The Expert - Setting the Scene With Nicholas Obeid
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Setting the Scene With Nicholas Obeid

The Expert Team
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All photos courtesy of Nicholas Obeid.

Since joining The Expert in April, Nicholas Obeid has already been proven to be a fan favorite. The New York-based designer is demystifying his process and empowering clients to create pared back, texture-rich spaces—the ones he describes as “easy to look at, and easy to live with.”

Read on to learn more about the rising stars’ design playbook and what he’s loving right now.

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What’s your design philosophy?

Respecting the integrity of the home—its architecture, location and the people who live there— is my first priority. From there, I work to achieve a spirited mix of old and new, warm and cold, heavy and light. The ultimate goal is a space that’s straightforward—easy to look at, and easy to live with.

Tell us about your consultations so far on The Expert.

For clients overwhelmed (understandably) by the whole process, I break down the formula of rooms that catch their eye, educate them on what’s being done successfully and how we can translate that to their own home. With clients more comfortable with design, or perhaps a bit further along the process, we build on pieces they already own and get them confident to continue—and to have fun with it!

How do you layer a variety of materials in your projects?

While much of design is instinctive, there’s inherently a formula that, for me, achieves the right mix of material ingredients: mohair, shearling, leather, wood, metal, stone, silk. Currently obsessing over Opera D’Arte marble and how I can work it into one of my projects.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a variety of residential projects and a food market. The chance to enhance someone’s day—through the design of their home or designing a piece of furniture they can bring home—is what inspires me most. Everyone deserves to live with style.

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What’s the first step you take when starting a new project?

Understanding the way a client lives, or how they want to live. More than just beautiful, a home has to make sense for someone’s everyday, and that means different things for different people. More specifically, a foundation of larger furnishings is followed by a very considered layering process.

Where to save / where to splurge?

I recommend investing in finishes and comfortable, quality upholstery. Layered pieces like accent tables and lamps can be found vintage, at flea markets or online auctions, and add much appreciated character.

What should you always buy vintage? What vintage pieces are you eying right now?

Vintage case pieces and lounge chairs excite me the most. Regardless of the category, mixing in vintage items is what makes your home feel lived-in and dynamic—not like a showroom. The best way to achieve this is to layer over time, slowly introducing meaningful finds. The best result is never rushed.

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