Samantha Leffel grew up just outside of Chicago and was interested in art and creative endeavors as far back as she can remember. As a child she constantly rearranged her bedroom, and in high school she dug into photography as a creative outlet and even won a local award! During the summer, she used her talents as an arts and crafts counselor for a local day camp.
“I feel incredibly grateful to have had the consistent support of my parents from a young age, who prioritized my education and travel, and also bought me a new fancy crayon set every now and again.”
Samantha received her BA from CU Boulder in 2005, where she studied Classical History, including art, architecture and literature. Upon graduation, she began working for Anthropologie in Chicago. In her 12 year career with Anthropologie, Samantha led several creative teams in locations from Chicago to Colorado, Seattle to Portland, and even Western Canada. As a visual director, she led multiple store openings including merchandising, furniture placement, fixture building and display installations. Upon leaving Anthropologie, she felt a constant pull to continue her creative endeavors. Realizing the recent boom in interior design, she decided she could bring her talents into the interior design world.
Samantha had been teaching Yoga and held leadership positions at CorePower Yoga when COVID struck. She lost her full-time job with CorePower and decided now would be the perfect time to pursue additional education. She found Heritage through a friend who had several friends graduate from the Fundamentals program and had wonderful things to say about the school. After learning that Heritage has deep roots in the Pacific Northwest, a place she holds dear, she was convinced she had found the right place for her! Samantha met with a Denver team member and scheduled a tour of the campus; she immediately felt at home and was excited to dig in.
“With the Covid pandemic restricting the way we interact with the world, coming to Heritage has been such a bright spot; I’ve been able to meet and connect with like-minded folks and feel the amazing support of the staff. I am incredibly lucky to be learning under Catherine, who has had such a wide variety of experience and continues to hold high standards for all of us, while making the learning process approachable. Each member of the Heritage staff has had a hand in supporting my growth and I feel so lucky to have found a place where I can reach out for help at any moment and feel invested in.”
Traveling has always provided Samantha with inspiration, and although that is on pause for now, she continues to look back at photos from recent trips to Iceland and Prague to help inform and inspire color and architectural decisions.
When Samantha graduates from Heritage, her initial goal is to become a designer with an established firm. She loves learning from others, especially those who are successful in the field she is hoping to become accomplished at herself. She likes to bring whimsy vibes and a lot of texture to her designs and looks forward to finding a firm that will embrace that. Her BIG dream includes living abroad in London and designing her own furniture and accessories.
“That might be a few years off but if I’ve learned anything this past year it’s that anything is possible, so I might as well dream big!”