The senior interior design manager at Earl Swensson Associates (ESa) in Nashville, Tenn., shares the design trends on his radar and some of his favorite activities.

What drew you to a career in interior design?

My grandfather was a contractor, my father drew residential floor plans all the time, and my brothers and I always played with blocks and Legos. As a teenager, I became aware of residential design and had every intention of pursuing that path until I went to college and learned about commercial design. I decided to switch to commercial because it seemed like there were more job opportunities.

What was your first healthcare project?

The Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tenn. I was the junior interior designer. Ironically, we are working on this project again right now, expanding the adult emergency department and adding two floors of medical/surgical patient rooms.

What design lesson did you learn on that project that you still carry with you today?

Healthcare design needs to be modern and fresh, yet classic and timeless at the same time because healthcare interiors may change only every 10-15 years.


Three healthcare projects you’ve worked on in the last year and your role

1 AdventHealth Apopka, Apopka, Fla., senior interior design manager.

2 Floyd Medical Center, Rome, Ga., senior interior design manager.

3 Jupiter Medical Center, Jupiter, Fla., senior interior design manager.


On trends in healthcare design

Thumbs up: I’m a huge advocate for tasteful—and somewhat subtle—biophilic design.

Thumbs down:  I think wood-look products serve a purpose, but they’re overused. There are so many other appropriate and beautiful visuals available today. I’m currently gravitating toward abstract and textile visuals.


As a judge for the 2021 Nightingale Awards competition, were there any product design trends you noted? 

When it comes to patient room seating, it needs to be intuitive and simple. It shouldn’t take 27 steps for a recliner to actually recline.

What needs would you like to see addressed through product design?

I love having technology incorporated into some products, but what happens when that technology changes? We have to think long term, while also embracing today’s needs. It’s definitely a dance.


Three unexpected items on your desk

1 Gold-colored office accessories.

2 IIDA clock, which was a gift for serving on the Tennessee chapter board.

3 “Colorstrology” book, which was a gift from my dear friend Natalie Jones.


Outside the office, you’ll likely find me

Eating dinner with friends.


What’s a hobby you’ve picked up during the pandemic?

Easing into my morning instead of jumping out of bed.


Dog or cat?


Coffee or tea?

Hot tea.

Morning person or night owl?

A little bit of both. I’m at the gym by 5:00 a.m., and I go to bed around 10:30 p.m.

Fiction or nonfiction?

I prefer personal growth/leadership books.

How did you make your first dollar?

I had a walking paper route on the square in my hometown of Oxford, Miss. I absolutely loved it! I got to know many of the businesses and people. This experience as a teenager helped develop my social and networking skills tremendously.

Your go-to karaoke song

Ha! I haven’t done karaoke in forever, but I think the last time, it was Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did It Again.”

First album you ever bought

“Lemon Parade” by Tonic.

Cocktail of choice

I love a spicy Bloody Mary.

If you weren’t an interior designer, you would be …

A stylist/writer/graphic designer for a residential interior design magazine.

You have an irrational fear of …

Flying, even though I’ve done it a thousand times.

Last time you danced?

In January 2020 when the band Party on the Moon was the entertainment at a client’s gala for breast cancer research.

Last game you played?

What Do You Meme?


Favorite …

Quote “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”—American author Melody Beattie.

Movie character Uma Thurman as “The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo” in “Kill Bill.” She is not to be messed with!

Band/musical artist I still love Dave Matthews Band.

Color Green.

Guilty pleasure Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

App/website Text Art and Unfold.

Social media outlet Instagram.

Ice cream flavor Salted caramel.

Sport NCAA Southeastern Conference football.

Team Mississippi State.

Hobby Creating content for my Instagram stories (happy birthday posts, motivational quotes, etc.)

Book “The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile.

City to visit Chicago. I love the food and the architecture. And the people are top-notch!