Homegrown Business: SAMM European Design with Swantje Macke-Monteiro

We had the chance to catch up with Swantje Macke-Monteiro about what she does at SAMM European Design.

“As a sustainable interior designer, I draw inspiration from nature – creating spaces that balance functionality, aesthetics and budget. I also tailor designs to work with what clients already own, sourcing additional items from local, vintage, or antique shops. My design approach is influenced by my international background, having lived across Europe from England to the Canary Islands and Germany before settling in Canada in 2005.”

SAMM European Design

What is your business called and what does it do?

My business is SAMM European Design and I am a sustainable interior designer. I draw inspiration from nature – creating spaces that balance functionality, aesthetics and budget. I also tailor designs to work with what clients already own, sourcing additional items from local, vintage, or antique shops. I offer interior design with eco-options, 1-day makeovers, colour consultations and personalized shopping services.

What made you want to do this work?

I am passionate about the environment, sustainable living and design. It’s also fun and satisfying finding eco-friendly solutions and upscale green designs to organize their homes and update décor. I put a green twist by reusing and repurposing their items!

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

When people want to redecorate their homes on a budget, I help by creating new interior spaces by reusing items in a new way. I always keep environmental considerations in mind while balancing functionality and aesthetics.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Anyone who wants a new look while keeping their environmental impact low! You can have an elegant space without compromising green living.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

I provide design consultations with space planning and colour themes that reuse or repurpose the homeowner’s items as much as possible. I also provide a personalized shopping service for furniture, accessories and art pieces to tie in the new look.

Where in Calgary can we find your profession?

Due to the pandemic, I do some consultations via video call or Whatsapp, but I am finding people are starting to feel comfortable again with face-to-face meetings. The bulk of my clients are in Calgary but I also travel outside the city limits. Love the challenge of an acreage!

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

How will you update my home with a new look on a budget while keeping most of my own stuff?
My eye for colour, patterns and layout will give your house a makeover. I will transform rooms by either changing the colour scheme or adding a few new items in the right places.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part is seeing the reaction to the transformations. Being able to highlight forgotten heirlooms and giving them a new chance to shine is always very satisfying. The worst part is when clients have the wrong expectations of what can be done or are too stuck in their old style.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

As an eco-designer, people often assume that I will turn up with incenses sticks and a singing bowl!

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

I love Orgalifoods. They offer delicious + nutritious home-cooked meals delivered to your door.