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Anastasia Harrison — Where Design and Architecture Meet

Interior architect and designer Anastasia Harrison approaches space differently, considering both design and structure, a trait that puts her company in high demand.

Stephan Rabimov

Architects and interior designers often work hand in hand. But you’re either one or the other, rarely both. That’s what sets Anastasia Harrison, owner and principal designer of AHD&Co, apart. Having graduated from NJIT’s architecture school, Harrison then found her way into the interior design world — or rather, it seemed to find her. Her knowledge of both interior and structural design is what helps her company stand out, enabling her team of six to create practical, functional and purposeful spaces.

How did Harrison come to run her own full-service design firm? She spent some time working for The Port Authority of NY & NJ after graduation and did some “really big architecture” there, she says, before heading to London. It was while working in the U.K. for a small architectural firm that her interest in interior design was sparked. “That's where I got excited about interior design and where I really wanted to push myself to do architectural interiors,” she says.

Fast forward a couple of years and Harrison was back in New Jersey, where she worked for a couple of other big names, including Gensler, the highest-grossing architectural firm in the U.S. She eventually decided to leave the corporate world, and then one day, a friend asked if she could perhaps help her with a small living room addition, and the rest, as they say, is history. Harrison says she “just kept on going,” working on projects, one at a time, until eventually things morphed into her own, official firm. “It’s a little nuts,” she says when reflecting on how it all happened. AHD&Co has now been running for eight years. 

In terms of which projects get her excited, Harrison says she likes it when there’s a “challenge and a puzzle piece, and you have to reimagine or re-figure the space.” At AHD&Co, they approach space differently, considering both design and structure, a trait that puts her company in high demand.

Harrison receives her large number of leads through three sources: Houzz Pro, referrals and repeat clients. She sends new clients an onboarding questionnaire to get to know them better, to welcome them to the project, and to then guide homeowners on how to pin ideas on Houzz or Pinterest and share them. The company has worked to keep this personalized approach alive despite the social isolation caused by COVID-19. Harrison says they had to act fast to change the way they do business and marketing. Things like Zoom calls, which allow you to conduct a virtual walk-through of a house, has helped speed up the process as well as keep clients integrated during the project.

Harrison believes that being open to new technology can help keep your company viable. It can shorten the time needed to complete a task and catch errors that might go undetected by the human eye. AHD&Co is busy transitioning from 2D to 3D, since it’s a more user-friendly interface and is simply easier to present, she says.

Harrison finds that Houzz Pro software is a big help in uploading all of a project’s data.  “We put all of the pictures together, the links, the prices, the shipping, all the things,” she says. Her company uses Houzz Pro to share sign-off sheets and other templated documents with the client. “We don't have to search through countless files,” she says. “Once it's all in the system, tracking and management is so much easier.” The speed and efficiency of working online has helped Harrison and her team provide the instant gratification today’s clients seek. 

On the flip side, Harrison also tries to slow things down for her team. “The market is so crazy,” she says, adding that she feels very protective of her employees and likes to take them on weeklong retreats, go out for dinner or spoil them in other ways to show how much she appreciates them. It’s a team-building approach that meshes perfectly with the personalized client management AHD&Co embraces.  

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Stephan Rabimov

Stephan Rabimov leads Content Marketing at Houzz. Portland resident. Global citizen. Nature loving.

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