A Conversation with Nicole Frye
Born and raised in the Vail Valley, Nicole grew up with a love of design and ventured west to fulfill her career dreams, earning an Interior Architecture Degree at the University of Oregon.
After spending years kicking off her career in the rainiest part of the country, she landed back at home working alongside her father in the architectural industry. Throughout her time at the firm, she worked closely with clients designing two new retail spaces in Park City, Utah as well as another store in Vail, Colorado.
Nicole then took the leap to move to Denver and further her design career at Associates III where she focused on space planning, finish selection, detailing, and client presentations. She now joins the Collective team as a Senior Designer with over 6 years of design experience, numerous happy remodel and design clients, and a breadth of design ranging from residential to commercial projects.
Here, we get to know Nicole, what inspired her to be a designer, how she manages her different clients and their aesthetics and her secret to creating spaces that are personal and timeless.
How did you know you wanted to be a designer?
I feel like I’ve always had it in my blood. I grew up around design and construction with my dad being an Architect. I’ve also always been more of a creative person. I loved my art classes in high school and wanted to explore a career that blended arts and technicality.
Can you remember the first space that had a big impact on your interior design career?
When I was about eight years old, my dad took me to tour one of his recently completed residential projects in Lake Creek, Colorado. I remember seeing how big and beautiful the spaces were with all the little details, different finishes and materials. The furniture wasn’t installed at the time, so I began to visualize and space plan. I just fell in love with the overall concept and wanted to someday create an environment like that on my own.
How do you describe your job as a designer?
My role as a designer is to bring out the client’s vision while suggesting ideas and pieces along the way that may not have occurred yet to the client. Together, we bring out their personal style while keeping the design progressive and inspiring.
How do you manage the variety of clients and types of projects?
Personally, I have to compartmentalize each project. It helps me keep my design decisions clear when I’m going back and forth from pulling ideas and fabrics for a rustic home to a more modern space. It’s the same for clients, too. Each client has a different personality, so I refine my approach and presentation style to match their preferences. By compartmentalizing, I stay organized and can really bring out the best relationships and design results with my clients.
Walk me through the beginning of your design process…
First, I really get to know my clients personally. We have conversations about their lifestyle, favorite activities and family structure. Then, I always ask them to share or create a Houzz or Pinterest board of inspiration images, if they have it. From there, we have more discussions about what they’ve experienced in different spaces that they don’t like or really love.
How important is relationship when designing a client’s home?
It’s so important. You’re designing their sanctuary, where they spend so much of their time.
How do you help clients whose design aesthetic might not be like yours?
Every designer should be comfortable with and open to different design aesthetics. By working closely with my clients, no matter their style, we can always drill down what they want in their spaces while keeping it personal and beautiful.
How do you make sure your client’s house feels like home?
Incorporating elements like accessories or art always pull the space together. Even if we simply mix in their favorite color or a specific texture, it’s all about finding and showcasing components they really love.
What does a successful project mean to you?
Happy clients that feel comfortable and at home in their space.
What spaces are you currently designing?
I’m working on a couple different mountain home projects. One of them is a blend of contemporary and rustic design. Sleek, clean lines are incorporated in the furnishings while the finishes feature reclaimed wood. It’s a fun juxtaposition.
I’m also fully furnishing a home with Emily that’s a transitional, mountain modern style. We just finished sourcing the last few items; pillows, art, and area rugs. I’m so excited to see it all come together.
What do you see for the future of design?
I think because of COVID, homeowners will continue to put more of an emphasis on not only design in general, but home offices and workout rooms where they can work, exercise and live harmoniously, at home.
Finish this sentence. Every space needs…
Texture and warmth.
What do you like best about your line of work?
My favorite aspect is that I have the opportunity to work with and develop relationships with my clients throughout the entire design process. And that design is both creative and analytical.
What made you want to be a part of the Collective team?
I absolutely love the work the team does. When I first came across the Collective website, I was so impressed that the designers marry so many different styles and that their approach is really positive. I was also drawn towards their in-house furniture store where the team’s curated furnishings and accessories are right there, available to clients.
What are you looking forward to most in your career at Collective?
One day, I would love to lead the design of an entire home.