Coffee With: Carly Nemtean of Carriage Lane Design & Build

Carriage Lane Design & Build’s designs range from bold and beautiful to clean and classic, but they are always unique. We chatted with Principal Designer Carly Nemtean about forest green, matching metals, and creating an impact without killing budget.

Q&A with Carly Nemtean

Casaza: How did you get your start?
Carly Nemtean:
After graduating from the Sheridan College interior design program in 2003, I filmed a new reality show with HGTV and Cecconi/Simone. It was a fast-paced peek into the world of T.V. and interior design, and I loved it! From there, I gained experience by contracting at different design firms throughout the greater Toronto area, then working for a cabinetry firm full-time and as a designer for the new Property Brothers series. My boss at the time saw great potential in my side hustle, and offered to go into business together, utilizing all aspects of our worlds, including construction, cabinetry, stone and design. Carriage Lane Design-Build Inc. was born.

Since then, we have worked with many other shows for HGTV, received many accolades from the Interior Design and Construction Industry awards, including Best “30 under 30” for KBIS North America, and have been featured in local and International magazines and media content, including House and Home.

Dining room and open concept kitchen Design by Carriage Lane Design & Build
Design by Carriage Lane Design & Build

C: How would you describe your style?
I love spaces that have character and an ode to history, where each art piece, accent, and book tell a story of the trips, background, experiences, and interests that have touched a life.

C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
My husband, travel, other designers, and designer friends are huge influencers on our projects and ideas. Everything gets recycled and reimagined. Taking ideas from those you respect and are influenced by is a compliment in my world.

C: Favorite room in the house?
Powder room. It was once a space that I didn’t pay too much attention too in my earlier years, for lack of confidence perhaps. Now, this space is where I can have fun and explore the creative side of the client and create a large impact without killing the budget.

C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
I don’t subscribe to metal finishes matching. When I started working in this industry, I learnt that there should be only one finish in a space typically, and it was frowned upon to add more. As I grew as a designer, and homeowner, I realized that having several different metal finishes only allowed for more texture, tone, and character to shine through my spaces.

Dining room Design by Carriage Lane Design & Build
Design by Carriage Lane Design & Build

C: Recent project that inspired you?
We recently completed a project in a 200-year-old Georgian farmhouse home. We were inspired by the history, architecture, and details of the existing space but we wanted to breathe new life into it. There were eclectic and rich details that existed in the home and we wanted to highlight and enrich them further, like trimwork, door headers, hardware, cabinetry, stonework, and textiles.

C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
I love forest green. There is something about the color; with so many varieties of hues that can be executed in all settings from modern to traditional, it has true life breathed into it. I love raw brass surface texture. The modest original form of the product, with its pits and grooves, reminds me of a simpler, authentic time. I love inconsistent patterns. Free flowing, original, hand-made patterns that come from the artist’s mind and through their medium of choice.

C: What is “good design” to you?
Good design to me is when you can take a home, floor, or room that does not function and present a new layout that has never been considered and that creatively and logically accommodates needs, lifestyle, and budget of your client.

C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
Kelly Wearstler without a doubt! She has been my design idol since I was introduced to her work seven years ago. Her spaces are a reflection of her travels and her outside-the-box, larger than life ideas. Each product and textile in her spaces are artifacts and reflections of creative endeavours. Every space she creates is a unique world of color and texture that can’t be recreated. I wish I was a fly on the wall when she starts her projects to see her process.

Powder room and sitting room by Carriage Lane Design & Build
Design by Carriage Lane Design & Build

C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
My #1 rule when entertaining is to create comfort. I love hosting and creating a vibe of comfortability. This includes spaces for seating and lounging, eclectic music playing in the background, delicious and savoury foods to pick at and indulge in, and something for everyone in a comfortable environment.

C: Best advice for DIYers?
Create layers on clean backgrounds. Less is more in my book, so if you start neutral, you can slowly add pops of color, texture and pattern in furniture, art and accessories.

C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
Connection. When we work with clients, we enter not just into a contract, but into a long term relationship. Make sure you feel comfortable with this company, and they are easy to talk to and connect with. Like every relationship, there will be ups and downs, but if both parties have a deeper understanding of the full picture, you can weather the stresses of construction together.

C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
I am excited about the trend towards boho colours that focus on relaxed, bright and cultured spaces with hand-made earthenware. The colours are reflective of warm beige tones, soft winter whites, burnt clay, and dusted rose.

C: How do you take your coffee?
Personally I am more or a tea drinker, particularly matcha latte with warm milk at the moment 🙂

Living room Design by Carriage Lane Design & Build
Design by Carriage Lane Design & Build

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