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Kelly Hinchman and her Team Aim to Help Your Space

Written By: Sarah Hood
Photographed By: Kambria Fischer

Expert: Kelly Hinchman
Credentials: LEED AP and Design Principal, Studio H Design Group

Q: Tell me how the idea for Studio H came about. What steps did you take to make it happen?

Kelly Hinchman: I wanted to become an interior designer ever since I was a little girl. I used to love changing up the furniture in my room and decorating my dollhouses. As a young adult, I received my degree in this field from the Design Institute of San Diego. After working for a local design company for a few years and being mentored by professionals within the field, I founded the Studio H Design Group in 2013 after my business partner retired. To get it off the ground, I first had to find sufficient office space in downtown San Diego and then hire employees who shared my vision of creating a boutique-style company that combines traditional and modern design elements.

Q: How would you describe Studio H’s style and/or designs?

KH: We have a California modern aesthetic, although we do tailor our design choices according to our customers’ tastes. We usually like to start with a simple monochromatic palette and then throw in different textures and edgier accents on top of that. According to past clients, we end up creating a very layered look that’s a bit trendier than the beachy styles you usually see in San Diego designs.

Q: Tell me about your team. What elements do they bring to the table?

KH: Megan Read is my co-designer, and we alternate taking the lead on different projects. Then there’s Jolene Neve, our office and studio director, who’s also in charge of processing furniture and coordinating deliveries. Our frequent collaborations lead to stronger projects due to our strong working relationships; we know each other so well that we don’t have to say a lot to get our intention across. Studio H benefits from having such smart, talented women who are formally educated and knowledgeable about the technical elements of design such as building systems and construction codes.

Q: From where do you draw inspiration?

KH: I frequently travel to places like New York, Los Angeles and even Paris to attend design shows and to be exposed to as many different resources as possible. However, when I need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, I’ll also go and visit my family in Ireland to clear my mind for fresh ideas. I often get the best inspiration after I take a break and let my mind relax. Of course, it also helps to have a good team behind you to brainstorm ideas and pick up details that you might miss.

Q: What kind of impact do you hope to have on the interior design community within San Diego?

KH: San Diego is more of a coastal, beachy design community compared to other metropolitan areas. One of Studio H’s goals is to help the design scene here to become more cutting edge, more outside the box. With more media exposure on places like Instagram and Pinterest, we hope that San Diego will become more eager to embrace modern trends and that local designers will realize that they don’t have to look to Los Angeles for the next big thing.

Q: Can you describe a particularly memorable or life-changing project that your team has taken on? How has it influenced you on a personal level?

KH: Last year we traveled to the East Coast and got to work on a California-style home for a client in Boston. We developed such a strong relationship with that individual and their family in those two years of travel and construction that we recently designed a second home for them in Cape Cod. In a more general sense, I always feel personally moved when I walk through a finished space with a client and I get to see their tears and amazement at having their vision for their home realized. On the flip side of that, I’ve found that some of my best successes as a designer have come from failures because you end up learning how to adapt and move forward when things don’t go as planned.

Giving Back: Studio H supports the group Home of Guiding Hands, which offers housing and various other services to individuals with disabilities.

Camera Ready: Kelly Hinchman also serves as a contributing professional for HGTV’s official website.

Studio H Design Group
614 5th Ave, Unit K
San Diego, CA 92101
619.230.5343

Kelly Hinchman and Studio H Can Make Your Home Edgier