Kristen Nix is a full-scale residential interior designer in Austin, Texas. Clean lines and tailored details are hallmarks of Nix’s look, which is guided by principles of balance, symmetry, and simplicity. After earning a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Nix continued to hone her skills at Vogue in New York where she worked in the fashion department, and later at Neiman Marcus in Dallas where she was an Art Director for the store’s famous publication The Book. Before starting out on her own, Nix worked for renowned decorator J. Randall Powers, who remains a major influence. As the mother of three boys, Nix understands that rooms need to be as functional as they are fun to look at and as intuitive as they are interesting.
April 22, 2020
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Tell us about your career journey. Did you always know you wanted to be an interior designer?
I always wanted to be a designer and can remember drawing dream homes and playing with fabric swatches as a child. I grew up around the business, as my mom was a commercial designer and my dad sold mid century modern furniture like Herman Miller and Knoll.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
The best part about being a residential interior designer is that every day is different. We are oftentimes pulling fabrics and finish samples, visiting job sites, sourcing new items, meeting with clients and managing orders with vendors.
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What interior design mistakes do you spot the most and how would you fix them?
I always feel nervous admitting to this for the fear that friends and clients will feel like I'm judging their homes... but if I must, I can't stress enough how important good lighting is. Always maximize natural light and focus on levels of lighting that includes overhead and eye level... and always on a dimmer.
What inspires your design process?
The architecture of the home, clients needs and the way they want the house to make them feel. Traveling is always inspiring.
Tell us about your all-time favorite project you’ve worked on.
An all-time favorite was a traditional historic home we renovated and designed in the Pemberton neighborhood of Austin. The clients were very educated on design and antiques, had great style, loved color, and took risks, which made the project exciting and special. Most importantly, there was great energy between the clients, the design team, and the construction crew. It was a fun project and we were sad to see come to an end.
Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or decor in your house?
I absolutely love my Brno Knoll breakfast table chairs. They are so comfortable, durable, and chic. I've owned them for about eight years, and they were an investment, but I would buy them all over again.
What’s your favorite way to wind down?
An instant blood pressure drop for me is going out on Lake Austin with friends, great music, and lots of cocktails. I also love wake surfing on the lake with my husband and ending the night at Pool Burger.
What would we find you wearing on a typical workday?
Comfort is key as we are usually walking a lot and schlepping samples. My look includes jeans, a fitted top with a tailored jacket, edgy understated jewelry, and flats. I always keep Hunter boots in my car for muddy job sites.
What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to start their own business?
I'm a firm believer in keeping your overhead low and knowing your strengths. For me, investing in talented employees who can help me with the huge amount of detailed order entries and bookkeeping has been a lifesaver.
What’s next for you and your firm?
Our team is growing, which is very exciting! Taking on more full-scale construction and design projects and continuing to work with kind clients and talented trades. One day, we dream of having a coffee table book or a lighting line.
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