As design director of HGTV HOME (HGTV’s product line), Nancy Fire is leading a team to produce stunning home decor that encompasses the looks and styles seen on HGTV and HGTV.com. If you’ve ever shopped HGTV HOME, then you’re familiar with Nancy’s remarkable attention to detail and her keen eye for what’s beautiful. It’s Nancy’s style and expertise that made the decision to choose her as our first ever HGTV.com guest editor a no-brainer. What exactly is the “HGTV.com guest editor?” Glad you asked!
This year, our team will be bringing in a few extra movers, shakers and visionaries who possess interesting perspectives on the world of design. We want these industry insiders to jump into the mix of everything we do here at HGTV.com. So, we asked Nancy if she’d be our first guest editor, and she happily agreed. Welcome, Nancy!
In the coming months, you’ll find Nancy offering her expert commentary here on Design Happens, adding insight on 2014 trends throughout HGTV.com, and even taking over HGTV’s Instagram here and there as she travels the globe. (Catch her this weekend on Instagram while she’s at Heimtextil, Germany’s international trade fair for home textiles.)
For you to get to know a little more about our guest editor, we recently interviewed Nancy.
D-Happ: As design director of HGTV HOME, how do you develop the style of HGTV’s furniture brand?
Nancy: I develop the style by living the lifestyle. Working and living in NYC keeps me current on retail trends, as well as trends that I see traveling to shows overseas and in the United States. As director, I provide direction, support and industry insight into design, style, emerging trends and product development. It’s a position with a wide array of responsibilities, from setting the tone for design and development, to working with licensees in the US. But, whatever I’m doing, my goal is to develop, in partnership with the HGTV team, the overall HGTV HOME brand.
D-Happ: How would you describe HGTV HOME’s look?
Nancy: We have a fresh modern and fresh classic sensibility. We are all about the mix of lifestyles throughout our collections.
D-Happ: How do you apply trends seen at design and textile shows to HGTV HOME?
Nancy: I look for trends with which we are comfortable. Since we are a brand that is true to our consumer, we always keep in mind their lifestyle and how our products would fit into their everyday sensibility.
D-Happ: How do you make more avant-garde displays into approachable designs?
Nancy: I take the beauty that I see in an object and find a way to translate parts of it so that it’s understandable. The importance is to keep what I loved in the first place and filter it into something new. It might be a metallic finish, a new fabric weave or a color combination that is outstanding.
D-Happ: How would you describe your personal aesthetic?
Nancy: I’d say ‘Updated Classic’ — which means I love classic design that has been refreshed by color, fabric or texture.
D-Happ: What is the best way to achieve a great design but keep it family-friendly?
Nancy: At HGTV HOME, we empower our consumers to feel comfortable making choices. These choices include their family lifestyle. I know many families today that the entire family has a say in their aesthetic (which I think is great).
D-Happ: What key pieces should I spend the most money on?
Nancy: This is the whole point of the HGTV HOME collection. You can actually design your home either on your own or working with your favorite interior designer using our products. Our quality is exceptional and our price points are as well — meaning that you can shift your spending depending upon your project. An example of this is designing a custom headboard. Years ago, I only developed custom looks for my home which was expensive and took a while to develop. Today, you can (with the family) shop at our HGTV HOME Design Studio at Bassett and create amazing custom pieces that are produced in the US with a turn time of 30 days (having over 1,000 fabrics from which to choose). If you are designing more than one room, you can work out a realistic budget designing with our products in flooring, paints, lighting, fabric and trim, custom furniture, furniture collections and even outdoor lifestyle.
D-Happ: What is your advice to couples who have different styles?
Nancy: The perfect solution is to work both styles into your life. If you are a person who prefers classic structure and your partner has more of an updated outlook on design, you can achieve this through color, fabric choice and pattern. I often find a classic piece on my ‘globe-trotting’ trips and update this timeless structure with a pattern that might be a bit unexpected, but not crazy.
D-Happ: Where do you source inspiration?
Nancy: I have been traveling for my business (Design Works International — **see below for more details) for the past 25 years and I am truly inspired everyday. I can be shopping in a store like ABC Carpet & Home in NYC and feel like I just got off the plane in Paris. I could be in Silver Lake, California and feel like I am in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I take from wherever I am because I am inspired by all the creativity that is out there today. I am inspired by my design studio where we are designing collections everyday and I am inspired by my clients and their passion for design.
D-Happ: What’s your favorite space/room to decorate in a home?
Nancy: I love to design all rooms in a house, loft or apartment, but I would have to say that my favorite would be the common space — the space where people come together and share ideas, read, watch old movies — a cozy space where you really want to hang out and come together to celebrate life.
D-Happ: What is your current color obsession?
Nancy: I am obsessed with a book I picked up while on the west coast called Colorstrology by Michele Bernhardt. The book is about how color reflects the real you — and mine is Fragrant Lilac. As of recent, I have been working with what I call ‘the softer side’ of color which happens to be Lilac and Radiant Orchid — which is also Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year.
D-Happ: What is your favorite space/piece of furniture that you’ve designed?
Nancy: Years ago in our country house, my friend Michael and I designed three pieces — a sofa and two love seats framed in raffia with a coral colored fabric that our family still loves. It happens to be in our family room and they are so cozy — updated classic because of the raffia treatment.
D-Happ: If you could re-do any space in your home, what would it be?
Nancy: Funny you should ask — we are just about to start our master bedroom in the country. It’s time for the en suite bathroom, but it does not stop there because we decided to blow out one wall and make it floor-thru doors, add a terrace and a pergola. My husband Neil Breslau had the idea of the terrace and pergola and I thought that was fantastic. He, too, loves to design even though he does not admit it. Our bathroom addition has turned into a Neil and Nancy project — typical of a married couple who works together!
D-Happ: What design faux pas absolutely makes you cringe?
Nancy: I have a hard time when a space is over designed.
D-Happ: What design trend can you not stop using?
Nancy: Originality! I love going to friends’ homes and feeling their sensibility. Even my friends who work with interior designers keep the feeling of who they are in their home. Today, especially, I feel people are more authentic in their style. But don’t get me wrong, some of my friends are amazing interior designers and when they are finished with their clients’ homes you can really feel the family in that space.
D-Happ: You have a fashion background. Besides the obvious, how does designing fashion compare to designing furniture?
Nancy: It’s a similar process. You need to start with a concept, add in some trend elements — color concepts — and, of course, silhouette.
D-Happ: A little bird told me that you had something to do with Spider-Man, the movie. Is that true, and what did you do?
Nancy: In 2007, we digitally printed the costume used in the movie for Spider-Man (and the villain) at First2Print — our digital printing company here in NYC.
**Nancy’s company, Design Works International, has been helping designers and corporations of all sizes with their design and trend needs for over two decades. Design Works is renowned for their design excellence, technical expertise and attention to detail. Whether you need to develop a home furnishings or fashion collection, a range of surface or package designs for a product, or revamp your corporate identity or branding, they pride themselves on working closely with their clients, to ensure that their vision comes to life.