This month, we made our way to an immersive launch of Cafe, A Matte Collection which included a new collection of appliances and finishes that could be customized to truly make your home your own. At this event, two concepts were presented a clean white focused design which reminded us os a french provencial look and a very cool modern copper style that was oh so New York. This concept was created by the Louisville based interior designer, Natalie Officer of Natalie O. Design. We talked with her about how she transitioned from the fashion world to interior design, how she works with her clients to create their vision, her attention to detail and her favorite spots in Louisville.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell Athleisure Mag about your background and how you went from fashion to interiors?
NATALIE OFFICER: Fashion is a tremendous place to cut your teeth. It invites you fully understand textiles, the process of creating, and the actual viability and sustainability of style. Working with large national and international brands and how they dance with the wholesale and retail side of existence was tremendously insightful. In this life, if you are lucky, you eventually strive to create something of your own. Something that reminds you of what you are made of. When I left fashion, my then boyfriend and now husband and I jumped into renovating large greystone homes in Chicago; a very expensive and educational "side hustle". After completing the third large scale project, other builders were approaching me to design their developments and stage their properties. Much has been learned since then - gains, losses, and hard lessons. Coming out on the other side of nearly 15 years of study, and seeing Natalie O Design provide for my family, other creatives, and innovative people has been a dream that is finally being realized.
AM: What is your process when approaching a design process?
NO: As a student in Fashion Design, you learn first to appreciate the "hand" of fabric. Years ago, a Couture German instructor impressed upon me the importance of that tactile sense, as well as the "finish" quality of our work. So, we start with the textiles and then back into the space.
AM: How do you obtain inspiration for creating transformative spaces that speak to your client?
NO: Over time, my process has evolved. It started with images, and visual reference goals, really from the time I was a kid. I would eagerly await magazines to arrive in the mailbox. As time has passed, the use of images and over exposure of certain trends/thoughts has complicated this process and lent to industry "sameness". So, I have returned to the trusted inspiration of hand and textiles, along with a bit of an archeological dig into each clients need, life travels, and personal stories. You can find such environmental inspiration all around you. Travel, touch and a good ear are really the big winners in design.
All the qualities of a quality love story.
AM: Tell us about your firm Natalie O’Design what was the nexus to launching it and what is its design ethos?
NO: We are comprised of four people. We listen. We teach one another. Empathize in the journey, and grow. Inspiring one another and our clients all the while.
This has long been our creed:
To inspire others to be their most authentic selves, in their homes and daily walks.
AM: We were blown away by the Cafe event. We love the fact that in addition to the design showcased, the Cafe products, the personalized/customized experiences and great food, that Louisville was also showcased. How did you become a part of this event and why did you choose the design angle to creating your vision of a space that included the products and finishes of your “rooms”?
NO: 'Twas really an organic blend, and that always works the best.
Our partnership came organically from the design and development of the customizable Cafe line, developed internally by Maggie Ballinger. What we have expressed in our brand identity was desirable to the concept, and we were honored to be contacted to participate as the designers of the Matte Black Kitchen for Cafe.
The copper hardware was a driver of course, but really we simply took our vibe and parlayed it into "lifestyle" influences. The venue and map of New York City and the Bon Ton tile hand-made in Minnesota gave a wonderful splash of activity in the space. We coupled it with the use of Maharam fabrics and the mix of forged copper, linen, and hand thrown ceramics on the table.
Of course the Lucas Pete lighting made our heart skip a beat.
AM: The space you created was stunning. Can you tell us about the tiles, countertops etc that were in your space as you had so many stories that really brought this to life.
NO: It is part of our brand to utilize small brands, started concepts, and to work with people who still answer the phone. We utilized Caesarstone and the natural deep emerald Nuvalato stone as our countertop surfaces, and built in the copper Rohl sinks, pairing them with the beautiful and attainable faucets from Cincinnati's own Signature Hardware. Each piece and placement from the tile to the table scape, thought through collectively by our team. I spent almost 8 hours piecing together the mural wall, knowing each tile and tone was integral to highlighting the items.
A list of vendors used in the space:
Helen Levi Ceramics
Crate & Barrel
Bon Ton Designs Tile
Lukas Peet Lighting
The Shelter Collection
AM: Are there any celeb projects or large products that are public that you’d be able to share that you have worked on?
NO: In true creative fashion, we trip over the word celebrity. As we treat each of our clients with very high regard, and are ambitious about making them feel like a true celeb. Recognizable names? Perhaps not. But, our local coffee go to, Please and Thank You, has honored us with design partnerships on two shops. Certainly eye candy for the masses to view. Julie Metzinger, a dream client, is probably our favorite celebrity home featured to date. Our visions resonated so much she ended up joining our team. We are breaking the mold here in Kentucky and humbled by the work coming to us from across the country.
AM: In Louisville, where would we find you grabbing a bite/cocktails, working out and shopping?
NO: The bright and clever cafe Naive, conversing with artists and makers at our Hope Mills studio space, getting pizza at MozzaPi, spinning records and grabbing cookies at Please & Thank You, local vibes at Bean coffee shop, looking through thrifts and antiques at Mellwood (when we’re not driving outside of town to secret locations), celebration dinner and drink at Butchertown Grocery and Lola, Circe + SWAG for gifts for ourselves and others, EP Tom Sawyer State Park for running on local limestone.
AM: As a wife, working mom and a business owner, how do you take time for yourself?
NO: My studio time is my "me time". Loving my work is really something therapeutic to me. Otherwise... sleep.
AM: How do you give of your time from a philanthropic standpoint?
NO: Relationship and community are built through service, and being on the receiving end of kindness and others generosity in our own lives, humbles you to the importance. It is important to our team to work with nonprofits and philanthropic forces. We are excited to be partnering with the local Fund for the Arts for their spring fund raiser, through our design work. Our long time relationship with friend and founder of Hope Scarves, Lara MacGregor, has helped to yield personal growth as well as mission growth in the organization. They are now a major contributor to Metastatic Breast Cancer Research in our local area, and nationally. What is good for the soul is good for others.