A Personal Approach to Design: Nicole Rabach
Nicole Rabach has always had an interest in interior design. When most teens were saving for designer jeans, Rabach used her money to buy new bedding for her everchanging bedroom.
“As a child, I’d rearrange my room all the time. The JC Penney catalog would come and instead of looking at the toys I’d flip through the home décor pages,” she adds.
Rabach received training in business and design. The Sturgeon Bay native married Casey, her high school sweetheart, and was soon whisked off to the east coast to support his NFL career.
Her home inspired others and soon friends were asking Rabach for design help.
“I was helping design and decorate other NFL teammates’ homes, receiving an invitation after having them to our home. Friends and family always asked me for design suggestions and told me I should be doing this for a living. I always agreed, but life was so busy taking care of kids with my husband’s career,” says Rabach.
Casey played for the Baltimore Ravens for four years; he spent six years with the Washington Redskins. After his 10-year NFL career, the couple moved back to Door County. Rabach decided it was her turn to pursue her passion.
In 2012, she established Nicole Rabach Designs.
FAMILY AND BUSINESS BALANCE
Nicole and Casey have three darling children — Alana, 12, Porter, 10 and Siena, 7, and two well-mannered English Labs, Gibb and Gigi. The couple tackle kid duty together. She devotes as many as 40 hours a week or more to her interior design business; he helps with installations and any heavy lifting.
Rabach explains every day is a little different. Clients need her the most in the fall, although their Fifth Quarter Foundation is busy in the summer.
“When my kids are in school I’m the busiest. I try to get everything done before picking them up and running for their activities,” says Rabach. “I am a planner. I live by what is on my calendar. Sometimes things are thrown off, but it always works out in the end. I take time to enjoy life as we all know it is much too short. I love what I do. This was meant to be.”
Rabach takes a personal approach to interior design. Every client’s tastes — and every client’s needs — are different. When working with a new client, she begins with a consultation.
“Everyone uses spaces and their homes differently,” says Rabach. “I want to make sure I get all or most of that information before I start researching products. And I will never do two homes alike. Never. I feel everyone wants to make their own statement. They may like a similar light fixture or accessory, but I make sure to do it differently and to match their lifestyle.”
She explains some clients just need a consultation — for Rabach to see their space and offer suggestions. Others don’t have a vision and need help with floor plans, finding a builder or contractor and more.
Rabach will shop for clients or suggest where to shop. Because she doesn’t own a store, the sourcing options are endless. Rabach explains she can find clients the best deal or locate a one-of-a-kind piece. She loves to support local businesses when possible.
“I feel the difference between myself and other designers is I’m completely honest. If something isn’t right or isn’t working I want them to know,” she adds. Rabach designs living spaces for homes across the country.
While she does travel to assist clients, technology makes it easy to advise from far away. She recently offered design advice to a client who has a home on a Caribbean island communicating through text and email. Her favorite part of design? The reveal, although she doesn’t like
to be there when a client sees the space for the first time.
“I feel they need to look around and take it all in. My favorite moment was when I had a client call me after seeing her home for the first time all done. She was crying out of complete happiness of the overall look and feel. Then she put her husband on the phone and he was in awe,” says Rabach.
“I love to make people love their space. That is the way it should be in your home.”
In Rabach’s home, her mission was to make every room comfortable. She explains there isn’t a space that you can’t put your feet up. While she has a busy family, everything is organized and in its place.
When asked for one piece of design advice to share with readers, Rabach recommends overscaling rather under-scaling furniture. “Less is more. Get rid of the little things and go larger,” adds Rabach.
The Rabachs established the Fifth Quarter Foundation when Casey’s NFL career ended. The Foundation was created to benefit youth education, recreation and women’s health in Door County.
She explains when most think of Door County, they focus on the beauty of the area and don’t realize many families that call the area home live
in poverty. There is a tremendous need in the community.
To raise funds, Fifth Quarter Foundation hosts two events each year — a golf tournament in June and a fishing event a few weeks later. The golf tournament is held at Horseshoe Bay Club in Egg Harbor. Rabach reveals they try to max out at 30 teams.
They charter salmon and bass boats for the fishing event. A celebrity dinner is held the day before, featuring NFL alumni.
Rather than write a check, the Foundation looks to make a direct impact on those in need. If a sports team needs equipment, they’ll tap into
their resources and deliver the desired items.
“We’ll ask for their wish list and we’ll call our equipment contact and get the equipment directly to them. It’s instant,” she adds.
When asked to picture herself in five years, Rabach laughs, imagining herself decorating her kids’ college dorm rooms. “I really do not know what the future holds, other than I plan to be busy with my husband and kids and will always have my special interior design clients,” she adds. w