LA Story

For nearly three weeks I have been trying to tell you that I flew to Hollywood to meet Windsor Smith and Jeffrey Alan Marks because I won the Wayfair Trade Tastemaker Award for Best Design Innovator. I’ve lost track of the number of posts I started and stopped, wadded up and tossed into a virtual trashcan. I just can’t get the tone right. Either I am all slick PR braggadocious and hot doggy, or I sound like I grew up in the woods and chew alfalfa in my overalls. Frankly I am not great at talking about myself, and overalls are for toddlers.

But I can’t pretend this awesome and amazing thing didn’t happen, right? I have to be me. Fluff your pillow and grab the wines. It’s story time.

A while ago I saw that Wayfair was holding a fancy contest with super famous judges. Even my mom knows who Candice Olson is, Jeffrey Alan Marks (hereafter referred to as JAM, he’s truly outrageous) is a Million Dollar Decorator, and Windsor Smith did the jaw dropping House of Windsor for Veranda. They are tip top talent in the design field. I thought, hey it would be cool if these incredible people looked at my work. I sent some pictures in.

A couple of weeks later I got a call from Wayfair saying I won and could they fly me out to Hollywood to party with JAM and Windsor Smith? I got dizzy. I almost fainted. I said yes.

So I arrive in Hollywood and check into the very cute Palihouse, which feels just like home except way quieter.

pali house hollywood

I try to meet up with internet friends Molly Luetkemeyer and Christian May, but none of our schedules align and I’m feeling kind of lonely and like maybe I should bust out that alfalfa I brought with me. Instead I walk up and down the La Cienaga design strip, and I happen by some building with Kelly Wearstler‘s name on it. Awesome! I decide to check it out, but I am confounded by a key pad??? Then some helpful person enters a code, and I step in to a marble elevator and step out to the Chocolate Factory…

kelly wearstler

Somehow I ended up in Kelly Wearstler’s private office and she is just over there and I get scared and run away. I wish I could sugarcoat this part to make me sound cooler and more worldly, but I can’t. At least I am not wearing overalls. Meanwhile my instagram friends are pestering me to go back and give KW my card, so I huff and I puff and I finally go back to give the solicitous gentleman at the reception desk my card that matches the elevator floors.

austin interior designer

By now I am sweaty and pumped full of adrenaline, and I have to shower and dress and pretend I am a smart designer badass. I put on my swanky extra special YSL dress and… the zipper breaks. Half way up or half way down — it depends on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, I guess. But either way I am completely stuck in this stretchy Chinese fingertrap dress and I have to be downstairs in five minutes. I contort myself circus style until I wriggle free and then I realize I have to wear my Plan B outfit, which is a silk jumpsuit bearing more than a passing resemblance to strapless pajamas. No choice.

I head downstairs to rustle up some nerve calming vodka and the sweetest ladies from Wayfair are there, and they say such super flattering ego boosting things to me. Things like: I love your work, and we had to have you here tonight, and 5,000 people entered this contest and you really stood out.

erin williamson design

Wow. At this point I am feeling pretty good, maybe even great. This is kind of a big deal and I won in the category that feels the most… me. Crazy boundary pusher me.

Then I meet some of the other design winners, and they are truly talented people. Dan and Brian from BHDM have bicoastal offices and tons of staff and are so legit. Ben and Gen from Pencil and Paper have over 30K instagram followers (what!!!) and Gen has on hands down the best dress ever. Maegan and Corrie from M. Swabb are taking over SoCal and looking good while doing it. Everyone has a partner except Brynn Olson, who has enough energy and charisma for 10 people.

And here I am… getting more and more nervous and ordering more and more vodka. This can’t end well.

JAM and Windsor Smith arrive and they glow with the radiance of superstardom. Seriously, it hurts my eyes to look at them because I am having a hard time aligning real life with what’s happening right now. It could be the drinks, but mostly it’s just so surreal. Nevertheless I find myself hanging out with Jeffrey Alan Marks and having our picture made:

erin williamson jeffrey alan marks

He is so charming and good looking it’s ridiculous. I have never seen a more impeccably turned out man. And I am wearing a pajama jumpsuit that is two straps away from overalls, with stilettos. How did this happen?

