Barbara Parker and Miriam Torres were first introduced while working on the Bentley in London, despite both living in Boston and working for different design firms for 20 years. The two spent the whole seven-hour flight back to the U.S. talking. A few years later, in 2004, they launched Parker-Torres Design. They’ve been together ever since, an almost perfect 18-year union where they rarely argue and often finish each other’s sentences. While they couldn’t be more different, they’re also incredibly in sync.
Parker grew up outside of Boston climbing trees and being outdoorsy; Torres, raised in Puerto Rico, prefers the beach and tennis. Parker’s desk is organized to perfection, Torres’ is overflowing with samples (their desks are still next to each other to this day). Parker cuts through the chaos while Torres thrives in it.
But when this yin and yang come together, the two are unstoppable. Their portfolio speaks for itself. The InterContinental the Willard hotel in Washington, DC opened many doors for the duo, leading them to more work, including the impressive Phoenician hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“Every time I get that flutter in my chest that we’re starting something new,” Parker says. “Then, at the end, when you see that space that somebody spent millions of dollars to take what was in my head and make it real, there’s nothing more rewarding than that.”
They credit their success to their humility and respect for the industry, devotion to their clients, and the loyalty they feel for their tight-knit team of about 30. “The best piece of advice I [was ever given] was to hire people who will be better than you,” says Torres. “I feel the people in our office are better than us.”
Barbara Parker and Miriam Torres were inducted into HD’s Platinum Circle hall of fame in November 2022.