Showroom Style with Nicole Roby

Designer Nicole Roby invites us into her studio, Rome Curate, to share her philosophy on design and what fuels both her creative and business sides.

Rome Curate Studio
Nicole Roby Designs offers hands-on service from consultation to installation. Nicole and her team skillfully guide clients through a design process, beginning with a presentation that addresses every aspect of design—from interior architecture, both structurally and aesthetically, to the selection of home furnishings and decor.
Photography by JEAN ALLSOPP

How did you get started in design?
My mom played a huge role in growing my passion for interior design. She not only had an eye for the art, she also truly emphasized teaching me the importance of creating inviting and beautiful spaces for others. While I was in college at the University of Georgia, I interned at the interior design firm my mom worked for and gained valuable experience and design knowledge. It wasn’t long before I knew that I wanted to start my own interior design firm. So in 2019, I started Nicole Roby Designs and recently, in October 2023, launched my second company, Rome Curate, a lifestyle ecommerce brand.

Nicole Roby

Why Birmingham?
I am originally from Scottsboro, Alabama, but I also lived in Florence, Alabama, and Athens, Georgia, before settling in Birmingham in 2014. My decision to move to Birmingham was driven by a desire for the perfect balance. Birmingham offers the vibrancy of a larger city without being overwhelming in size. Plus, I believe Birmingham is one of the top design hubs in the country. The city has an array of exceptional designers with years of industry experience.

Define your style.
Classic and memorable infused with a modern sensibility.

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I like to blend layers of natural elements to create an aesthetic of livable luxury. Making my clients’ visions come to fruition is the most rewarding aspect of my work and fuels my passion for what I do. My team and I have a deep appreciation for the history and artistry of all design styles.

You started Rome Curate as an extension/resource for both Nicole Roby Designs and as a resource for other designers who don’t necessarily have the inventory. Tell us more.

Skincare products

I’ve always had creative concepts that involve the need for unique pieces, whether in form or color. After a while, I decided to fuel my creativity and create my own collection. Recognizing that many designers were in need of inventory as well, I initiated a trade program within Rome Curate. Our trade program is open to designers, architects, home developers, and any other professionals in the design field. I appreciate elegant, high-quality furnishings, but I was also determined to make my pieces as functional as they are beautiful. I currently have 10 original designs and am proud to say that each piece is fashioned with skill and craftsmanship by artisans in Hickory, North Carolina. For textiles, I admire handsome and timeless fabrics. I chose durable, high-quality materials because these pieces were designed to be lived on. My preference leans towards strong, foundational neutrals with heavy textures, but I also appreciate the occasional pops of colors, like green and gold. We also encourage personalization with fabrics. Our collection is growing, so we will be introducing new pieces soon.

Rug collection

Tell us about your custom rug line.
As of now, we have 17 total rug designs. Our goal was to establish versatile palettes, allowing our customers the freedom to personalize their space without color limitations. It was important for us to create rugs that would serve as great foundational elements. We like to think of them as the equivalent of the timeless little black dress that can effortlessly complement anything.

You also carry antiques, accessories, and new case goods. What do you look for to build Rome Curate as a complete collection?
Our vision is to serve as a host where individuals can discover all their needs at home, from interior furnishings to skincare. Ultimately, we hope to become a one-stop shop for a diverse range of products, including cookware, pet essentials, fashion, and beyond. We have recently expanded our business another 7,500 square feet and have begun renovations. We are excited about the growth of both Nicole Roby Designs and Rome Curate.

Curated and Collected

Favorite finishes: I firmly believe in the importance of blending various elements to create a well-designed, curated space. I appreciate the diverse range of wood stains across various wood species and the unique beauty of burls and inlays in specific types of wood. My team and I also love painted accent pieces, whether they are in bold, vibrant colors or warm neutrals.

Approach to art: I like to think of art as completing the puzzle of a home. I tend to choose art that is unusual and brings life and vitality to a space. We are proud to feature artists, both local and national, through Rome Curate. We want Rome Curate to serve as an outlet for artists to showcase their work.

Accessorizing: Too many knick-knacks can detract from the overall design. To eliminate clutter, I prefer using a few special pieces that make strong statements.

“My design services are a combination of both my client’s vision and my design touch. At the end of the day, the goal is to make their home special and uniquely tailored to their preferences.”

—Nicole Roby

Skincare products

Skincare Secrets

I am Asian American and have family in the beauty industry in Seoul, South Korea. Korean skincare and cosmetics are a cutting-edge development—the best in the world, really. Since the luxury lines are hard to access without ties to Korea, I thought it would be great to help others access these brands. Rome Curate sells The History of Whoo and O HUI.

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