Hello and welcome to our new journal. This is the place where we will be sharing the stories behind our projects and products, as well as practical advice from me and my team of experts. If you have a moment, I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce you to my work, my style and why I do what I do.
The very beginning
I started my business in 2007 after taking a slightly sideways route into interior design. As the daughter of a helicopter pilot, I spent my childhood moving around the country frequently. I became fascinated with the elements that make a house a home and learned early on that a sense of belonging is rooted in meaningful attachment to the pieces we surround ourselves with. To this day, that’s what I set out to achieve with each and every project – to create places that people feel connected to and at home in.
I trained in garden design and worked with the renowned designer Arne Maynard for five years. After creating several homes for myself, I was starting to be asked by friends to help them design their own homes. As such, Nicola Harding & Co came into being rather organically and has grown largely through word of mouth.
I would say that my style is liveable; nurturing, eclectic and soulful. I strive to create supremely comfortable interiors that feel refined yet lived-in – the sort that make you feel instantly at ease. They are contemporary with classical roots and always include a sense of mischief.
I like to play with different styles and eras to create places that feel timeless, effortless and reassuringly familiar. My work is bold but never flamboyant. I like to inject colour and pattern to bring a space to life. I place valuable antiques next to flea market finds, juxtaposing decorative elements with practical pieces to create beautifully useful interiors.
I am passionate about growing a practice that is kind to both people and planet. I consider the social, economic and environmental implications of every choice the studio makes so that our projects tread as lightly as possible on the earth. I always gravitate towards natural dyes and materials – they stand the test of time, wear beautifully and improve with age. We work with local craftspeople using traditional techniques and materials, reducing the need for large machinery and long-distance shipping that impacts the environment. We are constantly looking at ways to refine, reduce and reuse resources, more of which you can read about here.
My design process
A fundamental part of my design process is understanding the personal lives of my clients, their past, present and future. It informs me how they want their home to feel and how they want it to serve them.
For inspiration, I look at historic buildings and set design – I am fascinated by their rich atmosphere and ability to evoke nostalgia. I try to capture this in my work, studying how the different physical interior elements interact – whether they’re in harmony or direct contrast – to create a particular feeling. I regard the design process as akin to alchemy, involving the layering and adjusting of different sensory elements to create that magical and indefinable feeling of home.
Today I run Nicola Harding & Co from our bright and open-plan studio space in Queens Park, London. While I run the creative side of the business and manage client relationships, my husband Andy looks after all of the studio’s commercial, operational and financial elements. Having joined the team in a full-time capacity last year, his background in retail, digital and fintech is helping to steer the business through a new and exciting stage of growth as we embark on a new chapter that includes the launch our lifestyle brand, NiX, and our journey towards becoming a certified B-corp company, which means we will be independently verified to the highest levels of accountability, traceability and sustainability.
This is the story of Nicola Harding & Co so far. I hope you come back to our journal often where I promise you will always find something that excites or inspires. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing more tips, tricks and behind-the-scenes stories as we go forwards on this journey. Don't forget to sign up to our newsletter too.