We head into dinner and even more swanky people arrive. Orlando Soria of Emily Henderson fame and the current creative director of Homepolish is standing right in front of me, and instead of saying hi I recite his entire resume to him like a blog savant. Smooth like butter. Jennifer Mehditash the editor of California Home and Design is there, and we talk print vs blogs for a while. She says it’s better to be featured on a blog because it will bring in clients. I say I want to be in magazines so I can sleep with the paper under my pillows at night. And speaking of, some of my projects were featured in Make it Over Magazine last month:

eirn williamson design

I solve problems with paint. Not a bad gig.

Meanwhile, Mat Sanders the creative director of Domaine and designer of Jessica Alba’s beautiful guest house sits next to me and I spazz out a little because DOMAINE. They own the interior design corner of the internet. I’ve had a few pictures published on Domaine but getting a full feature has always been a dream. I want to say this to Mat and be a pushy business lady, but instead I try to be cool and have an actual conversation. Mat pretends not to notice that I am talking too much, and for that I adore him.

And then… and then, and then. Windsor Smith. Words cannot express how much I love Windsor Smith. I mean, really genuinely love her. It turns out she is from Texas and went to UT, and she’s so down to earth and kind and encouraging. Plus she is a straight up girl boss running an empire of incredible design products and projects. I was so inspired. I’m having trouble typing.

erin williamson windsor smith

Have you seen her amazing new book? I got an autographed copy. The words are kind of wiggly because we were feeling a bit wiggly by then.

erin williamson windsor smith

And I also got this picture. It makes me feel like a stalker fangirl, but I don’t care.

Those are the crown jewels of my spectaular evening. If you are reading this wacky post Windsor, thank you for giving me encouragement at a time when I needed it most.

After dinner I danced with Brynn and the M. Swabb girls until almost 2am, at which time my stilettoed feet literally went numb and I had to stumble up to my room. They are still kinda numb in the mornings when I wake up. Totally worth it.

And that’s really the end of my story. Except it feels like it should be the beginning of something. I’m currently focused on wrapping up some big projects and documenting tons of finished spaces so you can have new pictures to look at.

black and white bathroom

Like this bad boy, the result of a fantastic client collaboration.

Then I might even write a press release and send it to big blogs and magazines. Who knows?

I have so many things to show you and also news to share, so stay tuned to this here blog and please check my instagram for the freshest updates.

Most importantly, thanks to Wayfair and to the judges for your generosity, for believing in me, and for gifting me with such an amazing experience.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Your support means everything to me.

Gifts From My Ebay Watch List to Yours

I guess if I were a “professional” blogger I would have written this post three months ago, but as it stands I’m lucky to blog anything at all.

I miss you guys.

Well. Ahem. Verklempt. Anyway, I spend a lot of time on the ‘bay (we’re close like that) shopping for clients and maybe probably definitely OCD shopping for myself. I learn a lot about what’s interesting or desirable or unique by looking at ebay. It’s a completely uncurated onslaught of mostly junk, but also some seriously amazing finds you won’t see or be able to afford elsewhere. As a result of my compulsive shopping, I’ve amassed a watch list that must be pruned like a delicate bonsai on an almost daily basis. Part of that pruning process involves you, my friends. Vintage is my thing, but there are some fresh picks in here too. Everything is either dirt cheap or extremely well priced for what it is. I hope you enjoy.

austin interior designerCan we talk about how striking that art is? It’s a vintage serigraph (screenprint) by Carmen Herrera and I so wish Pantone had gone with something more in that vein for the Pantone color of the year.

Gorgeous vintage French copper mirrored sconces/ Carmen Herrera Rojo y Negro art/ Vintage modernist necklace/ Vintage Stark 8×10 carpet/ Donghia fabric.

austin interior deisgner

This is all about chillaxing with neutrals grounded in solid graphics. Nothing too crazy here, but you might wonder how you ever lived without these anchor pieces.

