Nicole Martin
Influencers 15 years ago No Comments


If magic happens when you finally find your design niche, then Nicole Martin could have her own show in Vegas. This Interior Designer / Textile Designer / Product Designer is currently conjuring up beautiful, thoughtful designs for Constantine NMartin-Title.gifCommercial Carpet. She’s come a long way from her days at the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning [DAAP] where she earned a BS in Interior Design while also studying Product Design for two years. [Incidentally, Design Intelligence’s annual survey of designers, architects and engineers again named UC’s Interior Design program #1 in the nation for the eighth-straight year.] Nicole’s path to success greatly intrigued us, though the reason behind it is no great mystery: talent and lots of hard work. Let her ambition inspire you, putting a positive spell on your career for the New Year.

What kinds of internships did you have while still in school”

The DAAP program at the University of Cincinnati, a five-year program, has a well-established cooperative educational program. From the beginning of the program each student works one-on-one with an advisor who helps place each student based on interests, abilities, and available jobs.

NMartin.jpg My first internship was located in Atlanta, Georgia, at Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart and Stewart. SRSS is an internationally established design firm providing services for corporate commercial, hospitality, governmental and educational projects. My responsibilities involved working in a team environment on specific projects by making adjustments on technical drawings in AutoCAD, working on material boards, and other project related duties. Working for SRSS as my first internship was a great foundation builder for me. I learned all of the detailed technical information that helps create an exquisite design space.

My second co-op was for Bergmeyer, a retail firm located in Boston, Massachusetts. While working there I became fascinated with renderings and the way they can be so schematic and yet tell and sell the big picture. I realized from there that I needed to work somewhere that allowed me to be more creative.

Design Forum, the third company that I worked for located in Dayton, Ohio, is a large retail firm focused on creating a meaning behind branding. Working as an environmental designer, I learned to draw 3D perspectives of interior spaces and transform them into beautiful renderings.

My final internship, and I believe the most crucial one, was in Dallas, Texas working for Looney & Associates, which specializes in high-end hospitality involving a lot of custom design work. At Looney I worked on custom carpet designs that coordinated with specific design themes.


You work now as a designer for Constantine Carpet. How long have you worked there and how did you end up working for them”

While I was still in college and working at Looney & Associates, I was introduced to Bob Weiner, the owner and CEO of Constantine. (I had no idea of his status at the time). About six months or so later, as I approached graduation and began hunting for a real job, I remembered my meeting with Bob and decided to email him directly about any available employment opportunities. Looking back, I probably never would have done this if I had known he was the founder and owner of Constantine Carpet; however, in this case, ignorance turned out to be my bliss. He actually got back with me, and a few rounds of interviews later I found myself working at Constantine. I’ve been here since August 2007, and I love it! Working at Constantine allows me to combine my love of textiles, interior design, and architecture with my desire to travel and work with unique people in a dynamic and fun environment.

What’s a typical day like for you”

The wonderful thing about working for such a great company like Constantine Carpet is that you have no idea what each day will bring. I might start off the week in the office working all day to develop color work, and the next day I’ll be in the mill talking to the shearers about texture refinements. By the end of the week it could be off to New York to meet with designers and represent Constantine at a trade show. I’m never quite sure where I’ll be at any given time, but I’m not a 9-to-5, cubicle type of person anyway. While I’m certainly willing to put my time in at the desk, I like knowing that a new adventure is around every corner.


What kinds of things have you learned working for an international carpet manufacturer that you would have never imagined when you first stepped foot in design school”

When I began college I had people telling me that I could do anything I set my mind to (which pretty much I just let go in one ear and out the other), but I now believe this to be true. I had no direction when starting design school – I just knew that I wanted to be a designer, and I loved every aspect of the art world. When I first stepped into design school I would have never imagined where my educational path would take me or the opportunities that I would encounter coming right out of school.


What was biggest work-related mistake that you have ever made and how did you deal with it”

Ha ha – this is funny considering I am constantly learning things the hard way. The most recent lesson of life was while I was working on a project overseas. Making sure every detail is clear and concise is very important when wanting something to turn out a specific way. You can never provide too much detail.

Tell us about your newest, most favorite carpet designs for Constantine. What makes you excited about them”

Constantine Carpet was recently in New York, for the Interior Design Magazine Hall of Fame Awards. While my company was there for the event we hosted a luncheon at the Four Seasons Restaurant, which was designed by Philip Johnson and Mies Van der Rohe. The restaurant is not only known for its shimmering chain curtains, but also for fluid rhythm throughout each room. The owners of the restaurant are currently looking to update the space by incorporating new carpets that coordinate with the rest of the interior and complete the original design inspiration. Constantine is currently working on designs to replace the existing carpet, which is a very exciting project for me because I grew up studying Philip Johnson and Mies Van der Rohe in design school.

What did you learn in school that you feel prepared you for a career in the architecture and design industry” What skills and wisdom have you learned only through all of your experience”

My school definitely prepared me to approach design challenges from an environmental perspective. The Interior Design program at UC afforded me the opportunity to study and take many studio electives that focused on environmental designs and stressed the power of a design with a socially conscious focus. Now that I am working with a company that is so environmentally driven, it’s great to see the practical applications of what I learned in the classroom. “Going green” isn’t just the latest design trend, but a new standard and one way we can value our lives and our world. I get a real satisfaction out of working with the talented people at Constantine, and my education at UC allows me incorporate environmentally conscience ideas in my work there.

What’s the best advice that you could give a student emerging from school”

As a student, I struggled to find a place in the design world because nothing really made me feel satisfied. I would honestly leave work as an intern and think to myself: “I am going to have to do this everyday for the rest of my life””. It’s amazing how things change though, both in life and in work, once you find your niche. I can now truly say that I’ve found something that I love to wake up to every morning. It wasn’t easy though, and some people find their way quicker than others. Take Philip Johnson for example. He did not find his niche until he became an architect at age 35, but look at the impression he has had on the design world. School can be overwhelming at times, but if you stick with it and remain unafraid to try new things, you’ll eventually find the one that works for you.


Now for the lighter side…

Who/What is your muse”
Artistically, I am completely fascinated by Kelly Wearstler, who is the principal of Kelly Wearstler Interior Design in Los Angeles and the author of two books: Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style and Domicillium Decoratus. She is known for the way she combines texture and colors together to create classic, modern designs. From a general life perspective, I am inspired daily by my mother. The older I get the more I realize how wise she is. From dating to work to finding sheer enjoyment in life, she is my role model. Every time something seems impossible, I think of her and knowing that she could do it, so can I.

Which movie would you award Best Picture to for 2007″
Ratatouille. Great food is like great design – simple and elegant.

What beverage gets you out of bed in the morning”
Some days it takes a bucket of cold water over the head, but generally I start my day with a Diet Coke or a Dunkin Donuts coffee. Not the healthiest choices, I know. Maybe I’ll mix in some water or juice in 2008.

What websites to you enjoy”
Some of my favourite websites (I love the British spelling of "favorite"… so sophisticated and chic) that haven’t been linked already are:

What the one thing that you wish you knew more about”

One thing”” That’s a hard one. Maybe just general trivia, so I could finally beat my brothers at Jeopardy.

If you have a question for or were simply inspired by Nicole, you can drop her a note at