Faces of home / Brooke Pelc
Brooke Pelc, proprietor at Nest Interiors
Photo by Nancy J. Parisi
Brooke Pelc, sole proprietor at Nest Interiors, has spent most of her life in Buffalo, a city she says fuels her creative process. She hopes her work, in turn, inspires the creative processes of others. Pelc would describe her noncommercial work as almost rebellious in nature (if it’s trendy, it’s not for her), and loves the thrill of finding authentic and unique pieces to incorporate into her projects.
Pelc and her fiancé Tom Moll are currently renovating one of the oldest private residences in Allentown and will eventually open it up as a private showroom and event space. While Pelc continues to run Nest, which caters to more traditional home design needs, she and Moll have started a new venture called Raven Vanguard, a design studio that specializes in high-end luxury music rooms, among other projects. We recently caught up with Pelc to talk about creative process, design, and how it all comes together.
How did you start in the design business?
When I finished the interior design program at Buffalo State, I started with the Buffalo Design Collaborative, a local group of architects and designers, all sole proprietors, but working collaboratively. It was a great place to start. That was eleven years ago. Most of my recent work has come through referrals.
Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I’ve always gravitated toward design. As a kid, I remember rearranging and designing my Barbie houses, and my dad was a contractor, so I always loved looking at blueprints with him. When I started taking college classes, and noticed I was doodling all over my notes, I realized I should probably pick a major that allowed me to be creative.
How would you describe your style?
That’s always a tough question. My style has evolved since I’ve started. The style I like the most is a little bit edgy and tends to be kind of eclectic. It’s about introducing unexpected things. I’m not a trend follower; if there is a trend, I want to do the opposite. Most of my clients are drawn to me because I’m not trendy.
As an artist, where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere. A color, a fabric, a piece of furniture I see somewhere. I get a lot of inspiration from travel. A lot of stuff that is coming out of Europe, music and art specifically, really inspires me. I love European cities—the old architecture, just walking around.
That said, I really love just walking around Allentown and downtown. Buffalo has such a great selection of beautiful architecture. If you walk around and pay attention to the details, they’re inspiring. I don’t think we need to go far to find inspiration.
What does your process look like with your clients?
It depends on the client. If they have a concept in mind, we’ll start there and let it evolve. Sometimes they don’t have a concept in mind, and I really just listen to them to get a sense of who they are and what they want. There’s a lot of listening involved. It’s also a process of just being in the space; you get a sense of what the space wants when you spend time there. Often, I’ll make a mood board for the client, with images of furniture and different design elements, to get a sense of what they like.
What is your design philosophy when it comes to creating a bedroom space?
For me, a bedroom is my escape. I want a tranquil space. To me, that means white and light, but, to someone else, it might be dark or heavier. What is relaxing to them? What does a space look like where they can close out the world? Those are the questions I need my clients to answer. We’re such individual people; colors and textures speak so differently to everyone.
Any tips on picking furniture or decorating pieces?
I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to have something in your house, you have to love it. If you love something, bring it in. It might be what pulls the whole room together, or it might be what starts the inspiration for a room. That’s when you start to get that layered feel; there’s more interest and depth that way. The most interesting spaces are the ones where there is story behind everything, behind each piece. I’d rather leave a space empty for a while, until I find just the right piece. Sometimes it’s a hunt.
Any interesting projects going on right now?
I’m working on a boutique hotel in Medina. It’s the old, historic Bent’s Opera house. The owners are renovating the space to include a restaurant on the ground floor, and an event space and ten-room hotel on the second and third floors. We started with very strong concepts for each of the rooms and are working from there.