What inspired you to become a designer?
My parents had everything to do with why I’m a designer. My dad was an abstract artist and my mom was an unofficial one. Both raised me with an awareness of the world around me that made it impossible not to care about my surroundings, and specifically to care about them the way that I do.
What is the best piece of design advice you would have ever given or received?
The best piece of advice I’ve been given wasn’t actually given to me directly. I read it scribbled on an architecture set from a project we were working on and it has stuck with me. The owner wrote “lacks courage” and I hadn’t really considered that before. We obsess over spaces feeling good, but expressing bravery was entirely new for me to think about. And once I did I realized all of the spaces that I love the most had something irreverent about them, something brave! A neon yellow staircase in an otherwise demure room. An elegant and sophisticated mural in a child’s room.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I have an impossible time with this question. So much of my aesthetic is driven by architecture or client but I definitely aspire for fun. A pretty space or the sake of being pretty is not interesting to me. At ETC our motto is "We take what we do seriously but we're not serious." And hopefully you can feel that in all of our spaces.
Complete the following sentence: When designing a family home, the most important thing to remember is...
Can I have two? Durability. But seriously. Get performance fabric on everything! Perennials is a favorite, link is a new favorite. And functional storage. Both for the kids toys (because there are so many) and for the dads records (because there are so many). Being thoughtful about where you're going to put your family STUFF, makes all the difference for your home and day to day.
Art! Rearrange it. Collect new pieces! Creative Growth in Oakland is one of my favorite sources to get new art and it feels really good to support them. Also rearranging furniture. I think we all get used to things being arranged a certain way in our homes, but they don’t have to be! We used to swap our living room and dining room furniture in our last house seasonally. Winter season the sofa was by the fireplace. Summer season we moved the sofa to the windows.
"Go with your gut! I think more than not if you buy things that YOU like, the space will feel good and cohesive."
Where do you like to start when putting together a room?
The floor plan! How the flow will be, how the shapes will feel in the room. Then you can layer in the color and the patterns and the smalls.
What would you say to the novice when it comes to designing their home...someone who is overwhelmed by all the choices and styles?
Go with your gut! I think more than not if you buy things that YOU like, the space will feel good and cohesive. I also can’t recommend enough moving your existing furniture around in the room to see how different layouts feel. You might find you like the bed on the other wall the best and suddenly you have room for a credenza! And lastly, there is no rush. Take your time! The best spaces are ones that develop over time and years of collecting.