Designer Profile: Emily Williams

Bold, unexpected, and always delightful home designs are Z Properties’ Emily Williams' hallmark

Emily Williams
(Image credit: Emily Williams)

With a spirited, unapologetic approach to design, Florida-based interior designer and entrepreneur Emily Williams has made a career out of fusing her business mind with her eye for beauty. 

Emily is the creative force behind successful Winter Park design-build firm Z Properties, where she and her husband, Zane, combine their singular strengths (he focuses on new-build construction; she’s in charge of design) to create unique, envy-inducing homes dripping with personality – so much so that the couple gives each one its own moniker. 'The Cover Girl' is ready for her close-up, while 'The Funky Fella' is bold and eclectic. 

We caught up with Emily to speak to her about her fearless interior design philosophy, what she’s dreaming up for the future, and what inspires the dynamic, playful homes she creates.

What's your specialty?

Living room with green sofas and central coffee table

(Image credit: Steve Allen Photography / Emily Williams)

In general, Z Properties is focused on new-build construction. My husband, Zane, handles the build side of each project, and I’m in charge of design. But we really feel the magic in our homes comes from our collaboration, incorporating the design into a project from the outset. It is important to be on the same page with each house from start to finish. We care so much about the final result, and we always want to end up with something that we love.

What is your process when approaching a new project?

Living room with glue sofa and console

(Image credit: Steve Allen Photography / Emily Williams)

It begins with the right client. The ideal partner is open-minded, creative, trusting, and enthusiastic. We love to engage in projects with clients who trust our vision, let us push the envelope, and allow the design process to evolve organically. First, Zane creates a floor plan and stylistic approach – I definitely offer feedback – and then we talk interiors, going room by room and always focusing on what the client wants. 

How would you describe your design style? 

Dining room with pink buffet

(Image credit: Steve Allen Photography / Emily Williams)

We strive to make each project unique. They might have a similar feel, but each client wants something different. Left to my own devices, however, I’ll always gravitate to designs that are super colorful, layered, and rich. I love to mix pattern and texture, and absolutely nothing is off the table. The more daring, fun, and unexpected, the better. I want to surprise and delight my clients with a bold, thoughtful design they never would have imagined on their own. 

What is your key design philosophy? 

Dining room with blue walls and brown chairs

(Image credit: Steve Allen Photography / Emily Williams)

The way you move through a Z home is very important to me. It should be an experience in every sense of the word – from the flow to the function to the feeling. Palette, pattern, precise details… Every element helps to create special, innovative spaces that people don’t want to leave. I want our homes to feel like five-star resorts. 

If you could go back in time and give yourself any advice, what would it be?

Living room with green sofa and blue accessories

(Image credit: Steve Allen Photography / Emily Williams)

I would tell my childhood self, not to worry – all the color and pattern and decor you crave now is coming in more abundance than you can imagine!

What's on the horizon for you and your firm?

Kitchen with gold backsplash

(Image credit: Steve Allen Photography / Emily Williams)

Winter Park is our sweet spot; we usually have ten or so projects going at a time, but I hope to branch out even more into other markets. I would love to design for non-Floridians who admire our aesthetic. Aspen is one of my favorite places, so designing a home there would be a dream. 

What else drives you?

I have become a serial entrepreneur. I also have a fine jewelry shop called  Be On Park (I strongly believe that fine jewelry should be worn and enjoyed every day – not just tucked away in a jewelry box for a special occasion, hence our mantra 'Exceptional Everyday Luxury'), an apparel, home goods, and gift store called The Grove, and a wedding registry, tableware, and home accessories store called  Clementine, all in Winter Park. 

The common thread is offering beautiful things and greater access to high design to our community. I have always wanted to create my own jewelry product line, and I’m excited that dream is coming true in the near future. Creating will always be my passion. 

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.