Five Minutes With Nicki Clendening

Nicki Clendening is a New York-based interior designer known for her eclectic, well-traveled style. She started her design firm, Scout Designs NYC in 2009 and in the years since, her work has been featured in Lonny and Time Out New York. She has also been named a New Traditional Designer by Traditional Home. Nicki has a great sense of style and can find a way to make interesting finds from all over the world work seamlessly in a single interior. Her love of the hunt and scouting great finds recently lead her to start her latest endeavor, Beetle. Beetle is an online marketplace for the amazing things Nicki finds on her travels abroad to places like Italy and France as well as domestic vintage destinations like Round Top, Texas. I can attest to the fact that it takes a special talent and a really great eye to spot a gem amongst throngs of vintage and antique pieces. With Beetle, Nicki is able to share her fabulous finds with a broader base of people who many not always have the time or inclination to hop on a plane and embark on a treasure hunt themselves. Beetle’s current assortment includes beautiful textiles, chic jewelry, and interesting decor. Be sure to check it out!

Paloma Contreras: What is the best vacation you’ve ever been on? Why?

Nicki Clendening: One of my favorite vacations was when my sister and I went to visit our mother who, at the time, was living in Franschhoek, South Africa. We spent two weeks exploring the coast and wine region and it remains a place I can’t wait to visit again. It is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to. Capetown is incredibly chic and vibrant! The people, landscape, architecture, food, wine…everything about this beautiful country is pure magic.

PC: What is your favorite gift to give or receive?

NC: I love making and giving homemade liqueurs as hostess/housewarming/birthday gifts. My best friend in Louisiana has a huge Meyer lemon tree in her yard and every year sends me up a couple of big boxes at Christmas time which I use to make homemade limoncello. I also gather up loquats when I’m in Charleston to make loquat liqueur and ramps in Connecticut to infuse in vodka for Bloody Marys.

PC: If you could pick six dream dinner party guests, living or deceased, who would you choose and why?

NC: Bill Murray– How much fun would it be to have him at every dinner party?! I can only imagine that no matter who was gathered at the table, he’d put everyone at ease. Cy Twombly– It’s hard to chose one artist as a favorite but if I have to name just one, it would be Twombly. His home in Rome is the epitome of perfection in every way. Beryl Markham– The embodiment of an independent, adventurous, dynamic woman who lived on her own terms, something I greatly admire. Her book “West with the Night” is a favorite Cleopatra– I’ve been obsessed with Egypt since a child reading National Geographic. Can you imagine the things she could tell us? David Attenborough– I have a huge crush on him and own all of his “Life” series and watch them often. Alain de Botton: I’m a big fan of his writing and am constantly re-reading the “Architecture of Happiness” and “Art as Therapy.”

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

NC: Art is the thing I love the most and the museums and galleries in New York City offer a constant wealth of inspiration. I stop into the Met Museum several times a month and have, many times, used a painting as a reference/starting point for my design projects. It’s great to be able to show clients a painting as a way color palettes can work together.

PC: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

NC: ROME! From my first visit years ago, my dream is to be able to live there one day. Italy is the place where I feel most at home.

{A Recent trip to Italy via Nicki’s Instagram @scoutdesignsnyc}

{Portrait by Brittany Ambridge | Photos of Nicki’s Home by Patrick Cline for Lonny}


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