Originally from Alabama, Nicole Roby returned home when she began her design firm because as she put it,

“Even when I lived elsewhere Alabama was always what felt most like home.”

(Stacy K. Allen/Contributed)

Now it’s perhaps this feeling of home that she draws her greatest inspiration from as an interior designer.  

Nicole Roby Designs was established in 2019 with a passion for creating unique spaces with unmatched beauty and the most thoughtful design. Nicole Roby Designs is a full-service design firm located in a newly renovated studio, warehouse, and showroom located in the Lakeview district of Birmingham. Additionally, in 2023, Roby will launch a lifestyle brand and e-commerce website, Rome Curate.

Nicole possesses a passion for furniture and a distinctive eye for design, which allows her to achieve flawless interiors with great attention to detail from consultation to installation. We chatted with Roby to discuss her passions that she’s channeled into a flourishing career, and how with hard work she’s become an owner of a business that’s constantly growing and turning heads. 

Where or how did you develop your love for interior design? 

My love for design began with fashion and the idea that there is value in how you present yourself to the world. For every person our clothing, accessories, and interiors all communicate a message about who we are or something about us that we want to portray. I think that’s really interesting. I’ve always had an eye for aesthetics, and that was inherited from my mother. My mom is also in this industry, so I’ve learned so much from her over time. 

(Jean Allsop/Contributed)

Can you talk about Rome Curate and how Nicole Roby Designs is growing?

I am really thankful and proud that Nicole Roby Designs has seen really quick growth. We are very present in the commercial market in some very notable businesses across Birmingham and beyond. Most recently we’ve worked on the interior design of Shipt Towers, Landing, The Summit, and Harmony Venture Labs. Also, we have designed residential projects throughout the Birmingham metro area with a distinguished aesthetic. With a passion for developing and elevating businesses in Birmingham, in early 2023 I am launching an e-commerce and lifestyle brand, Rome Curate, that will be based on the second floor of our new studio. 

How would you describe your overall aesthetic? 

This is always really hard for me to put words to because it’s much easier to see visually and artistically through my designs. However, I will certainly try to share my aesthetic with words. I like a space that’s updated with an eclectic flair. I hesitate to use the word modern, but I like spaces that are fresh and have some spunk. However, I am also very much inspired by my Southern roots and my unique cultural heritage as well.

(Jean Allsop/Contributed)

What are some of your favorite current design trends? 

Wallpapers and oversized paintings are really doing it for me right now! I’m also doing a lot of upholstered case goods. For those that might not know what that means, it is when you put fabrics on otherwise hard surfaces. I also love using unlacquered or live brass. The details matter a lot to me. 

Tell me about your new studio and showroom in Lakeview. What do you think makes this space special?

I am excited to participate in the revitalization of Birmingham’s Lakeview district beginning with our new studio there that we are finishing up renovations on currently. There’s so much potential for what can be done with this space in the future. Obviously, for our business, but also as a fun space for community building through celebrations and entertainment. The possibilities seem endless, and also really beautiful!

(Nicole Roby Designs/Contributed)

What do you love about being a business owner and entrepreneur? 

Honestly, I have always been a very work-driven person. I love my work! My entrepreneurial spirit keeps me striving to reach goals and build my business in addition to developing my craft as an interior designer. But I also am a mom of two small children, with another on the way. The ability to control my own schedule gives me flexibility and freedom that allows me to have a nice balance between work and family. I am intrigued by the question “can anyone have it all?” I really think you can, but I think you’ve got to work hard to make it happen. I have always thought there’s such truth in the harder you work the “luckier” you get. I’ve seen that in my own life too. 

What inspires you most as a designer? 

I mentioned earlier that fashion is what first piqued my interest in design. I still get a lot of inspiration from fashion. I also loved seeing the finished product. The way each project reflects a person, business, or family is really cool to see. I enjoy this about my own home as well. For someone to walk into my home and say, “This looks like your house!” That’s really what you want to hear. But the greatest inspiration and encouragement as both a business owner and designer is when a client is affirming of the work from NRD. To hear them express gratitude is what propels me forward day after day.