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  • Writer's pictureHannah Sloan

Good Humans, Good Design: Meet Senior Designer Nicole O'Neil

This week's Q + A is with Nicole O'Neil, Unscripted rockstar since September 2013 and Senior Designer for our California Model Merchandising Studio. She has an eclectic soul and innate talent for all things design, and we couldn't be more proud to have her talents on our team. We couldn't wait to sit down with her to chat more about her perspective on design, life, and of course, being a good human.

All Things Unscripted

Q: Tell us about your role in the company. What does a day in the life look like?

A: I am a Senior Interior Designer for Unscripted, and I truly love it. I'm at a very fun stage in my career where I get to be creative and heavily involved in all phases of the design process, while also helping to mentor and guide our talented junior staff. My days typically start with an espresso (or 3... occasionally 4!). That kick starts my busy day of creating digital presentations for client approvals, drawing and detailing specification packages in AutoCAD, sourcing, pricing, and the list goes on. I love getting to work closely with fellow Unscripted staff, our trade vendors and of course, our amazing clients. On any given day you also might find me on a jobsite for a frame walk or a final installation. If I'm lucky, I get to grab a Nektar Greenie at some point, too!

Q: What does it mean to be a good human to you?

A: Listening. Like, really listening.

"We are all here experiencing this life from our own individual perspectives, and I feel it is so important to listen, to see the world through someone else's eyes, and to empathize with others. "

Q: How have you evolved as a designer since starting at Unscripted?

A: Unscripted has truly instilled confidence in me. As a young designer, it can be hard to find your aesthetic, then your voice, and ultimately, your confidence. I have had the opportunity to let my talents really grow with this company, and it's brought me a long way.

Q: What is your favorite design element and why? How do you incorporate this element into new projects?

A: I absolutely love designing decorative moulding details and customizing them to transform a space, whether they're applied to the walls, the ceiling, interior doors, etc. There's nothing quite like getting to see a trim detail that I conceptualized executed perfectly on site by our builders and their trade partners, with our beautiful furnishings layered in front of it... That's happiness right there!

Unscripted Nicole O'Neil Modern Americana Park City
Nikki's design for project Modern Americana in Park City, Utah. Photo by David Patterson

Q: Is there anything special to your personal creative process when starting a new project?

A: After a client kick-off, I love to begin the creative process by space planning. As the layouts begin to come together, I really get to visualize walking through the space and imagine the kinds of materials, colors, and design elements that would showcase best in that particular home.

Getting Personal

Q: How would you describe your personal design style? Tell us about how you grew into this specific style and the way it makes you feel.

A: My favorite projects tend to be those that have an essence of eclectic design running through them. To me, this means balancing a collected, textural, sometimes even transitional vibe with clean, modern lines. I'm intrigued by design elements that surprise you, so I like to try to incorporate those elements into my projects. This could mean framing a modern piece of art in a hand-carved vintage wood frame or upholstering an ottoman in a contemporary blanket instead of typical textile. I love when elements of an interior make you look twice and wonder "where can I get that"?

Q: How does Interior Design influence your personal life? Are there any unique design elements in your personal home you'd like to share?

A: Yes, being a designer certainly influences my personal life, sometimes to a detriment. It's hard to turn off! My favorite room right now is our Living Room, which features an original brick fireplace, a white oak trim detail and mantle that we designed and built ourselves, a handmade bamboo pendant located off-center to evoke those mid-century vibes, a vintage Mata Ortiz ceramic vase from Chihuahua, and some very special items by some of my favorite artisans and retailers: Eskayel, Porter Teleo, BZIPPY, Lulu & Georgia, The Citizenry and CB2. The handmade, the found, the new, the old, the modern, the vintage... I love an eclectic mix.

Q: If you could buy one piece of furniture, artwork, or material to put into your home (with an unlimited budget) what would it be?

A: Some Picasso landscapes, pretty please!!

Q: What artists, makers, interior designers, or indoor enthusiasts inspire you and why?

A: One of my all-time favorite places to go for inspiration is The Future Perfect. It is a contemporary design gallery with exhibition spaces in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York (and they have a fabulous website as well). They showcase work from some of the world's most influential artists and designers, and they feature furniture, lighting, textiles, objects, art... you name it! It's better than a candy shop!

Q: Outside of work, what are some of your favorite passions or hobbies?

A: A few years ago, my husband and I both picked up the hobby of woodworking. I am a very detail-oriented person, and I love the satisfaction you get from building something so beautiful and functional from raw materials.

Q: What inspires you and keeps you curious? Where do you find inspiration for projects?

A: I often look to nature for inspiration, and I admit I sometimes find it in the oddest of places. My husband would tell you it's almost painful waiting for me to finish taking pictures of things like reflections in water, the way a shadow hits a tree, etc... Hiking with me isn't always about the exercise! I really enjoy finding interesting details in items and objects that most people might not look twice at.

Q: Tell us about a favorite trip you've been on or place you've been?

A: My husband and I recently drove down to Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico and stayed at a lovely boutique rental called Mira Earth Studios. It is a collection of luxury studios designed by Nicaraguan architect Juniette Bermudez, built into the earth and overlooking Mexico's beautiful wine country. The architecture and design, the attention to detail, the connection with nature... time really slows down there, it was pretty awesome!

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

A: If I'm going to change a lot about my life, and I can bring all my family and friends, I'd pick Italy. Rome preferably which I really love!

Q: What's a book, quote, song, or trend you are loving?

A: I think I should be embarrassed about this but I'm just going to embrace it... my two-and-a-half year old daughter has me actually, legitimately, liking "How Far I'll Go" from Disney's Moana. Female empowerment, chasing your dreams, saving the world, and a good melody... All that makes it impossible to refrain from joining my little girl when she belts out every word.


Thanks so much, Nicole for spending some time with us! Want more? Follow our blog to keep up with good humans, good design and get to know our Unscripted Rockstars!


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