It was such a pleasure to work with Nicole and her team. We asked for her to make our main living space more functional and cohesive, while keeping several pre-existing furniture pieces. Her recommendations were spot-on and more than met our expectations. Her choices for lighting, in particular, really changed the feel of the room. She also transformed a previously underused main floor space to a fun, colorful and engaging pool room that the whole family can enjoy. She recommended very capable craftsmen to implement the ideas. She completed the project on time. We are now enjoying our transformed first floor every day thanks to Nicole!

Nicole is incredibly talented, creative, and resourceful, and exceptionally attuned to client needs. We have worked with Nicole for nearly three years, first for a corporate/law office design and then the entirety of our new home, and we can’t speak highly enough about her talent, attention to detail, and willingness to go above and beyond for her clients. From sourcing the perfect rug or wallpaper to scouting out new art galleries or vintage finds, Nicole is passionate about her business and her clients and never settles for less than stellar. For our new home, we were essentially starting from scratch and working under a tight timeline of several months to design and furnish several main rooms, including the living room. Nicole gamely agreed to the challenge and executed a gorgeous set of designs with time to spare. We are thrilled with her work and love coming home everyday to the beautiful spaces she has created.

We hired Nicole Lanteri to help us with decorating our house. We had a blank slate and while I thought I had a certain style in mind, I really had no idea what we wanted yet. Nicole’s personality and style really came through. She helped present us with multiple options for plans and adjusted to our evolving styles and preferences seamlessly. She has great tastes and can adapt easily to different guidance. She also has a wealth of brands and outlets to source from, so she is not inclined to send you to the most expensive retailers for core staples that can be easily bought elsewhere. At the same time, she was able to find us unique one of a kind, vintage pieces and chandeliers that we wouldn’t have found on our own. She is patient and stylish. We loved working with her!

When I was 7 months pregnant, I hired Nicole to transform a very small room with an odd layout into a new nursery. I had never worked with a designer before and I was nervous, but Nicole quickly put me at ease. I had a limited budget, short timeframe, and wanted to incorporate some pieces from our first child’s nursery into the design. Nicole stepped in, turned the design plan around quickly, and executed with weeks to spare before the baby arrived. I was so impressed with her incredible eye for color, and her ability to find great pieces that fit with our budget. She incorporated our ideas and was thoughtful, patient and responsive throughout the entire process. We ended up hiring her to redo our first child’s bedroom, as well as our own bedroom, because she is just so good.

We hired Nicole to help us solve a few challenges. 1) An update of our master bedroom 2) A redesign of our family room space and 3) A new solution for a home office space.

Nicole was very friendly, listened to what we had to say and took note of our style. She put together a terrific binder of ideas that included photographs, swatches and other materials to help visualize the looks.

We implemented the designs on our own, with Nicole’s guidance. Our bedroom truly looks like a hotel, which is what we wanted! Cozy, but clean, simple and comfortable. We also purchased a hidden desk to move our home office downstairs and have been very happy with this solution. We are currently working on implementing the last piece of her terrific plan. Very happy! Would hire her again in a heartbeat.

We are so grateful to Nicole for what she has given us – our first home.

After 15 years of apartment and condo-living that always felt so temporary, we finally bought our first house in Arlington. We were so excited to have our own space and were eager to get settled. But, we did not know where to begin!

Each decision, from furniture, to window and floor coverings, to paint seemed to push against the next and we could not imagine how everything would come together. We thought we had some good ideas, but we could not see the whole picture. We were overwhelmed, frustrated, we needed help, and luckily we found Nicole.

Nicole put us at ease right away. After our first consultation she came back to us within a few short weeks with a design plan that covered every room on the first level of our house. We were ecstatic! The plan allowed us to see for the first time what our house would look like. Her designs were clever, stylish, purposeful and beautiful. The implementation was on time and on budget.

As much as we loved Nicole’s work, we also loved working with Nicole. Her comprehensive process was enjoyable and even educational. She is a great communicator, a keen listener, proactive, responsive and she was considerate of our family’s needs and how we intended to use our spaces.

Nicole transformed our house into our home. We absolutely love the results. It has literally opened doors for us, as we have enjoyed entertaining family and guests more than ever! We are grateful for Nicole’s talents, creativity and expertise. We recommend her so highly!

