06.01.22

TLV Chats with Founder of Evars Collective, Nancy Evars

Photo by Sen Creative

Nancy Evars is a dreamer. When she walks through a room her imagination takes hold as her mind swirls with possibilities. The ambitious designer not only dreams up elegant solutions to design quandaries that her clients face in their own homes, but when she identified an area in need of improvement in the world of design professionals, she took it upon herself to create a solution for that as well. After almost a decade in the design business, in 2020, Nancy Evars noticed a lack of resources for designers in the Bay Area and responded by opening the first trade-only design center south of San Francisco, complete with shoppable vignettes, a custom furniture line and a membership club for creatives. Described as “Part collaboration studio, part shoppable showroom, Evars’ upholstery collection, custom furniture, textile library and highly curated accessories puts an end to sourcing frustrations for designers, and carves out a space where today’s design community can stop in, connect, and inspire each other to shine.”

Since its opening, the Evars Collective has blossomed into a beloved community and resource.

Photo by Sen Creative

While she began her career in tech, she made her first big professional pivot when she decided to follow her heart to interior design. “I was on maternity leave from Yahoo! with my second child when my husband and I decided to remodel our first home. I quickly realized I was so passionate about everything from plumbing fixtures to paint colors. After 6 years of silicon valley tech life, I knew I wanted a more flexible schedule as I raised my children so I set out decorating my new home by myself and then many of my friends homes.  The business grew from there.”

Photo by Sen Creative

Not one to shy away from hard work, some of the most challenging elements of design were often her favorites. “Sourcing and installs are probably the two biggest areas I miss now that I no longer have design clients. The anticipation of getting started on a new project and pulling beautiful textiles and furniture then working it all down to a design your client loves is one of the most fulfilling parts of being an interior designer. And then nothing beats an install day when all your hard work pays off and you get to reveal it all to your clients!”

Photo by Sen Creative

Over the years, Nancy Evars became a highly sought-after designer known for her joyful sophistication in design spanning a wide variety of styles, eras and inspirations. She keeps her designs interesting through constant experimentation. “Don’t be married to one aesthetic. Experiment. I approach design much like I approach fashion – keep it light and fun. Don’t take yourself (or your interiors) too seriously.  Create a soulful environment with beautiful pieces but stay away from that museum/sterile feel.”

Photo by Sen Creative

Often, the right vintage and antiques can help to create that “soulful environment” in the home, a topic she has learned much about through the years in her work. “As a young designer, sourcing antiques or vintage can be a little intimidating.  I recall early in my career lacking confidence to source antiques. I spent many years educating myself by visiting vintage/antique stores and scouring the portfolios of more established designers (Palmer Weiss was big source of design inspiration in my early design years and continues to be). Now there are so many more resources and online sites to educate yourself and of course purchase easily!”

Photo by Sen Creative

Color is another major tool for expression in her designs and for those looking to add some to their home, she suggests starting small. “Throw pillows are always an easy way to dip your toe in color and pattern. But approach it in a thoughtful way where you’re layering and building with a mix of color, pattern and texture. Add in throws, color on lamps and accessories.” She adds: “I’m happy to see grey & griege transitioning out and people going back to more warmer palettes. Right now I am loving blue & brown together!”

Photo by Sen Creative

When she needs a bit of a visual refresh, she turns to her community for inspiration. “I really do find so much inspiration from the talented designers I work with through the showroom as well as the hundreds I follow from around the world on Instagram. I also have so many design books I love rereading on the weekends.  I am currently loving Summer Thorton’s new book: Wonderland.  I’ve read it three times cover to cover since I had her sign it at Legends in early May!”

 

Photo by TLV

So much of what she finds inspiring finds its way into her own home design as well. “We built our home almost 10 years ago and I drew a lot from my east coast roots. The architecture of my home is more traditional and the furnishings tend to fit our more casual lifestyle. Although I love formal spaces so it was important for me to have a formal dining room, butlers pantry and front sitting room (which turned into a home office during the pandemic!). I have several vintage pieces throughout my home that I have refurbished. I love how the look with the newer furniture in my home, especially the pair of Evars Collective Lexington sofas in my family room. 🙂 Mixing new and old (and high and low) has always been the approach I have taken with design both in my own and home and clients.”

Photo by TLV

Her next great professional pivot came in 2020 when the pandemic arrived and Evars found herself doing a bit of soul searching. “With the initial slowdown, it gave me the opportunity to pause and assess my 15 year design business. I was closing in on 50 and knew I wanted to make some changes professionally. I had some really great relationships with my designer friends and knew we shared so many of the same frustrations within the industry.  I saw an opportunity to pivot and launch a design center south of SF and create a new showroom experience.”

Photo by Sen Creative

 

Up next for the entrepreneur? “With just a year under my belt and finally emerging from the Pandemic, I am still in the brand building phase of my business so I have a lot to tackle there. I am excited to host events at the showroom and really continue building this design community here on the SF Peninsula and beyond.”

 

Click here to shop Evars Collective showroom pieces.

5 Questions with Evars Collective Founder Nancy Evars

 

TLV: Favorite travel destination?

NE: NYC and New Orleans are my two favorite cities and since moving to CA 22 years ago, I take any opportunity to get back to both those places as often as my schedule allows. My oldest will start college in Washington State in the fall so I am excited to explore the PNW more (dying to check out the San Juan Islands!)

 

TLV: Currently reading or watching?

NE: Under the Banner of Heaven is riveting right now.  Just finished 1883 and LOVED. I am such sucker for anything with a historical reference.

 

TLV: What are three words you would use to describe your work/style?

NE: Sophisticated yet approachable, maximalist. To achieve this: color, pattern, layers. Always go for quality. If you buy quality, you only cry once. 😉

 

TLV: Favorite way to unwind after a long week?

NE: Summer is my favorite season and nothing makes me happier than family dinner outside in my backyard poolside. With 3 teens and 1 going off to college soon, any family time I can get I absolutely treasure!

 

TLV: Mentor or inspirational person in your life who encouraged your interest?

NE: My dad was my biggest cheerleader my whole life. Always encouraged me to follow my dreams and the first one to sing my praises (and all of his children) to anyone who would listen. When you grow up with someone like that in your corner, you really think there is nothing you can’t do without a healthy dose of passion and a lot of work.

Click here to learn more about Evars Collective.

Text by Liana Hayles Newton

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TLV is about sharing, supporting and discovering all that's great about the community we live in. We strive to inspire, enlighten and sometimes entertain. Our team of tastemakers are mothers, wives, sisters and friends, and together we share our musings about love, life and home.
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