Vintage modernist painting/ Large brass Stilnovo style sputnik chandelier/ Kelly Wearstler Barcelo pillow ($12!!!!!!!)/ 8×10 Tibetan hand knotted rug/ Sascha Brastoff surf ballet teapot.

austin interior designer

Animal print. If you follow me on instagram then you know I really do have a problem. But I loves it all the same.

Kelly Wearstler Barcelo pillow in alabaster/ Tibetan tiger rug/ Psychedelic Roy Ahlgren serigraph (that means some person hand printed this)/ Large cheap lucite ribbon chandelier (why am I not buying this again?!)/ Pierre Frey panther fabric.

austin interior designer

Hi, I love the 80s. And the 40s. Basically I love statement pieces that pull your hair out and demand attention.

Vintage French sconces/ 40s Italian miniature volcano paintings (bigger is not always better)/ Op art screenprint by Leviant/ Contemporary Tibetan hand knotted rug.

So there you have the tippy top of the iceberg that is my watch list. Ebay and craigslist posts are not good blog fodder. They are terrible for SEO because there is no one to link to. It’s dirty, thankless work. Nobody gives you a high five for pimping their page/blog/stuff. The links expire.

So hold this moment like a snowflake in your hands, precious friends. Buy the cheap stuff asap, for tomorrow surely it will be gone…

Merry Christmas.

I really and truly love and miss you all!

I’m a Working Girl (Not that Kind)

I’ve been told that Beyonce has the same hours in a day as me, but I think she must have a secret twin. Or more likely a farm of mini Beyonce clones waiting in incubators for the next concert/video/diaper change. Check her dance moves for deja vu glitches in the matrix.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to stop apologizing for my light posts and just pretend that no time has elapsed. Because we are good friends and that’s how our relationship works — smooth and easy as Beyonce’s cheeks (both sets). Here’s what’s happening in the elaborately choreographed video of my life.

If you are following me on instagram (and why wouldn’t you be???) you know that I recently completed this super sexy conference room for a client in California:

austin interior designer

BAM! It is glamazing. Art is by the fabulous and very talented Meredith Pardue, the inlaid brass credenza is by Emporium Home, and the chairs are classic Saarinen numbers in black iris wool that my client insisted on… she was so right. She’s an artist herself so she has great eyeballs. I’m hoping to see this in person and tour the rest of the office that we worked on. Many thanks to my sweet client for providing this lovely photograph.

Meanwhile, project Mid Mod is moving right along with its bad self. We finally decided on this huge enormous gargantuan Berber rug for their living room:

erin williamson design

It even comes with a tiny human! Prepare your eyes for a whole lotta psychedelic upholstery up in here. I want to move into this house so very badly.

We stalled out a hair while choosing fabric for the Milo Baughman sectional I found at a consignment store:

moroccan milo baughman

To keep the pink Moroccan party front and center we’re painting the wall Galapagos Turquoise and going with 40 (million) yards of WHITE fabric on the sofa. In a house with red wine, a dog, and an adorable eight year old. Suffice it to say I am being very very picky about the fabric quality and cleanability factor.

Speaking of said eight year old, how cute is it that she bid on and won this six foot tall bronze giraffe at auction all by herself? I mean… that kid is going to own Christie’s by the time she turns 18. She’s a star.

design crisis

And speaking of fabulous auction items, a new client scored this incredible Mazzega chandelier the very same day:

erin williamson design

This particular client is quite the character. When I walked into her house, every single thing was beige. Every. Single. Thing. Initially I wasn’t sure why she wanted to hire me, but she is so funny and charming and down for everything and I seriously love her to pieces. My vision for this home is neo traditional and sophisticated, but with some signature weirdo items and fantastic paint colors sprinkled throughout. High hopes.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, crazy wallpaper law office got put on hold because a new baby got in the way. Those babies! Always putting a wrench in the works with their cute little faces and stinky baby feet. Is it wrong that a (very small) part of me wants another one? Don’t tell Ben. Anyway, the office is close to completion but we had to get started pronto on the nursery, because BABY!!!

scalamandre zebras

It’s going to be good. I love people who love wallpaper.

Oh hey, here’s a quickie pic of a completed bathroom I did for a client with a sweet vintage bungalow in a lovely hood:

austin interior designer

The task was to gut the room but put it back in such a way that it felt classic and period appropriate. We’re slowly working our way through the house, so hopefully I’ll be able to shoot the whole shebang early next year.

