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Inside The World Of Interior Design With Nandina Home & Design

Here with me today is Nandina Home & Design, a design firm so popular that they have two locations - one in Atlanta, Georgia and the other in Aiken, South Carolina. Widely known for their acute ability to design both residential and commercial spaces, Nandina takes pride in being able to offer clients custom made pieces from their own workshop and home boutique store.

Having their own workshop allows for them to design and build truly one-of-a-kind furnishings, reflecting comfortable, luxurious living that fits in with their “real life, real style” philosophy. Along with designing and building their own pieces, clients are also welcomed to browse their boutique stores for additional furnishings that will give their home a unique look.


With the ability to put a unique spin on any style - from traditional to transitional to eclectic - Nandina designs personalized residential and commercial spaces that promote high-quality living and comfort.

Q: It is unique for an interior design firm to have their own workroom. Tell us what led you to create one and how it adds value to your business.

Nandina: It is quite unusual for a design firm to own its own workroom. At Nandina, our design staff has a unique relationship with our workroom team. We personally communicate with the individual craftsmen and women that are responsible for making our design creations a reality. Understanding how drapery is constructed or the myriad of things that are required to produce quality custom goods has made each of our designers much more skilled in their jobs. Nandina is a full-service design firm and operating our own workroom allows our design staff greater control over the timing of projects, creativity in custom production, and the ability to provide a true full-service design project. Our ability to provide our clients a custom designed outcome with every project is directly related to the accessibility and relationship we as designers have with our workroom.

nandina-accessories-art-and-furnishingsImage Source : Nandina Home & Design

Q: Do you design the furniture/decor that is in your shops for your projects or do you tend to order specifically for the projects?

Nandina: The retail side of Nandina Home & Design actually came first and from it developed our interior design business. The success of the interior design side of Nandina is directly related to the retail store, as our storefronts may be the first point of entry for our future design clients. The retail stores are beautifully designed to represent the Nandina brand of “Real Life, Real Style”. Each store is lifestyle oriented and from the minute a client or customer walks in they know that we are a fabulous retail location and a full-service interior design firm. Each store has individual room settings, fully appointed with accessories, art, and furnishings as well as a vast selection of gifts for the home, bedding, pillows, and accessories.

In addition near the front of each store is a design studio area, where designers work openly with design clients. The benefit of having the retail component is that it allows our designers so much more flexibility with their design projects. Each project is uniquely different so a designer may special order 90% of the job and pull 10% from the store. On the other hand, if the client needs a quick turnaround for a project, the designer can pull directly from the store, so in those instances, the job may be 25% special order and 75% from in stock items.

One of the key assets of having a strong retail component is the ability to accessorize a final project without requiring the client to special order every lamp or nicknack that it takes to fully complete a room. Often our designers load their car with accessories, lamps, side tables, etc. from the store, and if the client likes the end result, they can keep everything or return the items that they don’t care for.

nandina-sofa-lamp-view-interiorImage Source : Nandina Home & Design

Q: What, if any, are some particular design differences between your Atlanta and Aiken designers?

Nandina: All of our designers have the autonomy to create interiors for their clients based on their individual skills and abilities. With that in mind, we do have business standards and a culture of customer service that each designer and employee is expected to comply with. We all design for our clients, and each project reflects the client’s aesthetic as well as a regional aesthetic. We like to think that, as skilled designers, we are able to take our client’s visions and turn them into realities that are often better than what they had dreamed of. We all follow a workflow system that allows us to provide our customers a completed project that exceeds expectations, stays within budget, and is delivered within the agreed time frame.

Q: What do you believe to be the next biggest interior design trend? Have you experienced more clients requesting this style?

Nandina A: Color is big again. The biggest trend that we see in both locations is the introduction of color. There are components of the fully monochromatic tone on tone gray washed look that remains popular, but now we are seeing introductions of pops of color added to the overall design.

B: The art of layered design. The wholesale re-design of a room project, where everything is ditched and all new is brought in, is a small percentage of our work. Good interior design is layered and successfully marries existing pieces with new investments to build a look that is entirely new!

C: Mixing of styles to produce a “new traditional” or a “new transitional” - Traditional style used to mean a sofa with rolled arms and cabbage rose chintz, heavy drapes with swags and jabots, fine oriental rugs and dark wood finely crafted antiques. The “new traditional” may be a mix of a couple of fine antiques, an unskirted track arm sofa, and a sisal rug on the floor, and a piece of very modern art. We are seeing much more freedom in mixing styles and era’s to produce a design that is clean and uncluttered while fully layered with furnishings and accessories.

D: Great lighting is now an integral component of a successful design. A chandelier or a series of pendants can be the show stopper in the room. Gone are the days of builder package lighting.

E: Wallpaper is back in a big way. But, it is not our mother’s wallpaper. It is used judiciously and very curated. So used more commonly in a powder room or a foyer or maybe as a statement in a dining room. The patterns are sophisticated, and the paper can range from grass cloth to leather to fabric. The emphasis is on texture and impact.

F: Green and Palm Pattern. This year at the market we saw the palm pattern everywhere - in fabrics, art, accessories, and wallcovering. In addition, green has come back in vogue - vibrant hues from emerald to citron.

nandina-bathroom-view Image Source : Nandina Home & Design

Q: What are some of your favorite design styles to work with and why?

Nandina: One of our favorite styles for the home would probably be a classic, sophisticated modern look with some traditional elements like hand knotted rugs and English antiques sprinkled in. One of the aspects that define the Nandina design philosophy is that as diverse as each designer’s personal style preference is, ranging from Modern to Bohemian to Hollywood Regency, we are all committed to designing for our clients. Our designers have the skills to design in multiple genres and to provide finished products that reflect our client's styles, not our own personal preferences. In fact, some of my favorite projects have been designs that I would not personally use in my own home. I speak for myself when I say that I love the challenge of working outside my comfort zone when it comes to design styles, but I would guess that it is a universal sentiment among the Nandina designers.

nandina-classic-styleImage Source : Nandina Home & Design

Q: Who are some interior designers that you find inspiration from?

Nandina: We love the layered classic style of Alexa Hampton, the bold modern elegance of Mary McDonald, the casual California ruggedness of Jeffrey Alan Marks, and the globally influenced serene symmetry of Vincente Wolf.

Thanks, Nandina team, for being so open with us!

To learn more about Nandina Home & Design and see their portfolio, visit their website and follow them on Houzz.

I really appreciate the time taken to share with us so thoroughly - it was an honor to hear their thoughts on craftsmanship, design trends, and design philosophy.

Stay tuned for more interior design interviews!