Shoptalk - NB Design Group

As you both completed degrees in Architecture, what was the “lightbulb” moment when you realized you wanted to pursue interior design?

It was pretty early on in each of our respective Architecture programs (James at University of Washington, and Whitney at Boston Architectural College) when we realized that we were yearning for design that was more personal and less restricted. For both of us this led us quickly into residential interiors where we were interacting face to face with the end user/client and where our design was translating directly to how they lived.

Favorite part of the design process?

The start of projects is exciting because the possibilities seem endless. Brainstorming with each other and understanding what each of our initial takes on a project is always fun and surprising, even after so many years of business together.

Do you have an inspiration board, and can you tell us what is inspiring you now?

We have built a design business that brings in a lot of varied clients and projects, so there is never a lack of inspiration. This allows us to put on different hats and engulf ourselves in different aesthetics and styles that keeps our day to day interesting and pushes us to continuously learn and practice new skills and ideas.

Has creativity always come naturally to you?

Yes. While neither of us grew up in the “design world” or in families that would have ever hired interior designers themselves, both of us have always understood how important place and home is for everyone, and the role that design plays in that.

Coming from a more technical educational background in architecture, we both came to find that were looking for something more creative and hands on. Interior design seemed to bridge that gap and create a platform for us to explore our creativity in a more tangible and worthwhile way.

How has coming from East Coast cities and returning to Seattle influenced your design style?

It has brought both of us a much more diverse idea of what design can and should be. More importantly, it has allowed us to quickly switch between styles for every project and not feel constrained by a regional aesthetic.

Outside of design what interests you?

Being able to experience the talents of other creatives outside our own design industry. This could range from music, theater and the performing arts, to amazing food and cocktails from talented chefs and mixologists.

What’s next?

To continue creating spaces that give our clients a firm sense of place and home while challenging ourselves to make sure that the industry is more diverse, thoughtful, and purposeful than when we started in it.

Favorite city to visit for inspiration?

WM: New York City

JF: Mexico City

Prized possession?

WM: A leather trunk that my great grandparent’s brought with them from Japan when they immigrated to the United States.

JF: A painting from local artist Joe Park. He and his family have been incredibly supportive of me and my career since I was in college so to be able to now have one of his pieces hanging in my home is very special.

Favorite way to spend a weekend in the PNW?

WM & JF: Definitely NOT hiking…

What is your dream project?

WM: I still want to work on a boutique hotel.

JF: It would be fun to collaborate on a set design for a theater or some other live performance.