Shoptalk - Wendy O’Brien

What was the “a-ha” moment you knew you wanted to be an interior designer?

I was at a major crossroads in my life and had been working for an architectural firm in Los Angeles as an office manager. One of the interns invited me to a designer showcase at the Batman mansion. Well, when I walked inside and saw how beautiful and well thought out all the rooms and furnishings were, I was hooked!

In your earlier professional life you were both a professional musician and a fashion designer, how did these creative pursuits influence your approach to interior design?

I’m always digging deep to create something unusual and beautiful no matter the discipline. Both music and fashion design prepared me to stretch my imagination and allowed me the opportunity to try new things and express myself. Also, designing clothing and understanding how a piece is constructed and eventually takes form, directly relates to envisioning and bringing spaces to life.

Which section of your portfolio are you most proud of?

It takes years to build a portfolio. So I am always really proud that each new project allows me to add another layer and the opportunity to show a broad range of styles. Face Rock Vacation Beach home is the latest addition to my portfolio, and I love the blend of Mid-Century with classic laid back beach style.

Do you have an inspiration board, and can you tell us what is inspiring you now?

I don’t have an inspiration board per se, but as designer I am exposed to so many new products, fabrics, lighting and furnishings every single day, which is so inspiring. I’m loving the influx of modernized Art Deco patterns, lightly textured and geometric tiles. I’m also glad to see the return of saturated, dramatic colors (eg dark teal blue, seaweed green) in surface materials and cabinetry. Be it subtle or bold, these evoke emotion and that is what interior design is all about for me…creating environments for your every mood.

If you enter a room what is the first thing you pay attention to?

Lighting is a big one for me! I also look at the architecture and the flow of the space. Is it working? If not, why? I always love the challenge to improve a space and make it architecturally interesting and a place you want to spend time in. When designing for my clients I also pay very close attention to how they want to use each room, their needs and lifestyle.

What are your favorite products to work with, e.g. paints, wallpaper or textiles and which designers do you admire?

I have always had a passion for textiles, which I learned early on from my mother. Fabrics are usually the one element in a room that we literally touch or come in contact with every day. I absolutely love pulling together beautiful combinations of textures, patterns that tell a story in each room and feel great! I really admire Kelly Wearstler’s bold approach to design. Her use of classic materials juxtaposed with modern lines and sculptural shapes inspires me to take risks.

Treasured keepsake? My great grandmother’s silver hairbrush and hand mirror set.

Favorite era of design? French Renaissance and Art Nouveau.

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