I had a great experience working with Nicole over the last year. I moved into a DC condo that was pretty much a blank slate. Nicole was flexible with scheduling, even working with me on an hourly basis as we addressed different areas from picking paint colors to furniture and accessories. Nicole helped me make decisions about key pieces with the right guidance on scale and style. She showed an incredible knack for understanding my more classic taste while adding some much-needed flare. I love what Nicole did and highly recommend her!

We contacted Nicole at the end of August, near the end of a gut renovation and addition on our house. The renovation was scheduled to be completed at the beginning of November, and I asked Nicole to help us get enough furniture in there for us to host Thanksgiving for our families. Nicole did that and more; except for a couple of wall hangings, our first floor living areas were basically complete by the time our families came to visit.

We asked Nicole to first help us choose paint colors, and she unerringly did so. We have received many compliments on the colors, as well as on the wallpaper for the dining room. Nicole also helped us with our first floor design plan, as we were basically starting from scratch, and we are thrilled with what she chose. She put together a binder with suggestions, a couple of alternatives, and photographs, along with a to-scale layout that really helped us to visualize what it would all look like together. She suggested only in-stock items that were able to be shipped almost immediately, so we were able successfully to host our Thanksgiving visitors in our new (and now-furnished!) house. Nicole was responsive to our needs and preferences, and had great suggestions for alternatives when necessary. We love the results, and will likely hire her again as we work to complete the rest of the house!

We worked with Nicole on a dining room redo. We could not find the right table and chairs, and needed help. Nicole took stock of the situation, cast an observant eye about the adjoining rooms, and listened carefully to our hopes and needs. Her recommendations were spot on: she identified a table and chairs we never would have found, but which were perfect. And they were within the budget! We are very happy with our new dining room, and will happily work with Nicole again in the future.

My husband and I moved into a newly constructed house in 2012 and after a couple years of indecision about how to bring to life our kitchen and basement rec room, we turned to Nicole. We wanted brightness and color and for the spaces to feel more aligned with our personalities. Working with Nicole has been a delight from day one. She seemed to immediately understand what we hoped to bring to the space and she was able to do it within our budget. She was all the things you would expect from a professional interior designer (creative, has a great eye for design, met all deadlines, stuck with our budget), but even more than that, she was/is such a pleasure to work with and clearly loves her work. She has great vision and was really able to listen to what we were looking for and achieve it in a way that was much more fabulous than I ever could have imagined!

Over the course of a year I accomplished my design goals in working with Nicole and it was a great experience!  I had reached a ‘fork in the road’ with regards to my home’s interior design and while I had ideas about what I wanted, I was stuck about how to execute them. I had made design mistakes/purchases in the past and didn’t want to waste time/money doing that again so sought out an interior designer. I specifically needed to create a dressing room/closet that I had not been able to accomplish over the four years we’d been in our house, and which frustrated me and my ability to keep things neat and organized! I also wanted help tweaking my entire main living floor – living room, sunroom, entryway, etc. She immediately brought great ideas and an ease about it all. She is calm, creative and interested in ultimately creating design solutions that work for her clients’ lifestyle.

Working with Nicole was absolutely amazing – after living in my condo for almost five years, everything was still beige, my furniture was too big for my place and the design (if you can call it that) was just plain boring. Nicole really listened to what I liked and got to know me – she pushed me just far enough outside my comfort zone to create a spectacular design that is a true reflection of my personality. I am completely in love with the results and can’t wait to work on the next room with her!

Nicole was excellent!  She came up with creative solutions I could not have found on my own and was able to incorporate many of my existing pieces.  I love her business model in that I felt no pressure and was able to execute the design plan on my own time frame.  When I was finally ready to get started, Nicole was right there with me, very responsive and engaged. I love the updates that have been made, and have a renewed love for my house!  I would highly recommend Nicole!

Working with Nicole was wonderful. We started the project in June 2014 and it involved updating the living room, foyer, dining room, den, and master bedroom. In the den we started from scratch, but elsewhere we wanted to incorporate existing furnishings. Nicole is a lovely person as well as a consummate professional. She’s a great listener and was able to integrate various perspectives and opinions into her creative vision, resulting in spaces that both look great and truly feel like our own. She gently handheld us through the entire process – from arranging for donating unneeded items to the last finishing touches – making an overwhelming project very manageable. She was also very responsive to my budget and timing needs. She gave me time to make decisions even when I was taking too long, but she also kept us on track which I needed her to do. Most importantly, the true mark of success to me is how much my family and friends enjoy the new spaces. The house is so much more welcoming and adaptable now. I especially saw that over the holidays with my older child home from college and friends and family over. It’s just fabulous to see everyone enjoying ourselves at home more than ever. I loved working with Nicole, and I highly recommend her!

