Designer Friday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Brittney Herrera

Female-family owned and operated, Wildwood House has flourished since its conception in 2019. The Oregon-based company, which offers procurement services and fine retail, is headed by a daughter-mother duo, Brittney Herrera and her mother, Terry. After years in interior design, gaining a reputation for work in architecture firm Gensler and her own design practice HBx Studio, Brittney Herrera turned her attention to procurement and retail services in Portland, Oregon. By the time her mother joined Wildwood House as Operations Director, the company had expanded under Herrera’s artistic direction and pandemic-produced marketplace demands. Herrera and her mother’s passion for design, partnership, and community continues to guide Wildwood in product and service selection. Introducing this week’s Designer Friday, Brittney Herrera.

Wildwood House’s store in Portland, Oregon, offers a selection of interior decor and provides services for the delivery and installation of interior items.

Wildwood House’s store in Portland, Oregon, offers a selection of interior decor and provides services for the delivery and installation of interior items.

Andrew Joseph: If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Brittney Herrera: My superpower has always been space planning. Even as a kid I always favored games that focused on order and spatial awareness. Tetris anyone? Space planning offices and homes is like a three-dimensional puzzle that needs solving for every possible human need, and an emotional X factor that makes it magical. These days we have also been practicing layering feng shui into our designs. For me, it has been the ultimate joy to add in the principles of this ancient practice to modern-day spaces. The energy shifts in a profound way when the functional, emotional, and spiritual needs come together in perfect harmony.

Andrew: If you could live in any home in a movie or television series, what would it be?
Brittney: Any set crafted by Nancy Meyers gets my vote. Her carefully crafted interiors are warm and inviting while becoming a character in her films as much as the stars themselves. If I had to pick just one it would have to be Home Again. The Spanish-style architecture set against a young family’s modern aesthetic feels like home to me.

Andrew: What was your first job?
Brittney: My first job was as a dishwasher at The Ocean House, a beautiful B&B in Port Clyde, Maine. I made the orange juice in the mornings and eventually waited tables in the dining room where famous artists would come in for their breakfast before a day of painting the idyllic Maine coast in plein air. My waitressing skills were not wonderful, however, I remain chief dishwasher at my house and I serve up fresh juice to the most prolific artist I know, my six-year-old daughter!

Herrera’s practiced eye for design guides Wildwood House’s product selection, including these Caroline pillows.

Herrera’s practiced eye for design guides Wildwood House’s product selection, including these Caroline pillows.

Andrew: What would your dream project or dream client be right now?
Brittney: Designing a hotel in Oregon’s wine country would be a dream. The area doesn’t have very many options for lodging, however, it does have a booming wine scene. Developing a modern retreat for people to take in the area more fully, enjoying all that it has to offer is something we would love to be a part of as this beautiful area takes its place as a destination.

Andrew: How would you define your work in three words?
Brittney: Thoughtful, balanced, layered.

Andrew: Which room in the house do you find yourself working from the most? Why? How does this inform your thoughts about architecture?
Brittney: Midway through 2020 I converted a spare bedroom into an office for myself. I had always worked from home a couple of days per week, but after the pandemic our office had a new occupant, and my husband’s Zoom calls frequently conflicted with my own. We now each have an office and, like separate bathroom sinks, it keeps the peace! A few times per day I find myself on calls where I don’t need to be tethered to a computer. For those moments I chat while enjoying my garden or walking around the block.

There is a calming cadence to the days that are spent working from home. The impromptu lunches with my husband and taking a walk with my daughter at 4pm are a few of the things I now enjoy. Inspiration looks different these days, too. It’s more about nature and a connection with family than what is trendy or popular. I find inspiration in nostalgic patterns and textures, and in bringing moments of hospitality into our interiors and products.

Wildwood House offers a range of textile products, including this deep blue throw blanket.

Wildwood House offers a range of textile products, including this deep blue throw blanket.

Andrew: Has your mindset changed into 2021? In what ways?
Brittney: These days we are all reminded of what matters most in life. Taking care of each other and taking care of ourselves is an act of love. Our designs are an extension of that caretaking down to the specification of the napkins that set the table. My mindset has transformed from efficiency to efficacy. How can our spaces and products be more effective at taking care of the people they serve? That is what matters in our work.

Andrew: Has there been a shift in what clients are requesting post-covid?
Brittney: A beautiful and functional home office is at the top of the list for client requests, as many are not going back to the office full time for the foreseeable future. Many people have discovered the balance that comes with working from home either part or full time and they are reluctant to give it up. We have heard many stories of people leaving their well-paying jobs when their employer required them to come back to the office full time. Working from home part-time and working from the office part-time, or a “hybrid” model, supports a better quality of life which we believe shows up in people’s work. Offices are being designed for more collaboration space and less individual, private work areas, as people are encouraged to collaborate when on-site together, and do individual work at home.

About The Designer | Brittney grew up in Maine with the ocean air, sketchbook and a strong work ethic. In 2003,she left home for Boston to pursue a career in interior design where she became one of the foremost interior designers in the country,leading the interior studio for the number one firm in the world: Gensler. In 2014 Brittney became pregnant with her daughter, Ava, and life shifted forever. She attended a seminar in hopes of finding balance between the career she loved and being a new mom. What she learned was that a more foundational shift was necessary. Two months later, she packed her family up and headed west to reunite her new family with her mom, Terry, in Portland, Oregon. After seeing similar success and a more relaxed pace in her new home, Brittney got to work launching her architecture and interior design practice, HBx Studio, in 2018. The firm took off like a rocket, growing exponentially. Brittney won a coveted Phenom award for her contributions to the Oregon marketplace, and landed top tier clients in workplace, residential and hospitality market verticals.In 2019, Brittney saw that her mother was a happy grandma, but emotionally drained by work. At the same time, a client asked Brittney to start doing procurement buyout of their workplace and retail projects. An idea was formed. Two months later, online shop and Portland, Oregon-based brick-and-mortar store Wildwood House officially launched. With clients lining up from HBx Studio, Wildwood House exploded with growth and Terry came on full time on September 1, 2020 as a partner and Operations Director. Today, Wildwood House caters to the hybrid work lifestyle while still offering gorgeous home decor items and procurement services.

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