And I finally got around to shooting this living room I finished last year for a young couple who are also having a baby… I’m working on their baby boho nursery right now. Because BABY!

austin interior designer

austin interior designer

And that is the end of my recent client project updates. I have several more soon to be completed projects but I’m holding out for finished shots to share. I can share that this happened:

DIFFA

Why yes, I did participate in Diffa’s Picnic by Design event benefiting AIDS services of Austin. I was so flattered to be invited to design a table alongside some of Austin’s best and brightest designers… not really sure how I ended up there, but I don’t think I embarrassed myself too terribly. Many thanks to Jake and Kasey Holt for the photography, and to Gillian Bryce Fine Art for donating the most insane geometric objects that took my table from 18th century painting to David Bowie in Labyrinth. Dance magic dance!

Ok, now that I have recounted my entire summer of projects (not really) and everyone is asleep I think I can stop. Tomorrow I am off for Round Top Part Deux with the fabulous and sassy Sarah Stacey. Stay tuned for tales of our hijinx, including mimosa popsicles, denuded wallets, and oodles of purchases that will amaze you. No, really. I bought this last week:

mid century lighting

Milo Baughman? Sonneman? Lightolier? Whatever it is, it’s even bigger than my “baby.” Wait til I show you the giant Memphis teapot I nabbed. Apparently I have scale issues.

Now I’m going to make like Beyonce and do 20 things at once while wearing fishnets and six inch heels.

Life is good.

Leos Rule

Over the past weeks I have started writing 500 amazing posts about art and design as well as projects I am working on, but then I get waylaid by said projects and this here blog suffers the ignominy of playing second or third or last place fiddle. Also I live in fear of rejection… what if my first post in forever isn’t good enough? Truth is, it never will be. Stage fright is the thief of awesomeness. Whatever. It’s time to get back in the saddle because a very important event has forced itself upon us and must be addressed. Today is my birthday.

Who am I kidding? This is the worst day of the year. But there is one redeeming factor to consider, for it is the only time of the year I suspend my belief in reason and succumb to the whims and half baked vagaries of mysticism. I’m talking about astrology.

fornasetti lion and sun

Logically, believing that all people born within the same arbitrary date set share similar characteristics makes zero sense. And yet… we leos do run in packs so it’s easy to note that there is some common cross section. Pareidolia? Perhaps. But if you’re a leo, see if you can check off these boxes with me: we are vain but generous. We are honest and loyal. We are bossy little jerks and we like to get our way because we are always right. We have good hair.

We also have the best sigils, and because we are king of the zodiac we get two! Everyone loves the sun, and everyone loves lions. Unless they are Lannisters.

fornasetti sun wallpaper

henri rousseau lion

fornasetti sun

design crisis |leos rule

design crisis | leos rule

design crisis | leos rule

sun room

design crisis | leos rule

design crisis | leos rule

I’ve had several of these things on the brain for a while now, things like Henri Rousseau everything. I need for my entire house to look like those paintings, and plan to move in that direction as soon as I have more than two spare seconds (and dollars) to rub together. And when I am finished executing that marvelous vision, I will put a giant honking brass lion door knocker on top and call it a day.

While you contemplate that deliciousness, I will be putting on face putty and nice clothes and maybe even high heels, and pretending that I am not old… at least not yet. Another year bites the dust.

At least I have goodish hair.

Palette Cleanser

Is it just me or are things looking really overdecorated lately? This might come across as a little ironic since I recently swathed a powder room in crazy marble wallpaper, but I can’t help it. My eyes are tired. It seems like every room has to have trim and contrasting pattern and 75 colors and fully accessorized vignettes and statement furniture everywhere. I’m not judging, for I am most definitely guilty of all infractions. And don’t get me wrong, I will always have a flair for the dramatic and a soft spot for this:

design crisis

That is super weird. I love it, and I will always love wallpaper. But like I said, my eyes are bleeding from all the stuff in every picture everywhere and I feel an overwhelming urge to clean up the visual clutter.