Working with Nicole was an absolute pleasure, and we are so happy with the results of our home project! We hired Nicole while living overseas to prepare our newly constructed townhouse for our arrival. We specifically asked her to bring some unique touches to our home through paint, wallpaper, and lighting choices, so that we could avoid the “cookie cutter” look that is all-too-common in new homes. The paint choices she made bring a lot of warmth into our home, including a very chic dark gray family room (my personal favorite). She recommended slightly bolder wallpaper than we were imagining, and this is really the focal point of our living and powder rooms that everyone comments on. We were nervous at first to make these decisions from overseas, without being able to look at swatches in the house. Nicole, however, showed early on that she really understood what we wanted, and we trusted her judgment and recommendations. She was very responsive to all of our questions and inquiries, and made it easy to work with her even from very different time zones.

We didn’t own much furniture before moving in, so we especially appreciated Nicole’s recommendations on beautiful, eclectic pieces that work well together without looking like we went to a showroom and just picked out a set. Our home really matches our style and is functional for the way we live. We were able to get a lot of value for our budget, and Nicole and her team were great to work with on ordering, delivery, and placement. Most of our house was actually set-up before we arrived from overseas, which tremendously eased our transition! (She even got us candles, decor, and a neighborhood guide so we would feel at home right away.) One of Nicole’s greatest strengths is her sense of space and the layouts she creates. We have an open living/dining/kitchen, and she created a great layout that really takes advantage of all the space and makes it cozy. She often recommended a layout that I had never considered, but which made a big difference when we saw it in person.

Nicole truly cares about making your home comfortable and beautiful and goes the extra mile to make this happen. I recommend her services to all of my friends, and would definitely recommend her to anyone trying to bring character into their home or working from a difficult situation like being overseas.

I cannot recommend Nicole Lanteri highly enough. The rooms she helps to create are livable and practical as well as beautiful, and she works with you to design rooms that reflect your aesthetic. She herself is creative, efficient, responsive, time-sensitive, and a pleasure to work with.

PROJECT DETAILS: We called Nicole in May, 2014 to help us while we were in the midst of the design phase of renovating our not-very-large basement into a playroom/guestroom, and she worked with us over the following months.

1. She is responsive, flexible, and sensitive to deadlines: she immediately helped us rethink the built-in bookshelves for the room (with which we were struggling) and worked with our architect to make the changes. She then worked within the time frame of the project to help us figure out how to achieve our goal of making a warm, colorful play area that also worked as a guest room. She helped us pick numerous bright paint colors for parts of the bookshelves and fabric for a cushioned bench, while also helping us figure out more muted colors for the walls, couch, and rug to create a workable background. She brought color wheels, fabrics, rug samples etc to us, and suggested and looked at websites with us, so we didn’t have to go out to stores (because we didn’t have time).

2. She worked with our budget and the limitations of our schedule: we wanted someone to consult with us on the project, but we didn’t need someone to manage every piece of it. In addition, we were limited in times that we could meet, but she worked with us to find weekends when she could meet with us during our 2-year old’s nap. Then in each hour or two that we had together, we were always able to get a lot accomplished – although we never felt hurried.

3. She is a pleasure to work with: beyond being a talented interior designer, Nicole is extremely easy to be around and to work with. She was quick to understand our personalities and the dynamic between us, and then to work with us in a relaxed way that helped us make decisions that we were both happy with.

TO RECAP: We love how our basement turned out. It is both beautiful, fun-looking, and a great play space for our 2 year old now, and the space will grow with him. It’s also gotten thumbs up from our parents as a guest room.

GOING FORWARD: Nicole is now working with us on a smaller project – a nursery that has a very specific deadline. She not only is helping us with ideas for wall color, rugs, and curtains, but she helps us think through how we can use the furniture we have currently and how to relocate within the house other pieces currently in the room. She also helps with the practicalities, such as the workability of shades vs curtains, and what furniture we really need to buy versus what we can re-purpose.

We are grateful to have found Nicole and appreciate her expertise, organization, good nature, and talent.

