Raleigh-based designer Nichole Blough is best known for her transformative use of color, fabrics and art to create spaces that welcome and inspire. She takes a modern approach to designing classic spaces.
Hi Nichole! Welcome to LP Spotlight! To start, can you tell us a little bit about your background? Where did you grow up and how did you get your start in interior design?
Born and raised in Raleigh, NC, my appreciation for southern style was rooted at an early age. My grandmother, a self-proclaimed designer and lover of all things antique, and my grandfather (both also raised in Raleigh) a self-taught artist were my biggest inspirations. My grandmother believed in a well collected, but very tailored home. My grandfather adorned her tailored home with splashes of his modern art whenever he could. I recognized and fell in love with the classic modern mix of my grandparent’s home from a very early age. I was fascinated with how color could totally transform a space. I accompanied my mother and grandmother on many of antiquing trips during my childhood, the thrill of the hunt has always been exciting to me. Redecorating my childhood room became a regular occurrence my parents quickly got used to.
I graduated North Carolina State University with a major in Textiles and Marketing and have been working in the design industry since 2009. I worked for a local interior designer throughout college, where I was really able to build a great foundation for design.
What is one piece no home should be without?
No home should be without at least one family heirloom piece. Whether it’s a piece or art or furniture, something with meaning, history, that evokes feelings when you look at it. I have a pair of my grandmother’s cane back chairs in my foyer. I’ve had them lacquered white and added a bit more modern velvet fabric to the seat cushions, but every time I look at them, I can still picture where they originally lived in my grandmothers’ home.
What has been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
The most obviously rewarding part of owning my own business is having the flexibility to step away when needed to do family things- pick the boys up from school, take them to haircuts, swim lessons, etc. But watching the business grow so naturally has been super rewarding. People have been SO supportive and kind. There are days I really have to step back and take it all in- like WOW, I really did THAT.
You are a busy mom of two boys. Any tips for designing a kid-proof home?
Honestly, nothing is ever REALLY safe from sticky candy hands or muddy footprints but like I tell all clients, SEAL AND PROTECT whenever possible. I use Fiberseal here in Raleigh and my clients rave about the easy cleanup once correctly protected. I’ve also really been into performance velvet lately; it seems to have the best track record with my boys and cleanups.
Where are you drawing inspiration right now?
I’ve really been inspired by textiles recently. There are so many cool smaller brands that are popping up, the attention to detail and color always amazes me. When I’m feeling like I need inspiration, one place I like to browse is The Lot Showrooms Instagram page, based out of Nashville, TN. She always features some great textile brands, like most recently Paprika Home- talk about FRESH.
You definitely have an eye for art. At what stage of the design process do you generally select the art?
I wouldn’t say there’s a “stage” of the design process that I generally select art per say- I start with whatever piece inspires my client or I the most and build off that. It may be a piece of art; it’s even been a rug before! I will say that art generally takes the longest to select, it seems to be the most personal.
Nicole’s favorite pieces of art from lizapruitt.com.