design crisis | palette cleanser

AHHHHHH isn’t that nice? Does anyone actually live here? Who cares?! It’s all about organizing the room around one statement moment and then editing everything else out. Like a fine ocular sorbet.

design crisis | palette cleanser

White paint makes that easy. If you have great light and good architecture, white paint works. Personally I don’t think I can ever live with white white whiiiite paint, because we have a lot of sheetrock and not a lot of windows. I might be feeling anti ornamental at the moment, but if you live in a sheetrock shack you’re going to have to do some decorating.

design crisis | palette cleanser

Even dirty off white is more forgiving. This is a nice amount of ornamentalism for me. There is a lot going on here, but keeping things neutral and monochromatic lets the eye rest.

design crisis | palette cleanser

For those of us with yucky architecture and light, color may be a necessity. I don’t think cleaning house necessarily means painting everything in neutrals and going gently into that good night. Robert Couturier is my homeboy because he knows how to let even a fancy room breathe. Bold color on the walls and wee pattern on the sofas dictates neutral art, no pillows (!!!), very little clutter, and curtains that don’t pop. Matching sofas reduces the number of design elements in a large room. This is a space that could be translated to a real person’s house for sure.

design crisis | palette cleanser

Or how about a mostly tonal room with zero pattern? So doable. The focus is all on the delicious yet judicious use of color. It might even be nutritious.

design crisis | palette cleanser

Same idea, but as a kitchen. Sexy, moody, interesting, and clean as a whistle.

design crisis | palette cleanser

I have to admit it is hard not to love a good white room, though. The architecture and textural elements here are layered enough to keep things lively, and that lamp is everything.

design crisis | palette cleanser

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a bright white Vistosi chandelier in an otherwise dark room has impact without punching you in the face. The paint color and furnishings are unique, but everything else is kinda blendy and nothing is upstaging the diva.

design crisis | palette cleanser

Blendy blendy, but not blandy. It’s all about the floors and that bizarrely awesome chandelier.

design crisis | palette cleanser

This is like the good twin to my evil twin powder room. I really wanted everything to feel like it was chiseled from the same material. It might have helped if I had 10K to spend on marble, but I think I did ok with $300 spent on wallpaper.

design crisis

And then there is this room. There are quite a few design elements going on, but the balance is good. I spy plenty of breathing room. It’s clean and fresh and interesting. I want to live here. That rug!

Isn’t it nice be simple sometimes?

One Room Challenge: Week Six — Reveal!

Hi everyone, welcome back for the final week of the One Room Challenge! For the past six weeks a host of bloggers have worked tirelessly to take one room from a zero to a hero. [Catch up on past weeks HERE.] Let me tell you something: this challenge ain’t for wimps or wussies. Six weeks ago my husband loved me, my children recognized me, and I weighed five pounds less. Apparently the threat of utter public humiliation makes me hungry. Was it worth it? I don’t know, donuts are pretty delicious.

Imagine this bathroom is a giant frosted donut. Nom nom.

erin williamson | design crisis

I really hope you like it, because I kind of love it. It’s magic mushroom mystery submarine crazy. I so very much wish you could come visit in person because this is the hardest room in the universe to photograph EVER. And unlike most photoshoots where I am piling laundry into corners out of the camera’s view, I think this space looks so much better in person.

erin williamson | design crisis

Also it is tiny so there are really only two angles, but somehow I managed to take 300 pictures. I hope you like to look at pictures of my bathroom on the internet. Let’s hit the rundown.

erin williamson | design crisis

You may recall that I scored this handsome Altman’s faucet on ebay. Some days I wake up filled with worry… will the brass trend die a horrible chevronesque death due to ubiquity and overuse? It might. But if you like it, do it. I think someone famous said that once.

erin williamson | design crisis

Cb2 Torked it out of the park with this mirror. It really goes everywhere, and it especially works when you have a lot of things happening in a small space. Pare. It. Down. It’s awesome, except after we (Ben) hung it I decided it was about two inches too high and now there is a big hole in the wallpaper, but don’t worry you can’t see it because I am a wizard with concealer.