I found Nicole Lanteri on Houzz. Her joie de vivre and stated work ethic on her web site caught my attention. I had relocated from a five-bedroom house to a two-bedroom condo. I was burned out from life events and unable to make the needed decisions to move forward. On the one hand I could not imagine having someone in my house making decisions about what furniture I should have and how it should be arranged; on the other hand, I knew I needed help to move forward.

Nicole not only has creative decorating skills and talents, she is smart, personable, and fun and comfortable to be with. It is a daunting task to get started. Nothing could be more personal that having someone in your home helping you to make it your home! Many people put off seeking decorator assistance because they cannot fathom another personality in their home.

Nicole is also well liked and respected by a large cadre of retail furniture stores. This is so valuable in placing furniture orders, checking on orders, and dealing with any glitches that may arise.

Nicole resourcefully listened to what I wanted and presented a plan and a budget with a mix of new and existing furniture, and a cohesive color palette. She met her deadlines and stayed within budget. I wanted to wait on a few furniture pieces, and Nicole accommodated my schedule and the changes that I made, yet kept me moving forward. Nicole is an excellent communicator via texts, calls and emails. She loves what she does; I learned a lot about design from listening and watching Nicole work. She worked in partnership with me to create a living space that I love.

In the layout of the living space, specifically Nicole repurposed existing furniture; moved a vintage vanity from the bedroom to be used as an entryway table; moved two large contemporary bookshelves from the living room to the dining room, flanking a contemporary buffet to create a multi use dining/reading area. This move, as well as the unifying color palette, created a single flowing space between the living room and the dining room. Nicole also made this space seem larger by taking the eye up with over-sized table lamps in the living room and a large drum light over the dining table.

When my living space was completed, including reframed and repositioned art, new sofa pillows, new accent wall in the dining area, a new door with a motif that complemented the design on the buffet, my home felt bright and fresh, inviting and peaceful, and most importantly, a reflection of who I am.

I have always wanted to work with a decorator but have been skeptical of finding someone who would pay attention to me and my style and not try to sell me a bunch of things that weren’t really about me.  I want my home to reflect who I am and how my family lives.

I decided to give Nicole Lanteri a try with the master bedroom.  When she didn’t make any notes at our first meeting, I was still skeptical.  But the prompt, professional proposal accurately reflected what I was after:  grown up, comfortable, colorful, and playful.  From there, Ms. Lanteri pulled together the in-progress kitchen renovation.  But her solution for the awkward, eccentric living room made the room beautiful and functional as it had never been before.

What I appreciate and admire most about Ms. Lanteri is how carefully she listens to what I say, then responds with a creative, unexpected solution that meets all the needs of the room.  Sometimes it’s as if she is my alter ego.  And I especially love that she does the shopping.

Nicole Lanteri is a person with a rare combination of qualities:  incredibly detail-oriented, yet still laid-back and low-key.  Her gentle persistence left me no room to continue to make excuses for the clutter in our home.  Her design and organizational solutions for my home office and our family room were and are so practical and attractive that they are virtually unchanged from the day she completed installation.  Moreover, she stuck to the budget we set, finding affordable options for lighting and storage that look just as good as items that cost ten times as much.

If I could hire Nicole to run and beautify my entire life, I would.

From the initial questionnaire to the finished product, I was impressed with every aspect of working with Nicole. Nicole asked me to describe my life and style. She listened to every detail and magically translated my description into the perfect oasis that I now call home. In sum, she nailed it! I have never been more excited to show something off. I regularly invite people to my home to see the amazing transformation, but I also enjoy sitting on my perfect couch and relaxing in the chic calm that Nicole created. The finished product is pretty amazing, but the ease and organization with which Nicole guided me throughout the process is equally laudable. Nicole’s communication is prompt and efficient – exactly what a busy professional needs. At the outset, she described what I could expect in terms of service and schedule. She met (and exceeded) all expectations. Nicole is a master of her trade and a joy to work with.

I was very hesitant to get help from a decorator because I wanted to make sure that our place reflected our style and I wanted to be involved in the process. Nicole was great from start to finish. She really came up with a plan that did reflect our style and we felt very much a part of the process. She was happy to come up with other ideas when we were on the fence about certain items. She also had great ideas and made some changes/suggestions that we never would have thought of on our own.

