Originally from Atlanta, Erica graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction & Planning. She began her career in the construction industry, eventually finding her niche in residential design. Erica’s background in reading construction documents and working alongside the trades gives her a unique approach to design. Erica currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband, two daughters and a golden doodle.
Hi Erica! Welcome to LP Spotlight! To start, can you tell us a bit about your background? Where did you grow up and how did you get your start in interior design?
I grew up in the south - both Atlanta, GA and South Florida. After college I came to DC for a job with a commercial construction company I had interned with, as I studied Building Construction at the University of Florida. After about 5 years on the commercial side, I went to work for a high-end residential builder, as I had always been passionate about homes. This is where I really knew I wanted to be on the design side of things and in 2010 I took a leap and started my own business. At first it was mainly focused on renovation work, utilizing my background, and then I started to learn everything I could about the soft furnishings side. That was very much a process of making mistakes and learning from them - I certainly had to pay to fix some errors in the beginning, but never made that mistake again! Now, 12 years later, we are a staff of four specializing in ground up construction/renovations and whole house decorating.
What is your first memory of being creative?
I have always been intrigued by art and creating things from as long as I can remember. One memory that sticks out is my obsessive nature about decorating the Christmas tree at a young age. I spent hours making sure the lights and ornaments had to be just the right mix and in the right place, and arranging the presents under the tree so the wrapping paper patterns and size of boxes were mixed perfectly and looked "effortlessly placed," but were actually meticulously contrived by me. Kind of like today's instagram!
I was also lucky to have parents who let me decorate my own room at the age of 10. I picked the BOLDEST shade of blue to paint the walls, and a very abstract printed comforter that was hard on the eyes. But having that artistic freedom was really special to me at the time, and I'm trying to do the same with my daughters.
You have a background in the construction business. How has that helped you as an interior designer?
It's a bit of a less traditional background, but it has helped me tremendously in my career as a designer. Understanding how things are built greatly impacts design, in terms of sequencing, budgeting costs, and constructability. We are able to look at construction drawings and visualize the finished product down to the details. You can dream up something really amazing, but if it can't be created in the field, it's not going to work. This knowledge and experience has helped us build relationships with contractors and architects in the area.
How does art influence your design?
Art is so key to design! Early in my career as a designer, we often did the rooms and the clients would "find the art later," but often said years later that they never filled the spot. Art is the finishing touch, the jewelry, that brings the space together and sets the tone. We love playing with ways to install art, like creating a juxtaposition of abstract art over a vintage chest, or a completely neutral room with a bold colorful painting.
How do you balance current trends with classic style?
We like to keep the bones of the spaces classic - like the sofa shapes or the drapery hardware, etc. so that way if you swap out the drapes and the pillows down the road, it's not a huge project. Then we can play with some trends in things like occasional chairs and side tables, etc. Generally speaking though, we don't lean too much into trends as classic style is timeless. Luckily art never goes out of style; if it's something you love, it lasts forever.
How do you celebrate finishing a big project or installation?
When the team works really hard on an install, we're all usually pretty exhausted with no energy to get out! But in a perfect world, we'd have a celebratory dinner as a team and take the next day off! :)
All Photography taken by Stacy Goldberg
Erica’s favorite pieces of art from lizapruitt.com.
TANGERINE | 9" H X 12" W - SOLD