well worth it.

“Take time to make a room special,” Ide says. “We decorated this nursery over four months, taking our time to find things that were affordable, went with our theme and had special meaning to our family.”

For more information about how you can transform one of your rooms with affordable design, visit hiddenlinedesign.com.

Hidden Line Design
7792 E. Journey Ln., Scottsdale
(480) 290-4700

Decorating a room with a high ceiling?

Swagar offers the following tips to create a balanced look:

1. Mount drapes as high as possible; this helps to make a space feel grander, but also offer warmth.
2. When working with a large bookcase, choose three to five large-scale accessories versus 12 small trinkets; it will have more of an impact.
3. Avoid accessories that are too small and adding too many of them; it can make the room look cluttered.
4. If you choose to add greenery, be sure they’re tall or else it can cut off a room. A seven-foot topiary was placed in the corner of the nursery.

More photos of the redesigned nursery:

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Affordable design Affordable design Affordable design affordable design

Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012