Footnotes Blog / February Feature Designer – Martha Huk, Hedgeford & Berkley
Heather Roberts of Great Floors Canada, with Martha Huk of Hedgeford & Berkley
February 7, 2019 2:32 pm
We are proud to present Martha Huk, our featured designer in February 2019. Read on to learn how Martha achieves stunning results, and see our interview with her at the end!
When undergoing a renovation, the typical role of an interior designer is to bring your vision to life. Martha Huk, Chief Engineer and designer for London-based design firm Hedgeford & Berkley, takes it to a new level. Martha is a triple threat – she is a designer, an engineer, and a fearless business woman. Her designs are equal parts gorgeous and practical, luxurious and comfortable. She solves problems you didn’t know you had. The result is a stunning space which works perfectly for you and your family, always better than you had dreamed. Her unparalleled focus reimagines how her clients use the space and enables her to deliver bold designs with flawless execution. Her rare ability to iterate between beauty and practicality have enabled her design and build firm to explode to the world’s elite level in the blink of an eye. We’ll be going further into depth in her most recent project that’s causing a buzz in the industry, and finding out how she takes her renovations to the next level.
While focusing on a fully reimagined kitchen, Martha renovated a family’s entire main floor to streamline storage, traffic flow, workspaces, gathering areas, and more, crafting a space intuitive to her client’s needs. She created a hidden doorway to the pantry and included a private scullery in the layout so the warm and stately kitchen always looks clean and well-kept, even if her clients have been cooking all day.
These comfortable details and day-making designs are Martha’s trademark. She said of this project, “The kitchen itself was 15 years old. The client had had enough time to use it, work in it, and understand what parts of it were frustrating for them.” Given input from her clients about the problem areas and desired feel, Martha created a custom and multifaceted design which updated the look of the space and actually made her client’s daily lives easier.
As an engineer as well as a designer, Martha knows that her creative elements must be built upon a strong structural base. With a focus on longevity, quality, and thoughtfulness in every detail of her work, Martha trusts Great Floors to supply the flooring that grounds her designs.
GF: How would you describe your approach to this design? What was the starting point?
MH: My approach to this and every design is to imagine the emotion I want to evoke when being in this space. I start by creating a concept for the design aesthetic and pairing in the practicality from the very beginning. This client has an unspoken presence about them. I wanted their kitchen to be the same. The bold design exudes a feeling of comfortable luxury that you love being surrounded by. It was important for me to create many layers of interest throughout the space, and that starts with figuring out which materials to use and finishes to layer, so you can start building the emotion the space will end up evoking. At the same time, you need to start understanding why the current state of the house doesn’t work for the owner and go from there.
GF: What was the biggest challenge or issue that needed to be solved in the space?
MH: When working in a renovation, a significant part of the problem solving is always blending the new with the old. You want to restructure only when the layout is vastly improved as a result. I problem solve what isn’t working and exploit what is to make it even better. In this case we took away previous aggravations associated with access to the kitchen and use of appliances in it. We took into account every step in the client’s daily activities, never limiting them to just what will happen in the kitchen itself. It’s about the 10 steps before and after. You make everything easier so your client can focus on what’s really important to them.
GF: What flooring products did you use in this design and why did you choose them?
MH: This design uses tile and hardwood throughout. The tile is a blend between marble in the kitchen and porcelain everywhere else. The hardwood is an oak stained on site in Driftwood. My absolute favourite though was the use of CeraGres’ Elapse series on the powder room walls. I am obsessed with creating texture as an additional layer of interest, so I experimented by combining several colours and textures from the Elapse line and that texture blend still impresses me every time I see it.
GF: How does your background as an engineer influence your choices as a designer?
MH: As an engineer, I want more from my designs. Designing just a pretty room is cool, sure, but I want to design a room that solves problems. One that challenges material combinations and adds a layer of complexity that looks effortless. There are things we focus on like making sure we work with tight tolerances so gaps aren’t created that need fillers later. We focus on making sure each layer is perfect first before the finishes are even on site. Our specialty is that we can also build anything – so as a designer, I dream and as an engineer, I figure out how to make it come to life. Conceptualization is one thing, execution is everything.
GF: What was your biggest learning curve in this project?
MH: Every project I work on is a challenge. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be interested. What stands out to me is the support I get from my network of vendors. I notice when promises to me are broken so I’ve learned to build a network of people I can depend on and only work with those who are committed to work through difficult, nitty gritty details without giving into frustration. Great Floors is a perfect example of a company who not only stands behind their product, but will exhaust every option and come to me with solutions. I need to trust that product will arrive on time, in perfect condition so that I can pass it to my team for install. If that chain is broken, we work together tirelessly to rework the situation, come at it from a new angle and get it done. That’s why Great Floors is my go-to flooring company.
Martha’s portrait was photographed by Paula Tizzard.