Jaipur Living sits down with design collaborator Nikki Chu for an intimate chat on her interior inspirations, signature style, and what’s next for Nikki Chu Home.
You’re an internationally recognized celebrity designer. What lead you to a career in the interiors industry?
My desire for organization in a space and my absolute love for art and design. I was born an artist and it was only natural to pull it all together in the home space. There are a lot of elements to work with and tons of things you get to design, from furniture, to art to rugs.
Describe your signature style.
My signature style is clean, monochromatic, and luxe—mixed with some antique pieces with a global and collected feel.
See also: 5 Candid Minutes With Barclay Butera
How do you keep the balance between glamorous style and global inspiration?
When creating a global-glam space, it’s all about layers and pattern mixing. Bringing in elements of wood and tribal accents, then adding metallic tones in lighting and accessories really helps to create the balance between the two design styles.
You’re known for your celebrity clientele. Any favorite past or current projects we can get the lowdown on?
Yes, I have worked with several celebrity clients; however, the more current project I am working on it my own, which is a big deal as a designer. I am my own worst client I must say. However, the renovation has turned out incredible.
What makes your design style uniquely you?
What makes my design style uniquely me is that I have a background in graphic design and I am a trained artist who can paint and draw. The other aspect to my unique design ability is that I am an interior designer and I am completely inspired by all of my global travels
As a Toronto-, Los Angeles-, and Dallas-based interior designer, how do the aesthetics of each locale differ? How do they intersect?
None of the cities intersect in terms of design. I feel like each place has a unique design aesthetic. Toronto is very European and edgy, whereas California has a clean and chic (indoor/outdoor) living vibe, and Dallas is more traditional of the three.
See also: MOOD Board: Design Inspiration With Kate Lester
What inspires your design eye?
Travel—different cultures and museums inspire my design eye. I try to go to art galleries and museums in all the countries I visit.
You’re a well-loved Jaipur Living collaborator with bestselling collections, including the Etho collection. What is your rug-design process?
Most of my rugs start with a sketch or a piece of abstract art I have created. I love designing rugs with warm and neutral tones. Designing a rug is like working with a huge canvas and you get to paint it however you like.
This winter you launch two rugs with Jaipur Living: Mallino and Vera. What can fans of your collections expect from these new releases?
Vera did really well in the gray tones, so offering it in a neutral was an easy next step. This rug layers perfectly in any space with its hand-drawn pattern and luxe feel. Sometimes a room needs a rug that is understated but still has something to say, and Vera is it.
Mallino is a design inspired by a wallpaper I created for RoomMates Decor. It’s a mural in my new wallpaper line that did so well I decided to try it in a rug… it’s really difficult to find amazing black dominant rugs, so I felt this was a great option.
Any new projects on the horizon?
I am working on a new retail collaboration with ZGallerie set to launch in March, and I have a new tile collection launching with the Tile Shop toward the end of the year.
What’s next for you and Nikki Chu Home?
Continuing to build all my brand and license partnerships to become a global brand known by everyone! Or at least everyone has an item from one of my collections in their home.
In the hot seat with Nikki Chu…
The designer responds to our burning questions.
My interiors mantra is… keep it clean, sexy and classic.
The decor trend I can’t get enough of is… modern globalism.
The key to my design style is… how I accessorize.
The secret to glam interiors is… always adding metallic.
My go-to cocktail order is… a little bit of grapefruit, St. Germain, and some gin.
The dish I can’t get enough of is… of course, oxtail. I’m Jamaican.
The design rule I always follow is… that pattern is essential because I love to layer it.
The destination on my bucket list is… the Maldives.
Travel is the ultimate inspiration because… that’s where I’m inspired. Every hotel I stay in, lobbies, culture. Everything about travel inspires me.
The element that makes decor unique… in my opinion, is art.
The color you’ll find in all my designs is… no color at all.
The artists I’m enamored by is… photographer Drew Doggett. I love all of his photography. It’s edgy; it’s bold; it’s global. He captures Africa, animals, and the scale of all of his photography works so perfectly in interiors.
My next splurge is… another house.
The brand I’m coveting is… Jaipur Living.