Designer Profile: Nicole Salceda

The California-based former elementary school teacher now interior designer creates beautifully elegant spaces – this is her story

Dining room, kitchen, living room
(Image credit: Nicole Salceda)

Nicole Salceda's career in interiors began as a passion for making polished, functional design more accessible. 

She left her job as an elementary school teacher to see those spaces come to life first-hand. What started as a handful of clients quickly became a rapidly growing portfolio full of homes in her signature warm minimalist style. 

Now, having been through a dream home remodel of her own, she has even more perspective when it comes to the client's experience of interior design. Here, we take a look at Nicole's story, so far. 

Nicole Salceda

Nicole Salceda

(Image credit: Nicole Salceda)

Nicole and Eye For Pretty's team – each member hand-picked for their talent –work closely to create inspiring spaces. They assemble elements that are old, new, handmade, and thrifted for homes that are understated, but far from boring. Each refined detail is a testament to Nicole's distinct penchant for bringing a room together – to her eye for pretty.

What Is Your Design Process?

Blue sofa, white matching armchairs, stripped rug

(Image credit: Nicole Salceda)

'My design process begins with getting to know our clients and finding out what's important to them in the way they live. We can design beautiful spaces all day long but it always comes down to how they want their space to look and feel. 

'I then gather architectural plans to review and see what inspires me in the home. It might be a pretty archway or a room with lots of windows. 

'From there I gather materials and colors that will pull the space together and bring my vision to life. Laying it all out and presenting it to clients is always the best part!'

Wooden table, wooden chairs

(Image credit: Nicole Salceda)

Where Does Your Inspiration Come From?

Gold light, black round dining table, dining chairs

(Image credit: Nicole Salceda)

'I'm constantly inspired by Napa Valley which is a very close drive from my home. The landscape, natural materials and overall feeling when you are there is quintessential CA living and that's always what I aim to deliver in our client projects.'

What Is Your Process When Approaching A New Project?

Kitchen island, wooden chairs

(Image credit: Nicole Salceda)

'Whenever we begin a new project, we make sure we've done our due diligence in making sure it's the right fit both for our firm and for our clients. A new build or home remodel is a long process and you want to make sure the relationship is strong from the beginning. 

'It takes a certain amount of trust to be successful. We always lay the foundation in the beginning and are very transparent with what to expect. Our clients appreciate this and it makes the entire project run smoothly.'

White drawers, gold handles, rug

(Image credit: Nicole Salceda)

If You Could Go Back In Time And Give Yourself Any Advice, What Would It Be?

Nicole Salceda

(Image credit: Nicole Salceda)

'My best advice to my younger self would be to find your people and get them in the right seats. When I started out, I was a solo designer and wore all the hats which led me to not doing anything really well. 

'When I learned that hiring was the secret to success, I was able to expand the firm's reach, take on more clients and be more profitable. You don't have to do it alone and honestly it's more rewarding to have people that believe in you and your brand that support your vision.'

What’s On The Horizon For You And Your Firm?

Wooden cupboards, rug, shower

(Image credit: Nicole Salceda)

'We are coming up on the one year anniversary of our first brick and mortar, Eye for Pretty At Home which is very exciting. It's been a joy to be able to expand our reach beyond our immediate clients and bring a little Eye for Pretty into homes nationwide. We have many amazing projects wrapping up including our first custom spec home in September as well as some exciting collaborations in the works.'

You can follow Eye For Pretty on Instagram.

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.