Nicole Fuller: Elegance With an Edge

Dining Room Interior Design by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Formal lavender dining room By Nicole Fuller wears “Boucle”, a custom textured plaster wall treatment by SuperStrata that was inspired by the iconic fabric that Chanel brought to fame

Interior, Furniture, and Accessories Designer Nicole Fuller is a lot like her interiors. At once exuberant, enchanting, and cosmopolitan, this hip sophisticate creates fresh, glamorous environments with just enough edge  to surprise and captivate. And we should know, Nicole has been a favorite client of ours for many years. Beyond being a joy to work with, she is an innovative designer who always requests imaginative new bespoke wall and ceiling treatments from us and other artisans she works with. Never one to overlook or downplay any element in her interiors, she’ll often incorporate bold wallpaper or design something completely new for those surfaces; whether custom plaster finishes, bespoke wallpaper, fabric, leather or metal, yes metal, the walls in her interiors are an integral component that never disappoint. We asked Nicole to share her design process, idols, and favorite wall treatments with us.

SS: You are a very detailed and involved interior designer and as you take every element of a room into consideration, at what point do the walls and ceiling come into your process?

NF: I consider them right from the beginning. The walls and ceiling envelope a space and are what initially inspire my creative process. They play a crucial role in the creation and direction of my designs. Walls and ceilings have the ability to either develop the pre-existing features in a space or even change the space entirely. You can also really play with spatial perception of a room just by referring to its walls and ceiling.

wallpaper and gold leaf ceiling by Nicole Fuller Interiors

A gold leaf ceiling and wallpaper by Cole & Sons in a foyer by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Nicole Fuller Interiors

“Farrah”, a custom striped venetian plaster wall finish by SuperStrata with beeswax drawing designed by Nicole in her own home. Photo via Livingect

SS:  Walls and ceilings in your designs are always an integral component. Beyond that, they are often really dynamic surfaces- fresh, inventive, and bold. Considering that wall finishes and treatments in contemporary design offer innumerable possibilities, what is your process in arriving at the final treatment for those surfaces?

NF: I like to learn and understand the age and character of the building that I am designing within. The intended emotion and ambiance in a specific space helps to define and clarify the creative process. My wall and ceiling creations often go hand in hand with the furnishings I am thinking of putting in the space, and building that initial relationship between actual pieces of furniture and what is either going on the wall or ceiling is vital.

Custom ceiling finish in living room by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Custom ceiling treatment in a dining room designed by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Custom tile mosaic with flanking wall murals in living room by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Custom tile mosaic by Sicis adorns the hearth with flanking wall murals in this sitting room by Nicole Fuller Interiors

SS: What challenges have you faced when designing for walls?

NF: More often than not, the issue is technical versus creative: uneven walls, poorly constructed buildings, and of course, low ceilings, are always a challenge that we look forward to finding a novel solution. I don’t really see any barriers as a negative but more as a challenge, and even the toughest situations excite me and push me to be more aggressive creatively.

It’s funny – clients typically resist wall covering at first. They only think about their grandmother’s flower paper. I have always used wallpaper and treatments in all my interiors. Wallpapers and treatments can reference history while simultaneously providing a compelling modern flair.

Graffiti Wall for Nicole Fuller Interiors

Personalized, custom pink graffiti wall mural by Eric Elms

Ink Blot wallpaper in an Nicole Fuller Interior.

Ink Blot wallpaper in an Nicole Fuller Interior

Custom wall finishing in dining room by Nicole Fuller Interiors

The perfect color of this high gloss lacquer sets the tone. Interior Design by Nicole Fuller Interiors

SS: What would you say has been your favorite wall treatment in one of your own projects? (Other than one of ours, of course!)

NF: I guess I would have to say Vampire’s Garden. It’s one that I designed. It’s distressed leather wall panels with abstract floral tattooed in pure mineral pigments. As with all our creations this treatment is fully customizable.

Vampire's Garden, a custom tattooed leather wallcovering by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Vampire’s Garden, a custom tattooed leather wallcovering by Nicole Fuller Interiors

SS: What about in another designer’s project?

NF: I’m obsessed with Coco Chanel’s famous apartment in Paris, France. Not only was she brilliantly talented transforming the fashion industry, but also her interior design skills were perfection. She continues to be a true inspiration. I also adore Hotel Costes, designed by Jacques Garcia in Paris. It displays such imagination brought together by beautiful wall treatments and textures. Also Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment in Paris, designed by Jean-Michel Frank is a favorite. The apartment is masterfully designed with the perfect pairing of new and old pieces.

Coco Chanel's Paris Home

Coco Chanel’s Paris Home. Photo via NPR

Hotel Costes in Paris by Jacques Garcia

Hotel Costes in Paris designed by Jacques Garcia. Photo via Keylee Sanders

Yves Saint Laurent's home designed by Jean Michel Frank

Yves St Laurent’s Paris home by Jean Michel Frank

SS: As a style trend-setter, are there any new products or processes that you’ve begun using recently? What trends are you seeing with regards to wall treatments more generally?

NF: I think metal on the wall is going to be the next big thing – applied, inlayed, and painted. Metal is inherently dimensional – you can’t go wrong. We have recently started designing a burnished bronze geometric design on large panels for a client. I can’t wait to see them in place! I’m mixing in all different metal leaves (gold leaf, silver leaf, etc.) as well in my treatments.  Stay tuned… I’ll be sending out sneak peek pictures through twitter at @NicoleFullerInt.

SS: As a designer, you create not only interiors, but also design individual elements that make up those interiors, such as furniture, lighting, and bespoke wall treatments. Where do you find your inspiration?

NF: Lately I’ve been inspired by vintage Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry. I recently went to a private showing and the shapes and color interacting just-so with the precious metals immediately made me think of a whole new concept for pieces of furniture.

Custom wall furnishing in contemporary room by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Interior Design by Nicole Fuller Interiors

It’s not surprising that Nicole is inspired by the baubles of the Van Cleef and Arpels. Just like those jewels juxtaposed just-so within their precious settings,  the elements in one of her interiors are perfectly paired with their surroundings.

For more interior design inspiration see check out Nicole’s work on her Website.

To see Nicole’s furniture and accessories, check out her collection, Isabella Wolfe.

All photos courtesy of Nicole Fuller Interiors unless otherwise stated.

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