Price and her canine companion, Otis

November 15, 2012

Home sweet home. At least it feels that way to clients of Nancy Price who say they could live in her Fondren showroom. The Interior Designer says it’s the highest compliment she can receive about her space where she celebrates ten years — today.

It was a phone call a decade ago from John Graffe, former owner of The Elephant’s Ear that was once here, that brought Price to his building she had had her eye on for some time. “I’ve always loved this building,” she says, sitting at a granite table in the front of her now retail gallery. “It was my dream ever since I came to Jackson to be in Fondren.”

Price began her career under the tutelage of her grandfather and her husband Johnny’s father. “It was a beautiful transition of a family trade that we were taught,” she reminisces. Johnny and Nancy, now married thirty-three years, started Acadian Builders, a design-build firm, a space where she had design offices. Price ran retail out of a 10′ x 20′ booth at Interiors Market. “I’d pick children up at St. Richards (Catholic School) and they’d have snacks at Market Bites” (the cafe inside by Bon Ami). “I’d do what I had to do there.” Her space was small and made expansion necessary.

The building at 3110 Old Canton Road has stories — and connections all over. “I believe it was Joseph (of Earle & Joseph Salon) that was originally here at one time,” Price says. And then there is the New York City connection. “I ran into this guy who has a cool lighting line I was looking at in New York and he was asking about my office. It turns out, he was the iron smith who did the the stair railing here. The building has a great history.”

Price said she did little to change the space, save for knocking out a few walls. A huge design library and her’s and her husband’s offices take up the second floor. Downstairs, a retail space came out of necessity. “I did it for my clients,” she says. “I was trying to find unique one-of-a-kinds on design jobs and I couldn’t find it locally.” Price said something was missing. “The things I brought in, I envisioned for clients. It grew amazingly to really showcase our unique aesthetic.”

To fill the void, the Alexandria, Louisiana native designed Nancy Price For Design Legacy, a production line sold here and in showrooms in Atlanta and New York City. Pieces have what she calls ‘a real New Orleans feel,’ so much so that they are named for Parishes or beautiful places she’s been. “This is the Monteleone,” she tells us of the sofa she is sitting on (named for the infamous Royal Street New Orleans hotel.) “I’m pulling from my childhood.” Price says having the line takes her firm into a different arena. “It broadens your entire perspective of design work.”

In the Nancy Price Interior Design showroom, one can find beautiful antiques to modern pieces. Price is likely to pair a 40’s or 50’s desk with a master work of art. She calls it ‘modern history.’ “It’s an interpretation of an antique used in a modern environment,” she explains. “Our tag line is ‘a study in contrast’ and that’s what we do.”

With three designers on staff, Price never wants to neglect the personal relationships she is building. “We like to keep it where I oversee all jobs,” she says. “It’s all about having that relationship. It’s the most important thing.” Price injects herself into every project she completes. “In having that relationship, people feel a comfort level here. We’re creating environments that changes their lives. It has to be personal for me.”

In love with art from junior high, a watercolor teacher sent Price in the direction of design. “(It was in) watching how (the colors) changed and how people reacted to it,” she says. Sort of like the way she reacts to blue. “I’ve not veered from the love of blue. That’s our neutral. We start there.” (In January, the front of her building will get some blue, she teases.) Price says, in every environment, blue is calming. “It’s not the only genre I work with, but people respond. I’ll never step away from it.”

Her design blog, The Room Blue, is an homage to her favorite hue. Social media, she says, has changed her industry for the good. “People have responded to the before and afters,” she tell us. “They enjoy seeing the process.” Clients see her blog, even their projects featured. “They step away from inside and see it in a different way.” Price says social media and blogging are intriguing in how important they are to her industry.

What’s the feeling for Price after ten years in Fondren? (I’m) blessed,” she says. “I think that it’s a great example of passion. I truly believe in what we do. We love our customers and clients. They’re truly the key to the success we have incurred and they’ve really driven the direction of our firm. We’re so lucky.” Fondren, Price adds, is such a unique area. “You feel it here. There’s a connection. And it’s a beautiful thing for my gallery.” Price says people have responded so lovely for ten years. “I go back to ‘I want to live here.’ That’s what I want to do for my clients. That’s what I want to give them to live in everyday.”