Nabela Noor understands that there are little moments of goodness worth celebrating each and every day. Shopping at your local boutiques, baking some treats for you and your family, or just enjoying a night in binging your favorite show—Nabela wants to remind you to romanticize the experience. Her work centers around her passion for representation and diversity, redefining beauty standards, and promoting self-love through self-care. A designer, author, and entrepreneur who founded her ethical, size-inclusive clothing brand, Zeba, home brand, Saara & Begum, and non-profit, Noor House, she recently welcomed us into her Central Pennsylvania home. Over a delicious spread curated with our Costa Nova Aparte board and bowls, LSA International Borough glassware, and striking gold and brass accents, Nabela shared about her journey. A first-generation Bangladeshi-American who grew up in the small town she calls home with her husband, Seth, her work and space beautifully blend her heritage and lifestyle. Read on for more as we also spoke about her love for incorporating gold in her decor and a few timely bits of advice when setting your holiday table.
I feel very blessed to have stumbled upon this incredibly unique career years ago, and it all stemmed from sharing content online. My online journey started on Youtube and Instagram. In the last year, I transcended to TikTok, where I began sharing my #PocketsofPeace series, highlighting the little moments of goodness each day. I am so thankful that the content people resonate with focuses on self-love, self-care, and romanticizing our everyday lives.
While #PocketsofPeace lives on my homemaking community @NabelaNoorHome on IG and @Nabela on TikTok, I also am the proud Founder and CEO of my ethical, size-inclusive clothing brand, Zeba, and my home brand, Saara & Begum. Both brands evolved as I discovered my purpose and passion for self-love and self-care.
The same goes for my non-profit scholarship program, Noor House, which came to fruition after a life-changing trip to Bangladesh. It was where my husband and I witnessed firsthand the impact we could have by aligning with an existing non-profit called JAAGO Foundation. So together, we created a program specifically for young girls ages 5–7 to have access to free education and resources until graduation.
My children's book, Beautifully Me, carries the same mission that exists in all of my work—a commitment to redefining beauty standards and promoting self-love. As my career expanded into different categories, I have consistently felt a whisper in my heart to tend to my passion for writing. I wanted to write a children's book that would speak directly to children about the importance of defining beauty for themselves. I also wanted to have a main character who looked like me, with a family that resembled mine, with Bangladeshi language and culture at the forefront.
That was important to me, and I knew it would mean a lot to the hundreds and thousands of people in my community who have not seen themselves represented in media and literature.
And the response has been incredible and so rewarding. I saw my book in Target the other day, and it just felt like a dream.
Every project. Every opportunity. I don't take a single one for granted.
We love how you pay homage to your mother and grandmothers with your Zeba and Saara & Begum brands. How important are your family and Bangladeshi-American background to your work?
I am a first-generation Bangladeshi-American, and with that experience comes an understanding of the sacrifices that my parents and grandparents made for my siblings and me to have access to the life and opportunities we do today. So paying respect to them and honoring them in all that I do is so important to me.
My parents immigrated to this country with no formal higher education, no fluency in the English language, and worked multiple jobs for us to have a shot at the American Dream. Honoring them in my work is the most fulfilling part of my job and truly makes this the dream career.
Bangladesh is a massively underrepresented country. I am forever grateful that I can introduce millions of people to Bangladeshi culture, our beautiful language, customs, and traditions through my work. Whether through Saara & Begum's artisanal products handcrafted in Bangladesh or infusing Bangladeshi culture and language within my projects and launches, it is the most incredible honor to celebrate such a beautiful part of my identity and pay respect to my roots along the way.
What made you and your husband Seth choose to settle in Central PA. What do you love most about living there?
My family moved to Central PA when I was a young girl. I was born in Queens, NY, and we eventually moved to Maryland for a few years before eventually settling in our small town in Pennsylvania as a family. Seth was born and raised here. We both love our life here, and we're both incredibly family-oriented. Family is everything. So much so that me and my five siblings all live within a 15-minute radius from my parents. At this stage of my life, especially as I approach motherhood, I couldn't imagine being anywhere else but right beside the people I love most.
We love small-town living and all of the perks that come with it. We love our falls at the County Fair. We love soaking up days by the lake and shopping from local and Amish small businesses and appreciate the craftsmanship in the products made here. Small-town life keeps me grounded amidst the chaos that comes with my very busy job, and I appreciate the pace of the life we've made here.
