Victoria Hamilton Design™ is a Charleston-based e-design and residential design studio that specializes in creating bespoke interiors for the every day lives of busy professionals and growing families.

Colleen Brahm

Interior Designer

Colleen pursued her passion for interior design after having had a successful career as a fashion buyer in New York City, San Francisco and abroad. She is a metropolitan New York native who grew up traveling the world with her family. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Villanova University, she began building a career in fashion and design, as an apparel buyer in New York City. After eleven years in Manhattan, she married, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and accepted a position with Williams-Sonoma, Inc. as the first international buyer for Pottery Barn Kids.

Seeing how unique people’s lifestyles and functional needs are throughout the world inspired Colleen to switch careers. She pursued and earned a second degree in Interior Design followed by a specialized certificate of study in Kitchen & Bath Design at a NKBA affiliated school. Upon returning home to the east coast and settling in Charleston, South Carolina, Colleen decided to start her own design firm. She has an impeccable eye for design and draws on her world travels for inspiration. She also credits the influences of all of the places she has called home for her fresh take on classic design – one that feels modern, polished and refined. Colleen creates a feeling of understated elegance that looks effortlessly beautiful. She is drawn to neutrals, warm textures, natural elements and timeless pieces that can carry her client’s throughout life. She believes in creating balanced, well-designed spaces that meet her client’s aesthetic, lifestyle and distinct functional needs.

Colleen’s mission is to create a home that her clients will love.

Credentials & Affiliations

  • American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Allied Member
  • Candidate for the NCIDQ IDFX Examination, Fall 2020
  • National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), Professional Member
  • Candidate for the NKBA AKBD Examination, Fall 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

What Inspired the Company Name, Victoria Hamilton Design™?

Victoria is my confirmation name – the name that I chose for myself and Hamilton is my mother’s family name. This company is such a big part of who I am, so, I wanted to be very thoughtful about the name. I loved the idea of using a sort of pen name, but, wanted it to really meaningful to me.

What is E-Design?

E-Design is also known as Virtual Design or Online Design Services. It is a simpler, more affordable alternative to full-service interior design since it is done completely online. E-design allows you to enlist the help of a professional interior designer for a fraction of the cost of our full design services. This do-it-yourself option provides you with a master plan for a professionally designed space that you can implement at your own pace, as your budget allows. It is a great way to decorate in stages, one space at a time. Learn more here.

Why Hire an Interior Designer?

There are so many reasons why it is a good idea to hire an interior designer (not the least of which are knowledge, resources, solutions and the fact that they can save you money), that I decided to dedicate an entire blog post to this subject. Learn more here.

What makes you different from other designers?

I believe that one thing that makes me different is my approach to product research and selection. Back when I was an apparel buyer, I regularly shopped the market to see for myself what was out there and what was new. I decided to take the same approach with interior design. Since I am able to get back to New York City so regularly (and San Francisco a couple of times a year), I am able to meet with vendors and visit some of the best design centers and showrooms in the United States, while still working with local vendors. I don’t have to only rely on industry magazines or semi-annual trade shows because I am able to get out and see things on a pretty regular basis.

Also, I have been involved in the building process for three homes of my own, so, I know what it is like to be the client. I understand what it is like to go through what they are going through and I would like to help them make it as seamless as possible.

ASID, NCIDQ, NKBA, AKBD — What does it all mean?

ASID or the American Society of Interior Designers was founded in 1975. It is a professional association that supports interior designers and strives to advance the interior design profession through educational programs, seminars, conferences, research, business tools, knowledge sharing, advocacy, networking, community building and outreach. ASID only offers memberships to qualified members of the interior design trade. Individuals qualify for membership based on a criteria of education, experience, and examination. Members must complete a minimum number of continuing education units (CEUs) every two years in order to maintain their membership. Click here to find ASID interior designers.

NCIDQ Certification or National Council for Interior Design Qualification Certification is defined by CIDQ as the industry’s recognized indicator of proficiency in interior design principles and a designer’s commitment to the profession. Professional interior designers who possess the NCIDQ Certification have distinguished themselves by demonstrating a specific set of core competencies, supported by verified work experience and a college degree.

To earn certification, qualified interior designers who have met the criteria, can apply to take the NCIDQ Examination. After CIDQ or the Council for Interior Design Qualification approves their eligibility, candidates register for each of the three sections of the exam and must pass each section within a specified time-frame.

The NCIDQ exam or National Council for Interior Design Qualification Examination is a three-part exam for interior designers that cover the core competencies of interior design: building systems, codes, construction standards, contract administration, design application, professional practice and project coordination. The exam is continually updated to ensure it aligns with the most current professional knowledge necessary to design spaces that are innovative, functional and safe. Learn more here.

NKBA or The National Kitchen & Bath Association was founded in 1963. It is a professional association that promotes professionalism in the kitchen and bath industry specifically. The NKBA strives to advance the kitchen and bath design profession through educational programs, webinars, seminars, industry shows, research, business tools, guidelines, knowledge sharing, advocacy, networking, community building, and outreach.

NKBA offers memberships to qualified members of the kitchen and bath industry including designers, distributors, retailers, remodelers, manufacturers, fabricators, cabinet and appliance installers and other professionals. Individual members can become NKBA-certified designers if they pass examination after meeting the educational and experience requirements. Certified designers must also meet annual continuing education requirements (CEUs).

AKBD or Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer is a certified professional, knowledgeable in product selection, space planning, materials, and finishes. They passed examination after having met the educational and experience requirements and they meet a minimum number of CEUs annually.

How do you work with contractors and trades people?

We at Victoria Hamilton Design are not a general contractors and do not provide contractor services. If your project requires contractors, consultants or trades people to perform work based on the our designer concepts, you will be responsible for hiring all the trades people involved, entering into a contact with each of them directly. If Victoria Hamilton Design is hired for a full-service design project, we will review the design plan and specifications with the contractors and trades people that you hire.

Now The Fun Stuff

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I am obsessed with cheese. I have at least 7-10 different types of cheese in my refrigerator at any given time. Before we decided to move to Charleston, I actually had to make sure that there was a cheese shop that carried some of the cheeses that I love. There is…it is called goat.sheet.cow., north and it is wonderful.

Can’t Live Without…

My family (including my rescue pups), my friends, my faith…and coffee.

Besides Interior Design, I am currently obsessed with…

Stripe tops, puffer vests, Rothy’s shoes, and (true) navy blue.

How many countries have you visited?

I am at 31 countries and there are about a dozen or so of those that I have visited multiple times.

Where are you headed next?

Colombia, for a wedding. Then, later in the year, I am headed to South Africa followed by some downtime in either Mauritius or Seychelles.

Travels

Introduction

I was so excited at the prospect of creating this section of the website as it gives people a real glimpse into who I am and what makes me, me. Travel is one of the great loves of my life and plays such a huge role in everything I do. The colors, the sights, the experiences – they have impacted how I see things and how I approach what I do. Also, it has allowed me to explore hotel design, which I absolutely love and yes, I have definitely planned trips around hotels that I wanted to see. Below, you will see a collection of places I have visited over the years and some notes about the experience – sometimes I will write about a country as a whole, but, most often I will write about a specific town, hotel or sight that I visited. I may even throw in a couple of places that I hope to visit in the future.