Prim Designs Captures Clients’ Wants and Needs

Nancy Mignon started Prim Designs to bring comfort, function and flair to clients’ homes. Rachel Langworthy

By Judy O’Gorman Alvarez

BAY HEAD – Bringing beauty, calm and function to people’s homes is what Nancy Mignon always intended when she started Prim Designs, LLC in 2016.

Now, after moving out of her home office, Prim Designs has a storefront studio at 520 Main Ave. The 1915 building was previously a Lilly Pulitzer store, ice cream store and several other businesses before Mignon set up shop.

With an emphasis on “coastal living and functional design,” Mignon and team handle new builds, renovations and design for a range of spaces, from homes to lofts to beach houses and everything in between.

The showroom offers a glimpse of what Mignon and the team can do.

“We’ve created a kitchen and built-in cabinet to showcase our specialty in that area,” she said. “In addition to being our office and meeting space for clients, we are open to the public Monday to Friday, selling home accessories, vintage furniture, and art.”

Prim Designs offers clients full-service design. “We have a really systemized process to do that,” she said.

According to Mignon, if a client said they want help finding a new sofa or are looking for a color to paint a room, Prim Designs will offer much more. “I want to make sure that it all plays together,” she said. “That each of your rooms all mix in the right way… I want to make sure your sofas are the right size for your room. So we’re going to make sure that all your furniture all works together, versus being a store where they just come in and buy the sofa or the table. I kind of want to be in that room.”

“I like color. And I like to mix new and antique. A lot of people are kind of one note and they still like white walls. But we really love color.”

Prim Designs designer Margaret Goddard creates all of their renderings. “The client can see exactly what the room feels like,” said Mignon. “And they’ll say yes to things because they can actually feel like they’re in the room and know all the furniture is going to fit.”

In addition to consultation space, Prim Designs’ showroom in Bay Head sells home accessories, art, vintage items and more. Rachel Langworthy

In addition to the accessories and vintage items at Prim Designs’ showroom, Mignon plans to hold art shows as she has in the past. “Last summer, we had an art show highlighting Eileen Burgess, artist and owner of Canvas Studio Art in Fair Haven, and former co-owners and artists, Meg Sellig and Beth Sillen,” Mignon said. “I hope to do more of those evenings in the future.” 

Among the projects in the Two River area Mignon has worked on are one on Harding Avenue in Little Silver, one on Wardell in Rumson and a current project on Oakes in Rumson which she said is a full kitchen, mudroom, bar and family room remodel. “We are designing all of the cabinetry and the decorating in those rooms.”

As everyone who has weathered a home renovation or building project knows, a talented, organized designer is a godsend. Mignon said Prim Designs does so many new builds and renovations they’ve set up well-oiled processes, for everything from payment schedules to electrical plans. Processes that she said “really make the contractors want to work with us. We’re able to help the client not have to answer the questions and the contractors not want to get rid of us.”

“You’re getting the answers for them on a timely basis so it doesn’t slow things down. And we’re thinking about when they need the tile before the client would have gone to the tile store.”

Kitchen renovations are just one of the projects showcased at the Prim Designs showroom. Rachel Langworthy

Mignon, who comes from a family of creatives, counting an architect, a painter and a famous interior designer as her siblings, always had an eye and a passion for design which led her to start Prim Designs.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown hit in 2020. “It was that crazy time when everyone was looking to do something in their house, which resulted in more work,” she said.

However, the challenges of supply and demand everyone faced were difficult.

Those delays have let up significantly now, she said, but she estimates it took a full year longer for most projects. “It involved waiting for things but we were also able to offer the clients (the reassurance) that we were dealing with it, rather than them having to call the companies 25 times to find out when things were coming.”

Although Mignon is happy to tap into her creative side, she’s also grateful for the lessons learned and skills honed having weathered the experience. “There are so many sides to owning a business. I’m now retail, PR and HR. It’s been interesting.”

One of the most important lessons that came out of the pandemic supply delays is being a good communicator, she said.

“That’s probably one of the things I’ve done the best or learned the most: how important it is to be a good communicator,” she said. “Because if I can anticipate the client asking ‘Where’s my stuff?’ before they ask, I’m going to gain a lot of trust.”

Snafus happen, like the recent one during a house install when a mirror was delivered to the client’s home broken – three times! “So I was the one to initiate all these broken claims and then send a new one. There is an amount of responsibility that you are willing to take on to make sure that everything goes smoothly without the client knowing half the time,” she said. “These are the important things to me to make sure they have a seamless process.”

“I think it’s so nice as a creative to see things come to life,” Mignon said. “And I really like seeing the clients know that I’ve looked at it from their eyes.”

The article originally appeared in the April 13 – 19, 2023 print edition of The Two River Times.


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