Recently I wrote about my first job in Charlotte at Circa Interiors & Antiques. While I was finishing my design degree, I was thrilled to land an internship working for Cindy Smith and Jane Schwab. I will be forever indebted to these two ladies for taking me under their wing and teaching me the ins and outs of the Charlotte design community. In addition to being incredibly talented, these ladies are the perfect embodiment of the art of living graciously.
Jane Schwab is the quintessential hostess. She not only makes everything look effortless, but she also makes every event unique and fun beyond imagination whether it is a poolside seated dinner or a lively Easter Egg Hunt. I learned so many helpful entertaining tips from Jane…from creating beautiful tablescapes and arranging flowers to enjoying the details that enhance the event and making everyone feel welcome. I was delighted to interview her about her secrets to gracious living. Her interiors are an extension of how she lives her everyday life…They are welcoming, attainable, beautiful and incredibly charming.
When did you know you wanted to pursue design as a career and how did you get started?
I would rearrange furniture constantly as a little girl growing up in Ridge Springs, SC….not just at my own house but at friends’ houses as well!
I majored in Political Science at Converse College went on to get a Fine Art degree and Interior Design minor at the University of South Carolina. I took Continuing Education courses at Parsons School of Design while working for Marshall Schul in New York.
I had always loved Charlotte when I was traveling for work and when the opportunity arose to work at Circa, I was thrilled.
What is your creative process?
Most of my creative work takes place early in the morning or on weekends. I am always reading design and architecture books looking for the spark of an idea to ignite the creative vision.
How would you describe your style?
As a combination of pretty collected pieces with comfortable and traditional furnishings updated with an element of “now” through accessories and artwork.
What is your latest creative breakthrough?
I have always been a neutralist, but lately I have been incorporating more color into my work and have loved it!
What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?
Our book The Welcoming Home has really had an impact on our business. The friendly, attainable design has attracted many new clients that desire the same lifestyle. Our book tour and lectures across the country have brought us to a new audience. It has been a delight to connect with so many lovely people city to city.
What are your current projects?
I am working on a 1920s Tudor home in Connecticut, a waterside cottage in Maine, and a house in Jackson, Wyoming by architect Jonathan Foote who also designed our Jackson residence.
How would you like to be remembered?
That the experience was a positive one, no matter what it was.
Do you have any advice for budding designers?
Love what you do, be passionate, and connect with your niche.
Whose work do you admire?
Bunny Williams…Her ability to effortlessly combine styles and period and always create interiors that look and feel different. She is also unbelievably generous with her time , friendship, talent, and support.
Who would be your dream client and why?
One that you have a trusting relationship with that gives you the freedom to create, is open to new ideas, and is willing to get out of their comfort zone.
What is your dream vacation/ idea of bliss?
Saint Barths surrounded by dear friends and family.
What do you collect?
Objects made out of natural materials that also serve a purpose….white horn bowls and antler boxes.
What is your favorite color?
Robins’ egg blue
What is your favorite design trick?
Decide on a color and repeating it through the room for maximum impact.
Be sure to check out the Circa design blog for upcoming events in Charlotte and Birmingham as well as the launch of their upcoming Catbird Collection.