Best of Season One: Nikole Enns of IKO Designs – Interior Design

Episode #38: Welcome to the She Builds Show, I’m your host, Stefanie Olson! The numbers are in and the most listened to episode on season one of the She Build Show was my interview with interior designer Nikole Enns. Nikole is the owner and founder of Iko Design Studio. Nikole specialize in unique commercial and residential design projects. She loves the process of taking something in its raw state and adding beauty and originality for her clients to enjoy.

Thank you Nikole! And thank you for listening!


• I was a stay-at-home mom for quite a few years, probably almost 10 years before I started IKO designs, and I love that my kids were getting to the place where they were all in school, and I was like, What can I do? What would be something that would be interesting? So my husband is a contractor, and we had been since the time we were married buying properties, fixing them up and then reselling them, it wasn’t necessarily the intention, but that’s just kind of how it happened for us. It was like, Okay, we bought this little tiny house, we fixed it up, we had more kids, so we sold it and then we bought another one, and we kind of got in this process of doing this, and I realized how much I really enjoyed that process of seeing something in kind of a state of disarray and then taking it and making it something beautiful people could appreciate. (01:11)

•  I was slowly growing this interior design business, taking whatever came my way, and I was also doing hair and thinking I wanted to grow that business. What I realized was I really so loved doing interior design, and I got to the point where I was getting too busy doing design work to still do hair. And so I was kind of like 50-50 doing both, and I realized through really the help of some amazing women around me, they’re like, You need to just do this. Yeah, and it was really scary because doing hair was like, I was actually making money where in design I was like, I’m not really making money. And so it was kind of a big leap and I just stopped doing hair all together and jumped in 100% doing design and put a lot of effort into my Instagram and networking and all the things that I feel like really helped me kind of propel my business in the last couple of years. (03:54)

•  I did want to say one thing, I feel like it’s really important to acknowledge when you come from a place of privilege, and I think about myself and the fact that I have a spouse who has worked so hard to be able to provide for our family and give me, honestly, the freedom to be able to choose a career that was risky. And I didn’t have to go and, well even doing hair, I didn’t have to stay doing that career because I have a spouse who was really supportive and was like, I support you in this and I didn’t have the pressure of having to pay all of our bills or I have to do them and luxury really to pursue a career and develop it, and I know that not everybody is in that position and I think sometimes we’re like, Oh, if you just work hard enough and all your dreams can come true, it’s like sometimes we start out at an advantage. (08:12)

•  So I think I do my best to try to help educate people in the process and also realize most people that are in this place, whether they’re remodeling or new construction or going through very similar things, they’re trying to make a million decisions at one time, it is really stressful. And I think for me, I always just want to try to alleviate as much of that pressure and stress as possible and help them. I think one of my strengths is the overall big picture, and I feel like if you’re in interior design or construction, you have to be pretty good at that. And being able to envision something. And some people really struggle with that. So I think helping someone be able to take the essence of who they are as a person, so their personal style and aesthetic and the way that they live their life in their space, and to translate that to a contractor or tradesmen and develop a design concept that’s something that they feel like embodies them. (11:28)

•  And if anybody doesn’t know what Stobles is or hasn’t checked it out, it’s like the most gorgeous coffee and food location downtown with a co-working space and it’s what? Three or four levels. How many square feet? There are four levels. Yeah, so there’s a basement, there’s the main floor, the mezzanine, and then the rooftop on the rooftop. That job was totally one of those networking jobs, so there’s two couples that are the owners, and I just happened to meet them through Alex Marshall, and actually through Danny Paget and Maverick, forgetting his last name right now, but… So anyways, it was just random meet and then I guess Alex Marshall is like, You should have Nikole help with the design, and they were already totally down the road, they had their architect and really great design concepts already. And so when I came on the project, I definitely consulted on finishes, a decent portion of them, but a lot of their stuff they had well down, but all of the furniture and stuff was definitely our team. (18:35)

•  I’m working on a project right now that their style is mid-century, which is so fun, clean lines, and we’re thinking about using cork floors and terrazzo tile. Just lots of pattern. And I think one thing too that I always want to try to put into my design is, so thinking about layering textures and natural texture, so natural elements like wood, stone, things that like woven art or dried floral or things that doesn’t feel just one-dimensional, but it has history and it has just layers of texture. I think it’s really important for a place to feel, especially if it’s a new construction, which I know you do a lot of new construction, it’s easy, you’ve got the dry wall and the tile floors, it’s like, let’s throw in the wood and let’s get the medals in there and all of that stuff to make it feel like it’s more home. (37:17)


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