Great interior design is often about marrying style with livability – for Zillow Digs Designer of the Month Garrison Hullinger, that passion turned into an unexpected full-time career.
A former member of Gap, Inc.’s corporate project management team, Hullinger traded in his high-tech laptop for a swatch book nearly eight years ago to start Garrison Hullinger Interior Design in Portland. We sat down with Hullinger to find out what life as a self-made designer is really like.
Zillow: What inspired you to give up corporate life to become an interior designer?
Hullinger: I’ve always been a serial remodeler, even before I knew what a “house flipper” was. While working for the Gap, I would remodel my own homes to move up in the San Francisco economy. One day my real estate agent turned to me and said, “You know you can do this with other people’s money right?” It had never occurred to me before that moment that I could actually make design a full-time job.
Zillow: Where do you find inspiration?
Hullinger: My first stop when I travel is an architectural salvage place. I love finding new pieces that can bring a little flavor to a home.
Zillow: Currently, your most popular photo on Zillow Digs is a peaceful bedroom with an elegant built-in fireplace. What was the vision for this project?
Hullinger: The homeowners were enamored by the movie “Something’s Gotta Give,” starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, and wanted that classic East Coast feel. We worked with the builder to create a custom built-in piece that allows the tech-savvy owners to stay plugged in without overwhelming the room. The finished result speaks serenity and calm after a stressful day.
Zillow: What do you predict will be the hot interior design trend for 2013?
Hullinger: Grey-washed wood floors that have natural oil on them. Dark, ebony floors just require too much upkeep.