Nicole is really down to earth, responsive, and professional. She made the process fun and I highly recommend her.

Nicole Lanteri has great vision, but she is so much more than a designer:  she is a life coach for your home, helping clear away clutter and make practical choices that suit your changing needs. 

When we had a baby on the way, Nicole patiently worked with us to update our house with furniture that could withstand the approaching mess, and created a nursery that would be able to evolve in the years ahead (even helping us organize his tiny closet before he was born).  She took all of our revisions in stride, and did not stop until every last piece was in place, even when we got distracted by other things.  And to our great surprise, she did it well within our budget.  Unlike other decorators we interviewed, who complained that it would be impossible to update our house on limited funds, Nicole seemed to delight in finding bargains for us. 

Best of all, she was a joy to be around.  Nicole has a persistent, detail-oriented personality that make her the perfect custodian of your house.  She understands that her clients are busy people who need her to not only pick out designs but then to actually get the job done.

Nicole has helped my family with a number of projects and we have always been thrilled with the results.

From the start, I liked that Nicole assessed the style sensibility of my husband (more modern) and me (more traditional) and incorporated both into her recommendations. She did such a great job balancing the two approaches that we approved every light fixture for our main level and new wallpaper, paint, and furniture for our dining room without batting an eyelash.

I have also been impressed with how well she incorporates her designs so they feel seamless with the other spaces in the house. Nicole is great at working with pieces you already own and reimagining them in a new way. If you have a limited budget, Nicole can guide you where to put your money so it makes the most impact.

Nicole is great! She was responsive and budget conscious throughout the project. She was able to effectively mix high and low pieces to give my apartment a more “homey” feel. My transition from a condo (1600 square feet) to an apartment (720 square feet) was difficult. She not only delivered on the design but she provided emotional support as well. She is a great individual to work with and I am very happy that she is expanding her brand.

My husband and I met with Nicole in June, and after just one meeting, we knew that she understood exactly what we wanted to do with our spaces (entry, living, dining) and really liked her vision. Our main priority was creating more functional spaces for our family, while using colors and pieces that both my husband and I would like and that would be baby-friendly for our now 1-year-old. Nicole nailed it! I tend to like the more vintage look and my husband tends to like the more modern look — with new paint colors for our walls and both existing and new pieces throughout our home, Nicole gave us great cozy modern spaces with vintage accents. As for function, she really listened to every single thing we said. In the past, we would just let piles of coats, strollers, toys, bibs, mail, bags/purses, etc. accumulate throughout our home because there was no set place for anything. Now, it is so effortless to keep our home organized and clutter-free because there is a place for everything — and it all makes sense and feels natural to us. And our spaces have really opened up with her redesign! We never realized how much space we were missing with our old setup. The window treatments work perfectly for us, too. I generally like to keep them down for privacy, while my husband would prefer lots of natural sunlight. Nicole found the perfect shade, which affords us both plenty of sunlight and privacy at the same time. The furniture also works out perfectly for everyone. It is comfortable, durable, and it looks beautiful, with perfect pops of color. At the end of the day, we all love coming home and hanging out … and it is stress-free because our space is always just the way it was designed to look (and that is because it was designed to be easy to keep that way). Our son loves his new crawl/play space, too! We are so thankful we were able to work with Nicole on redesigning our space. Not only is her work product awesome, but she personally is, too. When we were unsure with some of her suggestions, she would sometimes stop by last minute to go over other options with us. And she is super friendly and patient, letting us really take our time to figure out what we wanted (and putting her project on hold when needed while we jumped on other projects in the meantime, like installing recessed lighting, getting new windows). We love, love our spaces and truly enjoyed working with Nicole. We highly recommend her and hope to work again with her on other spaces in our home.

Nicole is the first decorator we have ever worked with.  We had not considered ourselves the type of people who would have a designer.  But with two demanding careers, two little kids, and a third on the way — our home was not coming together, and we didn’t have the time or vision to get it there.  So we turned to Nicole, and we could not be happier with the results.

Nicole made a real effort to get to know and understand not just our tastes and style, but how our family works and how we use our space.  With that, she built a beautiful, but family-friendly, design for our living room and dining room.  She incorporated a lot of fun colors and details for our young kids to enjoy while maintaining an adult and sophisticated feel to the space.  We use both rooms so much more now and marvel at how great they look and how livable they are at the same time.

