Pamela Hope Designs
Pamela O’Brien is an award-winning, luxury interior designer, writer, and speaker. Prior to founding Pamela Hope Designs, O’Brien served as a spokesperson in media and public affairs. This experience provided O’Brien with opportunities to travel the world and connect with international leaders. This further fueled her lifelong passion for art, culture, and interior design. She agreed to be interviewed by Best Interior Designers and today, we’ll tell you all about it!
How did you get involved in the interior design Industry?
I discovered my love for design at the age of 12. I came home from school one afternoon to find my mother and her interior decorator had transformed our family living room. I remember thinking, “our house is beautiful!” I grew to love architecture and décor and I was obsessed with European art and culture. By the age of 21, I’d done the Grand Tour and lived in Italy and France—life-changing experiences that enriched my approach to design. After training with a well-known Manhattan designer and author, studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and completing a home-building course, I followed my passion by opening Pamela Hope Designs in 1999.
How would you describe your work style? Do you have any kind of signatures that help to identify your projects?
Our projects are unique to each client. For that reason, I can’t really point to a signature style. Each client, space, and selection is so personal – they become the inspiration. However, we do like to mix things up and add a bit of whimsy. That might mean adding a strong punch of unexpected color, eye-catching art, and a modern rug with an antique chest from a family’s collection.
Being in love with our work is always the key to achieving better results. Are you in love with this job? What do you love most about being an interior designer?
I love interacting with our clients and colleagues. I love collaborating with them to create spaces for them to live their lives, do their work, and spend their free time.
What is your philosophy on design and life?
Work hard and play hard! I’m a hard-working hedonist.
Keeping up to date on all the trends is essential for anyone who wants to conquer this market. In what ways do you keep current with new trends?
I am active in the local trade industry and frequent the many events we have in Houston. I read numerous design magazines and blog posts. I keep current with my continuing education requirements. I attend the High Point Furniture Market each fall and plan to add the European Markets such as Maison et Object and Milano Salone soon.
How would you describe your personal decorating style?
I love beauty, comfort, and function. I believe spaces can be beautiful and easy to maintain at the same time. I like my home to be photo-worthy most of the time so I select surfaces that work with me rather than against me. I love art, history, and antiques so it’s important to me to mix new items with old ones. I adore having family heirlooms in my home. Sometimes I use them as they originally were and other times I update them. Great Aunt Hildegard’s vanity stool can be charming painted black and reupholstered with a dalmatian print!
How important is a perfect chemistry between you and your clients to achieve the best results?
We tend to have lovely clients. We like to have a good working relationship with everyone on the team as well. That’s extremely important to me. It’s best to work with people who you like working with and who like working with you. Otherwise, it becomes a chore. We are good team players and we play by the rules. We attend meetings, we do what we say, we meet our deadlines and we communicate clearly and often. Thus, our jobs tend to run smoothly and that makes everyone happy.
Do you have a favorite project or a favorite story about one of your projects?
We recently completed a project for a historic property in our city. It is a prominent location, used for various events and fundraisers as well as a private residence. The last time it was decorated was in the ’80s so it was ready for a refresh. We felt it was important to preserve the collected and curated ambiance while bringing the home up to date. The end result is charming with pieces of history sprinkled throughout – antique furnishings with fresh fabrics, preserved antique rugs on top of new flooring, contemporary lighting in traditional passageways. It’s already booked solid for the next holiday!
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