It’s never a dull moment with Nicole Fuller. When she’s not creating sexy and refined interiors for clients like Usher and Zac Posen, the bicoastal designer dashes off to meetings with Ann Sacks, Dempsey & Carroll and The Rug Company, with whom she has collections. With a discerning eye for fine art, Fuller’s style is both cosmopolitan and warm, and never without a clever and seductive mixture of luxe materials and finishes.
Capture Nicole’s innovative design sense with her personally selected pieces from Sotheby’s Home.
How did you discover your passion for design?
I have always had a passion for everything design and art related. I grew up in a very creative environment. My mother was an artist and was brilliant with everything she touched. She could do photography, sculpt, paint, sew the drapery—really, she was a Renaissance woman. Since a young age, I have been traveling all over the world. I’ve lived in Europe and London before moving back to New York. I absolutely adore traveling and seeing all different parts of the world. It brings me so much inspiration, and has created a strong passion for culture, art and all things design. My passion is in my blood and is very instinctive to me. It comes organically and I love every aspect of it.
What is your favorite decorative object at home?
My Italian ceramic zebra, Marchello. It’s a 1950s piece from Italy and it’s only a little bit bigger than my three Maine Coon cats, and I absolutely love him. Even after all my prize pieces I have collected over the years that I cherish, Marchello still brings a smile to my face every day.
Feeling like taking a walk on the wild side yourself? Check out our current selection of animal-inspired pieces.
Is design an art or a science?
100%, design is an art. I don’t believe there are any rules to design. If you’re creative, you can do something new and innovative in each and every space you enter, touch and conceive.
Do you have any go-to color or pattern combinations?
We design uniquely for each client and space. There is always a thread of Nicole Fuller
Interiors in every space we create. I wouldn’t say I have a go-to, but I do love black and white as a base. From there, you can keep it neutral, bringing in slight pops of color or full color. Each space is truly unique and special, depending on my client’s objective, but if I had to choose, I would say black and white.
When do you consider a completed project a success?
When your client calls you back to do their next home and/or they refer you to another client.
Share your biggest design secret.
I’m a perfectionist. I will stay in the office all night if needed to get something right. Over-exceeding my client’s expectations is one of the greatest gifts and the secret to that is hard work and being a perfectionist.
What is the most common design mistake you see?
The most common mistake I see is scale. I’ll see a space where the chairs do not fit with the scale of the table, or the lounge chairs do not balance the sofa. The balance and flow of a space is crucial.
How do you balance style, comfort and functionality?
I believe the key to everything in life is about balance. It’s knowing what pieces are your star pieces that are more style than comfort. Perhaps a coffee table, side table, sculptural pieces or an art chair that sits along the wall to add style to a space. There should never be a compromise between comfort and design. We do a lot of our own upholstery pieces custom because sometimes pieces are made beautifully but they are not always comfortable. Functionality comes back to scale and how the client uses the space, which is first and foremost. The most important thing is to listen to your client’s needs and exceed their expectations.
Is there a specific item you typically use as a starting point? (ex: rug, artwork, statement piece, furniture)
It very much depends on our client’s wishes. For example, if our client does not have a specific art piece, art collection, favorite object or moment in their space, then I generally like to start outside-in. I start with the walls, ceilings, moldings and architectural details first, and then bring in the furnishings, lighting and accents for the space. I have clients who have come to me with a piece of art they’ve purchased, and they love the colors in the painting and want to create a room surrounded by the beauty of the art balanced with the colors. One of my most interesting scenarios for a project was for a client who wanted to use her beautiful family heirloom china set as her inspiration for the design of her home. We played off the beautiful blue, fuchsia, apricot, silver and gold in the set to create striking moments within the home, and the result was quite spectacular!
What do you think about Sotheby’s Home?
I think Sotheby’s Home is incredible. Sotheby’s is a brand that people associate with luxury and elegance, it is tried and trusted. We buy from Sotheby’s auctions many times for clients, and it’s a wonderful platform that I am fortunate and excited to be a part of!