Suite Serenity

Between traveling to her law offices in Alabama and Mississippi and keeping up with three kids’ activities, Shantrell Nicks craved a master suite in which to recharge — and she knew just the person to call to make it happen.

Photos by Summer Ennis Ansley

It’s been a long day. But it’s nothing Shantrell Nicks isn’t used to. Inside the entryway, she plops her briefcase at the top of the stairs and descends to the lower level kitchen for a cup of tea. As it steeps, she pauses, listening for a moment to sons Jackson and Mason playing foosball in the adjoining game room. Mug in hand, she heads back up, rounding the curved flight to the second story where she grabs her heaped mail and attaché. 

Shantrell Nicks works hard and plays harder, all while dressed in fun fashion — and her ever-present smile. Here she dons her favorite yellow jacket in honor of her two favorite sports teams, the New Orleans Pelicans and the Saints. Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

Nicks’ 11,000-square-foot West Mobile estate boasts enviable features, like an elevator, resort-style pool with swim-up bar and climate-controlled garage, but if you ask the lady of the house what her favorite area is, she’d unequivocally reply, “My master suite.” From the foyer, she leads me down a short hallway, and a pearly smile creeps across her face, hinting at what awaits. We pass a luxurious master bath and a wall-mounted panel that controls everything from lighting to security before entering her haven. Although Nicks and her three children have only been in the sprawling home one year, she’s already got her after-work routine down pat. 

“I come straight in here,” she says of her walk-in closet, “and take off some of these and put on some of those.” She slips out of her Gucci heels and slinks into sneakers of the same brand. “And then I come over here,” she says, motioning for me to join her on the sofa. As she opens her mail, she continues, “Then I go over to the chaise lounge, and then I wind up on the bed about 2 a.m.” The lawyer laughs, admitting she does her most focused work, like preparing for court cases, late at night. 

Within the soft peach-colored walls of Nicks’ boudoir are five distinct spaces: a sitting area with sofa; a quiet nook with chaise lounge; a dressing area with vanity, showcasing baubles and perfumes; the sleeping quarters; and a ladies’ lounge. Throughout the sleek space are touches of pinks and gold and smatterings of black, which speak to the modernness of the house. 

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Nicks gives all credit for her luxurious sanctum to her designer, Cheryl Luckett, owner and principal designer of Dwell by Cheryl Interiors, who has also decorated Nicks’ entryway, living room and master balcony. 

Although they now live in separate states, Gulfport, Mississippi, natives, attorney Shantrell Nicks (seated) and designer Cheryl Luckett, jumped at the opportunity to work together to transform Nicks’ master suite into a stunning feminine retreat. Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

“I had been following Cheryl on social media — she and I grew up in Gulfport — and I loved everything she was designing,” Nicks says, now seated on a harlequin-patterned vintage lobby sofa. “I’m a private person, but Cheryl did such an amazing job in my home, I wanted her work to be shown.” 

“Shantrell was looking for a tranquil retreat,” Luckett explains, having just flown in from Charlotte, North Carolina, her home base, and joining us in the lounge. “This space is feminine, alluring and relaxing.” 

Luckett approaches clients’ needs by using her four-pronged design approach: classic, colorful, cultured, cozy. “I’d call this style ‘Afrosouthern,’” she proudly concludes of Nicks’ room. “It’s got culture, but we are Southern girls.”

“I think the theme is more like ‘Queen,’” Nicks laughs. No matter the nomenclature, Luckett insists the beautiful space isn’t just for show — it’s for use. Nicks certainly uses it. 

“When my daughter, Taylor, was home from college this past weekend, she and her friends hung out in here. They were on the sofa; I was on the chaise. It’s very serene.” Nicks pauses before continuing, “Many weekends I retreat here, just enjoying myself at home. It’s definitely been a place to relax.”

“If this year has taught us nothing else,” Luckett sums, “it’s the value of home. I encourage clients to design their own personal space before tackling the common areas. Having a retreat is life-enriching. It’s about prioritizing yourself.” 

For Nicks, putting herself before others isn’t usually at the top of her list. The co-founder of “Love You, Love You Day,” a community service and unity event in which school uniforms, food and other items are distributed to families in need, has always had a heart for service. “People don’t realize that about lawyers. Clients come to you during their most critical times. You have to be empathetic to help them through that process. That’s my job, and I love it. My desire to help others flows over into my personal life.”  

And it’s a life filled with teens, clients and altruism. Nicks hopes her family and friends feel the same way about her home as she does — a comfortable and inviting retreat. “When I was looking for a home to purchase, my focus went from kids leaving home to wanting a big, homey house where they can have lots of friends over. It is ideal for where my life is going. The kids will be visiting, and I’ll be in my master suite. It is perfect.”

A reproduction photograph, taken in Butiama, Tanzania, (“African Princess,” adds culture and heritage to Nicks’ chaise lounge nook.
Soft peach walls (Sherwin Williams Likeable Sand) provide a soothing backdrop throughout the master suite, including this sitting area, complete with wall-mounted fireplace.
Dark wood on the side table and canopy bed (Alden Parkes Peyton Bed in Dark Truffle), along with geometric pieces like the mirror (Wildwood Round-a-bout Mirror), add modern touches, while the bench (Revolution Malian in Jute) and Euro pillows (Kelly Wearstler Graffito) add softness and femininity.
Simple decorations speak to Nicks’ penchant for elegant style.
“It’s important for my clients to be represented in the artwork,” Luckett says of the carefully curated pieces hanging throughout the suite, including this large showstopping silhouette, adjacent Nicks’ writing desk, which includes gold accents, a theme throughout the space.
The pièce de résistance in the ladies’ lounge is the lobby sofa (Vintage).

Beyond the Master

Shantrell’s swoonworthy master suite is only the beginning. Here’s a sneak peek at some of our other favorite shots from her ultra-stylish home.

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