Photos c/o Kelly Christine
Claire Marie Zinnecker is the founder of Claire Zinnecker Design, a boutique interior design group based in Austin, TX. Claire is a firm believer that every space tells a story. Her unique style paired with her passion for clean, affordable design has become her design aesthetic’s trademark. She founded Claire Zinnecker Design in 2013 in order to combine her passions for residential and commercial interiors with her love for designing and making furniture, lighting and accessories.
Growing up I really wanted to be
Veterinarian or a rapper. When I found out that vets had to put animals to sleep and that I couldn’t take my rapping skills past karaoke I quickly changed my ambitions to becoming an architect.
My most-used emojiis are
Sparkles, girl raising hand, heart eyes, collision, and clapping hands.
My go-to order at a coffee shop is
An almond milk cappuccino. I can’t live without my caffeine.
I don’t know how I ever lived without
My dogs. They love me no matter what. Monte also gets me more than more humans do. Strange but true!
One thing people don’t know about me is
I’m left handed! I’m pretty proud of it. My brother, dad and both grandfathers are as well.
My real life hero is
My mom has always been my biggest fan. She has stayed strong and supportive for me from day one. I was incredibly sick when I was born and most didn’t think I would make it but she never gave up on me. She’s remained this way through all the ups and downs in my life.
What I love about my work is
I love being able to enter into someone’s life, learn about them and their story, then help to create a space specifically for them. Seeing people’s joy at the end of project brings me so much happiness. Being able to run my own schedule isn’t too bad either!
The hardest thing about my work is
Balancing life/work. I tend to veer towards the workaholic side of the spectrum and can burn out quickly if I don’t force myself to put away my phone and computer and recharge.
How I got started with my current career
I went to school for interior design and have been working ever since! I graduated without any job prospects (2009 – economy crash!) and never planned to start my own company but here we are and I couldn’t be happier about it.
My typical day looks like
Every day is different, but I always have to start with coffee. I have zero routine but I’m okay with that. I get up, make my coffee and check my emails. From there I either spend the morning answering emails/following up on clients or heading out to meetings. I get calls/emails/texts non-stop from all my projects, so my brain is constantly multitasking. Usually I spend most of the time in the car or in meetings so at the end of the day I still have quite a few hours of follow up. This is when I battle the workaholic side of me. I could easily work until 2 am but sometimes I know I need to set it aside and go on a run with the pups or grab drinks with a girlfriend. Balance!
I used to think success meant
Husband, kids, a comfortable income and pretty things (the American dream).
My current definition of success is
Finding joy in everything. Whether it be in my work, myself or my plans for the day I am trying to stay present and focus on all the positives in my life. No sense spending my life stressing about all the things out of my control.
An example of when I had to push through my insecurities
I feel like I do this all the time. From styling events to speaking engagements I like to challenge myself to try new things and see if I can conquer them. I spoke on a panel last month and did live podcast last week. I was terrified but it was actually easy and really fun!
I know my work/life balance is out of sync when
When I haven’t made time to work out 3 days in a row. Running or walking is my therapy. I can tell I am in need of it because I get snappy and dramatic. My mom is always like “hang up the phone and go for a run right now!”
The last time I created something I was proud of was
I’m currently finishing some cabins in Wimberley, Texas. It was a fast-paced project on a tight budget and everything fell into place easily. The property has an incredible history and I feel honored to be a part of giving it new life. I’m my toughest critic so if I can stand back and be satisfied with it I know I did well.
I wish I could tell my younger self
All those plans you’ve made? Forget about them because not one of them is going to happen the way you want. Let it go, you will be much happier with the way this life is.
The legacy I hope to leave is
That you can pursue your dreams, take risks and be successful without being married and having a second income. I know that sounds silly, but in Texas so many girls ask me if I’m married and tell me they are scared to start their own company if they are the only one bringing money to the table. Any time I start to stress about my next project I remind myself I can go back to a 9-5 at any time and I’m happier now than I ever was with a typical career.