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Nicole Forina on Building a Forever Home

interior design

What does a client need from their 'forever home'? Nicole Forina finds out.

Words by 

Megan Hill

Published on 

July 22, 2022

understanding clients, understanding interior design clients, client goals and drivers, client intake questionnaire, client intake questions, forever home design, family home design, interior design families, interior design young family, interior design questionnaire family home

Nicole Forina is the founder and lead designer of Nicole Forina Home. After a successful career in fashion merchandising, Nicole retrained as an interior designer and set up her namesake interior design firm.

Nicole Forina Home has no fixed design style. Instead, Nicole draws inspiration from a variety of sources and as such can create beautiful designs suitable for all price points, style eras, and design philosophies.

Substance over style

Nicole explains that design is not just about the physical space itseld. "It isn't necessarily about how a client wants their home to look, it's about how they want it to feel."

Many design firms have a specific look and commonality that runs through all of their projects. However, NF Home prides itself on not being pinned to one specific style—the focus is on delivering a story and vision for how a client wants to live, not a pre-determined aesthetic.

No substitute

Nicole has a tired-and-tested preferred method for getting to know her clients. "The best way to communicate with our clients, hands down, will always be in person. Seeing a client's real-time reaction to something is the best way to gauge what they are loving—or notin the design."

A dose of reality

The hardest part of the job is dealing with clients who are indecisive or unclear on their vision. "People may think they know what they want before they start this process, but you should never believe you've 'nailed it' until a client hands over the cheque to start ordering furniture!" Nicole helps guide her clients to their true intentions by asking reality-framing questions, such as:

  1. We all romanticise having lavish parties, but in reality, how often are you doing that? Are you okay with your dining room looking like a museum 363 days a year so that you can host those two holidays?
  2. Maybe you dream of viscose velvets... but you have four dogs. Is that going to work?
  3. What are the investment pieces and what would you be fine with sourcing from more budget friendly vendors?

Throughout the process, Nicole is always mindful to show respect. "We are dealing with people's most prized material possessions—whether of financial or sentimental value—and our clients must trust that we value them too."

Expect the unexpected

Nicole relies on her personal experience and taste to mix dream and reality into the perfect recipe. Just as every client's vision is different, so too is the way Nicole approaches the project. After 10+ years of client experience, Nicole has found no one-size-fits-all approach. But one thing she knows for certain is that you never stop learning!

Though there is no perfect recipe for truly understanding a client, Nicole has picked up a few techniques over the years. Given she is a mother herself, we challenged Nicole to understand the functional priorities of a young family looking to design, what they hope is, their 'forever home'—if she had just 5 questions to work with...

Who lives here?

What do you want your home to feel and look like?

Where... would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

When would you like to start and finish the project?

We need to make sure everyone has realistic expectations.

Why did you choose Nicole Forina Home?

Got a question for Nicole? Head to her website or follow Nicole Forina Home on Instagram.

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