Designer Friday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Nar Bustamante

International award-winning design firm, NAR Design Group, is known for their highly-publicized interior designs. President and founder, Nar Bustamante has shaped his company into what it is today by staying committed to quality results, seamless construction processes, and delivering beautiful projects with undeniable appeal. With the help of his lead designer, Ashley Richardson, their sleek and modern designs have been featured on HGTV and Introducing this week’s Designer Friday, Nar Bustamante.

There is an ample amount of natural light in this open kitchen designed by Nar. The goal was to create a contemporary kitchen with clean, white, and modern details. This kitchen was made for movers and shakers with a minimalist mindset.

Andrew Joseph: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see?
Nar Bustamante: My design style is elegant and eclectic with a focus on quality products. Always looking to explore color, texture, and surface changes, while keeping clean lines for simplicity and a minimal color palette without eliminating color and materials. I always look to embody the character and lifestyle of my clients, so I find each project is an architectural celebration of who my client is. That’s really what determines the style. I will however weave the style that best suits them with my own take and interpretation to make it a Nar Design original.

Andrew: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
Nar: One of the biggest trends and always in demand is a surface that doesn’t stain, burn, scratch or absorb contaminants. Before COVID, it was already something I was very excited about, although now I feel that we will need to create sanitization zones. Dekton by Cosentino checks all the boxes in terms of durability and I predict it will be immediately in demand post-pandemic.

This is a Modern Walnut Wrapped Gallery Kitchen located in Davis, CA. The minimal design allows for the artwork featured throughout the kitchen to be highlighted. The combination of light wooden floors and walnut create a perfect contrast and depth in the kitchen as well.

Andrew: What’s the weirdest thing a client has ever asked you?
Nar: To have the water level of each of their toilets be the exact same. They stuck their tape measure into the toilet and found the water level to be uneven. I had no idea how to fix this issue and it made for a very difficult conversation.

Andrew: Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your specialty?
Nar: I would like to think I am a good cook because I love to cook and being in the kitchen industry, I have extensive knowledge on all cooking appliances (gas vs. induction, etc.). However, every time I get into any kind of cooking competition, they all say I should probably stick to designing kitchens. Nevertheless, one of the most memorable dinner parties I had, I cooked salmon, filet mignon, veggies and potatoes and served directly on a Dekton table with no plates in order to demonstrate how fun it is to eat off a communal surface, and people could not believe how durable it was. The heat, sharp knives cutting directly on the surface, and oily ingredients that would typically stain any other surface, were no match for Dekton. What made me a good cook was not the food, but the experience.

Andrew: What’s inspiring you in life (in the industry) right now?
Nar: I am always inspired by innovation and people who themselves are inspired, especially if you are in the same industry. The most inspiring thing is knowing that there are other younger people who are willing and able to bring new design ideas and direction forward. That allows me to know that design is not stagnant within my own mind and will continue to develop in different directions in the future.

Nar’s made sure to create an ample amount of storage for the family’s cooking needs. There is a spacious and low countertop for plenty of room for cooking and prepping food.

Andrew: What are some of the podcasts you listen to and why?
Nar: Definitely “How I Built This” by NPR – I love to hear amazing stories of success and so much has to do with design and life experiences which are all things I can relate to. It’s about people who take risks and follow their dreams, even at the scariest times.

Andrew: How do you define beauty?
Nar: I define beauty by how something makes me feel. I must be able to feel good about something in order to see its beauty. If I see a beautiful kitchen, but it’s not functional in its design, it does not make me feel good. I have walked into the simplest of places underestimating its beauty and have realized later how great it is. Whether it’s a material or a person, you don’t always see their beauty right away, but may present itself later.

About The Designer | Nar Bustamante, president and principal designer of Nar Design Group in Sacramento, CA, was born in Mexico City and raised in San Francisco. His extensive travels throughout Europe, North Africa, and North America have played an influential role in his appreciation for art, culture, and amazing architecture. These cornerstones, along with his own client’s artwork, provide the unique, everlasting inspiration for his international award winning and highly publicized designs. Only bound by his imagination, Nar has influenced design, producing some of the most sought-after projects with his take on luxury modern, eclectic, and innovative projects, never leaving room for predictability. This year, Nar was also selected to join the Cosentino Design Alliance, a brand ambassador group made up of prestigious designers across the country, due to his expertise and rich knowledge in the surfacing category.

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

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