Nicky Summer is an interior designer and lifestyle presenter working on UHNW projects on behalf of clients in property, film, finance, design and hospitality. Over the past 25 years, she has led high end interior design and event design projects around the world – San Francisco, Istanbul, the Med, the central London areas of Belgravia, Mayfair, South Kensington, Chelsea, and the South of France on behalf of well known public figures and industry leaders in property including Northacre, St George plc, Knight Frank, Savills, Hamptons, Harrods Estates and Sotheby’s Realty. Her interiors projects have been featured on the front cover and inside story of the San Francisco Chronicle, in the FT’s ‘How To Spend It’ Cult Shops, HELLO! Magazine, TATLER, YOU Magazine, on the cover of London Property News. Nicky is the founder of a lifestyle collection featuring everything from furnishings through to scented candles (Nicky Summer Bougie), publishes the online magazine City & Beach Lifestyle. Here we discuss how Nicky got into the business and how it operates…

C&B: “You seem to be involved in many different areas of lifestyle; how did they all come together?”

NS: “I started out in a modelling career, working on advertising campaigns for brands such as Lancôme, Mappin & Webb and L’Oreal – this gave me a great foundation for working with people on an international level. I was then cast as a 007 girl in a Bond movie and this expanded my travel further because the stars and support team attended all the film premieres around the world – at the Cannes Film Festival, the Italian Film Festival, all over Europe and Japan. We were interviewed on radio talk shows and on camera during the press tours – this developed my confidence in front of a live audience. My social life helped as well… this provided the platform for everything I’ve done since in terms of event design, interiors and presenting.”

Nicky with super-chef Wolfgang Puck; 007 girls Maud Adams and Britt Ekland; rock star Bryan Adams

C&B: “How did you get your first event design project?

NS: “It was at the time of the Bond movie film tour and I had people like Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren, Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart in my network; we’d all socialise together wherever we were – Mustique, London, Los Angeles. I was asked by someone I knew to launch their new restaurant in Chelsea and invite my model and actor friends along… that’s how that all started!”

Nicky and Caroline Fleming; Founder of HIP Hotels, Herbert Ypma, City & Beach Lifestyle Awards

C&B: “What type of projects have you worked on since?”

NS: “As my event design career developed, I produced dinners and larger occasions for clients including, over a three year period, for a private members club headed by super-chef Alain Ducasse; then the launch of ‘Club M’ for Anton Mosimann; all the penthouse apartments in the new developments that line the Thames built by St George plc; the VIP launch of ‘Kings Chelsea’ on behalf of Northacre plc; the launch of a Government health campaign with Matthew Freud, the re-launch of M/V ‘Savarona’ in Istanbul. Eventually, I produced my own product range and opened my lifestyle boutique in South Kensington…

The interior design of a penthouse at One Rincon Hill, San Francisco, designed by Nicky Summer

I’ve always maintained my modelling, acting and presenting career while taking on other lifestyle projects. For example, I’m currently a lifestyle ambassador to a skincare range, a photo equipment supplier (Olympus Pen-f) and a group of beauty outlets; I also present at various film festivals and showbiz events. Luckily, times have changed and a modelling career no longer comes screeching to an abrupt halt the minute you turn 30 – we have older role models such as Maye Musk to thank for that. Also, it’s more socially acceptable now to have lots of areas of interest and many streams of income – it’s not one career choice or another, we can now blend our various interests…”

Nicky Summer

C&B: “How did that develop into interiors?”

NS: “Clients and customers would come into my lifestyle boutique, see my products, and ask if I’d style their home. Styling led to interiors, interiors led to full-on refurbishment projects. I had the necessary ‘eye’ for design as by that time I’d travelled, stayed in beautiful homes and hotels, knew the market because I socialised with them, so it was a natural progression. My friends and contacts became my first clients; the very first property I designed was sold on it’s first viewing – contents included – so I proved to myself and others that I could do the job successfully. Since then I’ve worked on behalf of major clients all round the world – film directors, investment bankers, broadcasters and publishers – often on both their first and second homes, their yacht, and so on…”

Video shows S/Y ‘Wonderful’ after her total refurbishment by the Nicky Summer team

C&B: “We still see you modelling and presenting…plus you publish the online magazine. How do you find the time?”

NS: “Interior design is a career where you can have three major projects in a row and then nothing for months – and it’s the same with launch events. I don’t like sitting around waiting for things to happen so I’m constantly finding things to do. I launched the online magazine on 1st May 2014 and it’s a vehicle to showcase luxury suppliers to the events and interiors industry, a few are in a similar line of business to myself however I don’t see it as ‘promoting the competition’ because there’s plenty of work and likeminded clients and suppliers are naturally drawn to one another. Essentially, I view the magazine content much in the same way as I view guests at any event I organise – bringing great, likeminded individuals together for a positive purpose; I find it natural to be supportive of others who have a similar mindset. I also publish luxury hotel reviews in the online magazine which gets the word out about their brand to a huge international audience and also informs my network about what’s happening in terms of cutting edge decor and amenities – hotels often lead the way when it comes to innovation in terms of furnishings, lighting, floral design, art, cuisine…”

City & Beach Lifestyle has published an incredible number of profiles submitted by unique individuals over the past eight years – included amongst them are art expert, Simon de Pury; the founder of ‘Abercrombie & Kent’, Geoffrey Kent; producer of the Bond movies, Barbara Broccoli; the CEO of The Gary Player Group, Marc Player, and author Justine Musk, former wife of Elon. Add to that, video reviews of luxury hotels, restaurants and private members clubs including ‘Le Meurice‘ in Paris, ‘The Martinez’ in Cannes, ‘The Franklin’, ‘KX’ private members club, ‘CUT’ at 45 Park Lane, the restaurant at The Connaught, the ‘Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park’, ‘The Brompton Club’ and ‘The Dorchester’ in London, ‘The Ranch Malibu’ in California, amongst others…”

Nicky Summer

A front cover of the online magazine; detail from a floral bouquet by RVH Floral Design

C&B: “Out of all the lifestyle projects you’ve undertaken, which has been the most challenging?”

NS: “Without doubt, the online magazine – luckily, I’ve had wonderful supporters like the celebrity florist Rob van Helden since the start, but there’s been many an occasion when I’ve felt like disbanding it – mainly because producing content is very time consuming, yet undervalued. What we consistently have to push forward is the quality of the audience/readership – it’s very niche, the profile of individual who’s in a position of serious influence and has the decision-making power, who has three homes, and counting, a yacht, a plane – and therefore specifically requires prestige products and services such as those featured…”

Nicky and Adrien Brody in LA; interiors client Andrew Neil at home in the South of France; with Mario Testino in London

C&B: “Knowing what you know now, what would you advise anyone coming into the lifestyle business today?”

NS: “Travel, see the best in life, as you can draw from these experiences. On a day-to-day basis, I’d say always to start the day on a high note, with a win, as that sets the theme for the day – it’s important to have a happy home life; to always keep the right people around you – by that, I mean similarly productive, happy and successful; maintain a sense of humour, remember to laugh and enjoy life. I try to keep everything on a positive note as that energy infuses everything I go on to produce myself; environment counts – a beautiful home creates a beautiful mindset and a beautiful mindset creates a beautiful home…”

Details from a total refurbishment of a villa by Nicky Summer in the South of France


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