Nicole’s So Haute Home

published Aug 2, 2010
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Name: Nicole Gibbons
Location: Harlem
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: 3.5 years

We love peeking inside the homes of designers and other creative professionals, and our latest House Tour comes courtesy of Nicole Gibbons, who is the brains and the beauty behind one of our favorite interior design blogs So Haute.

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Nicole has created a home that would make her many influences proud, with an eclectic combination of pieces from different cultures around the world and a healthy dose of her own unique feminine sensibility. She’s isn’t afraid to tackle home improvement projects or to try out different arrangements in her space. Nicole uses both her blog and her apartment as a testing ground for new ideas in interiors. Read on to see more, and be sure to visit So Haute for frequent updates on what makes this designer tick.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My design style is a fresh, modern take on tradition that I like to refer to as “youthful traditional.” Think old wingback chair that looks like it could belong to your grandmother but redone in a fun, colorful fabric in a fabulous pattern. I love mixing things up…old and new, rough and smooth, different periods, styles, colors, prints, patterns…you name it. My style is also very comfortable, livable and also very personal. I believe your home should tell a story of who you are so I always advise on incorporating pieces into your decor that have deep personal meaning like children’s artwork, old family photos, etc. Those are the little things that will make your house feel like a home.

Inspiration: When approaching the decoration of my apartment I referenced lots of images from shelter magazines especially Domino, Elle Decor and House Beautiful. I also referenced design books as well as the work of three designers whose aesthetics I love – Windsor Smith, Ruthie Sommers and Nate Berkus.

Favorite Element: I love to personalize vintage finds to create a truly one of a kind piece and am a scavenger who’s constantly scouring craigslist, eBay, flea markets, antiques shows and auctions to find something unique for my home. So I have many favorite elements…all of the finds that I scored while on the hunt! If I had to pick a favorite room it would be my living room because it’s super comfortable and serves many functions all in one small space.

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Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge was taking a boring boxy space and giving it a bit of character and personality when it had none.

What Friends Say: All of my friends say they want to move in with me! Not only because they think my apartment is cute but also because I cook all the time…so they joke that they’ll be comfortable and well-fed.

Biggest Embarrassment: I don’t really have any decorating embarrassments but I’ve definitely made some mistakes. Like painting my bedroom green when I first moved in. The color was awful in my space but that situation got rectified quickly (it’s now a calming gray). Also, my kitchen was an eyesore before I recently spruced it up.

Proudest DIY: My mini kitchen makeover.

Biggest Indulgence: My mattress! I invested in the best mattress I could afford. It’s SO comfortable and they say we spend a third of our lives sleeping so the expense is totally worth it.

Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to mix things up! Nothing against chain stores but so many people tend to just go into a place like Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn and try to replicate a vignette in the store which can come across as a bit cookie cutter. There are so many amazing resources where you can find great pieces for your home. Try mixing up those chain store buys with a bit of vintage or combine different patterns. Your space will have so much more personality if you step outside the box.

Dream Source: Because I’m addicted to shopping online my dream source would definitely be 1st Dibs. I could furnish my whole home from that site! And ABC Carpet & Home…love that store.

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Floors: The sisal rug in my living room is Nate Berkus for HSN and the cowhide layered on top is from eBay. The rug in my bedroom is from Madeline Weinrib at ABC Carpet.

Kitchen: My boyfriend and I just spruced up the kitchen for our AT House Tour! It was quite hideous before. We painted the walls and cabinets Light Pewter from Benjamin Moore. Walls are eggshell finish and cabinets are semigloss. We also tiled the backsplash with classic white subway tile from Home Depot and we used gray grout for contrast in a color called Deloreon Gray. The shelf is the Grundtal shelf from IKEA. The plants and teracotta pots are from Home Depot and the utensil holders are Le Creuset. On the windowsill is my microwave along with a collection of cookbooks. I framed old black and white family photos using simple frames from IKEA and hung them on the wall adjacent to the island. The framed poem on the wall was a gift from my mom that she got me for my dorm room when I first went off to college back in ’99.

Living Room: Living Area: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Sofa, mahogany faux bamboo end tables from Craigslist, “Genie” table lamps by Robbert Abbey from Lamps Plus online, vintage brass and glass coffee table from eBay, Louis XV style armchair from eBay painted “Warm Silver” with Modern Masters metallic paint and upholstered in a pink metallic linen fabric by Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa, rush basket on floor from Target, draperies are AINA linen panels from IKEA with a greek key trim from Calico Corners that I sewed on (DIY tutorial on my blog here), pillows were custom fabricated – the soft blue linen is a Kravet fabric and the green pillows are made from Lulu DK’s Rita fabric, photo above sofa is by photo team Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton purchased from antiques dealer Steven Sclaroff’s booth at Housing Works’ annual Design on a Dime event, skirted TV table is an IKEA Expedit bookcase turned on its side with a custom slipcover made out of a cotton fabric from IKEA, X-Benches were a find from the Brimfield Antiques show covered in a textured cotton blend fabric from Calico Corners called “Burnish.” Desk Area: Spine bookcase from West Elm, Parsons desk from West Elm, Philippe Starck Ghost Armchair, Asian brass lamp a $5 steal from eBay with a lampshade from Target. Photo on desk is a beach shot of Sardinia by Russell James. Dining Area: Docksta table from IKEA, Mahogany Buffet from Craigslist, Mirror – same auction source as mirror in entryway – they were a lot of three frames, photographs by Ellen von Unwerth, and Russell James, Anemone print on left is by Hugo Guinness. Walls are Forde Abbey from Ralph Lauren Paints.

Bedroom: Headboard was custom fabricated by my upholsterer in a Chinoiserie inspired fabric from Kravet called Sestina, duvet and shams are from Pottery Barn, throw pillow is custom using an ikat print fabric from Kravet, Vintage Baker chests on my bedside are from Stenella Antiques in Pennsylvania via eBay, lamps are Haeger Potteries “Egg Lamps” from Lamps Plus online, reverse glass Chinese paintings on chests were inherited from my grandmother, the Asian scenic painting on the wall was an auction find, Chinese armoire is from eBay, each one of the blue & white porcelain vases on top were sourced on eBay, rug is from Madeline Weinrib, green faux bamboo table is from Pier 1, chandelier is from eBay, draperies are from JC Penney, nude woman lithograph between the windows is from eBay. Walls are Cool Gray from Ralph Lauren Paints.

Thanks, Nicole!

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