Haus of Design is Leaving Its Mark in Southern California
Located in a non-descript area in what is quickly becoming a cool and hot spot, Costa Mesa, Haus of Design —helmed by the irrepressible Nicole Perrault —has been creating beautiful spaces for a few years, building a portfolio of commercial and residential projects that are becoming the envy of their competitors.
Innovation starts with people. The crew at HOD understands this concept better than many larger firms. This small and mighty team creates human-centered products, services and spaces, and helps promote organizations that empower communities. “We keep people at the center of our work. It’s a key tenet of our design thinking, and even as our methods evolve in response to new, complex challenges, we’re always designing solutions for people first. We’re building to learn, and learning as we build through inspiration, ideation, and implementation.” says Perreault. HOD doesn’t advertise or market their shop; rather, they let the work shine through. The power of word-of-mouth and a healthy dose of social media have helped build the small firm to what it is now. Perreault attributes her firm’s current status in large part to social media. That and the fact that the fearless crew seems to be working interminable hours to ensure that projects are on time and budget is based on clients’ expectations.
You can always tell what a HOD project looks like by the very clean esthetics and the use of natural materials that enhance, rather than clutter a space. They have managed to re-imagine spaces that go against the grain. One of the prime examples of this is a local success, Fight Camp HQ, which is an entirely new take on a popular idea nowadays: a boxing workout. One that no one has seen before, all online. HOD was commissioned to create a new design for its headquarters, as well as, a pop up to give potential customers a taste of what it is all about. Clean (not always a given in that kind of environment) in more ways than just sanitary; clean design with beautiful lines, minimal obstruction, and the use of predominantly white touches from the walls to the décor. Everything feels so… clean. Unusual materials from unique tiles to beautiful wood have been used to maximum effect. It is a space that offers a sophisticated atmosphere for a modern clientele.
Nicole and her team completely understood the vision that the leadership at Fight Camp had, and trusted HOD to deliver a never-before-seen environment that would get people talking. Indeed, people have spoken and the unanimous opinion is that it is a homerun. The success of this particular project is the result of the unique collaboration between client and HOD. It remains at the center of what the company stands for. Because innovation such as digital marketing has enabled competitors to emerge, thrive, and ultimately disrupt companies, Nicole has doubled down on collaboration and communication as the mainstays of her business. “We need to be able to communicate, or should I say, over-communicate, which is the only way that we can stay competitive, especially in Southern California, where it seems like a thousand shops open and close every week. Our clients trust us because they know that they can count on us to create a relationship that is much more than transactional. We become friends.”
She adds: “we truly believe in the capabilities of the businesses that hire us, and our community’s need to create, embrace, and successfully execute on new ideas. It doesn’t matter how big, or (in our case) how small we are. We gauge our success on how we successfully interact and collaborate with clients. Everything matters. The tools and technology we embrace and deploy related to a specific project. Are we working with the right architect? The right craftsmen? The right vendors? Whom we choose to work with and for, matters greatly. We want to create the kind of culture that people (whether it is clients or prospective employees) will quickly identify, and want to be a part of; our team is everything.” On her approach to managing her business she says: “To lead a creatively competitive firm, I require curiosity above all else. It goes to everything we are. I always remember that asking the right questions is more important (and more difficult) than having the right answers.”
Haus of Design is also a company led by women, with females in every key position. Perreault sees it as the natural extension of who she is. “I’ve always gravitated around strong women starting with my mom, who has shown me that you can lead no matter who you are, men or women.” As she states this, it becomes apparent that the idea of promoting a women-led business is essential to her. It helps create a bit of a sisterhood, where everyone is counting on the other. Haus of Design is a place where thoughtfulness and courtesy are present, problems can always be solved, and everyone’s opinion matters. I asked her about what her idea of success is and how the firm rewards itself for a job well done, and Nicole smiled rather big (which is kind of a trademark) and said: “well, we will have a good lunch, and we will move on to the next project.”
For a firm that currently juggles more than 20 commissions, that seems like the right thing to do.
Words by Yves Le Sieur