Amy Finchem Conley is the Founding Principal & Director of Design at TILT 23 Studios, a full-service, ‘ground-up’ high-end custom residential design firm. She is a multi-disciplinary designer and community advocate dedicated to improving the culture of – and breaking down barriers within – the industry. Recognized as a pathbreaker, Amy’s 26-year career includes professional and community service, high-level project development, and entrepreneurial innovation, for which she has already received numerous accolades. She was named by Las Vegas Weekly as one of “13 People to Watch” in 2013; in 2014 she was honored by as one of the “Distinguished Women of Southern Nevada”; in 2016 she received the 18b Arts District service recognition award; and, more recently, she was selected as a finalist for the Women of Distinction award for Entrepreneurship in 2022 (NAWBO).
Design and Community Initiatives
While Amy gained invaluable knowledge and experience working at prominent architecture firms throughout the valley, it was the community mentors and collaborators along the way that most impacted her approach to design by centering the importance of values. Practicing commercial architecture in the Las Vegas valley when the “Great Recession” of 2007 hit, Amy and most of her industry colleagues were laid off for several years. Rather than sit idle, Amy founded the non-profit organization COLAB LV, which facilitated collaboration amongst local architects, artists, designers and city officials to bring grassroots, community projects to fruition. Working with local officials, she spearheaded the ‘Young Guns’ competition to recognize up-and-coming design professionals. COLAB also initiated the ‘Women in Architecture and Design’ exhibit and lecture series, which created a forum to discuss topics of equality and social justice, and provided space to celebrate women within the profession.
In addition to these design-and-community initiatives at COLAB, Amy volunteered for four years and provided pro bono design services to “Vegas Roots,” a Community Garden that once thrived in Downtown Las Vegas. It was through this professionally difficult, yet personally enriching, five-year period of community-based design work that Amy came to appreciate the question of “why.” Great architecture, she has come to believe, is more than the sum of bold and clever design choices. Great design centers around questions of value and purpose. Getting to the question of what a given project ‘wants to be,’ and why, has become the mantra of TILT 23’s design philosophy. Answering these questions means listening closely to each client’s wishes and aspirations, analyzing the particulars of each site location, and imagining how each of these considerations can be expressed through a singular design concept that is both timeless and fresh.
Design Philosophy and Firm Establishment
Amy has also come to believe that design greatness emerges from a team culture of goodness. Prior to founding TILT 23 Studios, Amy struggled in a ‘high-end’ office environment that was, frankly, misogynistic, underhanded, and joyless. Never one to turn away from injustice, she ultimately took a stand to promote fairness and decency on behalf of her female colleagues. Upon discovering the changes she fought for were ultimately more cosmetic than structural, falling far short of the workplace culture she was hoping to foster, Amy decided to leave the security of her senior position and go start her own firm. Fueled by her desire to create a dynamically creative, human-centered culture of collaboration around passionate design, she transformed her frustrations into the defining venture of her career: TILT 23 Studios.
Through the establishment of TILT 23, Amy now has an opportunity to grow the kind of professional culture she has long sought but struggled to find: a human-centered culture where each voice is taken seriously and where every member of the team is valued and empowered; a culture that embraces design professionals at the start of their careers, especially women who still struggle to rise in the industry, while providing exceptional quality of life opportunities. Achieving this level in her career, Amy is finally able to pay forward the mentorship she has received by fostering the next generation of design professionals. The future is brimming with possibility, but tomorrow cannot only be hoped for; it needs to be actively nourished and pursued with focused direction.
Design Services and Company Growth
Today, Amy is focused on leading a group of talented designers as they work closely with clients to craft high-end custom homes that are singular expressions of each project’s unique combination of client personality, aesthetic vision, and physical location. A big part of what makes TILT 23 Studios such an exceptional firm is the uniqueness of their deliverables. Amy’s is a “one-stop shop,” offering start-to-finish services that include the entire site design, exterior design, interior design, landscape design, and full house furnishings. The team will even hand-select artwork for the interiors, and for this reason Amy continues to develop relationships with artists all over the world. TILT 23’s clients do not need to hire several companies to realize their dream home because Amy’s firm offers a ground-up, ‘white glove’ process that aspires to be as seamless and holistic as the homes it designs.
The proof of Amy’s purposeful growth is in the pudding of TILT 23 Studios’ remarkable early success. Much excitement around the offices recently has centered on 2022 being the “times three” year. In only its third year of life as a company, TILT 23 tripled its projects and expanded from a staff of three to a team of nine talented design professionals. To accommodate this new growth the firm has moved from a cramped two-room sub-lease into a stunningly remodeled office that is three times the size of its current workspace. But most notably, TILT 23’s portfolio of high-end custom projects has also expanded “times three” from a single state, Nevada, to include projects in California, Utah, and Montana. Amy hopes to open offices in each of these three additional states, soon establishing TILT 23 as a regional luminary in the high-end residential home market.
With luxury, multi-million-dollar residential projects under design, and construction in premier locations throughout the western United States, TILT 23 Studios has managed to survive the pandemic and continue its upward trajectory. But Amy is not interested in growth for the sake of growth. She wants to build the top regional design firm, with purpose, on purpose.