If you welcome Nancy Murphy into your home to help with your interior design plans, she promises not to paint your couch blue — maybe.
“When I was 8 years old, my brother was babysitting and I decided I didn’t like the color of our new couch, which was brown,” recalled the owner of NT Interior Design & Events in Diamond Springs. “So I grabbed my water colors and painted it a beautiful bright blue.”
Murphy and husband Tom, who co-owns the business, were pleased to learn recently that they are the recipients of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce’s Home-based Business Award.
The couple’s interior design business has been flourishing since 1994 and they added staging and event planning to the enterprise in 1999.
A former concert pianist for 10 years, Nancy said there is a simple reason that she decided to take on the challenge of interior design 20 years ago.
“I have been blessed with a talent and it is my job to give back,” she explained. “Being able to help clients better their lives with my services has been a blessing and has made my life fulfilling.”
Part of that fulfillment comes from NT Interior Design & Events working with families of military personnel serving overseas, Nancy added. She decorates their Christmas trees, free of charge, explaining that “seeing the joy in their eyes is my pay.”
The philanthropic business woman also lends a hand to those who can’t really afford to avail themselves of a talented interior designer in tough economic times.
“I love giving my time and advice to the unfortunate families who cannot afford to have a beautiful room,” she said. “Sometimes all it takes is a beautiful pillow or a fresh arrangement of flowers to make a big difference and put a smile on their faces.”
Nancy has a bachelor’s and master’s in fine art and music and actually had intended to become an architect.
“But in those days, my dad said, ‘Women weren’t born to do a man’s job’ so I became a concert pianist for a while. I was a designer before my time,” she reflected. And perhaps due partly to the decade she spent performing fine music, “the staging and event coordinator came naturally.”
That natural proclivity found little Nancy tooling about the family home, finding ways to brighten the living areas and have fun at the same time.
“I was always putting pretty towels in the bathroom and setting the table with the best china to have a tea party for my puppy and myself,” she said.
Husband Tom “is a large part of the company,” according to his wife.
“Tom draws the blueprints or CADD (computer aided design and drafting), the space planning — and does all of the heavy lifting,” she said.
As a licensed interior designer, Nancy assures that she has the knowledge of blueprints, space planning, building codes, finish materials, lighting and color.
With the basics firmly in hand, however, Nancy takes her company’s mission further, striving to customize each job to suit the individuality of the client. The secret, she added, is intense attention to detail.
Details are important
“NT Interiors believes in working with clients to design their homes to reflect who they are,” she said. “The design is in the details. When working with a new client I set a consultation date, which allows me to ask questions about their style and life.
“I walk through the home asking what pieces they would like to keep or refinish. I can get a good sense of their style and where they are trying to go with design. After the consultation, I then start working on the project.”
The next step in the process involves meeting to discuss paperwork, showing the client different design styles, lighting options and color decks.
“I have a four-page questionnaire that fine tunes their everyday living design,” she said.
Then the fun begins: “I take them shopping for furniture, flooring, lighting, wall color, fabrics and accessories.”
Nancy added that one of her main goals is to save the client time and money while delivering a service that will leave them smiling and ready to show off their new home.
“A design may take six weeks and some are ongoing,” she said. “For example, I have a client that I started with in 1995 and even though she has moved to a different state, I am still working with her. When she’s ready to change out a piece of furniture or a total redesign, I am there working with her contractors or in my office online.”
Nancy added that she works hand-in-hand with other contractors to make sure all the elements flow smoothly into the project. And, she pointed out, she will go to great lengths to make sure not to overdo or oversell a project, if less is better than more.
“I work with all sizes of jobs, from color consults to remodels,” she said. “There is no job too small or budget too little. Sometimes you only need restyling but using furnishings from one room to another to create a flow that feels right. I work within the client’s budget to give them as much as possible for a beautiful design.
“My job is not done until the client is happy.”
NT Design specializes in CADD, space planning, remodels, lighting, colors and de-clutter. The firm prides itself on working in tandem with contractors to coordinate jobs.
Nancy and Tom moved to El Dorado County in 1994 and her past careers also have seen her owning a designer dress boutique in Texas that catered to the Miss USA pageant.
Nancy said she and her husband were pleased to receive the chamber’s award for Home-based Business. “I highly respect all of the chamber members and staff, so to be selected has been an honor.”
Let NT Interior Designs & Events color your world by calling 530-957-1950. Be sure to ask Nancy if there’s a special on bright blue paint and puppies.