Q&A With Nicole White
Casaza: How did you get your start?
Nicole White: I was a journalist for many years covering everything from politics to murder to celebrity soirees on Miami Beach. Design was my weekend hobby and my escape. That hobby eventually morphed into a full-scale business and I eventually turned in my press pass, but there were some bumpy moments - try launching your business smack into a recession! That was a brutal moment that sent me back to the corporate world but I took a final leap of faith again in 2013, and now I have a full-fledged and thriving design business and blog, and haven’t looked back since.
C: How would you describe your style?
NW: Contemporary, colorful, and curated. I’ve never met a color I couldn’t mold into great design. I’m also Jamaican, so vibrant colors are in my DNA. I love texture so I’m drawn to finishes that have layers and depth. I’m also a believer in real books! You’ll usually see a collection or two in my projects because who doesn’t love to hold a good book, turn the pages, and get lost into a good tale?
C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
NW: My son Xavier is quite the artist and watching him easily draw and paint inspires me in a way that reminds me to not take it all so seriously when designing. I also love to travel and find inspiration in the intricacy of centuries-old mason work done with hands, no machinery. That just always blows me away. I scour cities looking for doors that were handcrafted centuries ago yet remain stunning. That has become quite the obsession and inspiration for me.
C: Favorite room in the house?
NW: My living room AKA my mom cave. It’s colorful and sophisticated, but insanely comfortable and relaxing. My sofa has raised sides and arms so I can hideout there undetected to read and just chill for a while.
C: Design rule you don't subscribe to?
NW: Rules. I don’t really follow them. I’ll try almost anything in design. My philosophy is why not?
C: Recent project that inspired you?
NW: Our vignette for Design on a Dime, a charity event held annually in Miami and New York to raise funds to end HIV/AIDS and provide housing and treatment to those living with HIV/AIDS. This event allows us to design whatever we wish and it truly showcased my love of texture and color and will be a forever favorite.
C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
NW: Textured wallpaper - grasscloth, leather, metallic in anything graphic or bold for the striking presence they add to any space. Orange is my signature color but greens and yellows have been on the takeover in my color wheel and I’m not mad at all!
C: What is “good design” to you?
NW: Good design should be utterly reflective of you. A well-designed space should be a glimpse into your soul and give us a hint of everything you love and hold dear. We should know something immediately about you when we enter your home or space, be it your love of travel, music, art, books, nature etc. I should never leave your home and not feel a connection to you via your home’s design and decor.
C: Pack your bag! You're moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
NW: Bob Marley’s home on Hope Road in Kingston Jamaica. He’s my favorite musician of all time and so many of his greatest music was recorded here that I would just love to hang out here for weeks to understand the home’s essence and to soak in all the elements that inspired his music. It’s a simple home now by today’s celebrity standards, but one that’s rich with great architectural elements like wood beams throughout, brick and wood sidings, a few herb gardens, and loads of color everywhere.
C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
NW: Lots of wine! No party is complete without a good bottle or two, good music, and lots of food. I like to make a few signature dishes then order the rest. I’ve learned this is the most stress-free option for me so I’m not spending precious hours sweating away in the kitchen instead of preparing myself mentally to entertain. I’m also not a potluck fan, so prefer that guests arrive expecting to be fed to their hearts' content.
C: Best advice for DIYers?
NW: Start with a small project and pace yourself. Also, DIY isn’t for everyone. Sometimes you seriously need to call a professional to save your sanity.
C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
NW: Do your research. You are inviting a total stranger into your life for a committed relationship so don’t take that lightly. Check out their work on all social media channels, their reviews, and call them up for a few minutes to hear their voice and ask some pressing questions before moving ahead. But also be prepared to trust that pro the same way you trust your hair stylist or barber once you sit in that chair. Respect their talent and don’t second guess everything they do otherwise it’ll almost always lead to a bad breakup.
C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
NW: I’m loving everything I’m seeing in deeps shades of green - green tiles, velvet green sofas, solid or patterned greens on accent chairs, loads of green textures on wallpaper. We saw loads of this at High Point this year and love it especially when paired with black or brass finishes. Green is having its moment and I’m definitely here for it and hope it sticks around for a while.
C: How do you take your coffee?
NW: If I’m home in Jamaica, it’s a cup of Blue Mountain coffee with a tablespoon of condensed milk - my never-ending diet be damned. In South Florida I love a good Cuban cafe con leche. Very stong with a little almond milk, and all is well in my world after that first sip.