Meet The ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 Designers: An Exclusive Interview With Josh Hildreth

Josh Hildreth founded his commercial interiors/architecture firm, DMG Interiors, 18 years ago. With a lifelong love of interior design, Hildreth kicked off his residential interior design business by participating in the 2016 DC Design House. Josh Hildreth Interiors has been flourishing ever since. Hildreth will be designing a second floor bedroom in ASPIRE HOUSE McLean and shares what to expect as far as the design in an exclusive interview with Sherry Moeller.

Rendering of Maureen’s Retreat – an ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 bedroom designed by Josh Hildreth.

Sherry Moeller: Describe your room at the show house. How did you come up with the concept and what’s the backstory?
Josh Hildreth: Our room, Maureen’s Retreat, is dedicated to my inspiring mother, and all of those who fight or have fought the brave fight against cancer. This enchanted aerie creates a quiet respite that exists for relaxation and renewal inside of a large and sprawling home. Our design process is often instigated by the discovery of what I call animating objects. For instance, in January I traveled to Paris and uncovered some wonderful items from favorite sources. Our retreat reflects a love for the beauty of France and artfully mixes French and other design elements across the centuries into a jewel box space that delights the eye and promises hope for a better tomorrow.

SM: What’s a favorite element you plan to incorporate into your space at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean?
JH: Tough question! There is a lot I really love about this room. One of the finds in Paris was an Anthony Redmile mirror that is a menagerie of shells and semiprecious stones. Elsie de Wolfe once said that every room needs an element of ugly beauty. Too much pretty becomes an over-frosted cake. I knew this mirror was just the right thing when I couldn’t let it go 15 minutes after walking away from it. Another five minutes and it would have been lost to a well-known English designer who had the same reaction that I did! Redmile’s work is primitive and baroque in feel and like cayenne pepper – a little bit is all you need!

A guest bedroom in a Washington DC home designed by Josh Hildreth Interiors. Photo by Gordon Beal.

SM: What projects have you done in the past that most resemble or relate in some way to what you plan to design at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean? Or is this a completely different concept?
JH: It is very important as a designer to be linguistic in what I refer to as “the poles of pretty and handsome” – and navigating the broad space in between to find the right balance for clients in a way that never feels heavily “designed.” For this room, I looked to my mother’s beautiful style of femininity as inspiration – she marries an unapologetic love of the classically pretty without veering into fussy or precious. I have wonderful clients like my mother, with a strong eye and commitment to beautiful interiors. I love working with women like her to create spaces that are beautiful environments to experience life, and I hope that this room inspires more work similar in nature.

Another guest bedroom in a Washington, DC home designed by Josh Hildreth Interiors. Photo by Gordon Beall.

SM: Have you participated in other show houses and why?
JH: I think of myself as a slightly younger version of Grandma Moses! My career began at the early age of five and I have never stopped moving the furniture. Opportunity and success pulled me in a commercial direction and I am proud of the firm we have built and the work we do. In 2016, a joyful and overwhelmingly creative desire led me to the DC Design House where I designed a library; a new business was formed from an old passion.

A show house room is similar to a graduate thesis – it’s a self-chosen opportunity to explore creative ideas in an undiluted and personally authentic expression of design. This will be our third room, following a library in the 2016 DC Design House and a ballroom-sized family living space in the 2017 DC Design House. These past show house experiences have been creatively challenging and great fun. It is very meaningful to put an artistic vision out there and engage with people about it and experience how it moves them and how it relates to their vision for their lives. Show houses offer a wonderful place where people can be transported away from the concerns of daily life and dream or ponder how they might enhance their lives at home.

A guest bedroom alcove in a Washington, DC home designed by Josh Hildreth Interiors. Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg.

SM: What’s next for you design-wise—are there some projects you’re particularly excited about? Are there any projects you’d love to tackle, sort of a design bucket list?
JH: We are currently in the midst of working on two historic and extraordinary waterfront homes. I love working within the beauty of exceptional architecture and the challenge of creating rooms that are both fresh and deeply woven into the DNA of the architecture. I am especially grateful that a considerable amount of our work is ongoing client work, which is the ultimate qualifier that we are serving our clients well. As for next projects on the bucket list, I have a longstanding desire to write a book that explores how different collected objects can add a soulful layer to the way we live at home.

About the Designer | Josh Hildreth Interiors is a full service bespoke interior design and architecture firm that operates within the commercial interior architecture firm Hildreth founded 18 years ago, DMG Interiors. Hildreth’s distinct, personalized approach to creating detailed, comfortable interior environments has attracted the attention of national and local publications. He combines a warm interpersonal manner with a deep knowledge of the decorative arts, art history, and the outstanding craftspeople it takes to bring his client’s vision to reality, and to create the heirlooms of tomorrow. Hildreth lives in the Wesley Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC with his husband and serves on the board of Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, as well as enjoys participating in other local community organizations.

Sherry Moeller is a contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine.

Proceeds for ASPIRE HOUSE: McLean will benefit First Responders of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more, and purchase tickets for the event; open August 21 – September 7, 2020.

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