Nancy Fishelson is an architectural designer whose homes have been featured in Country Living, Connecticut Cottages & Gardens and Architectural Digest. I did a post about Nancy's former Connecticut home last year and recently spoke with Nancy about what's she currently working on and how she got her start in design. If you're familiar with Nancy, you know that she has a talent for transforming houses into beautiful homes.
Although I'd read about Nancy's work, I couldn't find much information about her when I wrote the post last year. Nancy told me that she had wanted to be a set designer, but became a production assistant and later an executive producer at an advertising agency. She was most recently the executive producer of a film production company in Los Angeles.
Nancy got her start in design when she and two business partners bought and renovated a California property. She eventually moved to the east coast, buying and renovating a large house in Connecticut, which she's since sold. Nancy has worked on homes in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts (including Nantucket) and Maine.
Before speaking with Nancy, I thought she only renovated her own homes, but I learned that she also designs for clients. Her projects range from full-scale renovations (including major structural corrections) to decorating consultations. I was most familiar with Nancy's business of buying and selling antiques from the Country Living and Connecticut Homes & Gardens articles.
Nancy shared with me these photos of her recent projects and even shared a few tips with me too.
Following are photos of a project Nancy did for a client in California. As always, I admire Nancy's us of natural colors and the way she uses texture, contrast and light to make simple spaces come alive.
Here's the living area in progress. Nancy added beams and a simple mantel (among other details). Sconces and hanging light fixtures mix with recessed lighting.
The finished living area features lots of light and Nancy's trademark dark wood floors.
The kitchen, in-progress. More rustic beams with contemporary recessed lighting and hanging fixtures with glass shades. The lighting is simple but effective and doesn't overwhelm and kitchen island.
Here's the finished kitchen, complete with Nancy's signature gray counter tops and white cabinets. It's all crisp, clean, and comfortable, but elegant too.
Close-up of the stove and stainless steel hood. It's nice to see a simple back splash with something other than white subway tile or white marble, which is so popular these days.
To the left are plenty of windows to let in natural light.
One of the bathrooms in the house features a dark vanity top and more white cabinetry. The contrast of the dark counter tops against the white walls and cabinets is striking.
The shower is simple, fresh and calming with white tile and plenty of light.
The deep soaking tub would be a welcome retreat after a day of gardening.
Next are photos of a home Nancy renovated with a client in Maine. Again, lots of white, and contemporary lighting make this a cheerful and relaxing space. The dark storage piece contrasts perfectly with the light floor.
Simple but architectural shelves in the kitchen add interest.
A rustic farm table and wicker chairs make for relaxed, comfortable dining.
Nancy is known for her use of pale, white color-schemes and antiques, but she also uses modern appliances and has found more than a few bargains for her projects. Here are a few tips from Nancy:
1. Finding the right antiques and furnishings requires diligence and patience. You must be willing to put in the time to visit antique shops and flea markets, often the same ones and frequently, to become familiar with the owner's merchandise and to check for new pieces.
2. Nancy often buys antiques at flea markets. She does not often attend auctions as the bidding can escalate in the blink of an eye. It's better to avoid getting swept up in the action and risk over bidding and having buyer's remorse later.
3. Nancy is not afraid to hunt for a bargain. Although the cabinets in her Killingworth, Connecticut home (below) were custom designed and built, Nancy purchased the kitchen cabinets for her Woodbury, Connecticut home (not shown) on ebay and had them installed by her carpenter.
4. Nancy has saved on high-end appliances by buying a La Cornue stove that was a discounted floor model and even bought a Sub Zero refrigerator on Craig's List. I've heard of people finding good deals on Craig's List, but that was an eye-opener.
5. I asked Nancy what paint colors she uses in her projects and not surprisingly, she has custom-mixed formulas that she's used repeatedly. However, she also likes Benjamin Moore and Pratt & Lambert paints.
* She often uses Benjamin Moore's "Dove White"
* Nancy likes the warm gray of Benjamin Moore's "Thunder" for floors
* The best gray color Nancy said she's used is Pratt & Lambert's "Tucker Pale Gray", but it's been discontinued. She has had the shade custom-matched, however, in Benjamin Moore paint.
I greatly enjoyed catching-up with Nancy and hope you enjoyed seeing more of her work. You can read more about Nancy on her website.