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Q&A with Francis Nicdao, Principal & Chief Creative Officer

Pembrooke & Ives Leadership, Francis Nicdao




Pratt Institute, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design
Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Design & Architecture Program

Industry Experience

14 years+

Previous Firms

D’Aquino Monaco


Apartments & townhouses
Seasonal & weekend homes
Product design

What advice would you give to an aspiring interior designer who is just starting out?

Creativity is key. But as a service business, resourcefulness and organization is equally important. Work hard now and the process will become second nature. This will leave you more brain power to create beautiful things.


What do you love about residential design?

The fact that each client is unique in their wants and needs. I love working collaboratively and problem solving to create spaces that elevate a client’s vision.


Is designing homes all over the place as glamorous as it sounds?

In many ways, yes! The budgets, beautiful job sites and (sometimes private) travel are glamorous. But it comes with challenges: long days, large suitcases with heavy samples, and very high expectations.


What are your favorite colors to incorporate into interiors?

I love color, but it is so subjective. I work closely with the client to gauge what they gravitate toward and what they respond well to. I love using various shades and hues of blues.

Lost Tree Way - Modern kitchen in Palm Beach, FL home with stainless steel and white tones. Interior...
Lost Tree Way, Photography by Stephen Kent Johnson

Who are your favorite up-and-coming designers?

I recently worked with Misha Kahn and had a wonderful experience collaborating with him. The work of Seungjin Yang is great fun as is that of Mark Grattan (who I went to school with …go Pratt!)


Who are your favorite vendors?

There are so many vendors we love working with, it is hard to single anyone out. A few with whom we have collaborated on product design are: Chesneys, Hamilton Sinkler and Valli & Valli

We are also working with amazing vendors on custom textile and embroidery. Atelier Moderne, Lesage, and Combray Design do really exquisite work.


How do you approach product design for Pembrooke & Ives?

First and foremost, with usability in mind. We design with equal parts practical and beautiful, alongside great sensitivity to material, form and scale.


Mid-Century Modern or Modern Industrial style if you had to pick one?

Mid-Century. It’s clean, warm, and has proven to be timeless.

Historic West Palm Beach - West Palm Beach luxury home entryway with curved staircase and rounded...
Historic West Palm Beach, Photography by Stephen Kent Johnson

How do you keep your cool?

I’m not sure if I keep my cool! However, I find comfort in knowing there is a solution to every problem, sometimes it just takes a bit longer to find.

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