Nicole Hall doesn’t care much for yard work, which is why this year she sold her house and opted for a 1,600-square-foot condominium. The condo was built in the 1980s, but had been updated with new hardwood floors.
She also fell for the built-in bookcases put in by the previous owner.
“Architects tend to collect books,” she says. To accommodate this habit, she has added a stand-alone bookcase near the built-ins.
Hall represents the most sought-after Roanoke Valley resident, a professional who grew up in the area and now lives here. And while her route back took a while, her parents Glenna and Ed Hall share her love of furniture, fabrics and design and are delighted to have her near to participate in their decorating ventures.
Glenna Hall has managed fabric shops, and Ed Hall sold upholstered furniture before he established the commercial real estate company of Hall Associates Inc. They thought Nicole was going to be a veterinarian, however, when she left for the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg.
When she decided against that major, she switched to business. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and business had worked for my dad.”
After graduation, she took a job with a Richmond developer as a leasing assistant. She also completed an MBA at Virginia Commonwealth University.
But it didn’t take long for her to realize she would be happier doing designs. She quit the development job, went to work for a bank, took another job waiting tables and enrolled in a design program at VCU. Encouraged by her father, she also applied to architecture school at Virginia Tech.
She was accepted at Tech. Upon graduation, she took a job as an architectural designer and now works at Clark Nexsen in Roanoke. As of this August, she was only a final exam away from becoming an architect.
And is already talking like one.
“The space we inhabit is important to our quality of life,” she says.
For Nicole, that means creating interesting eclectic surroundings. In her condo, hand-me-downs mingle with intriguing accent pieces and antiques keep company with modern. The brass bed in her guest room was bought for $35 by her parents when they were first married. Her home also boasts a Barcelona chair by Knoll.
Hall goes where the more faint-hearted would not dare. For example, her dining room. The room boasts a green table matched with two red and four clear acrylic chairs. All of that is accented by a corner cabinet handed down from her maternal grandparents.
The dining table was a cream linen color when Hall bought it for $200 at the Habitat ReStore, operated by Habitat for Humanity. She then refreshed it with an oil-based primer topped by a water-based green final finish. The two red chairs were free and not red when a friend gave them to her. She also painted the chairs. The acrylic Victoria Ghost Chairs were bought in Richmond.
“I’m really good at putting things together on a budget,” she says. “I like to shop at the Habitat Store and Black Dog Salvage. I’m a young professional still on a budget.”
Bob Anderson Antiques in Roanoke is another favorite shopping spot, and so are Target and Crate & Barrel and the shops she finds during trips to Europe.
“I won’t spend a lot, but there are some things I have been saving up for,” she says.