The Murphy Team Norwell, MA

1 on 1 with Paulette O’Connell of OCO Architecture

| October 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

Paulette O'Connell OCO ArchitecturePPaulette O’Connell is principal and owner of the South Shore architecture firm OCO Architecture::Design, LLC. OCO architecture::design focuses on all types of projects from new construction, additions, renovations and interior design that strives to find balance with New England architecture and a client’s individual needs for modern living. Paulette, a resident of Scituate, MA, has a growing client base throughout the South Shore.. We recently sat down with her to learn more about her and the excellent work she does.

S.S.S.: Tell us what inspired you to be an architect?
P.O.: “As far as I can remember I was fascinated with architecture. As a child I was always drawing, creating forts in the woods or walking through houses under construction. I had a vision and a passion for creating new spaces. It is amazing that that passion has evolved into a fulfilling career. “

S.S.S.: You grew up in Connecticut but went south to Virginia Tech.  Why Virginia Tech?
P.O.:  ” I was looking for a well respected architectural school in a quintessential college town. Virginia Tech was just that. The campus is beautiful. But beyond the campus itself, the school has a large student body made up of smaller tight knit colleges.   It offered the best of a large and small school in one. I loved my experience there and would recommend the school to anyone.”

S.S.S.: After college you came to Boston. What brought you to Boston?
P.O.:“I moved to Boston to work in a multi-disciplined firm, BH+A (Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype, Inc.) There I focused on many different design projects (corporate, historical, multi-family housing and recreational). I started as a junior designer and through the years worked my way up to Senior Associate & lead designer in charge of the recreation/childcare design studio. I also worked on the side designing small residential projects. I feel this diverse background allows me to approach every project with a new eye.”

OCO Architecture South Shore child care design

S.S.S.: Why did you choose to leave BH+A and launch OCO?
P.O.: “After 13 years working in Boston for a larger firm, I was ready to make a change. I liked the design autonomy working for myself would offer. I also wanted to work on the South Shore so I could become a more integrated part of the community in which I live.”

Duxbury Renovation
Hingham Architectural Rendering

S.S.S.: How does running a woman-owned business give you an edge on success?
P.O.: “I have noticed that many woman head up their home renovation projects, but there are not many woman architects around. I offer a woman’s approach and perspective. I have a growing family like many of my clients and I can relate to their desire for a larger home with more modern amenities, separate living and play space and storage. I also feel that most women have an innate sense of design. I easily see solutions to design problems right away and offer both architectural and interior design services in one package.

South Shore Architect OCO Architecture

I strive to find a balance between traditional New England architecture and ones individual needs for modern living.

S.S.S.: What you are most proud of related to your business and the success of your business?
P.O.: “I am most proud of my clients’ feedback. I strive to give my clients a design that meets their lifestyle. But most of the time, they feel they are getting so much more than they ever imagined. I love that good design can bring that kind of excitement to people”

S.S.S.: What does OCO architecture specialize in and what are the most common projects that clients are requesting?
P.O.: “I specialize in offering personalized design solutions to homeowners. My approach is a collaborative one, to really listen to and work with my clients in order to provide a design that meets the needs for their lifestyle, taste and budget. I strive to find a balance between traditional New England architecture and ones individual needs for modern living. Without a doubt most of my clients are looking for three things:

  1. An open floor plan with a great room and kitchen in one
  2. A master bedroom suite
  3. A mudroom
South Shore Bathroom Renovation
Open Floor Plan OCO Architecture Hingham, MA

S.S.S.: If you could sum up your philosophy towards residential design in 3 principles, what would be your top 3 design motivations?

  1. A sense of scale and proportion
  2. An effortless flow through the home
  3. Capturing unused space

“Many homes have spaces no one knows what to with them, I try to create built in storage nooks, sitting areas or closets to make every square foot count.”

LEED DESIGN OCO ArchictureS.S.S.: You are LEED certified. How does that expertise influence your design approach?
P.O.: “Not many residential projects focus on LEED certification. It is an in depth process that is better suited to larger scale construction. But one of the advantages of working in New England is that I deal with many existing structures. I love the challenge of turning the older housing stock into homes for the way people live today. It’s in fact modernizing and being green at the same time. By reconfiguring an older home or giving one a face lift, we are able to keep the character of the old and keep demolition debris out of the landfills.”



S.S.S.: Many architects are inspired by other forms of art or engineering like sculpture, the human body, mechanical systems etc. Are your designs inspired by anything other than context or style?
South Shore ArchitectureP.O.: “I traveled through Europe one semester in college visiting the most famous building and museums. It was an amazing experience. While traveling, I became fascinated with the old sculptures of the human body. Each sculpture, although made of stone, has fluidity and movement captured by the way light hits it. I feel buildings should have a similar play with their environment, whether through scale, lighting or color.”

S.S.S.: If you had the choice to create a new structure or to fix bad architecture which would you choose?
P.O.: “It’s not always one or the other. Ideally, I would like to re-imagine a bad design or start new on that site. A lot of bad architecture is not worth saving as it was built poorly and or cheaply. By getting rid of the “bad” building and creating something new that fits into the fabric of the community, I am not only improving and the property but the entire neighborhood.”


OCO Architecture - Hingham, Scituate and South Shore MAOCO architecture::design is committed to finding a balance between traditional New England architecture and your individual needs for modern living. OCO creates solutions that fit into the fabric of the existing community.

Paulette O’Connell is principal and owner of OCO architecture::design, LLC.  Paulette is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She also studied abroad in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. She has served as a graduate advisor at Suffolk University New England School of Art and Design, led a team for the Citizen’s Schools 2008 Architectural Competition and has guest lectured at the University of New Hampshire, Boston Architectural College and the Boys & Girls Club Annual Keystone Conference.

Paulette is a registered architect and a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Boston Society of Architects. She is also LEED certified. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system.

Awards :: Publications
• Harris Family Children’s Center, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH – Merit Award
for Outstanding Accomplishments in School Architecture: Design Share
International Awards, 2007
• Endicott Green, Danvers, MA – Greater Boston Real Estate Award of Excellence
(mid-rise, pre-2000 category), 2006
• Joseph P. Herman Youth Center, North Andover, MA – Facility of the Year by Athletic
Business in 2001
• Fort Point Place, Boston, MA – featured in article, “Urban Lofts”, October 2001

Contact OCO at 617.699.8395 or info@ocoarch.com

OCO architecture::design
PO Box 709
Hingham, MA 02043

Tags: , ,

Category: Architecture & Design

About the Author ()

The S3 Team was created by a group of local real estate agents, designers and business partners from Massachusetts South Shore. Trying to tell the story of the South Shore community and striving to connect the world to all the amazing things that make the South Shore great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *