Nancy Ebel-Collum of Nancy Ebel Interior Designs scored a hit with her very first ASID Showhouse room at the Crosley Mansion back in 1996, when she designed a cheery yellow guest bedroom clad in cherry-red checks and floral prints. Locals loved it, and the room was featured in Better Homes & Gardens.
I approach every project: With color first before I do any space planning. Color is very important; it sets the mood. I use a lot of: Black in fabrics and accessories. It gives a little more punch and it’s actually very neutral. Right now I’m working on: a Casey Key vacation home on a Gulf-to-bay property; it looks so appropriate for Casey Key, with yellow stucco walls and green shutters to match the green metal roof. My clients love a livable home and they love bright Florida color—yellows, blues, corals; so that’s what we’ve used in the interiors. I’m doing the opposite: For clients in a Longboat penthouse. Everything was beige—the flooring, the walls, the furniture. I wanted to update it with color, so I found a beautiful grayed green for the walls that looks very appropriate for a home near the water. We went into blues and some ochre in the family room. I trained at Parsons in New York: I have a degree in art education and taught for years, but I had always wanted to work in interior design. At the age of 30, I got the opportunity to attend Parsons for three summers and got my degree there. At Parsons they taught us: To be a good designer, you have to educate your clients. Scale, proportion and balance are the three elements that make a design scheme work, and that’s what most clients will have trouble with. They buy things they like, [but] you can walk into a room and see that it’s all out of whack; nothing seems to be working. I love to find things at: A little out-of-the-way place called Marianne E. on Palm Avenue. Palm Avenue is my turf because I can find everything there. I will start at the bigger retail stores to get a feel, and I also use the new Design Center in Naples. I love old pine pieces: I have a pine armoire in my bedroom and a pine bookcase in my office; I love the softness of the wood. Pine usually looks great with yellows, so I painted my office walls a very deep yellow and used wall-to-wall sisal carpeting on the floor to give it texture. I collect: Design books, for inspiration. One I just got that I really like is Elements of Design by Nina Campbell, a British designer; this book provides a good basic background in using color and texture.