Shoptalk | Garrison Hullinger

Q: What is something that has inspired you the most this year?

GH: Our clients are so inspiring to me—many of them work with us to update their spaces, and they are not chasing after trends. They are looking for unique and exciting ways to make their home a better place to live. We are challenged to find a way to benefit our clients’ lifestyle and make it beautiful. It’s a lot of fun.

Q: How are you pushing yourself out of your comfort zone?

GHI continue to work closely with my design team to establish better mechanisms and design theories in creating experiential design elements that really connect with people. Now that we are working with hospitality and multifamily clients, our designs play an important role in telling a story and we have to come up with innovative ways to tell that story to the inhabitants.

Q: What color/pattern/texture/style are you currently obsessed with?

GH: I recently had the opportunity to tour an 1883 hotel that has not been occupied since 1970. The wall coverings throughout the corridors were surprisingly on trend, with a warm undertone of bronze and olive tones in a textural repeating pattern.

Q: Advice I wish I had at the start of my career:

GHFailures lead to success. I have to remind myself and my management team that sometimes a fail point leads us to an opportunity to improve our finished product. As a business owner, I have to trust my staff immensely and at the same time, we’re asking our clients to trust us. If we can be vulnerable and transparent about a mistake it’s easier to get to the solution.

Q: What led you to interior design?

GHAfter years of remodeling and decorating homes a life-changing event brought me to interior design. I suffered a traumatic brain injury and during the five years of recovery, an occupational therapist recommended we include remodeling as a therapy component. Upon arriving in Portland, my husband and I worked on updating our home in the Historical Irvington Neighborhood. We gave our home a bold and contemporary look that was not expected in a Craftsman Foursquare. The project was featured in many publications, and neighbors and friends began to hire me to help update their spaces. I used the lessons I learned while developing retail systems and technology when I embarked on my new career: you can accomplish anything with a great idea and a staff that surpasses your talent.

Q: What’s on the boards for you this coming year?

GHEach year seems to become more exciting for us as we take on more unique residential projects as well as interesting and challenging commercial projects. While the rest of the company has grown, our small residential team has been led by the same few designers for many years. We have developed a process that draws out the defining desires of our clients. We’ve been working on a modern ranch property that is being designed around the homeowners’ extensive art collection. We’re also thrilled to be designing a new winter ski-resort with a conference center. Our design teams are coming up with concepts and design for the 395 guest rooms, 65 private residences, conference center, and three restaurants and bars.

Q: As a designer, what I admire most in a room is:

GHCreating a room that is comfortable to sit and catch up with a couple of friends in but is also able to comfortably hold twelve people gathered for a party can be a design challenge. When done correctly, you don’t notice the room being out of scale for either group.

Q: I can’t start my day until:

GHI’m lucky to have my day start each morning with my husband making a pot of french press coffee. Once we have our coffee, we sit in our living room and watch the neighborhood come to life while watching the sunrise over Mt Hood.

Q: What’s your signature touch in your home?

GHMixing patterns and colors in a room gives me such joy. In my own home, I love to go beyond blending complementary colors and having the colors relate in a triad manner on the color wheel.

Q: Now that your work has expanded to include hospitality and your team has grown accordingly, how has this changed your own perspective on design?

GHI have worked really hard to recruit talented designers with a great depth of hospitality design acumen. The team I have assembled combines many disciplines and my task is to ensure we are continuing to acquire new and exciting projects for this talented team. We’re fortunate that we’re designing in 3D programs and I’m able to quickly make decisions based on scale and volume of the large spaces we’re designing.

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