A Designer at Home in the Hamptons

Scotland-born textile designer David Shaw Nicholls first came to New York in 1987 and was soon after introduced to the magic of the Hamptons. Now, nearly 25 years later, Nicholls proudly works and lives part-time in Westhampton and loves every minute of it. Here, he talks about his passion for Long Island and his latest venture, Process Unlimited (processunlimited.com) and its line of rugs made from 100 percent organic materials.

LIP: Tell us about how you came to live and work in Westhampton. DSN: I spend a lot of time out east. I consider myself not a visitor, but a resident. I was born and raised in Scotland and then lived and worked in Milan for six years as a high-end designer and architect before making my way to New York City in the late 80s. At the time, through my rug and textile designs, I was working with lots of clients with homes in the Hamptons and I just fell in love. My work has been a good fit for homes here; our palette of colors is really in tune with the beauty of Eastern Long Island!

LIP: Does being so close to the water remind you of being at home in Scotland? DSN: I absolutely appreciate being out here. I am so close to the ocean, yet it’s quite countrified. The quality of the surroundings is amazing—all of the trees and nature, I just love the light, the open sky, the palette of colors and textures out here. It’s a similar feeling to Scotland, which is also surrounded by water. The Hamptons are definitely a source of inspiration for my textile design work.

LIP: Tell us about your latest line of work. Why did you decide to create the new PureLoom line of rugs? DSN: My company, Process Unlimited, joined the Hamptons Green Alliance last year and we’re very interested in working with the builders and architects committed to sustainable living. Since our products are all organic, they are healthy choices for the community. The clients we’ve been working with are very happy to know that there are no toxins associated with our line. Plus, they have such beautiful designs; they really kick out that old idea that sustainability has to be mundane.

LIP: You’re using several wonderful materials such as bamboo and of course, wool, however the cactus selection is quite intriguing. Tell us about that. DSN: We tease the roots of the cactus plant and painstakingly convert it into a threadlike structure. It wears well and once it’s hand-knotted, there is this beautiful soft luster to the fiber. We use only vegetable dyes and the entire process is chemical free. Plus, it’s stain resistant and who doesn’t love that?

LIP: What’s on the horizon for you and Process Unlimited? DSN: We definitely see a continued need for more sustainable rugs and textiles that are designed beautifully. There is a growing sector out there that wants a product that reflects the healthier lifestyle they are living.

Design Tip: Rugs are a wonderful way to shake up a room! A colorful print or interesting pattern can give the entire space an instant makeover.

lauren debellis

A former magazine editor, Lauren DeBellis has been writing and producing stories about home decorating and design for nearly ten years. She resides in East Northport with her husband.