CREATIVITY AND MATH

BY JESSICA ELLIOTT | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

While many designers thrive on words like classic, transitional or contemporary, award-winning Dallas interior designer Nicole Arnold instead emphasizes professionalism and the overall design experience. Little wonder: The New York native spent nearly two decades in sales and marketing, handling Levi Strauss & Co.’s largest accounts, including JCPenney, Nordstrom and Dillard’s. She traveled and lived around the country for her work, including in Atlanta, Florida, Seattle and Dallas, gaining experience in consultative selling, business management, product development, peer training and visual merchandising.

“My unique edge is my corporate background,” Arnold says. “I’m well-versed in working with CEOs and high-profile clients, understanding their desired level of involvement in a project, and my primary goal is to do such a great job that they can’t help but refer us.”

She has had plenty of referrals since launching her eponymous design firm, Nicole Arnold Interiors, a decade ago. It was the perfect transition from her work in the corporate realm—Arnold knew her business acumen and textile influences, along with her passion for making design seamless for successful professionals, were an ideal fit for interiors. “I know how much a room setting can affect people, and I knew I wanted to deliver those ideal environments to others,” she says.

Arnold has since designed residential and commercial interiors for CEOs, Fortune 500 executives, business owners, and real estate and investment specialists throughout the Dallas area, including in Highland Park, Turtle Creek and Preston Hollow. “I thrive on helping people who are too busy running their companies and aim to be the one they can rely on to make sure their environment is functional and beautiful—to ensure their homes are a reflection of their personality and lifestyle,” she says. “When they know I’m at the helm and it’s handled, and they don’t worry, that assures me we are doing our job.”

Known for her sense of humor and goal-oriented process, it’s obvious within minutes of meeting Arnold—who is a 20- year Frisco resident—that she is driven and dedicated and takes a client’s investment seriously. “When I’m part of something, I like to push it forward to a level that hasn’t been done before,” she says, adding that she partners with like-minded professionals, who range from organizers to realtors and custom homebuilders. “I mastermind with my colleagues to make sure we are sharing our best practices, so we can all be sharp and stay at the level we want to be.”

Though she doesn’t claim one specific design style, Arnold’s work is influenced by notable designers Miles Redd, Ralph Lauren and Candice Olson. “I start with streamlined, classic designs that have a timelessness, but then layer in pieces that reflect each client’s personality to keep every space unique,” she says. “I especially love to use color.”

Arnold takes a structured approach to each project—she is equally proficient in mathematics as she is design. “My mind is a hybrid of creativity and math, and that comes out in my attention to detail, color balance and proportion,” Arnold says.

But, her primary goal is to create spaces that speak to her clients. “I don’t want to disappoint my clients, so understanding them is critically important,” she says. To that end, Arnold became certified at the master practitioner level in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which promotes ideal communication with her vendors and clients.

Her dedication also has led her to hold prominent roles in industry organizations—Arnold is a national board member of the Interior Design Society (IDS), one of the country’s largest organizations of design professionals. She helmed IDS’ Dallas chapter for two years, during which time the organization won chapter of the year. In 2013, she co-founded the North Texas Design Group, an alliance of designers working uniquely with manufacturers to best serve their clients. Arnold has participated and led committees for various community efforts, such as Jonathan’s Place, Dwell with Dignity, Feeding Children Everywhere, and leads children’s groups and Vacation Bible School at her local church. “I truly enjoy serving in the community in diverse ways,” she says.

Jessica Elliott is a Dallas-based freelance writer and can be reached at jessicalaneelliott@gmail.com.