Even in a light drizzle, editors kept drifting out to the roof deck during press day at the DC Design House last fall—Quintece Hill-Mattauszek’s Hollywood-inspired cabana had them snapping pictures on the lounge draped in layers of crisp-white and palm tree-patterned fabric. Just inside, Hill-Mattauszek chatted with visitors while her sister, Tiffany Brittain, handed out press kits.
Owner of Studio Q, Hill-Mattauszek’s seventh show-house space in her 14-year design career, was widely praised in the local press, and though Brittain’s name wasn’t mentioned, this sister act is equal parts Hill-Mattauszek’s creative yin and Brittain’s business yang. Whether decorating homes or conjuring event designs for wedding and party planners, “I’ve always been the one to dive right into the pool and then decide which stroke I’m going to do,” she says. “When I’m in creative mode, I’m not thinking clearly as to what I need to be doing to be successful.” That’s where her sister steps in. “I’m the strategist,” Brittain says. “You have to be able to allow people to think big but not get themselves in a hole while doing it.”
The sisters had pursued parallel paths until last year: Hill-Mattauszek studied interior design and worked under mentor Gary Lovejoy before opening her own firm in 2011; and after receiving her business degree, Brittain managed the South Florida office of ARKTX, a DC architecture firm, for several years before returning to the area in August, when she set up shop in design-management consulting. Hill-Mattauszek is among her biggest clients: “I don’t think I would trust anyone else to help guide me,” the designer says—and the advice comes unvarnished. “I do have to put that diplomatic face on when I’m dealing with my clients, but [not] with her!” Brittain says. Sounds to us like the best kind of sibling rivalry.
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