Nina Ferrer was the host and designer of “Clean House NY” and the expert designer on “The Holiday Special” for the Style Network and was a competitor on the fifth season of HGTV Design Star, the network’s top-rated reality competition show, showing her bold personality and design expertise. As a design Architect for Ralph Lauren and Anthropology, Nina completed projects both domestically and internationally.
I had the opportunity to interview Nina recently. Here are some of the highlights of that interview:
Jill Griffin: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Nina Ferrer: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and I’ve always had an internal drive since a very young age. I knew how to use my presence, confidence, and creativity to my advantage which ultimately led me to pursue a career in architecture and interior design.
Griffin: Tell me about your start in architecture and design. What do you like most about what you do?
Ferrer: I graduated with honors from Pratt Institute but prior to that I believe my start of falling in love with this was something I learned at a very young age. I grew up in an old Victorian house, on three lots of land that in Brooklyn was nearly unheard of. My mother’s love for this house and her eye for design really inspired me and instilled the same passion for architecture as her. It’s always been important to me for people to be happy. I’m able to be a part of that when people buy or design their dream home. I’m a part of great moments in people’s lives and it’s important for that journey to not be one that is filled with fighting or animosity which is quite common and something I like to eliminate. I try to help them see each other’s ideas and at times it really does feel like I’m a therapist. Prior to opening my business, I was a designer for Ralph Lauren and I knew that I wanted to have a thriving career while also being a present Mother, something I longed for as a child was a non-negotiable as an adult. I saw so many women who were pushed out of their executive positions soon after giving birth and I knew if I wanted the life I had dreamed about I had to start making some personal decisions to set myself and my future family up for success.
Griffin: Are you able to bring your children to work with you, when needed?
Ferrer: Absolutely! It’s a part of being a business owner that I love. If I need to have my kids sitting next to me, with me at a job site, that’s where they’ll be and I love that they’re able to watch what I’m doing.
Griffin: Please give me three pieces of advice that you would tell a young woman who is starting out in her career and would hope to see herself as you one day?
Ferrer: Whether you are a man or a woman, someone is always going to be looking to point the finger. So how do we avoid this? You need to love what you do and be fully submerged in architecture and design. This profession is a calling and shouldn’t ever be looked at as a job. Learn about trends and the newest appliances. Subscribe to online and print resources. Be ahead of the curve in everything you do.
Secondly, you have to be an art historian. Understanding different styles, time periods, and trends are imperative to guide your client in the right direction.
And lastly, understanding construction in this industry is very important. As a woman, you can’t just think that being an artist or designer that you shouldn’t understand how a house is built or know how the kitchen cabinets are installed, how the hinges work, how the drawer slides, etc. Don’t expect people to educate you if you want a job. Be more educated and aware than anyone on your job site. That’s how you’ll be successful. Know more than everybody.
Griffin: Is there anything I missed that I should know?
Ferrer: I think what people need to know is that you can have it all. I was never afraid of tradition. I’ve never been a person that was afraid to admit that I wanted to be married. You have to find a partner that supports you and your dream. So even though I was home, raising my kids, I never stopped working. And I never stopped building my business. I never stopped auditioning or doing shows while we had kids.
It doesn’t need to be a romantic partner. Not everybody is going to find the husband, wife, or whatever that looks like for you. Maybe it’s your circle of friends, family, or business partner.
Not everybody’s going to find the husband, or wife, or whatever that looks like for you.
Griffin: Thank you. Lots of wisdom here. So greatly appreciated.