When asked about her own home in Fairfield, Connecticut, designer Lisa Schwert first mentions the environment. “The grounds of the property are fantastic,” she says. “The lot is almost 13 acres and is significantly setback from the road, so it feels incredibly private. Every room has nicely sized windows, so you feel connected to the outdoors and experience the seasonal changes throughout the year. It is so peaceful and restorative.”
The house was built in 1990, which is relatively new for the area, and has a main house, an in-law apartment over the garage, and a three-stall horse barn with a second apartment above. But, despite all of the benefits, the interiors still felt a bit outdated and in need of a facelift.
Lisa got to work crafting up a plan for the main house—which she shares with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. “Inspiration for the new design was taken from the home’s natural surroundings and a strong desire for a timeless, cozy, and collected feeling,” she shares. “My husband and I work predominantly from home, so we each needed dedicated workspaces. My surroundings have an outsized impact on me, so I knew that creating highly functional spaces with a place for everything and a cohesive aesthetic I wouldn’t tire of was crucial for us, considering we would be spending so much time at home. While design trends are constantly changing, I believe good design is long-lasting.”
Typically, Lisa’s design work at her firm (Innate Studio) is client-focused—but designing for her own family took the same attention she’d give any project. “For myself and my clients, I’m a big proponent of choosing things you love and are naturally drawn to rather than following trends,” she explains. “I know what I love and had many family heirlooms and art I was designing around, which made the design process easier.”
Plus, she credits her firm’s organizational standards for making the two-year project go relatively easy. “My team and I are meticulous when it comes to the documentation and specifications of our client’s projects,” she explains. This came in handy when a quality-control issue popped up for the new European Oak flooring. “I sourced from a trusted vendor that arrived with a finish that didn’t match the control sample. Unfortunately, getting new material would have taken almost 20 weeks. Despite this setback, we were able to install and refinish the material, a high-quality wood with an oil finish, without compromising the end result. The vendor credited us to cover the refinishing, which was a relief. This experience reminded me that with good communication and persistence, there is almost always a creative solution to every problem, no matter how stressful it may seem at the time.”
Lisa shares details on the interior furnishings in the slideshow, where her signature aesthetic is beautifully on display. “My general design style is to marry beautiful vintage and heirloom pieces with modern amenities to create timeless, functional homes,” she states. “With each room, I chose a few elements to be the star and designed around those elements. Often, it’s an architectural feature or a piece of furniture that’s lived an already extensive life and adds history to a space. These spatial anchors allow me to get creative with how I pull together not only the room but each room into the entire house as well.”