erin williamson |design crisis

My pare it down principle somehow does not extend to lighting, because when faced with electrified shiny things I can’t seem not to take it to the maxxx. I am in sweet love with this Mazzega chandelier I picked up off ebay for pennies on the dollar. I swear this thing is 20x more impressive in real life. It’s spun from Charlotte’s webs and angel tears.

erin-williamson-design-crisis-23

After we (Ben) hung it, I decided it was two inches too high so I made him lengthen the chain, which required disassembling and reassembling with held breath and eyes wide shut. The fear of possible breakage will continue to give me ptsd for weeks.

erin-williamson-design-crisis-20

Ike was sooooo excited about this soap dish — this glass soap dish that I didn’t want him to use. He actually started crying when I tried to take it out of HIS bathroom. Because he thinks the bathroom belongs to him. Don’t say I never spoil you, kid. You can have the soap dish too.

When it came time to hang last week’s proposed lucite towel ring, I balked. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me until I scrolled through my ginormous collection of bathrooms on pinterest and realized that none of my favorites had a towel ring. Zero. A few had petite towel bars, which at least keep things nice and flat instead of scrunched up and germy. I decided I didn’t want anything hanging on that wall… it just felt cluttered. Then I decided I hate regular hand towels so I “made” these from a vintage linen tablecloth with metallic embroidery, and by made I mean “tore artfully.”

erin williamson |design crisis

All is not lost, lucite lovers. I did end up using the paper holder with fancy BLACK toilet paper, courtesy of my sweet friend Rebecca who knows my heart’s desires so well.

erin williamson | design crisis

How have I lived so long without black toilet paper that my children aren’t allowed to use? It’s amazing. Thank you, Rebecca! When I opened the box I almost wept with delight and maybe a little bit of first world self loathing. The fact that it’s a gift makes it ok. SCORE.

erin williamson | design crisis

Speaking of great friends, let’s talk about my amazing art courtesy of Gillian Bryce Fine Art. I have 800 million paintings, but this wallpaper is tricky. Nothing I had worked and I was slightly EXTREMELY panicked, but I stalked the 214 Modern Vintage booth at High Point via facebook like it’s my job (it is). And then I spied this beauty amongst a host of angelic creations including many beatific William Fredericksen paintings and collages (also obsessed). Gillian overnighted this hero to me… I’m kind of speechless in love with her and the art. That is service, y’all. I highly recommend checking out her giant art collection. It’s excellent.

erin williamson | design crisis

Did you notice the spray painted blinds? Thanks to all my instagram buds who encouraged me to paint my fingers and toes black. I’m happy to report that it worked pretty well (on the blinds). We’ll see how they hold up to a baby who likes to eat the wooden bobs. Please don’t call CPS. I know the heimlich.

So I think that’s it for my sources. Want to see a little freestyle action? These are the moments (cue teary montage):

erin williamson | design crisis

erin williamson | design crisis

erin williamson | design crisis

erin williamson | design crisis

And what would a makeover challenge be without a proper before and after? Put on your sunglasses, because the before pictures might blind the old and infirm. That’s not you, right?

BEFORE:

erin-williamson-orc-8

AFTER:

erin williamson | design crisis

erin williamson | design crisis

erin williamson | design crisis

erin williamson | design crisis

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of our soap operatic journey through shame and into redemption. It’s been a long, dusty, expensive road, and I think I’ve earned a bottle of something cheap and strong to celebrate.

Thank you ever so much to Linda of Calling it Home for organizing and hosting such a lovely and talented group of designers and bloggers! This challenge gets better every round, and I’m honored to have been included. If you haven’t already, please do go visit the other participants to see their epic finales.

I myself plan to bust out a donut, drink some ripple, and try not to make Ben hang anything two inches away from perfection for at least the rest of the day. Until next time!

Abby M. Interiors

Because it’s Awesome

Bijou & Boheme

Calling It Home

Chez V

Chinoiserie Chic

Copy Cat Chic

The Decorista

Design Crisis

Design Indulgence

Design Manifest

The English Room

The Glam Pad

Little Black Door

Mimosa Lane

My Notting Hill

The Pink Pagoda

Simple Details

My Sweet Savannah

Verandah House

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