See how Nichole Hill, designer at Su Casa Home Staging & Redesign, transformed this dreamy New Mexico mountain home.
Designer Name: Nichole Hill
Instagram Handle: @_nicholehill
Project Name: Modern Southwest Mountain Home
Type of Project: Residential
Project Location: Cedar Crest, New Mexico
Hi! My name is Nichole Hill. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My love for creativity and design began when I was young. Whether I was redesigning my bedroom every few months, creating things to sell at craft fairs with my mom, or baking a new recipe, I loved creating and making things beautiful.
As I got older, I decided to do what I thought was most practical. While I was still a creative person, I never saw it as a career option to pursue if I wanted a successful future. I graduated college with my Bachelor’s and Master’s in accounting. Then, I went on to work in public accounting and obtained my Certified Public Accounting license, quickly realizing just how much I needed to be creative in my career to be happy. Although being a CPA may not be my true passion, it was one of the most challenging things I have ever accomplished, and I am so grateful for the many skills it has equipped me with. While I was working in accounting, I began decorating my own apartment, creating designs on Spoak, and learning more about interior design. I eventually decided it was time to pursue this passion of mine. I applied at a well-known local home staging and interior design business, Su Casa Home Staging & Redesign, and was lucky enough to be hired as a stager and designer!
Over the past few months working at Su Casa, I have been able to learn from an amazing team, gained confidence in the fast-paced world of home staging, and worked on some amazingly beautiful design jobs. I truly believe your home is an extension of who you are and can greatly affect your mood and well-being. I hope to continue creating beautiful spaces for others that inspire and bring beauty to their lives and to all those they choose to share it with.
This project was for a wonderful design client. This particular client owns a cozy, beautiful southwest-styled mountain home located in Cedar Crest, New Mexico. After recently deciding to make this mountain retreat his primary residence, the client came to us at Su Casa wanting help with furnishings and, more importantly, making it feel like home.
The client and I decided it would be best to take on this home room by room, tackling the living room first — the goal being to create a cozy, functional living room space. The living room is a small space, but I wanted to ensure enough seating for him to have family and friends over. Additionally, I wanted to stay true to the southwest design of the home while also making it feel modern.
Due to shipping time, the project took about five months in total. I spent about two months planning, shopping for items, and meeting with the client until we had decided on all the furniture. I ordered the furniture, and while waiting for items to be delivered, I shopped for pillows, blankets, and accessories. Once everything arrived, it was time to schedule an install day. Install day is my favorite part of the design process because this is where your vision comes to life. This is where you take time fine-tuning all the little details, making sure the space looks absolutely perfect!
One challenge I faced was the layout. The living room is a small space with a lot of windows and a beautiful adobe fireplace. The client wanted to have a spot for his TV without taking away from the fireplace or any of the mountain views. We had to try several layout options and find the perfect TV console until deciding on the final layout.
Another challenge I faced was one that many designers deal with: having the client envision what I saw for the space. Ultimately, I had to come up with creative ways to help the client see the final product along the way. Using mood boards, inspirational pictures, and room designs helped communicate my vision to the client.
The before photos are of the client’s home without any furniture or decor. While still beautiful with the stunning adobe walls, fireplace, and breathtaking mountain views, the space did not quite feel like a home yet.
I love how, in the after photos, the beautiful space now looks like a home — a place the client can enjoy having family and friends over. A place where he can enjoy watching TV or snuggling up by the fireplace taking in the beautiful mountain views.
We did have an overall budget, so I also had to balance sourcing unique and quality pieces within that range.
For the sofa, I went with this beautiful piece from Pottery Barn. It was the perfect size for a small space while also giving the client enough seating room. My client wanted furniture that was easy to clean because he planned on getting a pet. For that reason, I went with the oatmeal performance everyday linen fabric. Not only is this fabric a beautiful color and texture, but it’s also easy to clean!
For the TV stand, I went with this custom-order piece from Etsy. I love that it fits just perfectly in the space and is hand built.
My favorite part about working on this project was the style of the home. Southwest adobe-style homes are very common in New Mexico but not everywhere else. I loved staying true to the Southwest style while also making it feel modern and new. Adobe architecture and design is one of my favorite things about living in New Mexico, and I am so happy I get to share it with you!
Using Spoak’s software to create mood boards, floor plans, and renderings was very useful in bringing my vision to life. We struggled with the floor plan, and by using Spoak’s floor plan tool, I could play around with different layouts until I decided on the best option. Mood boards helped me explore ideas and decide on the general style, mood, and colors of the space. Finally, my renderings were really helpful in communicating my vision to the client. My client struggled to imagine these items in the space, so by using Spoak’s design tools to drop an actual picture of his space and add furniture to it, the client got an idea of what it would look like.
Always stick to what you love. Don’t worry about trends or what’s in at the time; if you really love a style or piece, stick to that. If you fill your home with pieces you love and that are meaningful to you, chances are you’ll still love them for years to come.
For those who are tackling a design project for a client or someone other than themselves, I would say listen to what they love. Ask them about their hobbies, their interests, and how they live their lives so you can create a space that feels like them and, most importantly, inspires them daily to be and feel their best. Listen to what they have to say, but also have confidence in what you think is best for the space. You’re the designer, after all!
I’m actually continuing to work with this client’s home. As I write this, we have begun working on the bedroom, and I am so excited to get the rest of his house completed. Stay tuned for more on the transformation of this client’s beautiful home!
Also, working at Su Casa, I stage several homes a week with our amazing team. Be sure to give us a follow @sucasastaging to keep up with all the beautiful homes we do in the Albuquerque and greater New Mexico area.
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