The celebrated interior designer’s new lifestyle brand blends style with practicality, just like her interiors schemes. Nicola Harding tells Jessica Jonzen more
THE INTERIOR DESIGNER NICOLA HARDING
We have long been admirers of interior designer Nicola Harding’s confident, comforting style for its ability to look simultaneously elegant and lived-in. It’s little wonder that she has become the go-to designer for colour-loving hoteliers and (very fortunate) homeowners alike. Now Nicola is bringing her irreverent, soulful design signature to a wider audience with the launch of her lifestyle brand NiX.
Featuring a perfectly considered collection of lighting, furniture and fabrics, NiX is borne of Nicola’s deep understanding of how people really live in their homes, and how they want to feel.
What inspired you to launch your own homeware collection?
Time and time again, I have found myself unable to find what I need – pieces which fulfil a recurring function at the level of design, price and provenance that I feel proud to put into my projects. For example, the perfect bedside table or floor light, at just the right height, working in just the right way, made locally and at a price that is workable.
You launched NiX with a lighting collection. Would you say that lighting is key to creating a successful room?
One hundred percent. Lighting makes the single biggest difference to how a room feels and is the quickest and easiest thing to effect, whether you own your home or rent it. A few choice lamps will easily plug into existing sockets and transform an underwhelming space into a warm and welcoming home.
As an interior designer you have access to the very finest products on the market and will know what works and what doesn’t. What were your must-haves for your own designs?
I have an obsession with lamps and side tables – they are like punctuation marks, layering personality and warmth into a space.
What was the process for designing the NiX collections? Have you tested the products in your own home?
Everything that we have designed has been borne out of a need – a need I see in my own home as well as other peoples. Over the course of many projects, I have often solved those needs through a treasured antique find and the ones that have been most successful have stuck in my mind and informed our NiX designs. Each pieces has been tested either in my own home or in one of our projects…. or usually both!
You had quite a peripatetic childhood as your father was a helicopter pilot. Would you say that moving home regularly and being restricted with what you could do in terms of decorating drove you to go into interior design?
It certainly did! I craved a sense of home with every fibre of my being. I wanted to feel that sense of belonging, the feeling that somewhere held, nurtured and reflected me. It left me obsessed with homemaking, on an endless quest to understand what the magic ingredients are, that alchemy of ‘home’.
You’re known for your warm, welcoming spaces and bold use of colour. What are your greatest design influences?
My godfather, Tim, and his husband, Austin. Tim is a hopeless collector of fascinating ‘things’, be they junk shop finds or proper treasure. Their house has always been a magnet for people; an intoxicating mix of pieces and people – all full of stories. It cemented the belief in me that home has an enormous power to affect people. The way things are chosen and put together – colour, pattern, texture, furniture, art, lighting – creates an atmosphere that radically effects the way people feel and the way they relate to each other. From the get-go I knew I wanted to understand that alchemy.
What is your own home like?
It’s a very cosy jumble of children, dogs, colour, pattern, and all sorts of treasured finds. It’s not precious. Rather, very comfortable, very easy to spend time in and often full of people.
How have your experiences and learnings as an interior designer affected how you’ve approached designing and decorating your own home?
I’ve learnt how people really live, and how that compares to how they think they should live. I’ve learnt to prioritise space and budget for the areas of our homes that we really spend time in, not the smarter corners that don’t get much action. I’ve learnt what makes a home both user-friendly and deeply satisfying.
What three items must a room have to be truly welcoming?
Great lamps, somewhere really comfortable to sit, and be well laid out so that you have exactly what you need, precisely where you need it.
What does ‘home’ mean to you?
Somewhere I can truly feel and be myself. Somewhere that deeply comforts me and helps me be the person I want to be and, lead the life I want to lead.
SPINDLE SIDE TABLE, £495; MORE THE MERRIER SOFA (COMING SOON); THITHER HEXAGONAL OTTOMANS, FROM £845; HITHER HEXAGONAL OTTOMAN, FROM £1145; PERCHER SLIPPER ARMCHAIR, FROM £1795; SELECTION OF CUSHIONS, FROM £95; LAMPS, FROM SELECTION, ALL NIX BY NICOLAHARDING.COM
NiX FOCUS FLOOR LAMP IN WAXED BRASS, £1,100, NIX BY NICOLAHARDING.COM
SELECTION OF CUSHIONS, FROM £95 EACH, NIX BY NICOLAHARDING.COM
NiX DITSY CERAMIC TABLE LAMP BASE IN SEA BLUE, £175, ON THE SPINDLE SIDE TABLE IN EBONISED, £495, BOTH NIX BY NICOLAHARDING.COM
CURTAIN CALL TWO-SEATER SOFA, FROM £4295; PERK COFFEE TABLE, £2,200; LIGHTING FROM A SELECTION, NIX BY NICOLAHARDING.COM
NiX DOUBLE TROUBLE WAXED BRASS WALL LIGHT WITH MUSTARD LAMP SHADES, £600, SPINDLE SIDE TABLE, AS BEFORE, BOTH NIX BY NICOLAHARDING.COM
A SELECTION OF CERAMIC LAMPS AND SHADES BY NiX NICOLAHARDING.COM
RISE PENDANT LIGHT IN BRASS WITH NATURAL PARCHMENT SHADE WITH BLUE TRIM, £1,195, NIX BY NICOLAHARDING.COM
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