Before & After: Quail Hollow Kitchen

We’re here with a HON PROJECT REVEAL — a before/after of a Quail Hollow kitchen and dining area that we couldn’t be more thrilled with! Starting as a classic 1990s beige-on-beige space, Berk and Kell transformed it into a clean, airy and gorgeous room!

On first seeing this space, it was layered with dark elements — really dark granite countertops, a tiered bar with dark cabinets, and a stone backsplash — all gave the space a dated feel. It was tan upon tan upon tan with beige cabinets and beige walls, and the charming client asked HON to help renovate and refresh the space. The main design challenge to tackle was the large, gaping hole between the tiered island and the adjacent living room — and it was Berk and Kell’s job to figure out how to utilize the space both practically and aesthetically.

With cohesian in mind, the duo designed a large, square island that removed the tiers and added space on all sides. This meant barstools could be tucked around the end as well as the sides of the island, making it a centerpoint for the busy lifestyle of the family of four. To bring a warm pop of color to the space, the duo painted the island Sherwin William’s Dark Knight. The dark granite was ripped out, replaced by quartz countertops for a bright and clean look.

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When creating the design plan for the dining space, Berk and Kell considered the client’s and their family. With two young boys and an open-door policy with a neighborhood of friends, HON chose a gray jute rug to bring warmth and definition to the dining area that was also easy to clean. The clients also went with a indestructible seating option for their dining area -- a bench that's inviting and can fit a crowd. To add some personality to the space, custom roman shades replaced plastic blinds in the dining area.

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The goal was to update the space with a fresh and light feel and HON achieved that through freshly painted cabinets (Sherwin William’s Snowbound) and giving the walls a timeless hue painted in a HON favorite -- Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore. This fresh paint meant goodbye to the two-toned desk area, bringing refreshing cohesion to this half of the room.

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Simply and clean subway tile replaced the ombre of brown stones, previously behind the sink and cabinets. Pops of brass were added in the hardware and cabinetry pulls. 

Walking into this sunny, light space is a breath of fresh air and we feel lighter everytime we get to spend some time here. Cheers to a project reveal that we are in love with — and here’s to hoping every space we design makes clients feel as at-home and themselves as this space does for this Quail Hollow family!!

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HON Celebrates Two Years!

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Celebrating TWO YEARS

What We Learned in Our First Two Years, Starting our own Business

Today HON marks TWO years of business and to celebrate, HON communications manager, Bethany Starin, sat down with Kell and Berk to reminisce a bit. The goal is to give followers and the community an inside scoop into the lessons we learned, the obstacles we overcame in these first months and the path to where we are now.

Q: How do you feel looking back over two years as HON?

Berk: “I still can’t believe it! I couldn’t be happier with the how the last two years have gone! From starting the company in my living room to growing a team, getting a studio, having our first pop-up and traveling for the company — it’s been a dream.”

Kell: “Honestly, we were really lucky! We knew it was going to go somewhere but we didn’t have any idea how quickly. Berk and I worked really hard for this and everything has brought us to this point. Two years ago I couldn’t have imagined all of this happening and now I cannot imagine my life without HON.”

Q: What have you accomplished in the last two years?

Berk: “Back to when we first started, we had all these ideas of things we wanted to do and said someday we are going to do this and someday we are going to have a studio and someday we are going to be published and travel and source — and have a team. All these things we set as goals to work towards and we can’t believe we were able to pull them off in our first year!”

Q: When did it all start?

Berk: “We met in August 2015 in Restoration Hardware where Kell was designing at the time — and instantly hit it off talking about South Africa. Kell and Brad had just gotten back and Diek and I were about to leave. Before we knew it, we had plans to go to Good Food on Montford and Brad and Diek had to drag us out of the restaurant — we could have talked for hours more.”

Kell: “We were practically neighbors at the time and we started talking about our dream to start a company where we could travel and be creative. We were getting excited, brainstorming about what company we could start. And all the sudden it was actually happening! The reality was we took matters into our own hands. We wanted to do what we loved and be passionate about what we are doing. So we started HON.”

Q: How long was it until the House of Nomad LLC was yours?

Kell: “Berk and I met and two months later we were starting our LLC!”

Berk: “It was endless hours of research for us both, creating a business plan, designing a logo and website and saying could this really work? Could we quit our jobs?”

