Apart from Ordinary: A Q&A with Jill Ornelas

August 3, 2016
by The Finished Space

Jill Ornelas is a remarkable interior designer who is living out her childhood dream, and helping others create theirs. From the great state of Texas, Jill is the well-deserved winner from week four of our #CaptionMetrieContest on Instagram.

“My father was a contractor, so I grew up in the building business,” Jill said. “When I was a girl, I remember ‘furnishing’ imaginary homes for imaginary clients from my grandmother’s Montgomery Ward catalog.”

Jill Ornelas, of Ambiance Interior Design, opens up about her career as a designer on The Finished Space.

While Jill went to college in South Carolina and O’More College of Design in Franklin, Tennessee, she was able to get some hands-on training as well.

“I was fortunate to have valuable experience when I was in school and after graduating,” she said. “I worked for commercial interior design firms and learned hands on, about schedules, delivery and installation. I think that’s critical for people learning design.”

But it was a trip to North Carolina that really inspired her.

“When I lived in South Carolina, I visited the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC,” offered the designer. “That fabulous property sparked an admiration of great design.”

At one point, Jill had a retail home furnishings store for a few years, but now she devotes most of her time to helping others with their design projects.

The Client’s Dream is Her Vision

It’s the goal of most interior designers to create a space that makes their client happy. With design styles constantly changing within the industry and changing personal styles; it can be difficult for homeowners to pin-point exactly what they’re looking for. This is Jill’s specialty.

A sleek bathroom designed by Jill Ornelas of Ambiance Interior Design.

“I’m a firm believer in design accomplishing the dreams of the occupants of the space,” explained Jill. “I’ve never been one to have a signature style. I want to help my client achieve their dreams.”

Rather than altering ideas to suit her own style and forte, Jill works outside of her comfort zone to make sure the client gets exactly the room that they imagined.

Apart From Ordinary

But Jill recently worked on a new construction home for a couple in which she drew that plans for and it is a space that allowed her to reflect her own style while really meeting the needs of her client.

“It is contemporary in the country,” she explained. “The plan is simple with details to the inhabitants’ lifestyle with attention to nice materials. As my husband and I age, the simple things become more and more important to us—a fabulous space with minimal clutter.”

A modern living room designed by Jill Ornelas of Ambiance Interior Design.

She has even fulfilled her design dream. She restored a 100-year-old home in her hometown of Nacogdoches, TX, for her and her husband to live in.

Jill notes that some of her favorite spaces are kitchens and bathrooms, as she finds excitement behind the possibility of all the different and fabulous materials that are available.

She’s a Little Bit Rock and Roll

Like we do with all our winners, we asked Jill which celebrity she’d most like to design a room for, and we’re still humming a tune from her answer.

“I admire Donny Osmond,” she admitted. “I’m a child of the 70’s, and he was my first love. I actually got the chance to meet him a couple years ago, and I got to tell him how much I admire that he has retained his faith, morals and values throughout his fame.

“Donny and his wife actually endorse some interior furnishings lines,” she added. “I have seen some of the pieces at market and admire their style. Designing a dressing room or retreat for him in Vegas would be a blast.  And I think he’d be fun to work for.”

If you want to know more about Jill, check out her website Ambiance: Residential & Commercial Interior Design. You can also see her winning caption in the comments of this image below:


A photo posted by Metrie (@officialmetrie) on

Thanks again to all of our participants for their creative ideas in #CaptionMetrieContest. Stay connected for more exciting feature blog posts coming soon.

Want to take a look at our past winners? Check out previous features: