A COMMUNITY platform for Interior Design Professionals​

Balancing Residential, Commercial, and Hospitality Design

We recently welcomed Garrison Hullinger, founder and principal designer of Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, on the podcast. The Portland-based firm has been recognized as one of the 100 fastest-growing businesses in Oregon and SW Washington, but the design journey for Garrison has been one of patience, self-discovery, and reinvention.

In the episode, we discuss the development and growth of his design career and then dive deep into the process of developing a truly multi-disciplinary design firm. We are often taught to stay in one lane, but Garrison strategically split his business into three.

Below is a breakdown of how Garrison balances residential, commercial, and hospitality design.

When and why did Garrison add commercial design to his business?

Garrison was recommended to someone with a commercial space that needed a designer. At that time, Garrison had never worked on a commercial project before. He had a talented team of individuals – some who had worked on commercial or hospitality projects and some who knew other people who would help – so he was able to bring the team together and come up with a plan.

What was Garrison’s approach to building separate teams?

He had to let it go and trust in his team’s abilities. If someone is amazing at pulling pallets, then he would assign that person to pull pallets. He would have conversations with his team and get to know their strengths so each person could be designated to a role that they would thrive at and enjoy doing.

How Garrison diversifies projects between residential and commercial?

Although, as a business owner, Garrison may want to move people around for productivity’s sake, but at the end of the day, it’s not very productive at all. You have to consider people’s mental wellness and what they are good at, and what continues to inspire them. An example Garrison had was someone who works on residential properties may not realize that in hospitality properties, you want to stick with one brand of plumbing and appliances. Garrison’s company is heavily compartmentalized, so every team member excels at their expertise. This leads to excellent synergy within the company and has contributed to its success.

If you want to learn more about balancing multiple disciplines, visit

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