Coffee With: Amber Williams of Amber Nicole Interiors

Amber Nicole Interiors believes in function-first design, but that doesn’t mean they compromise on aesthetics. We spoke with lead designer Amber Williams about Eames, offices, and the design commandments.

Q&A With Amber Williams

Casaza: How did you get your start?
AW:
I had known I wanted to be a designer since I was 19-years-old. As a child, I loved arts and crafts and had developed a love of architecture by traveling abroad. Going to school for design to do what I love was the natural thing to do, so in 2006 I received my degree in Interior Architecture and never looked back.

C: How would you describe your style?
AW:
I would describe my style as pliable. The word itself isn’t very sexy, but I believe my design style allows for fluid change as clients grow, spaces change functionality, families move, babies grow into teenagers and businesses develop. I do not believe a design needs to be set in stone forever. It usually starts with a base design that is simple and timeless, then details are layered on that are specific to the client’s taste. The entire goal for us is to give our clients a space that can grow with them. Hiring a designer is an investment, and the design should reflect that.

C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
AW:
Because of my affinity for visual art, I frequent lots of art galleries, museums, and exhibits. The works inspire thought, emotion, and risks. A successful artist, in my opinion, creates poetry with their work. Sometimes a piece can feel soft, quaint, peaceful. Sometimes it can feel active, bold, and full of life. I believe designers do the same. We can provoke different moods when a person walks into a space. We can add some elements that may be risky or daring, but in the end we create a fantastic piece of art.

C: Favorite room in the house?
AW:
My favorite room is the master suite. That is where the day begins and where you decide how you want to take on the day. It’s where you rest and do the most private things. It is the most intimate space in the home, and it is important to start and end your day on the best note possible. Everyone deserves a stunning master bedroom.

C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
AW:
Some design rules should definitely be in the commandments, but I believe, like with anything else creative, that some rules are meant to be broken in design. That is how creativity happens. One rule I don’t subscribe to is keeping that same design style throughout the entire space. We prefer our spaces to be cohesive BUT we also like to incorporate different design styles that make the space less cookie-cutter to give a more personal, unique feel.

C: Recent project that inspired you?
AW:
We completed a remodel and furnishings for a young production company in Los Angeles. The job inspired us to push through our comfort zone. We created an industrial modern space with a punch of classic design. This made the space feel more intimate, as opposed to your typical stark office space with rough gray carpet and dull white walls.

C: Favorite pattern?
AW:
I love the herringbone pattern. It is a universal pattern — classic, modern, and timeless. It can be simple or dramatic depending on the scale, color, and materials used to create it.

C: What is “good design” to you?
AW:
You cannot have good design without being functional first. That is what separates designing from decorating. Good design is making a client’s space work for them and making it feel planned, well thought out, and inviting, all at the same time.

Eames home in Malibu
Eames House | Courtesy of Industry Tap

C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
AW:
I’d move into Eames House, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, two of the most noted designers of the mid-century modern era. I chose this house not because I am a big fan of mid-century modern style, but because this house is perfect for me in every way. The layout is open and simple, the size is manageable, the ceilings are tall, and the house is surrounded by trees, seen through large windows that make up the exterior walls. There’s a separate design studio that is already outfitted, and the thought of working out the same studio as Eames, would be a, “Mama, I’ve made it!” moment.

C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
AW:
When I entertain the most important thing for me is to facilitate connections, so I try to lay out the space and furniture to encourage guests to engage with one another. I may spread a hors d’oeuvre station, a beverage station, and a dessert station around the space to encourage guests to move around to different areas and socialize. I might also re-organize the furniture and accessories into groups around the room, centering on an interesting “conversation” piece.

C: Best advice for DIYers?
AW:
Ask questions! Do research! The more you know, the more confident you’ll be going into the project. If you have access to a professional, utilize them. Ask them to consult with you because you don’t know what you don’t know. There is an entire world out there that a DIY’er may never know. If budget does not allow for hiring a consultant, the internet is a great tool. Many designers have blogs with various topics. I’d pick a designer I like, and search their blog. You may get great tips that you never even thought of.

C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
AW:
Again… Do you research! Find out the difference between a designer and a decorator (there is a difference!), and determine which is best for your project, and ask around. I believe you’ll get the best experience with a designer whom someone you know and trust can vouch for. Not only are designers held more accountable that way, but the client can let loose a little more having first hand accounts of what is is like to work with that designer.

C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
AW
: My favorite trend this season is creating statement ceilings and floors. I love the idea of making the ceiling a fifth wall and treating it like an accent wall. Usually ornate ceiling details, murals, and materials are seen in very traditional spaces, but this season modern and contemporary genres took over and put their own spins on it. When thinking about the statement ceiling, however, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Framing a modern mural with modern crown moulding can be all the wow factor you need in a room and we are loving it!

C: How do you take your coffee?
AW:
I like a medium roast coffee with a splash vanilla almond milk.

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