From her earliest days as a Yarmouth, Maine-based designer, Nicola Manganello was drawn to architectural and design details.

The environment was appropriate. The small coastal community traced its roots back to the late early 18th century, and antique homes were abundant – and often ripe for renovation. Nikki learned her trade on the fly, starting with small design projects, and graduating to more sophisticated endeavors – often employing architectural details purchased at antique shops, auctions and anywhere else something intriguing caught her eye.

"At every step of the design process, I put myself in the environment. If it feels right, I go with my instincts. If it doesn’t, I step back for perspective. I know my work is done when it feels like a space I could embrace as my own."

In the years since, Nikki has continued to develop her strong sense of design, often merging antique and contemporary styles to create spaces that immediately feel welcoming, comfortable and timeless. And while her design instincts continued to evolve, Nikki took on larger, more sophisticated projects, from gut rehabs to full-scale real estate development – including Maeve’s Way, a 16 lot subdivision in Cumberland Foreside, Maine, where Nikki has designed, built and decorated 6 homes in her own inimitable style.

Nikki’s style relies heavily on her deep knowledge – but instinct is her ultimate gauge. “At every step of the design process, I put myself in the environment. If it feels right, I go with my instincts. If it doesn’t, I step back for perspective. I know my work is done when it feels like a space I could embrace as my own.”

After 14  years, Nikki’s reputation for creating nuanced, welcoming homes and environments has earned both a regional and national audience. And with good reason. Every choice Nicola makes for a space – whether a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom or elsewhere – is driven by a desire to create warmth and comfort. Not just physical comfort, but emotional comfort. From the first day a family experiences Nikki’s work, there’s an immediate sense of familiarity. Wood brings warmth. Lighting illuminates without overpowering. Seating is conducive to conversation and relaxation. Dining areas provide plenty of room for dining, and ample space to kick back after dinner – but before the dishes are cleared.

And while it always takes time to adapt to any new living environment, clients agree: Nikki’s choices feel right from the very first moment you see them.