Ever since Nicole Cohen began her lifestyle blog, Sketch42, she has consistently wowed us with her impeccable taste.

Cohen’s world is one in which stylish and personalized interiors serve as the perfect backdrop to a life lived to its full creative potential. Whether it’s the cocktail she sips, the photographs she loves or the painting she just finished, her elevated aesthetic shines through in every one of her posts.

And there’s a healthy dose of DIY throw in for good measure. Cohen herself is an accomplished painter, and her husband’s family happens to own the New York garment district craft supply empire that is M+J Trimming. Talk about convenient!

We sat down with Cohen to gain more insight into her creativity and gather some words of design wisdom.

What inspired you to start the blog?

Nicole Cohen: I started the blog because no one I knew in real life would talk to me. Five years ago now, I was decorating my apartment and I became obsessed with all things interior design. My friends were exchanging eye rolls as I pulled out wallpaper samples at bars, so I started a blog! And actually, the best thing about it is that I now have so many friends from all walks of life that share my passions.

How would you describe your personal aesthetic?

NC: Aesthetically, I sometimes think I’m a dapper man trapped in a woman’s body. I gravitate towards menswear, leathers and things with clean and simple lines. I guess I would call it “masculine edgy” with a guilty penchant for glamour!

What is the most coveted item in your closet at the moment?

NC: I’m particularly into a Proenza Schouler blazer that I bought a few months ago. I literally wore it straight out of the dressing room and into a meeting feeling like a million bucks. It  convinced me of the transformative power of clothes. That, a black turtle neck and some jeans have become my “professional” uniform.

Sketch 42 3Cohen’s NYC apartment

What are your five design rules to live by?

NC: There is really only one rule: Look at yourself as a collector of cool things, not someone who is decorating. Keep acquiring things that make you smile and your home will be one that people are excited to be in! I always prefer a home that reflects its owner rather than one that just looks “decorated” and neat. But If I had to make up rules, I would say the following:

  1. Think about the shapes and lines above all else.
  2. Every room needs something black, something vintage and something custom. Don’t buy everything at the same store.
  3. Hang great art. And by “great art,” I mean interesting pieces that you decide are worthy of being on your walls. I’ve framed and hung everything from my kids scribbles to a piece of bark that my brother brought home for me from his travels.
  4. Design can be counterintuitive. If a room is small and dark, paint it dark. If a room is big and bright, paint it white. If a room is small, use big things. Try to surprise yourself and do the unexpected.
  5. Know when to DIY, and when to hire it out. I’m a fan of trial and error, as long as you can recognize error

Who are your absolute favorite interior designers and why?

NC: There is no way for me to choose just five, so I’m picking the ones on my brain right now.

  1. Kelly Wearstler is the edgiest coolest woman in design, by far.
  2. I just photographed Sasha Bikoff’s entire portfolio, so I had a preview of the talent about to be unleashed on the world. She’s one to watch.
  3. Sara Story is chic and elegant, and every room she does has an idea I want to copy.
  4. ASH NYC’s design and development team recently just finished this gorgeous hotel in Providence RI, The Dean, that looks amazing. I stalk it on Instagram.
  5. I think Nick Olsen is going to be the biggest designer to come out of my generation.
  6. I was so sad when David Collins passed away earlier this year. His work is always simultaneously super glamorous and ridiculously cool.
  7. And finally, Jacques Grange. Adult, french, surprising and distinct.

Cohen PaintingA painting by Cohen

 Where do you go for creative inspiration?

NC: This sounds like a lie, but it’s not—I go to the Barneys New York home store aka Chelsea Passage. Also, the International Center for Photography, M&J Trimming and if I’m really really in need, the MoMA.

What delicious dish is helping you get through the New York winter?

NC: This winter has been brutal. I’m so over stepping over snow barricades and into slush piles. We are staving off the flu with weekly batches of Matzoh ball soup. Homemade, the way my momma taught me! I recently introduced it to someone whose never had it (crazy, I know) and I literally get requests for it every day.

If you were accidentally locked in Barneys overnight, what would we find you wearing in the morning?

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