How Acclaimed Designer Nicole Fuller Fashions Luxury Rooms From Auction Finds

New York City living room by Nicole Fuller. Image by Patrick Cline photography, courtesy Nicole Fuller Interiors

Introducing the Invaluable Tastemaker series, where top art & design influencers offer us their tips & techniques for juxtaposing the modern world with antique, vintage, and often storied objects of the past. 

“If you love something, get it. It may not come around again,” says Nicole Fuller, a designer who has learned to not let great pieces slip through her fingers.

Fuller, who is married to artist Alexander Yulish, divides her time between the couple’s homes in New York City, where she is designing the new full floor residence in the Baccarat Hotel, and Los Angeles, where she’s at work on a new hotel in the city’s Arts District. Along with multiple residential projects and collaborations with Savoir Beds and the Rug Company, she’s readying a new collection of furnishings with renowned L.A. dealers Joel and Bianca Chen for later this year and a line of tile for Ann Sacks in 2018. Not one to be labeled stylistically, each of Fuller’s interiors is very different from the next, as she puts an emphasis on creating spaces that celebrate an owner’s individuality.

In speaking one-on-one with Fuller, our editors learned that the one commonality of her projects is luxury, and a focus on bespoke elements like hand-painted wall treatments and, of course, great one-off auction finds.

Tell us about your most memorable auction experience.

Nicole Fuller: My first formal auction experience was about ten years ago at Wright Auctions. I was bidding on a vintage Hans Wegner Papa Bear chair. I definitely was carried away in the bidding process and I paid more than I had planned to – way over my initial budget. But I’m consoled in knowing that the piece has appreciated significantly! I’ve always been drawn to vintage pieces, from small trinkets to large antique Oushaks. Collecting beautiful things has been a hobby of mine from a young age, and bidding on the pieces I have the honor of purchasing for clients now is the culmination of a lifetime of hunting for the perfect piece. Auction is a wonderful process, and bidding never loses its excitement.

East Hampton living room by Nicole Fuller. Image courtesy Nicole Fuller, Nicole Fuller Interiors

What kind of objects do you like to collect?

NF: I collect old ceramics, objets d’art, beautiful vases, and things like that. I love to make flower arrangements at home, and I always use an interesting vase from my collection. Flowers bring a home to life and they feel more personal when displayed in an old vessel that has a story.

What’s been a favorite find, either for you or for a client, and how did you place or use the item?

NF: I once bought the most fantastic Gio Ponti floor lamp made entirely out of glass. I couldn’t believe it when I found it, and it became the standout piece in a modern interior I was working on. I’ve been on the lookout for another one ever since but I haven’t found one. It’s a reminder to me not to hesitate.

New York City dining room by Nicole Fuller. Image by Patrick Cline photography, courtesy Nicole Fuller Interiors

Are clients asking for anything in particular these days, or are you seeing any trends develop?

NF: Brazilian architecture and design are having a moment, and I’ve been sourcing some beautiful antiques by Sérgio Rodrigues and Oscar Niemeyer. I don’t think it’s a trend, per se, but French Deco is laying well into some of my recent interiors. I’ve bought great pieces by André Arbus and Jules Leleu for clients lately.

What do you feel antiques and great vintage pieces bring to a project, and is there something you believe really makes a house a home?

NF: My interiors are meant to withstand time, and accomplishing this is best done by mixing periods. I layer antiques into most of my interiors, as I find the age and quality bring instant weight and significance to a space. Antiques are intrinsically embedded with a soul that can only come from time and history. Vintage light fixtures are a personal favorite, and I am always looking for beautiful writing desks.

New York City bedroom by Nicole Fuller. Image courtesy Nicole Fuller, Nicole Fuller Interiors


See what’s on Nicole Fuller’s Invaluable wish list. Shop Nicole’s picks now.

About Nicole Fuller

Nicole Fuller is the Founder and Creative Director of Nicole Fuller Interiors, a New York based multi-faceted interior design company specializing in high-end residential and commercial design projects in the US and abroad. She is a recognized product designer, with multiple collaborations for international manufacturers, as well as an established art consultant with private entrée into the world’s leading galleries and studios. Fuller has four International Property awards, two nominations for London’s prestigious “Andrew Martin Designer of the Year” award, and was listed by Vogue Magazine as an “Interior Design Talent to Watch.”