Nancie Wood of Nancie Wood Interiors in Raleigh shares her thoughts on home design.
My design signature: Relaxed, elegant spaces balanced with practicality and comfort for a modern, traditional look. Sumptuous fabrics and heirloom pieces with a focus on the details, which add layers of richness and sparkle.
Favorite room in a house to decorate and why: The kitchen is a special place for me, since I enjoy cooking with family and friends. There is a lot of planning and decision making necessary to have the right outcome for multiple cooks, entertaining and maximum utilization of space. A kitchen is often the biggest investment in your home, so choosing a functional design with sustainable finishes, adequate storage and beautiful detailing is key.
Favorite trend right now: Mixing Metals. Don’t use one metal exclusively in your room. It’s more interesting and less contrived to use more than one. Cabinet hardware in a brushed gold looks more unique with bronze/gold island pendants.
Best way to display beach trip (or vacation) souvenirs: Find a pretty box or cover one in grass cloth or fabric and affix your favorite find to it. Clear acrylic bases work well too. This showcases one item and gives it meaning. If you want to be less organic, spray your treasure with gold or silver paint for a gilded look.
Favorite way to make small space look larger: Cover most of the floor with a rug, keeping the vents clear. Generally 4 inches to 9 inches away from the walls in a small room works. Allow more in larger rooms. Use furniture that is in the proper scale for the room. Paint the room using shades of one color. Use a lighter tone for the ceiling and a darker tone for trim. Mirrors help get as much light into the room as possible. Oversized mirrors or multiple stacked mirrors work well.
What never goes out of style: Quality over quantity. I believe in “cry once over the price” and have that piece last. It is easy to buy cheap sofas and chairs and cover them with pillows and throws to look good, but over time they will all need to be replaced. Quality pieces with beautiful lines and character don’t need to have a lot of extras on them to look good. The piece itself is enough. Carrara marble, wood, artisanal pieces, Persian rugs, quality fabrics and vintage finds never go out of style.
Favorite design books: Candice Olsen’s “Kitchen and Bath,” Mona Hajj’s “Interior Visions” and Suzanne Kasler’s “Inspired Interiors.”
Favorite family heirloom and how you display it: A Roseville pottery vase that was a wedding gift to my parents over 65 years ago. I have it on a nightstand near a photo of five bluebirds hatched in our yard.
Best way to use wallpaper: As an accent wall or on the fifth surface in a room, like the ceiling. It can lift the ceiling and draw the eye up. Wallpaper can also make a big impact in the laundry room and turn a small room into a happy work space.
Next project at your house and why: Reorganizing closets and pantry spaces with built-in shelving and pull outs for better space utilization and accessibility.
Best way to spend $100/$250/$500 to spruce up living room/bedroom/bathroom/kitchen:
1. Use real florals to add color, texture and life to your rooms. Clippings of greenery, branches and herbs from your yard adds interest and scent to a room. Find a clear vase or a vase with an interesting shape to set off the new greenery. Shop your local farmers market for fresh flowers. Some like hydrangea dry well and keep for months.
2. Sprucing up any room in your home with a fresh coat of high-quality paint is a game changer. Sherwin Williams Emerald interior acrylic latex paint and primer is a favorite choice. It has a smooth, long-lasting finish, advanced stain-blocking technology, resistance to scrubbing and water spotting, and meets VOC (volatile organic compounds) regulations. The flat finish is as durable as the sheen finishes. It goes on smoothly and requires fewer coats. Average price is $65 per gallon. Going forward, paint colors will circle back to warmer tones, taupes, golds and browns.
3. Create a curated look by decluttering the surfaces in the room. Add back only interesting items that you treasure and bring you joy. Cover the back of a bookcase with wallpaper or fabric to give the surface interest and texture, then use that as a backdrop for your pared-down items.
4. Upgrading your bulbs to LED. It is cost effective and makes a big impact. If you can, upgrade the light fixtures as well.