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Interior design inspiration from MD Nolan Nicholas

July 6, 2012

Nolan Nicholas, owner and managing director of Nolan uPVC has been at the helm since setting the company up 22 years ago. We put Nolan in the hotseat to find out his thoughts and opinions on interior design.

After six years of planning, designing and building, you’ve recently moved into your new house in Pembrokeshire. It wasn’t always easy, and I’m sure you’re glad to finally be living there! So tell us – where did you draw inspiration from for your new house in Pembrokeshire?

As a trained carpenter and having worked in the double glazing / construction industry for more than 22 years, it’s hard not to be inspired by what you see others doing. I’ve seen some stunning properties built and renovated by customers of Nolan, and they give you a great palette of inspiration, and obviously architects are very experienced at turning your ideas into reality and into a workable living space.

There was a building already on the land, why did you decide to design and build a new house rather than renovate the existing property?

The existing property was too small and uninhabitable. By designing and building a new house, I was able to create a home that fitted the living needs of the family, and one that really makes the most of the stunning views of Pembrokeshire.

Having seen pictures of the house (which is stunning by the way!) the design is very modern. Why did you choose this style of architecture?

I know it’s not to everyone’s taste, but that’s what we like. I think as a country we should be looking at ways to improve design. Contemporary modern architecture offers simplicity, open plan living and allows buildings to be more environmentally friendly. The use of large glass panels in the design lets an abundance of natural light into the house, which helps reduce the amount of energy used during the day.

As well as the modern look, you have also designed the house around open plan living. How easy is this to recreate and what tips would you give to homeowners looking to achieve this style?

Open plan living isn’t for everyone, but you can recreate the style in your home by knocking down walls! But before you do, consider how you currently live and whether it will suit you and your needs. If you’re sure it does, then look at dividing the space into different zones and avoid dark colours. Instead, paint walls in pale tones that will expand your room. Open plan rooms can feel cold, so the best way to get around this is to accessorise with bright furniture and rugs to give the space warmth and comfort.

You say that large open plan areas can feel cold, so how have you added warmth and comfort to your home?
The walls throughout are crisp white. The neutral colour scheme makes one area flow into another and emphasises the openness of the space and architectural features, such as the glass balustrade on the upper floors. Warmth is added to the living space with bright coloured sofas, natural wood doors and stone floors.

So do you have a favourite room where you like to spend most of your time?

My favourite room has to be the lounge. With glass from floor to ceiling, the views of the Pembrokeshire coast line are stunning. Even on the wettest day, you can still admire the changing landscape from the comfort and warmth of the living room. On clear days the views stretch for miles across the sea. The large glass panels bring the outside in and give a real sense of space to the room.

Which current trends have influenced the interior style of your favourite room and the rest of the house?

I really like the American style at the moment. It gives you the freedom to mix old and new. I like to use materials that emphasise quality and utility. I like the combination of pattern and texture, which gives a relaxed, comfortable and inviting interior style. It’s about having the confidence to take risks rather than follow rules.

If our readers want to get this look, where can they get some ideas and inspiration from?

I get ideas and inspiration from books and TV programmes like Grand Designs. There are some great interior design ideas in Mona Hajj’s book ‘Interior Visions’. She combines a global vision with an American emphasis on elegance, comfort and simplicity. Another good interior design book is ‘Coastal Modern’ by decorator Tim Clarke in which he looks at homes inspired by the essence of the coast.

We’ve talked about the overall style of the house, but when it comes to individual pieces of furniture do you have a favourite?

My favourite piece of furniture has to be the biomass boiler in the living area. We wanted the house to be as energy efficient as possible. We use the biomass boiler to provide heat and hot water.

With the business, and the house, it sounds like you’re a very busy man! So when you do have time to unwind, what is your ideal weekend away?

An ideal weekend away for me would include hiking and an evening meal with family and friends. Luckily, I have an abundance of lovely walks on my doorstep, so I don’t have to go very far to enjoy a weekend of hiking.

That sounds lovely, but the hiking doesn’t sound relaxing! When you leave home, what do you never leave without?

I never leave home without money or my mobile.

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