Q: Was it a nerve wracking to make the jump?

Kell: “Yes. There nights where I was really nervous about taking the leap. I made sure I felt like it was really going to happen. For me I knew it was the right thing! At the end of the day, we both stuck to our gut and I’m so happy that we did.”

Berk: “Absolutely but with the support of our husbands, friends and family we felt like we could really pull this off. It basically took two of us working off a strong connection that showed that this is what we are meant to do somehow. It was really scary and we did a lot of calculated risk taking but in the end it was something we just really went with!”


Q: What was the startup cost?

Berk: “From a monetary perspective, it had a low start up cost. It’s $300 for an LLC! Later on, we launched the website and HON branding and that cost us about $1,000.”

Kell: “But from the personal side, it was really all about the sweat equity.”

Q: What were those first few months like?

Kell: “The reality is when you first start any business you are it all. We were the marketing team, design team, customer service team, install team, social media team -- for a full year and a half we wore all the hats. While it may not have been the best idea, it was the only option for us financially. And by the time we were hiring people we had learned from our mistakes to teach them.”

Q: What type of rhythm do your work days have?

Kell: “There is one word — urgency.” Kell laughs. 

Berk: “We truly love the hustle and get really energized by the design process. Kell and I are so similar that we are lock and step and run on all cylinders when we are together, working off each other’s energy.”

Q: What’s your relationship like?

Berk: “Sometimes best friends start a business and it doesnt work — but Kell and I became friends as we started the business and became best friends through that process, so somehow it just works! Our business coach had us a take personality tests and we tested identical in every aspect except one thing. The odds of that are one in a million!” Berk laughs.

Kell: “The friendship grew as the business grew. Our personalities are so similar. We spend all of all of our time together. We go to dinner on the weekends with our husbands and we still party together! We are friends and business owners.”

Q: What were some of your first risks after you launched HON?

Berk: “Things took off so quickly and so we started taking more risks. We signed the lease for this studio — and we bought tickets to Mexico — just several months we were hiring a team! We went to Mexico with a budget of a few hundred, just to see if sourcing works. We had a pop-up when we came back and instantly sold more than half of our sourced goods.”

Kell: “It was good to test the waters small — with lots of trial and error. One of our first trials was shipping back Thai fishing baskets and I will never forget this day. We showed up to the Thai post office with an actual refrigerator box full of baskets… lots of trial and error! After that, we felt like we could actually make this sourcing thing work and be another extention of HON. And we are headed to Bali and Morocco this summer!”

Q: What stand out as your main lessons from that first year?

Kell: “Mistakes are going to happen and they have to happen for us to grow -- but that was really hard. We would beat ourselves up and we would allow clients to set the rules because we did not have the processes in place.”

Berk: “A lot of it went back to establishing processes so we felt empowered and more confident. We were making it up as we went and a business has to evolve — but that was a bit painful at times. Once you put the stake in the ground and get your processes in place then you can treat it as a legit business.”

Kell: “There are so many learnings in that first year starting a business — even personal learnings that you find out about yourself that you didn’t even realize. For example, Berk and I had no idea how hard it is to build a team and to find the right people. We have been so lucky!”

Berk: “The first year is all about trial and error. We both had to get less hung up on things and let things go if it wasn’t working well. It is really not easy to say this isn’t working and we need to rework it from the beginning. Another personal learning is learning how to actually let go — especially when you are used to wearing all the hats. When you start a business it is really all encompassing but you have to learn how to turn it off.”

Q: What is the secret do your success?

Kell: “We are offering something different and we are finding that people are really drawn to an eclectic and global feel in their home that we feel really confident delivering. Berk and I work together on every project and we feel like that really sets us apart.”

Berk: “We are working really hard to make design approachable and to offer something very creative and unique to Charlotte are and beyond.”

Q: How does travel play into your business model?

Berk: “Travel is what really got our friendship going and bonded us in the first place! Now travel is part of our business model because we are incorporating our finds into our designs, we are selling them through local pop-ups, studio sales, our online shop and by appointment at our studio.”

Kell: “I think that’s one of the things that set us apart. It is definitely what makes us House of Nomad and the way we see the company growing is still applying that whole travel idea to whatever it is we are doing.”

Q: How do you keep your sanity day to day as entrepreneurs?
Kell:
“For me, it’s yoga and treating ourselves. We love to celebrate after a big install.”

