Noz Nozawa never thought she’d be passionate about antiques. When the San Francisco designer bought her first home in 2010, her style was firmly rooted in Mid-Century Modern. And since 2014, when she career-hopped from marketing to the world of interiors, she has honed a maximalist aesthetic—big, bright, bold. So color her surprised at the way old footstools—she now has a collection—and other French antiques have resonated with her over the years.
“It’s totally weird that in this modern boxy condo where I live, the most visible piece of furniture in my bay window is this 19th-century gilded, hand-carved French settee that I re-covered in a denim fabric from Zak+Fox,” Nozawa, 35, says.
It’s not a choice she envisioned a decade or so ago. The interest and appeal came on slowly, over time.
That same kind of open-mindedness and easy-does-it pace is what Nozawa preaches when it comes to sustainable design. She’ll be the first to admit: Sustainability is tough to pull off in the design world. Despite her own efforts to make environmentally responsible choices, much of what she sources for clients still needs to be shipped a long distance, which isn’t great for anybody’s carbon footprint. Most clients think it’s all about the products—bamboo floors, say, over oak. But the sustainability quotient of bamboo diminishes considerably if it has to be shipped from halfway across the world. Sustainable design is more than a magic set of materials. It’s a mind-set.
Here are her tips for putting that mind-set to work.