Podcast, Episode 72: Nicki Clendening, collector, decorator, and hoarder

Nicki Clendening is known for her eclectic style and ability to incorporate vintage and thrift store treasures into her design projects. Today, she talks about how to weave in old with the new, what she looks for when shopping at flea markets and antique stores, the opening of her design studio Scout Design and online store Beetle, and why blue painters tape should be your best friend. We will also hear some Trials and Triumphs, and get Nicki’s feedback on how to bring a small space together.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Trials and triumphs including new cookbooks, missing plants, cool performance rugs and more
  • How Nicki’s dreams progressed from being Indiana Jones to working and living in New York, making money doing exactly what she loves to do
  • What shopping for a client looks like, and if Nicki has ever had buyers remorse
  • More about Nicki’s design studio, Scout Design
  • Where she likes to go to shop for both herself and Beetle, and how she finds one of a kind pieces to add to her collection
  • The inspiration her mom had on her in terms of art, creativity and fashion and her family’s love of global travel and collecting special items from all around the world
  • Her top picks for flea markets, and the importance of building great relationships with vendors
  • Functionality is key, along with using the space appropriately based on what your typical activities are (entertaining, reading, pets, etc)
  • How she came up with her online store, Beetle, and curates what is on the site
  • A glimpse into her own apartment, right at the top of Central Park
  • Why we shouldn’t be afraid to paint the ceiling
  • All about the mix of new and old, whether you own your home or you are renting

Decorating Dilemmas

Hey there!

Love the podcast – I’ve been listening since y’all started. My husband and I are buying a house down the street from your Atlanta store, we’re so excited. Of course, it’s fairly small and we’ll sacrifice a formal dining and formal living room.

My struggle is – how do I bring the space together to satisfy my traditional (read: formal) style but keep the spaces completely livable? I hope that makes sense! I’ve attached pictures of the current owners’ decor so you can get a feel for the room. Some ideas I have include…

 – No rug in the dining space
 – Round refinished dark Stickley dining table with wooden dining chairs – no upholstery 
 – Large (room size is 14 x 13) area rug in the living room

Second specific struggle – what should I do on either side of the fireplace? I love symmetry, but given this cape cod style I think I could play with two different ideas here — maybe a light bookcase on one side with a secretary on the other? Help! Can’t be anything very deep.

I also have to put our colossal TV above the fireplace, and am searching for a colossal Chinese screen to copy Maggie Griffin’s cover – the – TV – technique. Where should I go? Don’t say Scotts! 🙂

Thanks — loving the podcast and can’t wait for the next episode!


First, small spaces are wonderful and with some playing around and testing,  your already great place can be even better. This is a case where space does dictate what you do. Possibly a banquette in the dining room with a piece of art, and Nicki would get rid of the curtains and go for shutters and blinds, and add two comfortable scaled arm chairs and a nice table in between. Change up the sofa for a more narrow one, and maybe add bar on the side of the fireplace. Room planners or looking up floor plans on Pinterest may be helpful.

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play 

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Caroline McDonald

    January 30, 2019

    Hi Samma,
    You’re right, sometimes it’s tricky to answer the question with previous owners’ furniture. We were commenting on the previous owners furniture only in the context that it’ll help the current owner with what NOT to do. Plus, our main issue here was with the way this room was laid out. Does that answer your question?
    Thank you for listening though and for leaving your feedback! We will take this to heart and focus less on the layout and maybe more style questions.

  2. Reply


    January 22, 2019

    Hi! Love the podcast- quick question! Sometimes I wonder if the listener questions described on the website match the podcast. For example, this episode questions states that it’s the previous owners’ furniture, but the response debates the merits of her furniture. Just making sure I’m getting the right pics! Thanks so much! I look forward to each designer and am so glad new episodes drop weekly now!