Designer Bria Hammel has over 14 years of interior design experience in hundreds of homes across the country, which has given her a unique perspective on the industry. Specifically, she’s developed an acute awareness of what clients and customers really want — furniture that is both beautiful and practical. After much thought, Bria decided to launch Brooke & Lou, a “life friendly” home decor line. Named after her two children, the line features pieces from her favorite manufacturers as well as exclusive furniture and vintage items, and ranges from $50 to $5,500. We sat down with Bria to learn more:
What inspired the launch of Brooke & Lou?
There wasn’t necessarily an “aha” moment, but more of a growing feeling that the market warranted quality products that are also livable and beautiful. The more we spoke to friends in the industry, the more we learned about the possibilities if someone put all the pieces together. As a mother of two very young kiddos and a dog, I know that it’s totally possible to live in a white house (white sofa included). We want to bring back the importance of making your bed in the morning, using china at Sunday dinner and living in a home that you’re proud to share; even with children and dogs running around.
How does your experience as a designer carry over into the process of launching your own collection?
As we’ve been creating the Brooke & Lou brand and website, it’s been extremely important for us to make sure the designer community has easy access to our products. For the Bria Hammel Interiors side of our business, it’s crucial for us to support other designers and product lines as they are the heartbeat of the industry and help drive our own business forward.
From a product perspective, the design side of our business elevates our expectations of the pieces we choose to include in Brooke & Lou’s collection. Our clients constantly ask us for upholstered stools and white finishes; yet they must also be durable and easy to clean. For a long time, we were custom creating pieces and felt that if this was important to our clients, it was likely important to many other people too.
Brooke & Lou is “life friendly.” Tell us what that means to you?
We’ve designed certain pieces within our collection to be Life Friendly. To us, that simply means that the pieces can stand up to real life.It’s different for each product: our upholstered bar stools and sofas have wipeable fabrics, our rugs are easy to clean, and our dining tables repel scratches. But, most importantly, when we test our Life Friendly products, we REALLY test them. As mothers and entertainers, we don’t include pieces in our line unless we’re willing to have them in our own homes.
This will also include one-of-a-kind pieces from your travels. What types of products can shoppers expect to find here?
Our favorite thing about the collected pieces is that they’ll constantly be changing. These pieces likely won’t fall under the Life Friendly category since many of them are one-of-a-kind antiques, but that’s what Brooke & Lou is all about. We believe your home should be a curated collection of old and new. Our collected pieces currently include unique vases and jars, pillows printed in India and hand-carved wooden trays.
Finally, do you have a favorite piece in the line?
The Lawrence Chairs. We offer them in two sizes—each with a slightly different feel, but both with our exclusive Brooke & Lou fabric. They were one of the first pieces we found and we fell in love with their classic, vintage feel and story. In old England, shepherds constructed chairs similar to these in order to protect themselves from wind and cold. The possibilities are endless with these chairs-—they’d be beautiful in a front entry way, flanking a fireplace or as host and hostess chairs (like they sit in Bria’s dining room).
Get a first look at Brooke & Lou in the slideshow!