10 Questions with Interior Designer Heidi Pribell
Pribell chats about her inspiration, expecting the unexpected, and why red is the greatest primary color.
From working as an antique dealer to becoming one of Boston’s top design talents, Heidi Pribell has proven her prowess in taking the ordinary and creating something magical. We caught up with Pribell to talk about her journey to interior design success and to get some tips on how to cheer up a home during these less-than-stellar Boston winters.
1. How did you become interested in interior design?
My passion for objects. They inspire me. To tell you the truth, at undergrad, objects inspired me more than art. For me, it is all about storytelling. I enjoy identifying and celebrating the narratives told through objects. I became an antique dealer and learned a great deal about the history of objects. I realized the origin of objects provide excellent backdrops for storytelling. They tell stories about each client’s individual experiences.
2. So after attending New York School of Interior Design and working as an antique dealer, what led you to start your own design company?
I started doing decorative paint finishes. Color has such an effect. I crave color. I gradually started doing window treatments, then furniture, and it just kind of rolled from there. I had client trust and word of mouth. It just happened.
3. Why Boston as the home of your company?
I was in New York for a while but decided to move back to Cambridge. At that time, people didn’t care about interior design here. That’s when I became an antique dealer. New England is such a source of rich history with a fascinating collection of things. Because my work with antiques began here, I stayed. And I actually don’t like urban life. I prefer having a canopy of trees, so there was no way I was going back to New York.
4. How do you help clients define their personal style?
I love it. I’m very intuitive, which is an aspect you can’t quantify. I draw conclusions by observing a client’s clothes, how they organize their closet, how they live in their home, the objects they surround themselves with. I look at an assortment of things, a combination of aesthetics and experience. And with any group of objects, a story begins. It unfolds like a scene. These objects create, not the recipe, but all the ingredients.
5. Where do you draw your inspiration for such vibrant, detailed design?
Objects, of course. And also color and pattern—they are like a song—and nature. I am inspired by weather in terms of creating a mood.
6. What design tips do you have for someone who want to brighten up their space in the dead of winter?
Red will brighten up any winter day. I just say red everywhere. Red revitalizes energy.
7. So that’s how you beat the winter blues? Red everywhere?
I think red, yes. And it’s important for me to have a rug on the floor. And making stew and keeping everything clean helps.
8. How do you want people to feel when they walk into a room and see your finished product?
What always happens, when people walk in, their jaw drops and they say wow. Each experience is different, so I don’t do expected things. I don’t use expected color. I’m motivated by that “awe” when a client walks into a space. It doesn’t fail.
9. Do you have a favorite memory or project from your design career?
My own home is my favorite!
10. What is one home trend you wish would die?
Personally, I think pattern and color. Using pattern and color was always my thing, but now it’s everywhere. People need to stop enjoying it as much as I do. I’m going to develop an identity crisis.
Below, check out some the spaces that Pribell designed: