Nicola O’Mara is one of the leading home renovation experts in Cornwall. She is an award winning interior designer with more than 18 years experience remodeling the homes, ski chalets, new builds and holiday houses of successful professionals in and around the Polzeath, Rock, Cornwall, the South West but also internationally. Having worked on properties with our friends over at Beach Retreats, we thought it would be great to sit down and catch up with Nicola about all things interior design!
Where are you currently based?
After many years of owning a showroom in Bristol, I decided to move down to Cornwall and work from home. This provides the flexibility I require for site meetings with architects, builders and clients. It also means I can be out and about sourcing special one off pieces!
How did you get into the interior design world?
I always knew I wanted to be an interior designer. I was always decorating my bedroom as a child, much to my mum’s delight! I would look through magazines and dream of decorating my own home one day. I studied my degree in textiles and designed my own fabrics. After university I was lucky enough to land myself a job as an interior designer, after two years, I bought the company and I have being working in this field ever since. I just love it, I’m so lucky.
How would you describe your work?
I don’t think I have a particular style. I love all types of interiors and I enjoy bringing the clients ideas to fruition. I have been lucky enough to have worked on many interesting and diverse range of projects such as a large house in Russia, chalets in France, homes in Spain as well as beautiful houses all over Cornwall and the South West.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere! Nature, wildlife, the ocean, shops, people’s homes, but mainly nowadays through the internet. I love Pinterest, it’s a great communitive tool, I also love to browse through magazines and check out the trade fairs such as Maison d’objet.
How would you describe your home?
Comfortable, warm and inviting. I love natural textures, fabrics and materials. I collect old antique pieces and combine these with modern fittings. I don’t like interiors that look staged. I want them to evolve and grow into their own personality.
Do you have a favourite room in your house?
My sitting room. There’s nothing more that I enjoy than an open fire! I grab my soft wooly blanket, pour myself a glass of wine and snuggle down to read my favourite book after a long day at work.
What’s been your favourite interiors project so far?
I’m spoilt for choice, but if I had to say one, it would be a ski chalet in the French Alps. How could you not? It was a large project located in the center of Val D’Isere. The client left the entire project to me and so I was able to design without any constraints, obviously within reason of course! I chose wonderful soft fabrics and materials. I contrasted these with beautiful rich wooden walls and floors. I focused on creating discreet and understated lighting and chose warm, yet gentle colours throughout.
What do you look for when it comes to adding art in interior design?
Firstly the style, then the colour but equally the subject too. I think it depends on the style of the interior and the clients tastes. I like to help guide my clients and introduce them to different mediums, perhaps something they haven’t thought of before. I believe it’s good to be open to new ideas, but it’s also important to love your art and be happy with your choice.
Where would your home from home be/favourite travels?
One of favourite trips abroad was exploring the beautiful islands of New Zealand. I adore the diverse range of scenery and landscape; from the rugged south coast to the tropical islands of the North, there is so much to explore. I love the amazing beach chalets they build on the edge of the coast line but discreetly nestle back into the woodland. I like the large open spaces and interiors which provide simple basic living. Of course I couldn’t live there, I love Cornwall too much, but I would like to bring a little bit of NZ back to the UK!
What’s your most ‘pinch me’ moment so far? Have you been featured anywhere fabulous or won any awards?
Yes, when I won the prestigious Design et al, Best International Ski Chalet Award! What an achievement, I was so proud of all our hard work. I competed against worldwide large organisations and won! I have been shortlisted since for best bathroom design, and I have recently had my designs featured in Coast and Period Living magazine.
What’s next for you?
I am currently working on a few lovely projects which range from a total house renovation, through to a New Build and some lovely coastal rentals, as well as working on my own projects. I love interior design, it’s what I do. It’s my passion to help people bring their projects to life using the clients own tastes, so their home is a home not a show home.
You can find out more about her fabulous work here...
I really enjoyed reading this blog post about interior design! The insights and tips it provides are really helpful and have given me a lot to think about. I especially appreciate the section about choosing a style that reflects your personality, as this is something that I have been struggling with lately. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.