Owner, Principal Designer
"When I was a young girl growing up in beautiful San Diego, there was a lot of development happening around our area and interestingly, I would ask my Mom to take me to see model homes. Upon entering the house, I would go from room to room, observing everything from color to texture to shape and proportion, and then ultimately claim a room as "mine". What factored into the choice was not only those components that I just mentioned, but how the space would make me FEEL. Who knew that years later I would enter into a career of design, with that very "feeling" aspect being a driving force for each project that I work on. It brings me such joy when others remark about how they feel... that they feel....in a space that I have designed. As I say.... "Design is most about the essence that one is able to create."
Jennifer has worked in the design industry for more than 24 years, and opened her own design firm, Jennifer Sweas Design (2009) which incorporates all facets of design and its process. Project work spans in and out of the state including Florida, Utah, Arizona, Ohio, Texas and Colorado.
As a former runway model living in Paris, Jennifer sat next to an architect on a trip home to CA and decided at that moment that she would finish her degree and step away from runway so that she could create with her mind instead.
Jennifer holds a BFA in Interior Architecture from Columbia College and was first immersed in the design industry as an industrial designer, designing store fixturing systems for MET. Creating protypes for all of her products and with manufacturing on site, this afforded her immense knowledge in the fabrication realm. After a number of years working in this capacity, she went on to work at a firm specializing in store design (Schaefer), both domestically and internationally, specializing in design concept and FF&E for all projects that they secured. Continuing on in this design arena, she moved to a much larger company and became involved in brand strategy and branded environments as a senior designer (Frankel). It was here that she began to meld the psychological and emotional impacts of design and has since gone on to incorporate this into both her commercial and luxury residential projects. During her time at Frankel, she saw a deficit in any type of branded lifestyle stores in Chicago and created "i t e m", located in Wicker Park. She created every facet of the store from its name to its interior, importing home accessories from Europe and Asia and designing the ever evolving line of furniture that she sold. Since all was fabricated locally by her woodworker, she was one of the first to present the option to buyers to customize the sizes of the pieces to suit their own particular needs from a running line. She continues to design custom furniture for most of her clients to this day.
For the bulk of her career at that point, Jennifer worked in the commercial design arenas but soon started to incorporate luxury residential into her work after becoming the Director of Design for 600 Fairbanks in Chicago. Working with Helmut Jahn on this structure from the ground up and being responsible for every interior decision, it received a lot of press in Chicago as no other building resembled anything like this in the area. Soon after its completion, clients began reaching out to her to design their homes across Chicago, and out of state.
Jennifer's philosophy that "design is most about the essence that one is able to create" intersects with each project’s unique needs, which aligns each client with a design that represents them accurately and holistically. For her luxury residential clients, this equates to a “lifestyle” approach and with commercial projects, this is the brand strategy. She derives her inspiration from nature and its divinely orchestrated creation of proportion, texture, tone and contrast.
She has taught Design Thesis as an adjunct professor, has been a contributing writer on interiors and is currently undergoing certification in biophilic design, amongst other industry related topics.
In her free time on any given day, you can find her enjoying and being passionate about nature, travel, meditation, city lights, cooking, music, friends and family, deep conversations and all of life's adventures.