The Style Files: Nick Olsen

Nick Olsen

{Nick Olsen Photographed by Reid Rolls}

Nick Olsen has been one of the top young interior design talents in the industry for as long as I have been blogging. Upon graduating from Columbia University with a degree in architecture, Nick went on to work for Miles Redd for several years. Nick attributes Miles with teaching him about running a design business and there is no doubt that Miles’ aesthetic had an impact on Nick’s. I love that Nick is bold in his use of color, scale, and texture. He decorates fearlessly and with limitless moxie. While the color palettes and compositions Nick creates may be courageous, they work because his style is classic and traditional at its core– perfect for bringing to life timeless, beautiful spaces filled with personality.  In 2010, Nick went on to launch his own design firm and has since completed a slew of stylish projects which have been featured in Domino, Veranda, House Beautiful, and World of Interiors. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Nick for The Style Files and am excited to share more about this promising and talented designer with you today. Enjoy!


Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Nick Olsen: Colorful and personal; rigorous yet humorous.


{Image by Maura McEvoy for House Beautiful}

PC: Has living in New York influenced the way you decorate in any way?

NO: New York means constant stimulation and exposure to the best in every category, which has been an education in itself. Also, the vendors and craftsmen who still thrive here allow me to be even more creative—if I can design it, they can build it.


{Image by Maura McEvoy for House Beautiful}

PC: What does your home say about you?

NO: That I’m a work in progress! And that I’m currently going through a “white phase.”

nick olsen domino

{Nick’s Old Apartment as featured in Domino Years Ago– This is one of the first spaces of Nick’s I ever saw and fell in love with. | Image by Paul Costello for Domino}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

NO: The New York sidewalks are a giant runway. How these kids combine color, pattern, texture and volume can translate to entire rooms. Also, travel. Plop me down in a new city almost anywhere and I’ll find enough visual stimuli to sustain me for a month.


{Image by Simon Upton for World of Interiors}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

NO: Marella Agnelli, Axel Vervoordt, Carlos de Beistegui, Oscar and Annette de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent, Wes Anderson, Tilda Swinton, and my mother.

Nick Olsen Style Icons

{A Few of Nick’s Style Icons: Marella Agnelli, a Folly by Carlos de Beistegui, Oscar and Annette de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent, and Wes Anderson}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

NO: Instagram! (Follow Nick @nickolsenstyle)

72nd LR 2-2

{Image by Melanie Acevedo for Veranda}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

NO: Empathy.

72nd MBR-2

{Image by Melanie Acevedo for Veranda}

PC: Who has been your greatest professional influence?

NO: My former boss and mentor, Miles Redd, whom I’m proud to call a friend. He taught me the business of design but has the soul of an artist, and that’s a very rare combination.

nick olsen veranda

{Image vy Melanie Acevedo for Veranda}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

NO: Pleasing all of one’s senses while surrounded by family and friends.


{Image by John Bessler for Trad Home}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

NO: I’ve designed a few rooms for, a site where designers can click to buy everything from the upholstery to the accessories. That will launch this month and the photos look really fun! Beyond that I’m about to install a big house in Nantucket and have other decorating projects cooking in the city. I would never rule out a line of my own fabrics or furniture … just need to find the time!

nick olsen house beautiful

{Image by Maura McEvoy for House Beautiful}



Go-To Outfit: blue Uniqlo button-down shirt, black Levis, suede boots

Style Mantra: “If it makes you happy it can’t be that bad.” – Sheryl Crow

Scent: Italian Citrus by D.S. & Durga

Piece of Jewelry: I don’t wear jewelry.

Color I Never Tire Of: Aqua, or any shade of the water

Flower: red anemone

Indispensable Design Element: A gutsy French armchair upholstered in polished leather

Era for Design: 1920s Paris

Dream Project: A modernist villa in the South of France or coastal Mexico

Fabric/Textile: I love so many, but currently “Garden Glories” by Lee Jofa. A cheerful and modern glazed chintz!

Hostess Gift: fresh flowers in a pretty low vase

Meal: Steak frites

Drink: gin and tonic

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: watching mindless Bravo network shows and realizing my problems aren’t so bad!


3 Things I Love About My City: The energy, the food, the steady influx of gorgeous people.

Weekend Destination: Tulum, Mexico

Hotel: Maritime in New York

City: New Orleans

Museum: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Artist: Edouard Vuillard

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac, which was released the year I was born

Actor/Actress: Meryl Streep

Prized Possession: My sense of humor

Risk Worth Taking: Painting EVERYTHING.

Greatest Extravagance: Eating out every night.

Go-To Color Palette: Right now, all three primaries together.

Rule to Break: No wall-to-wall carpets. I love wall-to-wall sisal in living rooms and softer ones in bedrooms!

Movie Set Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel, so perfect!

I can never have too many…Uniqlo shirts! It’s reaching hoarder levels…

Paloma Signature

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  1. I am so inspired by Nick’s work. He has such a talent for layering and color play. He seems like someone I would want to hang out with!