Martha O’Hara Interiors is a full-service interior design firm that designs and furnishes homes from inspiration to flawless outcome. With studios in both the Twin Cities and Austin, Texas, the team has earned a reputation for creating classically beautiful spaces that feel refreshingly balanced and stylish, and that stand the test of time. Here, Martha O’Hara Interiors CEO and Creative Director Kate O’Hara chats with us about the acclaimed firm’s design process, the importance of developing an individual connection with each client and more.
What are some watershed moments for your practice?
Kate O’Hara: The first would be the Lusso project, a group of luxury residences across the globe, which gave us a crash course in how to work with any client and any location. A few years later and during its early years, our firm became a top professional on Houzz and garnered a certain amount of attention that opened doors to a number of projects across the United States and internationally.
Give us a play-by-play: What happens during your initial meeting with a client?
KO: There are several things we hope to learn during that first meeting. We want to know about our client’s design aesthetic, lifestyle and project scope. And of course, there is the existing architecture and design to consider. Really though, it’s a chance to meet and see how we connect. It must feel like a good fit for both of us!
In the case of your Excelsior Waterfront project, the homeowners were first-time clients. What about the couple appealed to you?
KO: The couple was so lovely to work with from day one. This wasn’t their first custom home project, and we were attracted to the clear vision they had for this waterfront property. It was to be a retreat, a gathering place for family and a home designed for the rest of their lives. And of course, we were thrilled with the team they’d assembled. Working with John Kraemer & Sons and Brickhouse Architects is always a treat!
You must have a method for approaching a new project. How do you decide which projects to take on?
KO: On larger projects, we look at the entire team, the project goals and the timelines. These projects are big commitments. We may be working on them for years, so it must be a great fit. Of course, not all projects are so expansive. When we connect with someone and the expectations are in line with what we can deliver, we often work with clients on smaller projects, like furnishing a vacation home or just a main level.
It sounds like your design is very client-focused. Where do you source inspiration?
KO: It’s true! The best part of each project is that we get to design from a totally new perspective. The inspiration itself can come from a variety of places. Where one project’s inspiration may come from the Walker Art Center, another may come from a family’s lifestyle or a home’s lake views.
What are you looking forward to next?
KO: There is so much happening right now, but I think we’re most excited about some of the local projects we’re working on. Client privacy prevents us from saying much, but we hope to have more stories and photos to share soon!