House Tour: A Colorful Transformation

colorful transformation Rima Nassar NEST Magazine Nest Realty

TEXT Jasmine Bible PHOTOGRAPHY  Bob Fortner Photography 

When Rima Nasser opened her design firm, TEW DESIGN STUDIO, she founded it on the principal that design should be fun, exciting, daring, and visually inspiring. Originally from Palestine, Nasser brings a unique worldly view to each project. With a natural propensity for color, texture, and spatial relationships, she honed her interior design craft first at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, then in Florence, Italy, where she earned her Masters in Interior Design.

colorful transformation Rima Nasser NEST Magazine Nest Realty

After settling in Durham, NC, Nasser opened TEW in 2015, filling a niche that was missing from the Triangle marketplace—a bold, colorful, and modern aesthetic. That panache is precisely what drew her latest clients to her. A non-traditional family from Philadelphia, PA, moved into a traditional house in the Preston neighborhood of Cary, NC, and enlisted Nasser to transform the house into a space that matched their personality. Nasser began the project with her three-step process: first, get to know the clients—meet the whole family, learn about their lifestyle, what they like to do, and how they like to spend their time. Second, hear what they would like to change, and get their ultimate wish-list. Lastly, figure out how to help them achieve their goals.

colorful transformation Rima Nassar NEST Magazine Nest Realty

Nasser knew she wanted to create a strong visual impact in the dining room, which is immediately to your left as you enter the home. The client loved the funky wallpaper, Rio by Thibaut. This somewhat traditional pattern feels modern and fresh when done in high contrast black and white. “With a busy wallpaper, you have to be careful what you put on top of it,” explains Nasser. The porcelain deer with red antlers is simple but impactful. The existing intricate mouldings were painted black. The pops of red take it one step further, and the Brynn rug by Chandra ties it all together. The Vickery Chandelier by Arteriors is unexpected and funky, and fits well in the space. For an extra dose of whimsy, she introduced an interesting fabric on the backs of the captains chairs. On the opposite side of the table is a red bench that the client already owned. “If clients are attached to a piece, that’s a great opportunity to refinish or repurpose it,” advises Nasser.

colorful transformation Rima Nassar NEST Magazine Nest Realty

Directly across from the dining room is a space dedicated to music. The large-scale black and white striped draperies are mimicked in both of the front rooms, offering some visual continuity. The client was a huge fan of grasscloth wallpaper, so Nasser chose a warm navy blue paper that allows the other elements, like the green chairs by Joybird, to pop. The lamps are a play on a classic shape, but done in a modern glossy finish with oversized shades. The yellow phone was found by Nasser at a vintage shop, and the fun artwork above speaks to the clients who are animal lovers. “When it comes to artwork, the colors have to work, but the subject matter has to be personal to the clients,” shares Nasser.

colorful transformation Rima Nassar NEST Magazine Nest Realty

The chevron design on the console unit adds pattern to the room, and echoes the chevron pattern on the fireplace in the adjoining living room.

colorful transformation Rima Nassar NEST Magazine Nest Realty

The living room is at the center of the home and ties together many of the elements and styles used in other rooms. It manages to be both modern and warm, using bold colors and clean, mid-century lines. The once very traditional fireplace was redesigned with the chevron surround, and an appropriately sized distressed wood mantle. The built-ins were also modified to be more modern, using tonal grays. Nasser loves to explore with paint colors, “Paint is the easiest thing to change, so have fun with it! If it doesn’t work, it’s easy to change, and when it does work, the risk pays off.”

colorful transformation Rima Nassar NEST Magazine Nest Realty

The bright blue sectional by Joybird pairs well with the yellow chair. The pillows connect the entire color story. Below the gorgeous gold and marble coffee table is a durable wool rug, in a traditional pattern, but in a current purple hue.

colorful transformation Rima Nassar NEST Magazine Nest Realty

Throughout the home Nasser has chosen bold objects that make a substantial impact, without feeling fussy or cluttered. Each daring choice somehow manages to create a harmonic symphony. “It’s not just about taking risks, but taking the right risks…I suppose that’s why you hire a professional,” laughs Nasser. The Preston House clients are thrilled with each risk Nasser took, and they should be! The home is truly a colorful, contemporary success.

To connect with TEW Design Studio, visit

We shared this story with you in our Spring/Summer 2018 Issue of NEST Magazine. To view the full issue, click here.

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