By Shay Hughes
In any interaction, the power of a first impression can go a long way. The day we decided to open our first office outside of California, I knew we needed to make a stunning first impression on Seattle’s bustling business world. In addition to hiring amazing team members, we needed a beautiful workspace that would wow both our team and our clients. Since Hughes Marino’s beginnings, we have received national and local recognition as a Best Place to Work and a Top Company Culture, so if anyone knew how to create an award-winning space that a team will love and thrive in, it would be us. As with every office, I wanted the interior design to portray a comfortable home away from home, while also reflecting the persona of the city. Seattle’s hip and spunky personality provided plenty of inspiration for me to get started.
Located on the 25th story of the Russell Investments Center, it’s impossible not to be mesmerized by the most stunning of views that cannot be found anywhere else in downtown Seattle. Guests can soak in breathtaking scenery from Mt. Rainier to the Olympic Mountains, while overlooking the Puget Sound and the energetic Seattle waterfront down below. Our next step was to pair these unbelievable views with show-stopping décor.
One of our top priorities was to ensure that everyone felt welcome and right at home amongst the warm and charming décor in our newest chic space, complete with a living area, gourmet kitchen, glass-walled offices, two conference rooms and a game area. My initial inspiration was drawn from a 1960’s Vogue Magazine cover, which epitomized vintage beauty with bright pink and emerald green accents—the perfect aesthetic for our Seattle office. That same cover is showcased in the reception area of our office as a reminder of the inspiration that sparked it all.
With a color scheme in mind, we set out to select key pieces of furniture to incorporate all the stylish elements of home. Our cozy living area features an emerald green couture velvet sofa by Shabby Chic, paired with vibrant pink tufted chairs and an oversized black and white ottoman from Room and Board. A brass and black étagère by Kelly Hoppen gives room for playful accessories and fashion books for guests to thumb through. Vintage Scrabble pieces, whimsical animal accents and coffee trays with clever quotations are sprinkled throughout our space to portray the feel of a five-star hotel, rather than an office. The 25-foot kitchen features an oversized family farm table by Restoration Hardware, a staple at every Hughes Marino office, complete with a vintage wood bench and white Herman Miller dining chairs—perfect for our team to share meals together.
Guests also have their choice of masculine or feminine conference rooms to meet in. One room hosts a 21’ black marble conference table, and the other an all-white Ice Cube marble table, complete with Lambert and Fils chandeliers and separated by glass storefronts with automatic Mecho shades for privacy. Our team members are suited with Steelcase office furniture, height adjustable desks, leather chairs and state-of-the-art technology, including extra large monitors and video phones to connect everyone in the company with face-to-face calls—think Facetime, but better!
After sourcing the furniture, we spared no expense when selecting the art pieces to add personality and pops of color to our workspace. Showcased in the middle of our living room between shelves of cherished family photos is a 60’’ x 60’’ specially-commissioned piece by Anja Van Herle with over 8,000 Swarovski crystals. Our front reception area features a vibrant Audrey Hepburn Givenchy piece by Robert Mars, as well as limited edition 1965 photography of Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn by famous celebrity photographer Douglas Kirkland, whose work has been exhibited across the globe. One conference room is home to two large graffiti pieces by world-renowned artist Crash. A series of four vintage Barbie prints by Beau Dunn dresses up our Operations area, along with an imaginative Neon Space Girl piece to inspire in our collaboration office. Tasteful and fun gallery walls display a mix of inspirational quotes, vintage photography and iconic architecture, adding personality to individual offices. Speaking of personality…no Hughes Marino office would be complete without a playful larger-than-life piece by Gary Polonsky, and the oversized Starbucks coffee cup with sleeve perfectly complements our kitchen and highlights one of Seattle’s most successful companies.
As an added touch of home and as one of the center points for our team, we made sure our gourmet kitchen was extra welcoming, bright and cheerful. White kitchen cabinetry provides a home away from home with brass pulls, an oblong hexagon white backsplash and floating shelves to display colorfully fun kitchen finds from Anthropologie and Crate & Barrel. Next to our kitchen is our fully stocked game area—complete with billiards, shuffleboard and video gaming tables, where we encourage our team to enjoy friendly competition.
Perhaps one of the most unassuming rooms in our office is our storage and copy room. Any guest will be mesmerized by this sweet surprise—which looks more like a stylish feminine closet than a copy room—with its brass wardrobe rack and hangers for storing guests’ coats during the rainy season. The muted glow of the overhead custom brass fixtures provides the perfect light to showcase the bright pink peony wallpaper on the walls. Some say this “pretty in pink” room is their favorite spot in the entire office!
It’s incredibly rewarding to see our finished product that will have a lasting first impression on everyone who steps foot into Hughes Marino’s Seattle office. From the vintage feminine figures and the eclectic mix of antiques and modern finishes, to the playful accessories at every turn, our newest location is impressive, yet comfortable, inviting and unpretentious. By reflecting our cherished ten Core Values and family atmosphere, our Seattle workspace will continue to cultivate an award-winning culture for our team members to be proud of and enjoy, and I look forward to watching them succeed and thrive in their new home. By adding pops of color, unique furniture and elements of home, we’ve witnessed firsthand how little details can go a long way to re-energize any team and office. It is my sincere hope that our newest office will inspire businesses in Seattle and across the nation to reimagine their workspace as a way to revitalize their own company culture!
Shay Hughes is president, COO, and owner of Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate company specializing in tenant representation and building purchases with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Seattle. Shay writes about business leadership and company culture on her blog, Lead from Within. Contact Shay at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT or email@example.com to learn more.