Designer Friday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Nancy Fire

With over 30 years of design experience with a passion for color and texture, co-founder and creative director of Design Works International, Nancy Fire, has been able to help retail brands and product development tremendously, as she keeps up with new lifestyle trends. She has now become the Design Director for both HGTV Home and Kelly Ripa Home, while being an active member for the Sustainable Furnishings Council. Introducing this week’s Designer Friday, Nancy Fire.


The Phase pillow in fossil is a featured pillow on the bottom left. Nancy takes inspiration from nature and loves to place tone on tone to her designs.

Andrew Joseph: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a ….?
Nancy Fire: If I weren’t a designer I would be an Anthropologist because I love exploring, like being on a non-stop scavenger hunt. (One BIG awesome Brimfield or Field and Supply) It’s the journey that is so exciting and the quest for the unknown. I am intrigued by the study of culture, the original artisan way of learning about past history. Funny story…I wanted to be an Anthropologist when I was younger and my parents were like “what will you do with that degree” so I went to school for art. Most parents would question a degree in art….

Andrew: What would be the name of your debut album?
Nancy: My debut album would be called, Color, Chaos & Creativity.

Andrew: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
Nancy: Most people do not know that I am a Dead Head and have been for the past 43 years. I am actually in their first fan book.

Andrew: What’s your favorite cocktail?
Nancy: My favorite cocktail is a glass of Scotch.


In Nancy Fire designs, you typically see a bright use of colors, but she knows how to tone it back down with neutrals. “For us, design is not limited to just a single category: design encompasses everything”, says Nancy.

Andrew: What are your ideal weekend plans?
Nancy: My ideal weekend plans are NOT to have any. I like a spontaneous weekend because of my crazy work week schedule. Weekends are for fun, exploring and freedom!

Andrew: What’s something you always travel with?
Nancy: I always travel with my noise-canceling headphones, not just for the movies but for that annoying person that sits next to me on a long plane ride that wants me to know their life story. (I travel very often and do meet awesome people but it only takes one bad experience to know that one must always be prepared:)

Andrew: What’s your design pet peeve?
Nancy: My design pet peeve is communication. So important these days that my staff and clients can articulate what they want regarding a project. I LOVE visuals but conversation is when I (we) really get to the design issues.

Andrew: What would you like remembered about you?
Nancy: I would like to be remembered as a “Unifier” a person who loved to collaborate and build creative companies with awesome people that were like-minded!!!!!


Pictured here are some of the pieces Nancy Fire has designed for her lifestyle home furnishing company, Studio NYC Design. She focuses on keeping each design carefree with a natural touch.

Andrew: What makes you angry?
Nancy: What makes me angry is when people do not place their recycling in the correct bin….makes me crazy.

Andrew: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
Nancy: Trending in design….SUSTAINABILITY. Our awesome industry needs to be leaders in sustainable living.

Andrew: You’re the newest Crayola color. What color are you and why?
Nancy: I would be an ombre Crayola because I am the unifier (see question 15) and I love blends of color.


About The Designer | Meet Nancy, co-founder and creative director of Design Works International. She works alongside Neil Breslau, her business partner, husband and co-founder of Design Works International.

Nancy is recognized for her natural ability to connect her passion for color and design with a keen understanding of the changes and developments in lifestyle trends, helping brands to not only adapt but capitalize on an ever-changing market.

Nancy looks for inspiration everywhere and blends that with almost three decades of expertise in the industry, affords her a unique perspective and talent for marrying design with commerce. Nancy is the talent behind various retail brands and product development programs, specializing in trend research and development, print and color direction, and keynote speaking for industry events.


Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, ASPIRE creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, ASPIRE explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.