Designing and executing the home of your dreams By Jillian Chandler | Photo by Patrick Martinez
“HDG was founded in 2010, in the middle of an economic recession,” Josh Hissong reflects. “We had to scrape together any odd project we could find, and our margins were slim to none. We learned to be scrappy, agile, and adaptable. What we sacrificed in profit, we gained in experience.”
Josh, a North Idaho native, has had an affinity for design since he was young. Spending many years designing, managing, then subsequently owning seven different restaurants over the years, he soon realized that he could benefit other business owners with his knowledge of functional, and aesthetically pleasing, hospitality design. So, in 2006, he started designing commercial kitchens and later, in 2011, partnering with architect Armando Hurtado, he began to study all facets of architecture and design.
As a business owner, Josh strives to create an environment that is inspiring, fun and positive. His co-workers are all incredible at their roles, and all play a part in the growth and success of the firm and its subsidiary companies. His willingness to “jump without a parachute” has allowed him to seize many opportunities that have allowed him to grow the firm.
Today, HDG, which is licensed in 10 states across the US, including Idaho, Washington, Montana, Oregon, Hawaii, California and New York, provides full-service architecture, design, branding and “really anything that will help a project stay cohesive from start to finish,” Josh says. They have built relationships with many of the quality construction companies in the Inland Northwest and work with state-of-the-art design software, which allows clients to walk through their home/condo/commercial space in VR before a hammer is ever swung. “This allows them to see and get a feel for every element within the design.”
At HDG, Josh and Armando are committed to sticking to their core values and making their company stand out as a better place to work, with the common goal of designing every project with the same amount of excitement. “It does not matter if it is a $30 million home, a five-story mixed-use building, or a little renovation bringing an old home back to life,” shares Josh. “We love it all—and it all matters.”
Josh’s number one inspiration is, and always will be, the people who he works with in the office, as well as the clients he assists. To continue to stay inspired and delve into new design concepts, he travels to Europe, where he spends four to six weeks each year exploring how design has shaped places that are thousands of years old. “When most people are at the lake in the summer, I am working. When I want to relax at night, I read design books, magazines and blogs,” he notes. “I find inspiration everywhere!”
Since its inception, HDG has evolved in every way imaginable—both in terms of business function, design aesthetic and output. “Our reach of influence through social media and design publications is literally growing by the hour, and we are attracting more clients who give us carte blanche to design and execute the home of their dreams,” says Josh. This growth has been very organic, he continues. Though never aiming for growth for growth’s sake, the growth happened, and continues to happen, naturally, and on Josh and Armando’s terms. “We don’t chase every lead, and we know we’re not a good fit for every project,” Josh discloses. “We are very up front with optional customers about whether we think we’re a good match. We believe that authenticity gives us freedom and is in everyone’s best interest.”
Josh shares that he and Armando just started another business venture that he runs alongside Aubrey Plaisance and Cody Hersch, called Stroom Interiors, a procurement company that allows them to keep all of their interior design, acquisition and delivery projects in-house, rather than outsource to interior decorators.
When it comes to what Josh finds most rewarding about sharing his passion of design with his clients, he says it’s “creating something out of nothing but a notion and helping people learn to live a different, simpler and more fulfilled life.”
As a community member, Josh and HDG give back in ways that benefit numerous nonprofits—both monetarily and through time and effort. Josh has sat on numerous boards and committees and is currently the host of the community podcast, “If not now, when?” The podcast aims to bring together prominent and everyday members of the community to have real conversations about Spokane’s future.
When not busy with his business, serving clients or his podcast, Josh enjoys spending time with his son, Luca, traveling and enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest.