Ask an Expert // Jessica Nicolls




1. Can you tell us about your background and how you got into the design field?

I grew up with Architects all around me. Every family vacation had an architectural sightseeing tour, a visit to an antique store or just aimlessly driving around looking at houses. My obsession with space planning and decorating began at a very early age. I was OBSESSED with my doll house and use to steal the discontinued carpet samples from my Stepdad's architecture firm to carpet my doll house's rooms. Out of high school I interned with my Stepdad's firm in their Interior Design department and fell in love with the ins and outs of bringing a design to life. 


2. How did you come to start Bungalow 56?

Karyn and I had been talking about starting our own business since working together in the fashion industry for 5 years. We both ended up in the interior design field and knew that we needed to combine our talents. I came down to San Diego to finish design school and would send her pictures of the beach while she was back in Tahoe shoveling snow in her driveway. Needless to say I won and she finally moved down south and the rest is history. 

3. How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I love layered neutrals with pops of wood tones and vintage pieces. I have a slight obsession with vintage rugs and try to put one in every kitchen and bathroom we design. It is hard to narrow down a specific style because I can envision my perfect Tahoe cabin, my cozy beach cottage, my retro palm springs house and my modern meets Spanish country home. I just need one of each. 

4. What has been the biggest challenge of starting your own business?

I would say the biggest challenge of owning your own business is wearing multiple hats. At the beginning you are the secretary, the accountant, the photographer, the marketing manager, the boss and somewhere in there an interior designer. Once our business started to take off it was so nice to be able to out source some of those jobs. It has been such a wild ride and I wouldn't change a thing. P.S. I would make an awful accountant. 


5. Where do you see yourself and Bungalow 56 in 5 years? 

I am so excited for the future of Bungalow 56! I definitely see us with a larger design studio and an expanded shop with some of our own furniture, textile and pottery designs. 

6. What is your favorite thing to do when you aren't working?

I love spending time with my husband and three children out in the California sunshine. You can also find me obsessively shopping online for vintage rugs or reading. 

7. If you weren't an interior designer what would be your dream job?

I have always had a passion for graphic design but I also think I would have made an amazing paint color namer. 

8. What are your three favorite products in the B56 Shop right now?

I just LOVE our new Coronado bags. They are perfect to take to the beach or the grocery store. My second favorite are the new bath rugs we just got into the shop. The third would be the gorgeous wall basket we just used in our Aruba Bend project