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:
Hidden Line Design