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About Stephen Hambrecht

As Managing Principal, Stephen runs the New Jersey Office of Hambrecht Oleson Design, in addition to his Client responsibilities. He is licensed in 21 states and has been responsible for overseeing all of the construction documentation and project management of all of the firms commercial and residential projects. Stephen’s skilled and direct approach on all of the phases of the design and construction process make him a key partner to the Client in leading a project. His interest of the latest drawing technology enables the firm to stay current and streamlined in their process by providing renderings and walk-thru's.


Prior to forming Hambrecht Oleson Design in 2000, Stephen was Vice President/Architect for the New York office of FRCH. He has led a variety of design and construction programs for a range of clients, from upscale retailers like Bloomingdale’s to moderately priced chains such as Century 21 and Loehmann’s. His experience  encompasses rollout programs, renovations, expansions and new stores as well as urban flagships and suburban branches.


Stephen began his career at Bloomingdale’s, and has lived and worked in Tokyo, where he practiced retail design within a Japanese firm, Visual Japan.He was born and raised in Ridgewood NJ, and has enjoyed raising his two sons, Pete and Will   in town with his wife, Amy also a lifelong Ridgewood resident. When Hambrecht Oleson Design moved their offices in 2016, Ridgewood was an easy first choice. In the rare times he is not practicing architecture, he enjoys opera, travel, golf, and a nice tumbler of scotch. 

About Karen Oleson

As Creative Principal of Hambrecht Oleson Design Associates, Karen is responsible for the design direction of the firm’s projects, specializing in planning, design and décor of interior environments. She is passionate about making space work,  and look and feel great. Her detailed approach and interest in all kinds of design:  retail, office, restaurant or residential brings broad experience to projects, however big or small.  The firm has been fortunate to have completed a variety of substantial luxury retail projects in many countries including the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and Kazakhstan as well as the US.  


Prior to 2000, Karen was vice president, creative director in the New York Office of FRCH, where she designed dozens of department stores for clients in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In addition to bringing an international perspective to her work, she had first-hand experience in designing environments for an unusually wide range of clients, from upscale retailers like Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue to moderately priced chains such as Sears.


Earlier in her career,  Karen taught design and materials classes at her alma mater, Pratt Institute in the undergraduate BFA Interior Design Program. After raising her two sons, Jake and Daniel, in Short Hills NJ, and moving the business there in 2009, she returned to teaching one day a week at LIM college in Manhattan as an adjunct professor teaching Space Design in the Visual Merchandising Program. When not juggling her design practice, teaching and family time, Karen loves to travel, hike, bike, (spin class, on trails, or on a coaster at LBI)  with her husband, Marc. Occasionally, convincing her two teen age stepkids, Olivia and Jack to join in. 

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