Sometimes design is just in the genes, so it’s really not surprising that Erinn Valencich, whose grandfather was a cabinetmaker and whose father studied architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright, ended up in the business. Valencich launched her firm, Erinn V Design Group, ten years ago this year, and opened her first showroom in L.A., Erinn V Maison, on Robertson Blvd. in 2011. With television appearances, furniture lines available nationally—the latest of which will debut at High Point this fall—and myriad residential and commercial projects in the works (she just completed The Downtown Grand hotel in Las Vegas), we’re all the more delighted that the fashionable designer sat down with us for our Q&A. Read on for more about Valencich and how to live just a little more stylishly.
How would you describe your design aesthetic? My style is best described as “modern classic.” I love the ease of modern lines on furniture, but I am also a sucker for updated traditional flair and details. I tend towards a touch of glamour, with a chic European sophistication. I think rooms should be fun, but at the same time elegant. You’ll often see a bit of chinoiserie and midcentury modern in my designs. I think they all play together very nicely, and a nice room is a mix of generations, styles and influences.
How did you get started in the business? I have always loved homes and design. As a small child I could easily be found designing my perfect horse farm, down to the scale of the barn and the size of the stalls. My family is in the construction business, and my mom was the ultimate DIY-er, so we always had renovation projects going on at home—it’s in my blood. When I designed my first apartment, friends would come over and say “you should be an interior designer!” and it all started there. I have no formal training and never went to college. I learned on the job, which I think is the most valuable education.
Where do you find your inspiration? The good news about what I do is that it’s really just me. I love to shop, to look at pretty homes and to travel around the world and get inspired by what is new, what is old, and what is next. I get bored easily, so I’m always liking new things—I’ve picked quite a few trends before they have come around, just based on particular items I’ve seen that I think are great, and a year or two later, they are everywhere. On a more practical level, I use Pinterest and the top shelter publications.
If you could reside on a Hollywood film set from any era, which would it be and why? I would probably have to say Gone with the Wind… I love those old plantation-style homes.
What do your clients enjoy most about working with you? Clients choose their designer based on the aesthetics and ideas, so I would have to say they must like my style or they wouldn’t hire me!
What takes a bath or kitchen from ordinary to extraordinary? A great bathroom needs lovely finishes; it’s the details that count. I always like to tile a wet-wall completely, never stopping my tile in the center of a wall. The vanity also needs to be functional and beautiful. For a kitchen, the sink and faucet are the stars, so something elegant is truly in order. I think a mix of materials is also nice, so that you feel like it’s a pulled together room. Nowhere else in the house do people have every piece of furniture match (as sometimes you find in kitchens with the woodwork), so I also like to see two finishes on the cabinetry to make it more unique.
Images courtesy of the designer