Pamela and her team create sophisticated interiors that are as functional as they are polished. Understanding the lifestyle of her clients is critical to her design process.
Pamela describes her style as a new traditionalist, and she shares her approach here.
1. What are the challenges balancing traditional architecture with modern design?
Pamela: I take my cues from overall design of the home and the wishes of the client. What’s going on inside should have some connection to the exterior architecture of the home or condo. The best way to update a traditional home when remodeling is to select simple clean lines in cabinetry, eliminate the decorative columns and keep the moulding simple.
Add clean classic lines for upholstery and partner with some great oversized abstract art.
2. Your clients especially love how you put the final touches into a room. What are some of your favorite accessories?
Pamela: Accessories can be the most difficult thing to get right in a room. As soon as we start a project, we start collecting accessories, so we end up with a mix that looks and feels like it has been collected over time.
Lately I have been doing more travel books geared toward my client’s interests, plants and flowers are a must. I love to find interesting pottery pieces in a variety of shapes.
3. What are some common mistakes clients tend to make that you help them avoid?
Pamela: Proportion, scale and the lines of the furniture are the most commons mistakes I see clients make when shopping for themselves. The front end part of the project is looking at the room on its own, what changes does it need to work better and we draft out a floor plan with each piece carefully measured to make sure the room not only looks good but functions well for how our clients intend to use the space.
When selecting the pieces for the room, I always ask “are they all going to the same party?” It is a fun way to look at your design and make sure there is a connection with everything.
4. You divide your family time between Virginia and Florida. What are some of your most cherished details in your own homes, and does climate and geography inspire you differently in those locales?
Pamela: Yes, I do divide my time between Florida and DC metro. Oddly I am always a little sad when I leave both of them. There are so many things to love about each one of them. In Florida there is a much stronger connection to living outdoors, I have great outdoor living spaces in Florida and eat outside the majority of the time. When designing in Florida, we spend a lot of time designing the outdoor spaces with a strong connection to the indoor spaces. I did a full renovation of our Florida home and eliminated both the formal dining room and living room, making the main living areas much more casual.
5. What is one of your favorite projects and why?
Pamela: My favorite project is hard because I have been fortunate to work on some wonderful homes with great clients. But if I had to choose it would be one we did in Mc Lean, Virginia about two years ago. We were brought in from the beginning and worked withe the architect and builder. It is the people that worked together on this project that made it my favorite . All of us worked seamlessly together to create the best design for our clients and how they live.
6. As a full service design firm, what part of the process is the most rewarding?
Pamela: Without a doubt, the “Big Reveal” is the most rewarding. When months of sometimes years of work are finally completed and the client walks in to a completed home, that moment is my favorite. We had a reveal of the entire first floor of a home last week and I so wished I had video taped it. Our homeowner literally jumped and down and said “ I can’t believe I live here”
Those finishing touches really make a room.
7. When do you decide to go soft and neutral and when to go bold?
Pamela: I let the clients drive that decision, whether it be verbally or from other cues I take from them. I look at their wardrobe from how they dress to what’s really in their closet. Not only for color but for details and style. We had a client once whose closet was almost entirely white jeans and more white but some blue and pink. Her house is predominately white with blue and pops of pink where it works.
8. What makes a good client?
Pamela: A good client respects the process and the profession and pays their bills on time. If I have those three ingredients from a client, myself and my team will really go the extra mile for them.
9. Which luxury touches do you most recommend for kitchen and bath remodels?
Pamela: Invest in good quality plumbing fixtures. Not only will the finish look better, it will wear better as well. A budget-friendly line that all plumbers like is Moen, easy to install, easy to get parts for and they stand behind there products. One of my favorites is Rohl great timeless style and design.
10. What new trends for 2020 do you most love?
Clean Lines and Curves, What’s old is new again. Curved sofas and other upholstery give a nod to 80s silhouettes but clean lines, minimal adornment and simple, textured fabrics provide a modern update.
Family Friendly Materials – in wall covering and fabrics will be strong. Perfect for families with young children or pets that also live on the furniture.
Dramatic Lighting- Mid-century influence will be seen in the lighting fixtures with black and brass frames going strong. Larger ceiling fixtures that fan out and cover more of the ceiling make a strong design statement. A clean white linen drum shade is still my go to, but custom lampshades are back and can add that perfect finishing touch to a room.
2020 is your year to update your home with the style you truly love that expresses your personality. If you love color and color makes you happy go for it. If you need a calm neutral space to come home Overall, I do see the trend changing from all gray and white interiors towards more color.
All photos courtesy of Pamela Harvey Interiors