To walk into interior designer Carol Swift’s studio and office is to enter the mind’s eye of a dynamic innovator. Bolts of fabric fill up antique buckets, wallpaper books line shelves, and walls and chairs are filled with art and books. Meanwhile, phones ring, emails ping, packages arrive, photo shoots are revealed, assistants check in, and friends drop by. The place is buzzing. It’s all very non-linear, yet there’s a rhythm to it, and synchronicity — not to mention smiling faces.
It’s just another typical workday for Swift, who splits her time between Hoboken, N.J. and Newport, R.I., where these images were taken. As the creative force behind Swift-Morris Interiors, a design-services firm that also operates two retail boutiques, Swift’s vibrant aesthetic and generous use of color are hallmarks of her high-end but highly livable designs. And while Swift’s fingerprint is clearly discernible on her projects, each interior comes alive with its own sense of place, crafted not to indulge her personal sensibilities, but to serve the needs — and, perhaps, the whims — of its inhabitants.
Diversity of experience is one of Swift’s greatest assets — she’s studied with master glass blowers, taught in Mexico, purchased antiques for Bloomingdale’s, and sold art in London and Edinburgh — which she translates into subtly complex interiors. Resilience is another: With roughly 20 design projects going at any given time in various locations — from Caribbean villas to urban brownstones — there’s never a lull.
Of course, designing isn’t just about picking out pretty textiles and having draperies installed; it requires sizing HVAC systems, researching whirlpool electronics, navigating customs to import home wares, and handling demanding clients. All that makes the scope of her prowess even more clear: Despite the seemingly effortless chic of Swift’s output, beauty doesn’t happen by accident here; it’s an amalgam of old-fashioned hard work, experience, and discipline — or what today Sheryl Sanderg would call “leaning in.” Regardless of labels, there’s passion and dedication here that can’t be denied — behind the scenes, in a show house, or anywhere in between, Swift-Morris Interiors is replete with inspiration.
Click on any image below to launch the gallery of Swift-Morris Interiors’ studio and retail boutique. Photos by Meaghan O’Neill.