Swift Morris Interiors
1208 Washington St.
(201) 388-7602 (cell)
Photos by Victor M. Rodriguez
Walk into Carol Swift’s design studio, and you know you’re in the milieu—or maybe even in the mind—of a real artist. It has the wonderful clutter and crazy allure of a creative person who lives among the objects and emblems of her craft.
In this case: fabrics, swatches, rugs, antiques, prints, paintings, cubbyholes, books, baskets, curios, old computers, paperwork, and an old phone.
Carol did in fact go to art school. She’s been living in Hoboken since 1980 and started her interior design business in 1983 in the building she still occupies.
“I just did it,” she says. “It was organic.”
One of her clients is the novelist Anna Quindlen. “When she called me, I went over with one fabric,” Carol recalls. “Of course it was the perfect fabric. It’s so funny. You just get a vibe about what would work.”
Designing an interior is more than picking the right fabric. Carol says she has to know the lifestyle of the client, how he or she lives or wants to live.
“I love collaborating and doing things I’ve never done before,” she says.
It starts with knowing the function of the space. She’s designed a sewing room that is much more conducive to the art of sewing than just setting up a sewing machine in the back of some storage room. “From the function come the furnishings, the look, the color, the pretty things,” she says.
“To do the job right, you have to be interested in the client, interested in people in general, ask a lot of questions, which leads to coming up with the right thing for them.”
One client was not into home entertaining but loved reading. For that family, Carol suggested getting rid of the dining room altogether and turning it into a reading room. “I designed a big room with four chairs,” she says. “It was the best room in the house.”
Clients come back year after year. She designed a pink bedroom for the daughter of one client. When, a few years later, the girl decided that blue was her favorite color, Carol stepped in to make a blue bedroom. “I visit jobs I did years ago, and I still love them,” she says. “They stand the test of time.”
“I keep upgrading and changing things,” Carol says. “People don’t leave their homes untouched.”
Which is a good thing because one of the hardest parts of her work is a kind of separation anxiety that sets in when the job is complete. “We’ve been through this process together. We’re done for now, but I don’t want to say goodbye.”
She’ll probably never say goodbye to the business, but if she did switch careers, she’s identified the perfect dream job: naming paint colors.