Interior decorator and jewelry designer Nicola Bathie McLaughlin combines a trained eye with creative curiosity to bring beautiful designs to our homes and our jewelry boxes. And she does it all with amazing style, to boot. We had the pleasure of chatting with Nicola about the beginnings of her jewelry line, balancing work and motherhood, and a Weezie-favorite bathroom. (And yes, we've got sourcing).
Tell us a little about yourself, Nicola! How did you end up in San Antonio?
My parents are from England. My Dad does business in minerals and metals trading, which is what originally brought them to South Africa, where I was born. My parents didn’t see Johannesburg as a place to raise a family and they ultimately wanted to be based in America, so we had a transition period of living in England, then to Michigan and finally to San Antonio. They chose San Antonio because it had a neighborhood my parents were interested in, as well as direct flights to Mexico City, which was important to my Dad. Unfortunately, I was too little to remember about all the places we were in before Texas, but I have, and always have had the itch to move to England, but more and more it seems like it will only be something I could ever dream about.
How would you describe your Interior Design style and your approach to decorating?
Transitional, which would be an updated traditional style: fresh, clean colors, overall straighter lines but with the charm, interest, and warmth of traditional fundamentals.
Always start from the ground up, first with a floor plan, and then with your flooring. While it’s not always feasible, I stress to not do rooms over time, even with a plan, fabrics and wallpapers can be discontinued and there is nothing worse than doing half of a room, and then being in a bind or trapped because your puzzle is no longer going together and you're stuck with pieces you did a few years ago. Interior design IS EXPENSIVE, and I always feel let down if a room is incomplete, and feels like an expensive problem, because of what you have invested.
It’s all in the details, and at the end of the day, it’s the extra unique details that are so special.
That being said, if you are phasing it out or not, stick to neutral upholstery pieces, accent pieces as your pops, make sure all your rooms are cohesive, avoid trends because the trend will ultimately end, and work on collecting small accent pieces that can work in any of your spaces. I think those are the details that make a home feel like a home, are collected, special, and interesting to you.
Work on collecting small accent pieces that can work in any of your spaces. I think those are the details that make a home feel like a home, are collected, special, and interesting to you.
Tell us more about the fabulous blue bathroom below (a Weezie fan favorite!) Where is it? What are your favorite elements?
This is our guest bathroom, it’s so fun. The wallpaper is Clarence House. I always wanted wall mount faucets, so my favorite, other than our Weezie towels, of course, is the waterworks vanity that we had marble shape fabricated for the backsplash with my wall mount faucets.
Wallpaper: Clarence House, The Vase
Sink Hardware: Newport Brass
Sconces: Visual Comfort
Mirror: Restoration Hardware
Topiaries: NY Topiary
Weezie pick: Light Grey Starter Pack with Mercer Embroidery in coral thread.
We love a statement earring at Weezie (especially Lindsey!) and find that your beautiful designs are as fitting for a night on the town as they are paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Tell us a bit more about launching your line, and how it’s evolved over the years?
My jewelry line has really evolved. It evolved from making little pendant necklaces on the floor of my dorm in my sorority house, many other floors of where I was living, a chair (!!!!!!), and desk in a closet of my Dallas apartment, and finally to San Antonio. We converted a back house to be my office.
The hardest part about having my jewelry line was not going into it with a business plan or budget because it evolved so much over time. It has been a learning curve every step of the way. I am so fortunate that my line evolved the way it did.
Like many Weezie customers (and our co-founders!) you are a working mother, with two little girls at home. At Weezie, we shy away from the idea of a perfect ‘work-life balance’ and just stick to doing our best and #enjoyingthestay along the way! Do you have any tried and true tips for managing your day to day between work and motherhood?
Oh, a topic that is so sensitive to so many. I have been having this conversation since Sophia was born 2+ years ago. The overall, unfair consensus seems to be - Women are meant to be mothers but they are also meant to work like they aren’t mothers.
It’s so hard to find a work-life balance, if there even is such a thing, especially when you are balancing two extremely important things. For me, because my husband has a 7-5 desk job, my children come first, work comes second. Working from home is a blessing and a curse. If you’re there, working at home, your children are always going to want you over someone else.
The struggle of multi-tasking and disruption is frustrating, which isn’t fair for your children. I realized it’s a vicious cycle that really equated to me not being successful in any area, work, or mothering. So, I found the answer for me is to NOT mix work and children at the same time. I am in the office from 8-2, which isn’t nearly enough time for what I need, but then with the girls the rest of the day. I have found this situation works well for me and my heart, my children, my mom-guilt, and my anxiety.
How do you make sure you are #enjoyingthestay on the daily?
I always go all out to get cozy. Being cozy is such a luxury. While I do love getting dressed up, my go-to is putting on a robe. I especially love to nurse in a robe, so I frequently change clothes throughout the day because I am getting in and out of a robe. Do I even need to get started on the practicality of robe pockets and what all you can put in them? The robe life really might be the life for me.
Nicola's Weezie Pick:
Nicola gifted her mom (and herself!) one of our new plush Patterned Long Robes in our Parker White style for Mother's Day. She went with River embroidery in coral for a little bit of contrast!
- Favorite brands to Follow on IG: Anyone in England! @thefashionbugblog, @aladyinlondon, @mrsalice, @rosielondoner
- Favorite interior designers to Follow on IG: @benpentreath, @amylberry, @sarahbartholomewdesigns
- Favorite Vacation Destinations: England, France, and the Bahamas
- Current Favorite TV show, book, or podcast: Little Fires Everywhere!
- Favorite Artists/Galleries: Blue Print Gallery, Markle fine art, and Wally Workman Gallery
Bubble bath or shower? Shower!
Wallpaper or paint? Wallpaper!
Towel bar or hook? Hook, please!
Towel time sips: tea or tini? Tea.
Your towel time is:
Quick no nonsense! / long and lingering Long if I can!
With Music / in peaceful silence! Silence
With cell phone! / with book Phone!
Morning / evening! ANYTIME
Face mask / clean face! Mask
Love Nicola's luxury patterned robe and want to learn more? Our Product Development Manager, Chelsea, took a deep dive into bringing our patterned bathrobes to life. Read it here on the soapbox!