Designer Crush: Hirsch Bedner Associates


With more than 35 years of experience, Kathleen Dauber oversees and implements projects at Hirsch Bedner Associates from the initial architectural layouts and project concept to finalizing the selection the furniture, fixtures, fabrics and finishes. Dauber, partner and lead designer, ensures that each of these elements coordinates with and complements the unique interior design concept of each HBA project. Learn more in our Q+A below.

How did you get your start in design? 

I have always been interested in design from middle school onward.  I was designing and sewing for my bedroom as early as 13 and then for apartments I lived in when I was in college.  I actually reupholstered by hand a chair handed down from from my great aunt when I was 16.  Putting rooms together back then was fun.  

What do you consider unique about the way HBA approaches design? 

The collaboration between our offices around the world is quite unique.  We periodically share our work between offices in addition it is not infrequent for designers to take sabbaticals in other offices.  This keeps the design fresh and builds on successes of all HBA, not just one office location.

What are some of your favorite current trends/styles? 

Layering the location and inspiration of a hotel not just bringing in the past but also anticipating the future.  The reshaping of experiences of a guest has from checking in thru to check out and how new hotels are addressing them in cultivated ways.

Who are your biggest professional role models and why? 

Ian Schrager. He reshaped hotels and how guests interacted with them.   He created vibrant public spaces with energy and a specific vibe to each location.  He created spaces that people wanted to go to and be part of.  

Describe one particularly memorable project and what made it so special. 

The Vintage Estate in Yountville, Napa County. The opportunity to reposition this 1980’s 26 acre property which had two distinct hotels, a 1820’s repurposed barrell room, the spa, the original estate home and a private villa was one of a kind.  The Vintage house hotel has a feminine flair and touches of lavender.  The Villagio Estate is masculine, with tones of merlot and whiskey. The spa boasts of reclaimed wood, industrial ironwork accents and soft woven textiles.  The private villa uses a mix of material which speak to the original family winery that was on this property. Brink, ash black painted wood and Cabernet red tones are used.  The villa consists of five individual suites linked to an open entertainment area/Italian kitchen and living room.  A private pool completes this private oasis.

What’s your dream vacation destination and why? 

I am an urban girl and am happiest in cities but still need the weather that I grew up with in Malibu, California so my dream vacation is Sydney Australia.  The weather, the beautiful bay that the city faces and the deep artistic roots that are there  make this one of my favorite cities in the world. 

Lightning round!

Favorite movie snack?

The classic popcorn.

Favorite book of all time?

Lord of the Rings (my inner geek is showing).

First concert?

Eagles at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

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