It feels good to be back outdoors – grilling, partying and puttering around. But we take advantage of it more readily when our outdoor spaces feel inviting.
Great landscape design has the potential to enrich your life like good soil enriches the boxwood topiaries flanking your patio. And no one knows this better than the sought-after design couple, Brittany and Matthew Bromley, whose creative passion in life and in business intersects at the threshold of home.
The classic, modern and curated approach of the Bedford-based firm Brittany Bromley Interiors has earned the interior design maven her reputation among luxury clients. Brittany’s beautiful rooms have garnered attention – and projects – across the country. And ,increasingly, garden design has become a natural extension of the Bromley business.
Brittany and Matthew, a landscaping aficionado, believe the way people live in their homes translates to how they want to live outside. Almost four years ago, Matthew joined Brittany in response to growing requests for the same quality landscape design that would reflect the Bromley interior style outdoors. And – just like in their marriage – one picks up where the other leaves off. Bromley projects have a textured, layered and curated feel, even in the garden.
The couple’s fortuitous collaboration can benefit their clients. “You get a really good result when one hand is helping the other,” Brittany says. “(But Matthew) also does projects that don’t include me.”
As a designer, Matthew comes from a similar creative perspective to his wife’s so adapting her established model for interiors was a natural fit.
“It’s so important to be rooted in the history of classical design,” he says. “And something I learned early from Brittany is that empathy is a big part of the project.”
First, for the client. “And second, you need to have empathy for the landscape itself,” he says, “whether it’s pastoral or an urban courtyard.”
Principles of landscape and interior design overlap in some key areas such as framing views and planning movement that will lead naturally from one environment to another. Getting your eye to travel around a room and placing things at various heights are classic tenets that are as important outside as they are in.
“The discussion of outdoor rooms is a great starting point,” says Matthew, whose master’s from the New York Botanical Garden was the culmination of years of toil and passion. “It gave me something to hang my hat on.”
“And proportion is essential,” he adds. Texture, height, symmetry and color are important. “But the structure is more important (than color),” he says. “How a viewer progresses through (the garden). You can layer the color palette on top of that. It’s more about texture – deciduous juxtaposed with evergreen….You can have an all green garden but still have a dynamic experience.”
Brittany notes, “Our main objective is for these rooms to be collected and curated, even if the project was just completed on Tuesday. It needs to look as though it’s been there forever, rooted in the landscape.”
That’s a look that can’t be achieved, she says, “If we’re being led by trends. We don’t consider trends when we design.” Though she adds it does help when trends align with a design they are pitching.
Matthew agrees: “We are grateful when something we love gains a wide audience” For example, Brittany says she loves unlacquered brass and the way it patinas. Now that brass is on trend, they get the go-ahead to use it more readily.
The couple’s collaboration began when they bought their historic home. “We were both longtime gardeners at our own 5-acre property in Bedford,” Matthew says.
Adds Brittany: “The affair with our house began the creative dialogue. It was an eight- to 10-year project and a real education.”
That education paid off: Now the firm has projects in markets including Greenwich, Nantucket, Palm Beach, Chicago, Wyoming, Montana and Northern and Southern California. And every new climate is a different challenge. “What you might do in New England is different in Palm Beach,” Brittany says. But they’re not daunted by any of it. “We are absolutely growing,” she adds. “We have wonderful, well-established contractors and we’re excited about the opportunity to be everywhere.”
Matthew says having projects in many states means he’s never bored. One week he may be standing in super sandy soil on Cape Cod and the next week he’s dealing with tarantulas in Palm Beach. “If you’re not thrilled by that,” he says. “You’re not in the right business.”
But the couple clearly are in the right business – their passions have aligned.
“We develop our ideas simultaneously,” Brittany says. “And we’re both inspired by each other.”
Matthew adds, “She may be reaching and trying something new.” Creatively, he can understand what she’s trying to achieve. And it works both ways. “You can get creative tunnel vision,” he says. He’s been working on a project in Martha’s Vineyard and recently showed his plans to Brittany. “I said, ‘What do you feel about the access going here or there?’ And she said ‘Why don’t you do both?’ A lot of artistic endeavors happen alone. So, to be able to collaborate is priceless.”
Brittany notes, though, “But we cannot talk about our creative projects after 7 p.m. It’s a rule, otherwise we’ll be up all night.”
As Matthew says, “We love working together. “It’s a perfect synergy.”
Brittany adds a caveat: “But we still can’t decide what we want for dinner.”