Photography: Emily Anderson
Nicole Gibbons is the stylish guru behind So Haute, a top-notch design and lifestyle blog that provides readers with ample interior inspiration. Her home’s primarily neutral palette is thoughtfully peppered with colorful accent pieces, quirky prints, and an intriguing blend of textures. From antique furnishings to vintage photographs, Nicole’s meaningful adornments breathe a unique individuality into her chic and polished space.
When and how did your love of design begin?
I grew up with a decorator mom, so I guess you could say the love of design is in my blood! I remember going with my mom to the Michigan Design Center as a kid. I’d run around the showrooms pretending that I was shopping for my dream mansion! As I got older, I came to appreciate design in a different way. I absolutely love the industry, and being surrounded by good design always keeps me inspired.
“I re-style my coffee table every couple of months. Design books and fresh flowers are always a fixture, and here I also added a little bone box from India. The flowers here are white peonies – my favorite!”
Describe the overall aesthetic of your apartment.
My apartment is warm and inviting with a soft, calming color palette that exudes a sense of peace and comfort. There’s a mix of old and new, lots of personal touches, and hints of global influence throughout. I love chinoiserie prints and Asian culture, so my choice of fabrics and accessories really reflect that. The spaces are layered with textures, patterns, and different materials and finishes for added interest. In my living room, for example, there’s velvet, linen, mahogany wood, brass, glass, cowhide, sisal, lacquered pieces…all of those various elements help add a sense of depth and richness. I also love incorporating mirrored surfaces and brass details — they add subtle doses of glamour. I always say that good design is in the details, so I’ve created beautifully-styled vignettes throughout my home. They really make the space feel complete!
“My living room is where I spend a majority of my time — it’s such a comforting space. My sofa is so cozy — I fall asleep on it often! The sofa is from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. The French brass coffee table is an eBay find, and the Louis XV style chair is a vintage find that I re-covered in a Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa metallic linen. I layered a neutral-colored cowhide on top of a sisal rug to create texture. The ceiling light fixture is also an eBay find that came from an old church.”
Do you have a favorite room or area?
Definitely my living room. It’s where I spend most of my time. It’s really cozy and has lots of seating, which is great since I love to entertain. I also love the open floor plan with the kitchen opening up to the living room (also perfect for entertaining).
Are there any pieces, finds, or D-I-Y accomplishments that you’re particularly proud of?
In my bedroom, I have a pair of mid-century Baker campaign chests that I absolutely love. Other favorite pieces include the Chinese armoire in my bedroom, my coffee table, and the Louis XV chair in my living room. Ironically, all of these pieces were eBay finds!
“My dining area. The chairs were Craigslist finds that I revamped, the dining table is Ikea, the pendant is Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort, and the photography in the back is by Russell James, Ellen von Unwerth, and Herb Ritts.”
Does your space at all reflect elements of your personality?
Absolutely! My space is comfortable and relaxed and totally lived-in. It’s polished, but something about it feels very understated. Nothing is too loud or fussy, which reflects how I am in my daily life. I’m very laid back and easy-going. I’m a bit of a bohemian, which I think is also reflected in some of the ethnic-inspired decorative elements and fabrics that you’ll find in my home.
Are there any sentimental items that reside within your space?
There are so many special pieces in my home, including a number of pieces that I inherited from my grandmother. I have lots of glassware and china that belonged to her, as well as old glass candlesticks from the 40s. I absolutely love this pair of reverse glass Chinese emperor and empress paintings that I have in my bedroom. She was a huge lover of chinoiserie, which clearly rubbed off on me! I also have lots of family photos including old black and white pictures of my mom and grandparents when they were young. All of these things remind me of home and where I’ve come from, and they’re far more important to me than any of my furniture or gadgets.
“I don’t have a lot of cabinet storage in the kitchen, so on the left is a storage rack from Ikea where I keep dinnerware and glassware. The Keep Calm poster is from Etsy. To the right, a poem given to me by my mother when I went away to college, plus original artwork made just for me by my adorable 4-year-old nephew.”
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by so many things…fashion, art, architecture, my travels, other cultures, and the work of interior designers — past and present.
“I absolutely love this photo of my mom with my grandparents when she was a little girl.”
“My desk area. The lamp is from eBay, the desk and bookcase are West Elm. The Chair is Phillipe Starck and on top is a sheepskin from Ikea. The wall color is Forde Abbey by Ralph Lauren Paints.”
“A candle from Fresh, a brass pineapple box from eBay, and a black and white photo of a beach in Sardinia by Russell James. A paperweight from John Derian is in the foreground.”
“My leopard dress is from Zara (similar). Bracelet is J. Crew. My absolute favorite jewelry piece is this vintage locket I picked up several years ago from the 25th Street garage flea market.”
“My bedding is from Pottery Barn, the headboard is custom-covered in a fabric from Kravet called Sestina, and my lamps are from Haeger Potteries. The Ikat pillow was custom-made using a fabric from Kravet.”
Do you have any design tips for those of us on a tighter budget?
If you’re on a tight budget, there’s no reason to skimp on style at home! Often it’s the most simple and inexpensive enhancements that have the biggest impact. Rearrange your furniture, swap out your old pillows for new ones, or reupholster a single statement furniture piece. Painting is another great way to spruce up your space on the cheap. Whether it’s a piece of furniture or an entire wall, painting something in a fresh new color will give it a dramatically different feel. Also, bring in fresh flowers as often as you can afford to! It’s one of those little luxuries that will bring color, beauty, and life into your space. I firmly believe it’s not always about making a jaw-dropping transformations — focus on making little updates over time and you’ll be on your way to creating a home you love!
“My rug in the foreground is from Madeline Weinrib. My Chinese armoire was an eBay find, and on top is some of my collection of blue & white porcelain (mostly from eBay).”
What makes your life and space sparkle?
At home, it’s important that I always surround myself with things I love. Whether it’s a favorite color, family photos, a stack of my favorite books, or souvenirs from my travels, things that have personal meaning are really what make my apartment feel like home. And in life, the same rule applies. I surround myself with people I love, because they are truly what make my life sparkle.
“A little tray from Pearl River Mart holds jewelry by my bedside.