Designer Spotlight: Ellen Firn

Ellen’s love for design started early, before she even knew it really—a childhood mesmerized by Legos, Constructs, clay building, drawing and Lite Brite were the start of what has turned into an accomplished and eclectic career in design. 

In school, Ellen developed interests in math, world languages, and psychology which later blossomed her curiosity about design and the connected elements within. Her junior year in college she started working for Benjamin Moore paint company. It was there her joy for helping clients select interior finishes like wallpapers and paint colors was ignited. 

Filled with new inspiration, she enrolled in and completed the Interior Design program at Illinois Institute of Art (AI). From there she built her resume in both sales and design before joining the Everything Home team in 2016. Ellen’s wealth of well-rounded experience and natural design talent shines in helping clients to achieve interiors beyond their dreams.

Ellen Firn

Getting to know Ellen…

What made you want to pursue a career in design?

Intrigued by the psychology of different personality types (specifically Enneagram) and environments that best support individual emotions, a career in interior design seemed like a great place to help people live their best life. Being an Enneagram 9 myself, I enjoy learning different points of view, coupled with patient listening skills I strive to fully understand a client’s needs and goals to deliver ultra-satisfying design. As a “self-preservation” Enneagram 9 specifically, I am very affected by my own environment—lighting, comfort, and surroundings impact how I thrive and I am able to translate my awareness for supportive environments to create comfortable living for my clients. I enjoy what I do and the psychology behind helping others through intentional design. 

What inspires your design style most?

First, I take in my clients wants, needs, ideas, how they live, and things that are important to them into consideration. 

Second, I have to feel how the house speaks to me. The architecture and layout are important features in determining design opportunities to ensure that the house feels natural and appropriate when the project is complete.

Third, my personal experience, creativity, and flair of course inspires every project I touch. I really like balanced spaces and classic touches. Nail-head trim, architectural sketches for artwork, tufted finishes, timeless details, and unexpected elements are some of my fav! I value transformative spaces and multi-use design too. Reimagining floor plans is one of my favorite challenges to tackle when designing. Borrowing underused space to create enhanced living elsewhere is invigorating to me.

All three of these components are critical in my opinion to complete the design puzzle.

What is one of your favorite EH Design projects to date?

One of my favorite design projects to date is the Eagle Creek Home Transformation. The client knew they wanted a peaceful, restful, natural feel but wasn’t sure what they didn’t like about the layout or what changes they wanted to occur. I was able to pinpoint the issues the client was having to help them realize their dream design. The kitchen in particular felt small and dark to them, but they hadn’t considered expanding it because they didn’t see that as a possibility before. I was able to help them see how space could be borrowed from other parts of the home to increase the kitchen size, without sacrificing other room uses. By adding a window to the kitchen and a softer paint palette we were also able to increase light in their space. Helping people achieve their home goals through means they didn’t realize were even possible is an awesome part of my job!

What is your current favorite design trend?

I am really loving all of the natural wood tones right now. One of my favorite applications recently has been a simple clear coat on natural alder cabinetry, spotlighting the very interesting grain of this species versus a more subtle maple cabinetry. Oaks are also resonating with me right now, in a light neutral tone versus golden oaks which have fallen out of fashion.

The return of wallpaper is another trend I am excited for, I think this comeback is going to be around for quite a while with the latest product development. You no longer have to worry about wallpaper damaging walls and can have fun whether you choose a timeless design or bold patterns and textures.

In my free time, you can find me…

Playing sports! Volleyball, soccer, tennis, pickleball, tossing a football or any ball-related sport really. Being outside is my happy place during the day followed by a cozy evening watching tv after. One of my favorite shows right now is Project Runway—I enjoy the creative and technical aspects of what they do and how it is similar to interior design.

My current favorite item available at the new EHD store is…

One of my favorite pieces in the store right now is a fun chaise (pronounced “shayz” if you’re curious!) because it is unique and inviting, making people want to sit on it. Not a chair or a sofa, this backless bench can sit in the middle of the room if you have a larger room that needs to be segmented to separate spaces. It is a flexible piece that can be used in front of low windows too, which provides seating without cutting off a view. You could also use it in entertaining spaces, like a basement, with a cocktail drink table nearby for a great conversation space—a handy spot for visiting with a friend. I just love it!


To learn more about Ellen, check out her many fabulous Houzz reviews, like this one:

“Ellen took our original house design from our architect and made changes that turned our house into our home! Her knowledge of the software was amazing to us and made it so easy for the architect and builder. Ellen understood our lifestyle and made our home to fit it. Plus, she made it beautiful!” -Cherri

To get started working with Ellen, click here!

Ellen Firn review

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