Stacy Elliston and Kellie Sirna

August 14, 2017
Stacy Elliston and Kellie Sirna

How did you meet?
Stacy Elliston: A mutual acquaintance and designer introduced us in 2011. We were both at a crossroads in our career and open to just about anything. The more we met, the more we realized we complemented each other in our strengths and were very in line with the priorities and goals of a firm. It didn’t take many additional meetings for us to say, ‘Let’s do it.’

Early memories of working together?
SE: We still laugh about our first office. We were subleasing a few hundred square feet of space from a manufacturer rep friend with three desks, a layout table, and the smallest library you’ve ever seen. Considering we are about to double our 1,950-square-foot office space, which will represent our third expansion, we can’t believe where it all started six short years ago.

Kellie Sirna: We are currently on our fourth renovation and our team has grown to over 40.

A wallcovering behind the guestroom bed features a historical city map overlaid with a current version in Le Méridien Indianapolis.

Big break?
KS: Our Best Western Premier Petion Ville in Haiti. It was such a special project in how we could approach the design, join the community, and tell some amazing stories.
SE: It truly put us on the map.

Firm motto?
KS: Stacy and I always bring completely different perspectives, but we tend to align on the important things, like retaining our creative talent, working really hard and playing really hard, and we both feel strongly about not only giving back as a firm, but also supporting our designers to have the time to give back to the charities that they feel compelled to support.

The nautical-themed Southlake, Texas location of East Hampton Sandwich Co.

What are each other’s strengths and weaknesses?
SE: We really are yin and yang. Kellie enjoys and leads the areas of running the firm that don’t come as naturally to me (business development, marketing, PR, etc.). I enjoy the more tactile elements of the firm—scheduling, budgeting, proposals, behind the scenes stuff. We are both very involved in the day-to-day of each project with the team and determine who will be principal-in-charge based on what seems to be a natural migration to a client or project.

The bar at the Yard restaurant in the Sheraton Austin.

Tell us about your design process.
KS: Our process is really tailored to the individual client’s needs and the scope of the projects. We have four incredibly talented teams, but we are still small enough that Stacy and I are able to be involved in every project at different levels.

Project you are looking forward to?
KS: We can’t wait to showcase our upcoming Thompson Hotel work in Dallas. We also have some cool projects we can’t talk about quite yet, and that is killing us.

The Sheraton Austin’s rustic lobby is outfitted with blue-gray tones and wood accents.

Biggest challenge of owning your firm?
SE: The biggest challenge is finding talent. Everyone is so incredibly busy. We’re all in the same boat to try to fill positions.

Biggest challenge about your partnership?
SE: Being in town at the same time. We have many partner meetings over email.
KS: Getting the time to sit down and talk. We are typically racing in opposite directions. As for Stacy, I wouldn’t do this craziness with a single other person on this planet.

latest In-Depth