Interview with Ed Bertha, Published in REAL Magazine

by Ed Bertha

An internationally renowned luxury designer whose sumptuous interiors have been featured in the industry’s top publications, Pamela Hughes is proud to call Sarasota home. 

Pamela first arrived in the area when she accepted an invitation to design The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.

Though Pamela is well known for her work with high-end luxury hotels and resorts, including The Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and The Cloister at Sea Island, she reveals that her true passion is working with homeowners to create spaces that are as elegant as they are accommodating.  “I enjoy the hands-on aspect of high-end residential design projects,” she says.  “It’s an opportunity for me to connect with individuals and work one-on-one with my clients.”  Understanding each client’s unique wants and needs is as much an art as it is a skill.  Pamela spends time interviewing and observing, developing a rapport and a sense of style that will translate into a spectacular design.

One of her most recent projects, in which she collaborated with the international fashion designer Adrienne Vittadini, is The Concession Golf Clubhouse.  The Clubhouse, being extremely residential in feeling, is a wonderful example of how Pamela’s work transitions between resort projects and large, luxurious homes.

Sitting with Pamela, in the gracious and airy living room of The Clubhouse, we had an opportunity to engage her and discuss her passions and design sensibilities.


EB:  Tell me about how you and Adrienne Vittadini designed The Concession Golf Clubhouse project together.

PH:  Adrienne and I had a marvelous time working together on this project.  She has exquisite taste and extraordinary style.  I have never worked with anyone before who has such an experienced and talented eye.  I learned so much from her.  In addition, she brought a European sensibility and deep understanding of the Palladian style, its history and its design elements to the project.  It was the simple proportions and details that appealed to us.  It is almost contemporary in its sense of space and elegance.  Of course, symmetry is a strong component of the style, and we worked hard to provide that balance in the rooms and in the building itself.  We both brought a contemporary flavor into the mix, with furnishings, fabrics and palette, and my firm was able to supply resources unique to the industry.

Adrienne and I would meet in our offices, or I would go to New York, for meetings together and with manufacturers and sources.  We also went to Los Angeles to work with our custom light fixture supplier.  We would bring huge suitcases full of fabric swatches, carpets, wood flooring and stone samples to assist with developing selections.  It is not a trip for carry-on luggage, but it allows us to review the whole project with all of its complexity.  We even met in Paris to work together after Adrienne had scoured the Italian furnishings market, and I had researched England and France. 


EB:  How did you come upon the interior design concept?  It is quite different from most clubhouses.

PH:  Adrienne definitely had a concept in mind, which I embraced wholeheartedly.  The soft colors and clean lines were Adrienne’s vision and a large part of the overall flavor of The Clubhouse.  One of the things that was important to us was to make this Clubhouse welcoming to women as well as to men.  We remembered and have worked on projects that are more in the old school of dark paneling and heavy traditional furnishings in somber hues.  We all wanted this to be something unique and attractive, something light and airy, embracing the magnificent views of the golf course and the lush surroundings.  So we conceived a palette that is rich with “local color”, meaning aquas, pale blues and greens, with lots of off-white woodwork and trim, and stone counters and flooring that is in a variety of light marbles and limestones.  While it is therefore appealing to women, it is equally attractive to men, due to the strength of the architecture and the grandeur of the spaces.  We also provided the men with a rich, wood-clad environment for their locker rooms, lounge and bath areas.


EB:  How did you help shape the building?

PH:  One of the things that was critical to the planning and development of The Clubhouse was to capitalize on the views to the beautiful landscape and golf course that was immediately outside.  So great attention was focused on making sure there are views from every public room.  Expansive French doors and large windows with arched tops grace the exterior in a very pleasing way.  And from the inside, you have a  marvelous infiltration of light, protected from the direct sun by elegant porticos and loggias.  From the men’s locker rooms there are views to the 18th green, and from the living room, dining room and terraces you can see the Events Lawn and the striking gazebo.  The brilliant turf and the dark greens of the perimeter landscaping provide a wonderful backdrop for the activities of The Clubhouse.


EB:  In walking through The Clubhouse, I was struck by how fresh the colors are.  How did you come to the palette?

PH:  It was important to us to bring into the interior the colors of nature:  the blues and greens that seem to define the Gulf Coast.  Off-setting these hues are a range of pale off-whites for the door casings and trim, beams and crown mouldings.  We then used a variety of color palettes for the furnishings and finishes in different rooms.  All are fresh and distinctive colors and are accented by splashes of more intense colorations in fabrics, area rugs and dramatic artwork.


EB:  Are you and Adrienne pleased with the final result?

PH:  We’re very pleased, and have received many wonderful compliments.



Interview with Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa, Published in REAL magazine

by Lalaena

Her extravagant designs have been featured in high-end resorts and hotels around the world, and internationally renowned designer Pamela Hughes is setting new standards in residential luxury.

Pamela arrived in Sarasota in 1998 after accepting an invitation to design The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. She was quickly captivated with the area’s wealth of amenities, including its thriving arts and cultural community. Her turning point: a visit to the Ringling Museum, where she was enchanted by the interior architectural details and design elements.  “The museum was incredible,” she recalls. “This was our inspiration in designing The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.” 

When The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota opened its doors to the public in 2001, Pamela realized she wasn’t ready to end her relationship with the Gulf Coast’s desirable community. “I just didn’t want to leave,” she recalls. “I felt at home here, and loved the amazing lifestyle and wonderful people.” She promptly opened her Sarasota office and purchased a home here.

Not only recognized for her spectacular interiors for high-end hotels and resorts, she is also known as a premier designer of very luxurious residential projects throughout the United States.  She especially enjoys the challenge of taking a large house and turning it into a home.  “The process is a wonderful opportunity to develop relationships and to create beautiful spaces”, she says.

Working with a range of styles, Pamela notes that her signature isn’t steeped in a particular look. “It’s about quality,” she explains. “Not only in the design, but in the materials and furnishings that are selected.” Her residential clientele, she adds, have many of the same standards as the luxury resorts and hotels she represents. “We source the world for suppliers that provide the highest level of beautiful, quality products. From textiles to furnishings to antiques, we seek out the best for our clients.”

Pamela’s firm designed the interiors for the resort’s Tower Residences as well as The Members’ Beach Club. She also designed a series of luxurious deck houses for the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman with schemes ranging from modern to traditional British West Indies design. “The deck houses are beautiful residences, complete with Riva yachts,” she says. The project is already garnering international attention, and plans for expansion are in the works.

A designer and artist since her youth, Pamela finds inspiration everywhere. “I keep my eyes open every day,” she offers. “From the unique design sense and depth of history throughout Europe, to magazines and local architecture, there is always inspiration.”