Berk: “It’s really hard — haha — having those trips planned ahead of time! It’s like the monkey bar where we know we are reaching out for the next thing. And also, lots of wine!”

Kell: “We are both innately driven but having those trips booked pushes us harder because we know we know we won’t be able to source anything once we get there if we don’t have the budget. That’s a motivator.”

Q: What are your goals for the next two years?

Berk: “A lot of our goals we met, which is a dream come true! I’m so excited for what next two years have in store! Let’s keep the business growing, pushing design boundaries creatively through global finds and hopefully one day traveling as a team!”

Kell: “I’m hoping HON becomes a go-to source for people who are building new homes. I’d love for people in Charlotte to come into our studio and learn what we are passionate about and for us to share that.” 

3 Don't-Miss Trends from the Atlanta Market

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Here we are reporting live from the AmericasMart Market in Atlanta after three days of inspiration galore, meeting the best of the best designers and reps — and stocking up on the most beautiful decor for our House of Nomad SHOP! Stay tuned for when all the market decor hits the shop!

The inspiration at AmericasMart Market is endless, room after room of things we saw and wanted to bring back — but here are the three trends we settled on as our favorite.

1. Cane Is Back

No longer just a style of the past, cane-style chairs, accesories and even tables are showstoppers in many of the design showrooms.

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2. Less Glam: More Natural

From rattan and glass beads to hand-woven textiles and baskets to leather chandeliers, all things NATURAL was everywhere in Atlanta. We’re huge fans of this organic look!

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3. Black and White is Here to Stay!

And we aren’t one bit upset about that!

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The Best Rooms of 2018!

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Happy New Year!!! Here's a glimpse into some of the rooms House of Nomad designed and are really proud of: Our Best of 2019! It was the year of blue, teal, layered and textured spaces -- and we're on to amazing new palettes and moods for 2019, including laquered cabinets and modern house renovations. We can't wait!

1. Davidson: Girl’s Bedroom

2: Davidson: Living Room

For more, check out the My Domaine tour of this home!

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3. Dilworth: Dining Room

Check out the Rue Mag feature on this space!

4: NoDA: Master Bedroom (Kelley’s Home!)

To see more, check out the Domino Mag feature on Kells’ home!

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House of Nomad's Top Dining Rooms

1. Dilworth: Transitional Modern

This summer, Kell and Berk designed this historic home in Dilworth, which included this gorgeous dining space. The front living and dining rooms flow with an open floor plan and had been left empty for some time, as the couple wasn’t sure what style to go with. The trick was not to just craft beautiful adjoining rooms — but for the duo to articulate their unique design styles, and then discover how their designs could be combined. She found that she was drawn to cool tones and transitional style, while he loved mid-century modern with a California vibe. This dining space is a beautiful combo of them both, the dining wallpaper pulling in her style and the wishbone dining chairs speaking to him.

2. Davidson: Effortlessly Modern

A stylish, young family hired House of Nomad this spring, asking for fresh designs for their new home in Davidson — to create distinct living and dining spaces downstairs in their completely open floor plan. The duo hoped to create a home that reflected their vibe, designs that incorporated some trends but with a timeless look. This cement dining table with a metal base did just that, and we incorporated the West Elm chairs they already had into our design. Originally, the duo hoped for a larger table for family gatherings but due to the floorplan, jumped for a medium-sized round table with nearby bar stools creating additional seating — and keeping it cozy for nights it’s just their family of three.

3. NoDA: Global Inspired

Kelley’s very own dining space is one of Kell & Berk’s favorites they’ve designed for this reason: it’s so personal. Her entire home has an inspired, global feel and with an open floor plan, the vibe of the dining and living areas play off each other. All of her art is collected, including the handmade textiles framed from Sayulita hung in the dining space, bar cart items from Thailand and nearby cookbooks from China. Her modern table and mixed-metal light fixture create just the right, neutral vibe for the eclectic feel of her home. For more, head to Domino Mag’s feature on Kell’s home.

4. Myers Park: Moody Glam

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This dramatic Myers Park dining space carried themes of blue from the overall design of the home. Berk and Kell wanted the room to have a sophisticated but cozy vibe and painting the ceiling gave it a cohesive feel. The most fun aspect of this room is the incorporation of the velvet settee, a creative way to seat more people.