Liz Stiving Nichols: Cues from the View

October 23, 2012

An interior designer’s philosophy on creating synergy with interior design, architecture, and the exterior surroundings When beginning a project, my team and I have a process we go through to familiarize ourselves not only with our clients and their lifestyles, but we also get the lay of the land. One of our primary goals is to find inspiration in the perennial elements of each site, creating a direct connection to the natural surroundings of the home as well as the architecture. Below are a few examples of designs that well represent the concept of taking “cues from the view,” each using a different approach. The agrarian meadow view of this West Tisbury home on Martha’s Vineyard set the tone for the design approach. Focusing on transforming the undeniable traditional elements of this home created a stronger synergy with the views beyond as well as our client’s personal style.

Deep Bottom Pond Residence by Martha’s Vineyard Interior Design.


Reclaimed barnboard took center stage when redesigning the fireplace and cladding the existing classical white columns with this rustic material. For the fireplace surround, we wanted to use a noncombustable material that visually blended with the barnboard. Neolith is a relatively new product that is incredibly versitle with this veneer-like construction.

Interior design by Liz Stiving Nichols, photo by Eric Roth


The furnishings and décor support the monochromatic palette and focus on texture. While the goal was simplicity, we took an unconventional approach by using a vintage wash basin for the powder room sink. At the base of the kitchen table are a duo of tree trunks; the top is zinc.

Interior design by Liz Stiving Nichols, photo by Eric Roth


Interior design by Liz Stiving Nichols, photo by Eric Roth

This Orleans home designed by Zero Energy Design is a perfect example of the art of simplicity paired with sustainability. By keeping the walls white and windows unadorned the views of Pilgram Lake are perfectly framed. The sustainable materials selected are an indirect reflection of these views.

Photos of the home by Michael J. Lee


The Apple Martini Caesar Stone not only offers an unexpected pop of color, but being combined with the custom low VOC stain on the kitchen cabinets and island, it is harmonious with the tree-lined landscape.

Design by Zero Energy Design. Photo by Michael J Lee


Photo courtesy of Caesarstone


Photo courtesy of Ecotimber


Each of these designs evoke a sense of nature with the palette of materials selected and the scale and placement of windows.

Design by Duffy Design Group and Salmon Falls Architecture. Photo by Eric Roth for New England Home; click to see more of this home.


Design by Zero Energy Design. Photo by Michael J. Lee


The bathroom designed by Maryann Thompson appears to become a visual extension of the landscape beyond.

Design by Maryann Thompson. Photo by Chuck Choi


One of the easiest ways to transform a space is with the use of paint.

A view of Martha’s Vineyard. Top photo by Russell Maloney. Paint swatches courtesy of Bejamin Moore.


Creating a blank canvas by predominantly using neutrals allows you explore your comfort level with color. Above are two examples of how your palette can be inspired by your view.  Introducing color in accent pieces can also complete your design without the full commitment of painting your walls.

Collage by Liz Stiving Nichols. Products, clockwise from left: Thom Filicia “City Square” rug, Ralph Lauren “Sheldon” rug, Allem Studio navy pillow, Ro Sham Beaux chandelier, Lacefield Designs pillow


The design process should be enjoyable and stress free. When looking for design inspiration focus on your favorite things or just simply sit back and enjoy the view. -Liz Stiving Nichols After receiving her BFA in Interior Design from Harrington Institute of Interior Design in Chicago; Liz moved to Martha’s Vineyard and spent the next seven years working as an interior designer for Hutker Architects. The recipient of New England Home‘s 2012 5 Under 40 Award for design excellence in New England, Liz has been published in several regional and national design magazines and her portfolio of work includes Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Boston, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. To see more of her work check out Visit our guest blogger archives for more inspiration from top designers and architects.

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