We could not have achieved this without Nicole’s help.  There are things in the rooms that I wouldn’t have picked out in a million years, yet I love them and wonder how I ever lived without them.  She has helped make our home my favorite place in the world.

Nicole worked within our budget and seems willing to work within the tightest of budgets (and even enjoys the challenge of doing so).  She is great at flea market and craigslist finds.  This helped build room in our budget for a few expensive pieces that we really wanted.  Nicole’s fabulous mix of high and low was not only budget-friendly, it makes the rooms look more layered and rich.

Nicole is not just a great designer, she a wonderful person who is lovely to be around and easy to have in your home. She manages to be low-key and fun while also being extremely detail-oriented and focused.  Nicole answers calls, emails, and texts quickly and always has great ideas.  She meets deadlines and budgets and exceeds expectations.  We recommend Nicole enthusiastically and know we will turn to her again and again.

I found Nicole through Houzz in July 2013, and selected her after a phone conversation. I knew very quickly that she would be a good fit; her questionnaire was thorough, specific and well-constructed. Ultimately, the questionnaire framed the engagement and helped Nicole to select items that worked well in our home.

Our design engagement required full decoration of a living room and study, as my husband and I had recently relocated from abroad. The preexisting furnishings for these spaces included only one desk, an antique cabinet and wall art. Nicole took these disparate items and designed sophisticated spaces that felt peaceful, rather than sterile or impersonal. She stayed within budget, responded well to feedback, and delivered on-time. Nicole also accepted “Oh god no” responses to pieces of furniture with humor and good grace!

Many of the tenants in my DuPont Circle building have relocated from overseas and find themselves with little in the way of furniture. My building manager was so impressed with the outcome of our apartment that she asked for Nicole’s cards. She plans to distribute them to other new tenants this autumn. I strongly recommend Nicole to anyone seeking design help in the DC area.

We found Nicole on Houzz and are thrilled to recommend her to future clients on this site. Nicole helped us redesign the interior of our condo, pulling together our open space into a cohesive look that matches our personalities. In addition, Nicole unlocked a ton of additional storage space for us (as condo dwellers, this alone is worth its price in gold!). In a larger undertaking, Nicole also converted a seldom-utilized den into my dream dining room. She coordinated various individuals — from tiler to wallpaper installer — with her typical good humor and efficiency. On a personal level, Nicole is simply lovely to be around. I would recommend Nicole without hesitation.

We contacted Nicole just as we were nearing the end of a renovation of a smallish NYC apartment. We were daunted by the task of developing a design that would achieve our goals — comfortable, budget-friendly and fun — but had never used a decorator and didn’t really know how to find someone who could help.

I stumbled on a post of Nicole’s on Houzz, and loved what I saw; when her website said she’d consult “remotely,” I contacted her and she agreed to take on the challenge of a couple of our rooms. Once we saw what she’d designed for those spaces (including turning a long master bedroom into three functional zones – bed/sitting area/little office), we engaged her to do the remaining rooms in the apartment. Her choices were smart, strategic and fun. We were delighted with her responsiveness throughout the process and are thrilled with the result.

Nicole quickly understood my personal style and goals and was a pleasure to work with in creating a space that I love.

Before I started working with Nicole, I was completely overwhelmed by all of the choices available.  Nicole helped to narrow those choices and decision making suddenly became easy and fun.  She challenged me to consider things I never would have done on my own, and those are now my favorite parts of the design!

I was amazed with what Nicole was able to do with my budget and she found a way to exceed my expectations with almost every task.  My space is now fun, functional, current, and (most important) feels like home.  I have enjoyed working with Nicole so much that I continue to enlist her help with new projects as I think of them.

We were in the process of renovating our 1930s bathroom and wanted it updated with a clean, modern look that fit the historic style of a 1930s home.  Nicole worked with us to redesign the space.

Nicole was thorough, very responsive and took our vague ideas and turned it into an amazing bathroom.  We were impressed with Nicole’s excellent ideas, great design sense and her ability to find us the appropriate products that fit the look we wanted and our budget.  We highly recommend Nicole for anyone considering a redesign of their home.

I bought a condo in DC with old paint colors and filled it with my old Ikea furniture. A friend recommended Nicole as someone who could help me update within a budget. Nicole was fantastic–she gave me great ideas but was also collaborative and understanding when I pushed back on things. She kept me in the loop on the process and explained things very well. She met with contractors and made sure everything was proceeding as it should. Friendly, easy to deal with, professional–and I love the results!  I would definitely recommend her!

