CAPID Designers Interview: Monica Nordquist

CAPID designers welcome Monica Nordquist, ASID, CID, NCIDQ,  of Monica Nordquist Design to our conversation.


Monica NordquistCall her@  805.499.9685

Email her@

Visit her @





Hello Monica,

Did you always want to be an Interior Designer? 

I have always wanted to be an interior designer, even though I didn’t always know what one was. As a girl, I would imagine friends’ homes and how I would move walls or change things. As an adult at my grandmother’s funeral, I was talking with old family friends and I blurted out in the middle of a serious conversation, “YOU live in an Eichler home, don’t you?!” My adult designer mind was connecting with my childhood memories! I was made to design.

What is your specialty or niche market?

I specialize in custom whole home builds, renovations and remodels as well as kitchen and bath remodels.

How long have you been in the design industry?

I have been officially designing for 12 years.

Let’s get real…what is your home’s secret shame?

My home’s secret shame is my master bath sink area. I insisted on designing it when I had only been in design school for a few months, much against my teachers’ advice, and now I am stuck with two pedestal sinks, that I longed for, and a cheap cabinet in between them. This leaves me with a poorly designed space that irritates me every day AND no counter space.

Whose home would you give up a year’s worth of mani-pedi’s to decorate?

A year without mani-pedi’s? Well, I’d have to say Jimmy Fallon. I seriously was just thinking yesterday that I’d love to do work for him; I have no idea why I thought this either. Maybe because lately I have been watching some of his numbers and interviews and am finding him quite talented and hysterical. And, I like his look with the clean lined suits. I could SO create a space that reflects him.

What is your favorite design job ever and why?

For two years in a row, I was selected to design for the Beverly Hills Greystone Mansion Showcase House. My rooms were a guest bedroom/bathroom and a boys’ room. The mansion was built in 1929 and is 45,000 square feet of real charm and character. That is hard to come by in So Cal. I was in absolute heaven!

Boys' pirate bedroom Beverly Hills, Greystone Mansion

Boys’ pirate bedroom Beverly Hills, Greystone Mansion


Guest Bedroom, Beverly Hills, Greystone Mansion

Guest Bedroom, Beverly Hills, Greystone Mansion


Guest Bathroom, with crazy existing tile, which was not to be touched, Beverly Hills, Greystone Mansion

Guest Bathroom, with crazy existing tile, which was not to be touched, Beverly Hills, Greystone Mansion

Most over-used design term?

That’s just gonna make it “POP”! I can’t stand it when I hear myself say that.


What is the most unique project you’ve ever done?

A Tiny House! Believe it or not, it is 7’x19′!!


What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

I adore my Cuisinart immersion blender these days.


What’s the one item or feature that every room must have?

A little bit of red somewhere.

A bit of red in every room from the blog "The Inspired Room"

A bit of red in every room from the blog “The Inspired Room”

What is your design philosophy?

My company, Monica Nordquist Design, leaves clients with a refined, sophisticated space that uniquely reflects them. I have an exquisite eye for color, materials and details and this skill works wonders in remodels, renovations and whole home builds. I will collaborate to achieve a creative environment that solves your space problems and leaves you with a 3D interpretation of your persona. Your soul is waiting to be satisfied, depend on me to help accomplish that.


What other ways can we connect with you?










White versus Wood – Where are kitchen cabinets headed?

White vs Wood Kitchen Cabinets: by Pamela Sandall, Pamela Sandall Design

kitchen colors white vs stain

Try Googling this question, “white versus wood-tone cabinets”, grab a cup of coffee and hang on! The comments, the opinions and the photographs are un-ending. In prepping for this month’s article, I did some research. On a discussion board from 2008, one poster shared that white kitchens were “overdone” and “on their way out”. Well, that was 9 years ago and I can safely tell you that they are NOT on their way out and have never left. White kitchens are, and continue to be the most requested, most “pinned”, most preferred kitchen cabinet color.   The number one kitchen on Houzz for several years is a lovely white kitchen with light counters and backsplash. Does this mean you can’t select a wood-tone? Absolutely not! The options in kitchen cabinetry are endless. The choice for cabinetry in your kitchen, and to a lesser degree in your bathroom, comes down to personal preference and lifestyle. The bigger factor, in this designer’s opinion, is less about the color and more about the cohesive package of your home.

And if you’re interested in the kitchen color from a resale perspective, I would suggest the color of kitchen cabinets play nicely with the rest of the home. Home buyers want a neutral, but well coordinated look. Keep the style and color of the cabinets as consistent as possible throughout the home and pay attention to the style. A highly contemporary kitchen in a strictly traditional home, will look out of place and out of character.

It’s easy to add color to the walls of a white kitchen as virtually any shade works. The number one selection in kitchen appliances is stainless steel and white works well with stainless. White visually expands a space and gives a lighter, airier feel. If your tastes run to the traditional, you might prefer the timeless quality of white kitchen. That said, even if you love a sleek and modern kitchen, there is a white for you. And white need not be just white: you might consider creams or beige or soft grey. An antiquing glaze over a creamy hue, adds and elegant or rustic flair AND covers hand prints.


Kathy Jarvis Interior Design & Consultation

On the other hand the wood-tone kitchen has so many options to choose from. From rich and warm espresso stains to contemporary dark to warm maple, wood cabinets are still a popular option. You can select a rich wood and bring in saturated hues on the walls or allow the wood to sing and go neutral on your walls. If you’ve opted to buck the trend in stainless appliances and want to go black, contemporary black cabinetry is a great and modern option. For a softer compromise, a warm maple cabinet is beautiful and allows the natural wood to show without too much of that grainy look (remember orange-y oak?) that many don’t like.

Dark and Contemporary

Pamela Sandall Design

Maple and Modern Kitchen

Pamela Sandall Design

Another current and popular option?   Mix up your finishes.  A center island looks great in a different hue AND you can use the second wood-tone to tie together existing woods in your home such as flooring and window & door trims.

Westside Remodeling, Bob Sturgeon

Ultimately? Your kitchen remodel will probably be the most expensive, but best remodeling investment you make on your home. Don’t fall victim to trends. Make your kitchen something you love and will love for a very long time. Decide if you are traditional, cottage country or contemporary and plan accordingly. Unless you’re doing a complete home remodel, your kitchen should fit the style and mood of your home. In the designer’s opinion, the most important is that you love your kitchen!






The Color Black is the New Black

by Alicia Paley Would you paint a room black?  The thought of painting a room such a dark color would not cross most people’s minds. Some may think it a morbid color, but think of black as a neutral that goes with everything.  It takes courage and commitment to paint a room black but the […] Read more »