We’re welcoming Bria Hammel back to the blog today (did you catch this gorgeous home tour she designed back in September?!). Bria is one of those boss babes who seems to flourish when she has a million things happening—and oh, does she juggle them beautifully… from leading a team of 16 in her design firm to the recent launch of her online shop, Brooke & Lou, to motherhood. Having mastered all of that, we of course, had to invite her to be a Haven Maven. Get cozy and get ready to be inspired in our interview with Bria, including imagery from homes she has transformed.
What did you do before becoming an interior designer and how did Bria Hammel Interiors come to life?
I went to school for interior design, so it’s been my passion for a long time! I started off working for other design firms, and gained invaluable knowledge about the design industry, client relations, and more so how to run a business. Once I settled down and started a family, I decided I wanted to add flexibility to my life. I didn’t necessarily want to work less, I just wanted to be able to be a mom, be present in my children’s lives, and work as hard as I could at the same time.
How would you describe your design style?
I’ve always been a traditionalist. I love to play with color and always appreciate a feminine approach to design.
What is your #1 goal when crafting a beautiful space for a client?
When we can design a room that is both beautiful and functional, that is a win win for us. It’s so important for our spaces to feel livable. I love a beautiful formal space, but most of our clients want to really live in their homes. Even the clients with the most elegant of taste now have rooms that are ready for entertaining and relaxing in.
What is a typical day in the life of BHI?
I don’t know if there is such a thing anymore! It’s not uncommon to be traveling somewhere, a photoshoot going on in a clients home, a presentation in the conference room, and someone gushing over a beautiful design being pulled together on our studio working tables. There are 16 of us here now, so there is never a dull moment in the studio.
You have such an amazing team! What advice do you have for others who are making their first hire?
You have to be ready to trust someone, and help them grow. As a designer it can be very difficult to let go of some creative direction, or an aspect of the business that you have had full control over, but it’s the only way to grow a team! I am a strong believer in leading by example, trusting, and giving grace to allow for mistakes and the learning moments my team makes from them.
You recently launched a gorgeous new shop, Brooke & Lou, in addition to running BHI and being a mama. How do you balance life so beautifully?
I’ve been saying for a while now that I threw balance out the window. My businesses, my kiddos, they all require attention at different times. Sometimes I just have to stop what I’m doing and jump to what needs me in that moment. Sometimes I can mix and do more than one of them at the same time, like taking my children on buying trips, spending an extra day in the city I might be meeting with a vendor in to meet with a client… etc. We have so much support from family and friends, I take every day one at a time!
If you could design only ONE room for an entire year, which one would it be and why?
This is a tough one, but I would say the kitchen. We can infuse so much creativity into kitchens now, and really tailor the space to be a perfectly designed custom room for our client, which is really when I feel like I have done my best work.
What advice would you give your younger self in your first year of business?
Don’t always compare yourself to others. Everyone is moving at different speeds and most of us have the same struggles as the next person. Keeping blinders on to give me that laser sharp focus I have now learned would have saved me a lot of sleepless nights.
Any tips for growing a flourishing Instagram community?
Engagement! Followers are important, but GREAT ENGAGING followers is even more so. I would rather have 25,000 dedicated loyal followers that will share our work, ask questions, and connect than 250,000 followers that aren’t that interested in what we have to say.
If you had to use only ONE paint color throughout a home, what hue would it be?
A creamy white. It’s not sterile, but works with all color schemes!
Instagram account(s) you’re currently crushing on:
I love seeing new architecture, and @the_fox_group_ designs the most beautiful homes!
Current favorite book and/or podcast:
Favorite piece from Brooke & Lou:
I’m in love with the Lawrence Chairs. They are unique, the seats are wipeable, and they had so much texture to a space.
Favorite beats usually playing in your studio:
Every day the music is different in the studio, but everyone knows if a classic Whitney Houston song comes on I’m stopping everything to sing.