When my husband and I moved from a tiny two-bedroom apartment to a spacious five-bedroom house with a funky layout, all of a sudden we needed a lot of furniture and didn’t know where to start. We were afraid of making big purchases and regretting it later, so we decided it would be wise to hire a professional. But we were worried about the risk: What if we spend all this money and don’t actually get what we want?

I chose Nicole over other decorators because I trusted her flat fee model where she passes furniture discounts over to the client (15-20%) and the onus is on her to estimate the price of labor upfront. Our budget was on the lower end of her range, and she stuck to it without fail. I assumed working with a decorator meant renegotiating the budget and having to change the bottom line every now and then. Nicole never once asked us to consider changing our original budget.

My husband and I tried to walk a fine line between getting what we wanted and trusting her expertise. We wanted to assert ourselves without being difficult. Nicole responded to our feedback, questions and tweaks to her design without judgment or resistance. She actually enjoyed the challenge of finding a solution that both pleased us and met her approval. She assured us it was all a part of the process and never made us feel uncomfortable.

The night we got home from work, after Nicole and her team had waved their magic wand over our living and dining room, it was like a scene from a home improvement reality tv show. I walked in the door and couldn’t stop the oohs and aahs. I was amazed at how beautiful, unique, comfortable and “us” everything felt. I wasn’t expecting to be so surprised since I had seen everything in photos. But the final product was so exciting and breathtaking. It’s been a month since we got our makeover and I still smile when I come downstairs in the morning.

Like a good designer should, Nicole knew instinctively what would work and what wouldn’t. She suggested white chairs and a white coffee table where I would have chosen brown, and she couldn’t have been more right. I couldn’t visualize it until I saw the colors in the space, but she hit the nail on the head. This is why you hire a designer — to see the things that you don’t have the expertise or natural eye to see.

Here’s another reason you hire a designer — it makes your life easier. While my husband and I were at work, Nicole was here to receive furniture deliveries, bring over a contractor to hang a chandelier and a heavy mirror, get everything just right and get out before we got home. She even vacuumed and hauled the cardboard boxes away. We just walked in the door and started living in our new space (after the oohs and ahhs, of course!).

Sure, we could have saved the design fee and decorated by ourselves. We could have scoured the internet looking for just the right thing, paid full price, taken time off work to be home for the deliveries, hung the mirror and the chandelier ourselves, and hauled the boxes to a dumpster. But I’m convinced we would still be second-guessing our choices. Should we have gotten the couch in a slightly darker shade? Did we get the best deal on this rug? Does the chair look good there or should it be on the other side of the room? The peace of mind we got from working with Nicole was worth way more than her fee.

Nicole said that some of her clients hire her to do one room at a time, taking some time in between to make room in their budgets. We can’t wait to bring her back for another project. Her professionalism, friendly manner and spot-on design instincts are well worth the money.

Addendum from the husband: I’ll answer the two questions that basically sum things up and get to the point: 1) yes, I would hire Nicole again; 2) no, I do not have any complaints or desires to have done something differently.

To elaborate a bit…Initially I felt that hiring a decorator seemed unnecessary and maybe even irresponsible, depending on your financial situation. In our case, it seemed like something we could, and should, do on our own. Furthermore, I’m fairly opinionated when it comes to the way our home looks–pickier than my wife, to be honest.

However, eventually my wife had the good sense to realize that if we didn’t get help, our living room–“temporarily” furnished with makeshift items–would continue to be something we were insecure about for some time to come. Or decorating it ourselves would be a multi-year endurance event (in my case, full of analysis paralysis and second guessing). It didn’t take long for me to come around to the idea of hiring a pro once my wife explained that Nicole was willing to work on a room-by-room basis and was committed to staying within a modest budget.

After meeting with Nicole and going back and forth a bit on options, it became clear that she has the four main qualities you want in a designer/decorator: she’s organized, motivated, skilled, and most importantly, practical. Put another way, it was easy to see that she was squared away and committed to practicality, while also having a great eye.

The money we spent working with Nicole was a good investment and I don’t regret it. She kept things within our reach financially, added a very helpful and objective third voice to making decisions, and ultimately delivered a living and dining room that we love and are proud of.