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Nicole Hollis: The Essence of Design and Site Visits

CEO Khai Intela
Russian Hill. Photo: Douglas Friedman. When it comes to interior design, one name stands out among the rest: Nicole Hollis. From humble beginnings in 2002, Nicole and her husband founded NICOLEHOLLIS in their apartment. Little...

Nicole Hollis on NICOLEHOLLIS: 'One Thing I Have Learned Is That Nothing Replaces a Site Visit' Russian Hill. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

When it comes to interior design, one name stands out among the rest: Nicole Hollis. From humble beginnings in 2002, Nicole and her husband founded NICOLEHOLLIS in their apartment. Little did they know that their passion for collaborating with the best architects, builders, and artists would lead them to where they are today.

A Team Built on Excellence

With approximately 100 employees, NICOLEHOLLIS has established separate interior architecture and furnishings sub-studios that work hand-in-hand. Supported by various teams, including operations, HR, accounting, procurement, art direction, graphic design, custom furniture design, and engineering, their studio structure ensures seamless workflows and exceptional results.

Nicole Hollis on NICOLEHOLLIS: 'One Thing I Have Learned Is That Nothing Replaces a Site Visit' Russian Hill. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

The Power of Site Visits

While based in California, NICOLEHOLLIS undertakes projects both nationally and internationally. Nicole emphasizes the irreplaceable value of site visits. To truly understand the environment and context, being physically present at the site is crucial. It allows the design team to grasp the essence of the space and create a harmonious connection to its surroundings.

Nicole Hollis on NICOLEHOLLIS: 'One Thing I Have Learned Is That Nothing Replaces a Site Visit' Kakapa Bay. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

Building trust and establishing strong relationships with the builders is also integral to the success of each project. Clear and consistent communication is paramount. Weekly video-conference meetings and construction progress updates ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Nicole Hollis on NICOLEHOLLIS: 'One Thing I Have Learned Is That Nothing Replaces a Site Visit' Kakapa Bay. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

Growing Together

NICOLEHOLLIS believes in the power of a strong and integrated team. As the needs of their clients evolve, so does their team. They prioritize hiring individuals who possess qualities such as integrity, attention to detail, follow-through, a great attitude, and a collaborative spirit.

Overcoming Challenges

Starting and running a successful design practice comes with its own set of challenges. For Nicole Hollis, staying true to her guiding principles and pursuing projects that align with their vision has been key. They never settle for work that compromises their high standards.

Nicole Hollis on NICOLEHOLLIS: 'One Thing I Have Learned Is That Nothing Replaces a Site Visit' Thousand Oaks. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

Adaptation in Uncertain Times

The past pandemic years brought unique challenges for the industry. While productivity remained steady, the lack of in-person collaboration impacted inspiration and creativity. However, with the reopening, the NICOLEHOLLIS team has regained the spirit of in-studio collaboration, personal travels, artists' studio visits, and on-site inspections.

Nicole Hollis on NICOLEHOLLIS: 'One Thing I Have Learned Is That Nothing Replaces a Site Visit' Thousand Oaks. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

Advice for Aspiring Designers

As an interior design expert, Nicole Hollis encourages aspiring designers and students to embrace the changing landscape of the industry. It is no longer enough to communicate ideas in 2D; now, concepts must come alive in 3D and virtual reality. Learning computer skills for 3D modeling, rendering, and VR capabilities is the direction design is heading.

Nicole Hollis on NICOLEHOLLIS: 'One Thing I Have Learned Is That Nothing Replaces a Site Visit' Broadway. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

The Essence of Nicole Hollis

When asked to define her unique style and approach, Nicole simply says: "Restraint." Her projects, which span across years, bring forth profound experiences. Each one holds a special place in her heart, making it impossible to choose a single favorite.

Listen, Learn, Create

Nicole Hollis sums up her work and practice in three words: "Listen, learn, create." By prioritizing open communication, continuous growth, and the art of creation, NICOLEHOLLIS continues to contribute to the world of interior design in extraordinary ways.

Nicole Hollis on NICOLEHOLLIS: 'One Thing I Have Learned Is That Nothing Replaces a Site Visit' Pacific Heights. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

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