Featured Designers | Nicole Smith Designs for the Whole Family

Written by: Dena Landon

Photography by: Anthony Two Moons & Raquel Langworthy

“Too often, Nicole of Nicole Smith Interior Design hears clients say, “Oh, but we have kids,” like it’s something that prevents lasting design,” she laughs. But she absolutely believes that it’s possible, and relishes the challenge of merging luxe design and family friendly features in the same space.

Nicole often relies on tricks she learned early in her career designing interiors for brands like Donna Karan, David Yurman, and Giorgio Armani. Their spaces needed to match the brand’s quality and style while holding up to commercial traffic, similar to the needs of a family with a toddler playing chase with the family dog.

Nicole believes that children should feel welcome in every room. “No space should be off-limits to children, when created properly kids will be able to enjoy and engage with every room in their home.” There’s nothing more stressful than trying to keep toddlers out of a formal living room!


No space should be off-limits to children, when created properly kids will be able to enjoy and engage with every room in their home.


To retain a high-end look, she always chooses materials with durability in mind. Substituting a great faux leather for real leather on dining room chairs means that a homeowner can have a designer room with wipeable chairs. Indoor/outdoor velvets look and feel luxurious and a stone top on a coffee or side table, resistant to juice boxes, changes out to a wood surface when kids get older. The results are beautiful homes that are welcoming and stand the test of time.

Nicole looks at a family’s needs now, but also considers the future. “I see the next stages of all sorts of families, I have to envision them where they are now and what’s going to make it work later.” If a mom asks for space for the stroller, Nicole knows that eventually that stroller will turn into a scooter, then a bike, so a mud room is essential.

In one home, she put storage space for toys behind the couch that can eventually be flipped and used as a bookcase. In her opinion, “Good design means having flexible solutions that can be used for a few years and then repurposed elsewhere.” It may be a built-in that works well for toy storage. Or, it could be a side table that also serves as a dog crate and washable carpet tiles to make cleaning up messes painless.

A true family-friendly space reflects the personality of its owners. Rather than scattering frames throughout the house, Nicole always does a special family gallery. “Whether it be in a hallway, stairwell, or cozy corner, my trick is to purchase standard frames with custom mats.” The look is professional, but families can switch the photos out over time.”

Her business has grown primarily through word-of-mouth and repeat customers, happy with her services. The way she explains it, “Listening to clients and pleasing them makes them happy, everyone needs to feel heard in the design process.” The final results reflect Nicole’s attention to detail and listening ear, leading to homes that families enjoy for years to come.

Contact Nicole Smith Interior Design or Follow her @nsmithinteriors