Eilyn Jimenez (formerly Eilyn Cueto) is the founder and creative director of Sire Design, a Miami-based international interior design studio specializing in bold and timeless residential, development and commercial interior design. Her love of both classic and modern design, merged with her passion for travel and adventure, has culminated in an ageless, daring and distinct style.
With a firm name incorporating the word “sire” for its royal significance, Jimenez believes that her role is to transform and breathe new life into each project, at the same time translating a client’s needs and desires into a beautiful, built environment.
Her design approach, deeply rooted in the modernist principles of design and architecture, leads her and her team to take an analytical approach to their interior work, while having an open-minded view of innovation. Jimenez and her 10-year-old studio create spaces that are stylistically and functionally everlasting, using premium materials and unparalleled craftsmanship.
From a young age, Jimenez saw herself as a future attorney and a judge, yet she spent most of her time redesigning and rearranging her room — constantly moving around furniture and décor. Growing up with a father in development (and, now, a husband also in the design industry, whom she met at Art Basel), architecture and design have always been part of Jimenez’s life. Jimenez sought to study business at the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica and, during her second year, discovered the architecture department, fell in love with the program’s offerings and switched her study focus. Following college, Jimenez was hired by a developer overseas and began working on private homes, offices, hotels and restaurants. After gaining this hands-on experience, Jimenez began working at a showroom in Miami, where she assisted in the furnishing process for celebrity clients.
Ultimately, Jimenez wanted to focus on the design process more exclusively and opened Sire Design. Jimenez thrives on exploring how architecture and design can impact the way people live and feel, how the design of a space can so significantly impact mood and ambiance and the ways in which design can dictate how a space is used. She has partnered with KidSanctuary Campus, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing a safe home for abused, abandoned and neglected children in Florida.
What is an analytical approach to interiors, and how do you implement this?
To us, taking an analytical approach to design means that we are structured, thoughtful and attentive, making sure that every element of every design is executed with perfection. We divide each of our projects into five phases to ensure we cover all necessary details and that the clients and design team have enjoyable experiences throughout the design process. We start with schematic design, which is the conceptual part of putting together the overall aesthetic of the project, showing clients a curated inspirational set of images of the direction their design is headed.
Then, the second stage is design development. Here we identify every aspect of the project, each millwork detail and all elements that make the project special. Once we complete that phase, we begin working on construction documents, which lay out all project details needed to actually get the project completed. We then move into purchasing, where we buy all the materials, finishes and furnishings for the project and handle all sourcing logistics. Last but not least is project management, where we continuously visit the project site to ensure the work is being done according to the plans, review any design detail with vendors, answer any questions from the construction team and problem-solve for anything that may arise.
Implementing this system in all of our work allows us to be impeccably thorough while organically providing a pleasing experience for our clients. The interior design process involves an overwhelming amount of information processing and decision-making, so if it’s not organized perfectly, it can become too much for the client and even our team. Following a strategic roadmap, where we are analytical at every step, has allowed us to complete each and every one of our projects successfully.
What trends are you seeing in the era of COVID-19?
I have noticed that the idea of big, open spaces is something of the past. Clients now want spaces to be defined and specifically designed for intended usage. Additionally, homeowners are now much more dedicated and interested in ensuring that every space in a home is designed beautifully and functionally, rather than only focusing on certain areas of a home.
Additionally, homeowners want furnishings and accessories with character, now more than ever — they want their homes filled with pieces that have a history behind them. Vintage pieces, found items and family heirlooms are definitely trending yet timeless. In this same vein, I am seeing a more “quality over quantity” attitude with homeowners when it comes to their spaces. They want things that will last, be easy to use and remain attractive.
Finally, outdoor spaces are now an area of heightened focus. While in this time period outdoor socializing is significantly safer, everyone is looking for gorgeous and well-designed outdoor areas that are ideal for entertaining comfortably. Many more people are looking to incorporate an indoor/ outdoor design into their homes, so while they are spending time indoors, they are connected with nature, and while they are spending time outdoors, they can move back-and-forth with ease.
Are clients paying more attention to interior design now that they’re spending more time at home?
Definitely! We have gained so many clients during this time period because people have realized the importance of having a home or office that meets all of their needs. People are now looking for spaces that act as a sanctuary, making them feel safe, calm and comfortable. They are seeking designs that will give their spaces personality, create a mood or vibe that reflects what they need of the space.
Does your approach differ between commercial and residential spaces?
We approach commercial and residential clients the same way regarding the process. The difference between the two is really in the goals of the client that we are working to meet. Residential clients want spaces that are much more personal, while commercial clients are looking for places designed logically and geared towards mass appeal. When you design a commercial space, you have to take into account different laws and assess the relevant community as a whole. In residential, you have to cater specifically to the lifestyle of your clients and their families.
How did Sire Design come about? Is it a rarity to have an all-female firm?
I founded Sire Design with the intention to prioritize timeless and cohesive design while fostering great designer-client relationships and providing enjoyable experiences for all parties involved in every project.
Our staff is currently all female, which is something that I love. It was not very common when I started Sire Design 10 years ago, but I am so pleased to see the structure becoming more popular now. There’s nothing like strong teamwork and women empowerment when creating strong and unique projects for our clients.