I’ve been really excited about this MDS interview with nick olsen because he brings a fresh perspective and a new energy to the series. he’s young, like 30, beyond talented, full of wit, glamour and style. he has something very special- i don’t say this very often, but he is what i call- great!
i was trying to remember when i first saw nick’s work. it might have been when his fabulous and colorful nyc apartment was featured in domino years ago- it has to be the most blogged about space ever.
also, last year traditional home magazine put a new twist on how they nominate their annual list of their top 10 new trad designers– they asked bloggers to nominate designers. of course nick made the list, in my opinion he topped the list. i also love that nick has his own blog– you will love it too!
but i think i really took notice when i saw a manhattan apartment he decorated in veranda last year- instantly i became a fan! and instantly i did a blog post about it- the apartment, the details, the perfect mix of old and new, it was exciting- the whole thing was pretty grand!
there are lots of designer, lots of talented designers, lots of designers with good taste, but there aren’t many with great taste! nick has it all, and you will see- mark my word, he is going to be one of the greats! enjoy!
NO- That’s difficult! I appreciate so many styles that I tend to define my own by what I don’t like, for instance: Victorian furniture. But then I see Tom Scheerer or the late Albert Hadley use a Victorian sofa so beautifully and realize there are no absolutes. “Elegant, amped-up traditional with a sense of humor” sounds appropriate but corny ….
A Nick Olsen Family Room in Veranda
The Living Room
MDS- Where did you grow up and how do you think that influences your work?
NO- Pensacola, Florida. It’s a historic city with white sand beaches and some kooky characters. I grew up in a neighborhood with homes ranging from 1840s Greek Revival to a 1960s modernist ranch by Paul Rudolph, all on smallish lots … that sort of unpretentious eclecticism definitely influences how I decorate.
Pensacola Spaceship House (1966), designed by Matti Suuronen
A Paul Rudolph house
MDS- If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
NO- Interning for Jimmy Buffett or Karl Lagerfeld.
MDS- Who or what is inspiring you right now?
NO- I saw a Vuillard exhibit at the Jewish Museum here in New York — his interiors are so lush. Also my friend and former mentor Miles Redd recently came out with The Big Book Big of Chic … it is BEYOND. I still can’t believe I’ve seen so many of these places in person.
Edouard Vuillard, Interior (Sitting Room with Three Lamps, Saint-Florentin Street)
The Big Book of Chic by Miles Redd
MDS- What is the favorite room in your home?
NO- I love my tiny living room because it’s a mix of everything I love: painted floors, glossy tulip red walls, modern artwork, French chairs and my slouchy, armless corner sofa — the luckiest auction purchase ever because it fits so perfectly.
Nick’s Living Room
MDS- Is there anything you obsessively collect?
NO- Right now? Those silver Revere bowls with colored enamel inside. They’re not expensive but look so great on a coffee table … I use a giant one I bought at the Brimfield flea market to hold my spare change and another for my mail.
MDS- Fill in the blank: “I could never own too many ____________ .”
NO- Books on art, decorating or design.
The Great American House by Gil Schafer III
MDS- If you could decorate anyone’s house- who’s would it be and why?
NO- My sister’s. She works for a non-profit and could really use my help! It will happen eventually.
“Scorpio is my sister’s sign.” Scorpio, by Salvador Dali.
MDS- What do you want to be known for?
NO- Long term, I guess a commitment to quality and to my making my clients feel at home.
A detail from a table at George N. Antiques
MDS- What do you think is chic, stylish and glamorous?
NO- The chicest people I know work incredibly hard to make their lives look effortless. That level of commitment is exhausting and inspiring at the same time.
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