What brings you joy at home? What do you love most about it?
I love personalizing and customizing our home. I love cooking, baking, painting—anything in the house, I just love. I love home decor with a passion. Reimagining the different spaces within my home brings me so much joy. I'm such a homebody, and I have learned to embrace that. Give me a day of SVU Marathons, crafting a new recipe in the kitchen and wrapping the night up online shopping and mood-boarding for a new home makeover, and it's truly the dreamiest day.
How would you describe your at-home decor style?
Oh goodness. My home decor style continuously evolves as I learn more about my own design taste and preferences. I'd say an overarching description would be a love for traditional, transitional and neutral decor with a splash of South Asian inspiration that lives within the prints and textures I have throughout the home. I'm also loving adding European touches to our home. Overall, I like our home to feel like a cozy, light, airy, serene space.
We love how your seasonal tablescape turned out. Tell us your inspiration behind it, and were you searching for a specific aesthetic?
I wanted to let the glass and serveware stand out for this tablescape, with an airy touch from my floral arrangement and pops of baby's breath in the napkin placements. Brass is my favorite way to add a luxe touch to any home design look, so the brass napkin holders are such a fun, glamorous addition. I am learning that less is more when arranging my tablescapes. You don't need to clutter and fill the center of your table to create a luscious look. Allowing key pieces to stand out and be celebrated is key. Glassware is so underrated when arranging a dreamy tablescape. The dimension and depth that glassware can add are just as important as the florals, linens, and serveware!
What drew you to these Lulu and Georgia pieces?
Lulu and Georgia has been one of my favorite home brands for years, and I always drool at the scrumptious tablescapes on Lulu and Georgia's site. So to be able to create my take on a dreamy Lulu and Georgia setting was such a fun experience. I grabbed everything that spoke to me and combined texture with the bowls and beautiful patterns with the plates. The bowls are absolutely my secret weapon to add depth to the table setting. Imagine replacing those gorgeous textured bowls with a plain bowl. It wouldn't create the same magic.
Do you have a couple of pointers for those who want to recreate your dining table's look this holiday season?
Yes! Less is more! Florals don't have to be overwhelming. A simple arrangement can be just as impactful as a large, full centerpiece. Add dimension through various types of glassware and play with texture! If you add brass into your setting, ground the overall look with your linens and runner—maybe a pop of jute or burlap. But most of all, romanticize the experience. You're about to set the table for a fun time with your loved ones. Soak in the journey of preparation. It's just as sweet as the destination.
Any holiday traditions you're excited to celebrate this upcoming holiday season?
My husband and I love to play games with my sisters, nieces, and nephews each year. My eldest niece is so competitive and so GOOD at every game. So it's always fun to get into a playful, competitive spirit while watching our favorite holiday movies. I know that I will somehow sneak back into the kitchen to bake something delicious because the kitchen has become my sanctuary in our home. So I'm looking forward to it all!
Where do you look for inspiration? Are there staples from fashion, interior design, or elsewhere you turn to?
I'm inspired by South Asian patterns, prints, textures and have loved incorporating more pieces that pull inspiration from my heritage. I am also fusing inspiration from our travels. Seth and I have traveled to France a few times, and we love European architecture and design. When we visited Versailles, we were blown away by the beauty of the architecture and the luxuriousness of the materials used. Between the South Asian love for golden touches and the ornate details in French design, I developed a love for gold and brass all throughout our home. I can't get enough, and it just feels like beautiful gold bangles and necklaces throughout our space.
For daily inspiration: I love combing through Lulu and Georgia's site, surfing through my coffee table books from my favorite interior designers —and I'm ALWAYS on Pinterest and Instagram, just mesmerized by different homes and home projects.
What's next for you, Seth, and all of your projects?
Our biggest project yet is coming in the Spring of 2022, and that is the arrival of our miracle baby. We are so overwhelmed with joy every single day and cannot wait to meet her and continue doing what we love. We are currently designing her nursery, and every step has been so fun and special. Every piece I put into her nursery feels like a future heirloom. It is fun to look at it that way and makes the selection of each piece that much more intentional.
I'm just savoring every moment of this beautiful journey, and our hearts are so, so full.