Monday, March 9, 2009

Design Crush: Urban Grace Interiors

One of my favorite reads that I've loved from the very beginning has to be Erika from Urban Grace blog.

Ah let me count the ways that I love Erika. First off she is insanely sweet, always funny along with being extremely knowledgeable in design. She is a fabulous role model for women especially those trying to venture off in their own business endevors. Her blog is a great introduction to not only Erika's influences and love in interior design, but in who she is as a person and little bits of her family thrown in for good measure. She is totally on the top of my list as someone I would love as a BFF! So for the longest time I've admired Erika from a far. I did my best to comment on her blog, but never reached out via email. Well a couple of weeks ago I decided that I would either scare the poor girl off with my words of adoration or make her super happy with an email telling her how I admired her and if I could pretty please interview her for my blog.

Well folks lucky for us all she wasn't scared away and was of course totally sweet and happy to give me my interview. So without futher ado here's a little interview I did with Ms. Erika.

* All of the images below are bits of Erika's work. I really had no exact science for where I put things, but every post needs a little eye candy. *

High Heel: How did you get into the interior design field?

Erika: I grew up with parents who renovated every house we ever lived in. My mom is a designer too, so the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I went to college majoring in International Business, but soon realized my passion was design… so I transferred into Interior Design. I honestly think it’s just in my blood!

High Heel: What did you want to be when you were a little girl?

Erika: A doctor, an artist, or an interior designer.

High Heel: If you weren’t doing design what do you think you would be doing for a living?

Erika: I would enjoy teaching high school art.

High-Heel: Did you go to school for interior design or are you self-taught?

Erika: I graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Interior Design… but most of my training came from my parents prior to ever heading off to college.

High-Heel: Where does your client base come from: Word of mouth, blog, advertising, etc?

Erika: I’ve never advertised, never even passed out business cards. I’m very grateful that all my work is referral based.

High-Heel: Do you do more residential design or commercial? Which do you prefer?

Erika: A little of both. The commercial design is easier, while the residential is more challenging (customers are much more picky when it’s their “home” vs “business”) … I do enjoy both commercial and residential design.

High- Heel: What do you consider your style to be?

Erika: Hmmm, I don’t categorize myself… I think a good designer can take a client’s desire and fine tune it… of course my spin is on everything I do, but I can’t quite put into words what it is.

High-Heel: Who are your top 3 favorite interior designers and why?

Erika: Thomas O’Brien, Stephen Gambrel, Victoria Hagan. Because all 3 create classic, unpretentious and livable interiors.

High-Heel: What are the top 5 design books that either every professional or novice decorator should have in their library?

Erika: Hmmm, I have hundreds of design books, not sure I could narrow it down to 5… so how about my #1: A Pattern Language. No pretty pictures… just hard-core design truths.

High-Heel: What books and/or magazine are on your nightstand?


Just finished: Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee

Just started: See you In A Hundred Years by Logan Ward

Then on deck: Reason for God by Timothy Keller

High-Heel:What magazines do you subscribe to?

Erika: Elle Décor, Southern Accents, Southern Living, Coastal Living, House Beautiful, Dwell, Traditional Home, Metropolitan Home, and I think these still count because I have stock piled back issues: Country Home (RIP), Domino (RIP),Cottage Living (RIP)

High-Heel: What are your favorite stores for budget decorating?

Erika: Homegoods, Thrift Stores, Antique Stores

High-Heel: What is your favorite room in a house to decorate?

Erika: Kitchens and Bedrooms

High-Heel: What is your favorite room in your home?

Erika: Hmmm, I don’t really have a favorite room… spend the most time in my Living Room

High-Heel: What is your favorite decade for design inspiration?

Erika: All of them! I think there are good and bad elements to take away from every decade…

High-Heel: What is your favorite all-time movie that you would have loved to have been the set decorator for?

Erika: My all time favorite movie is Best In Show, however it’s not the one I’d want to be the set decorator for… I’d like to have been the set decorator in Father of the Bride which is random, but I like a good classic American home.

Home from Father of the Bride:

High-Heel: What is a typical day for you?

Erika: Everyday is different based on the stage a project is in, and I stagger work (so I don’t have more than one project at the same stage at once)… so it’s a little bit of everything. This past week was full of AutoCAD drawings (electrical revisions), plumbing quote reviews, paint color selections, picture frame details finalized for one project, year end accounting stuff that needed to be done, out of town client in town – so 2 full days crammed full of meetings about tile, wood floors, cabinetry, millwork, door hardware, lighting, and preliminary furniture selections… which I draw in CAD to make sure the scale is perfect for the house… and a little bit of everything in between. I don’t know if I have A.D.D. or if I am a pretty good multi-tasker….?

High-Heel:What is your favorite part of your day?

Erika: I’m an early bird… I wake up around 6am and check emails, I enjoy that time. But I also like 5pm when the phone stops ringing and I have an hour or so of quiet time to wrap loose ends up from the day.

High-Heel:What is your must have decorating indulgence? Artwork, furniture, lighting etc?

Erika:Great plumbing fixtures and interesting art.

High-Heel: What are your top 10 design commandments?


1. No fake plants
2. Avoid hanging art on the diagonal
3. Let your designer (or a stylish friend) accessorize your home
4. Avoid contrived faux finishes (especially on walls)– they will date themselves
5. Avoid arranging furniture and rugs on the diagonal
6. Better to buy something interesting from a thrift store than something from a big- box retail chain
7. Mattress pads – every bed needs one
8. Pillow protectors – every sleeping pillow needs one
9. White sheets (on occasion there are exceptions to this rule)
10.White towels

High-Heel: What trend do you look back on now and think, “Oh god why did I like that?

Erika: Well, I was the daughter who liked to change her bedroom all the time… I went through a phase with a salmon color sponge-painted bedroom, complete with a wallpaper border. At least I can laugh about it! This might be why I have a faux-finish-phobia.

Well after getting all of Erika's responses and shaking my head yes in agreement with everything we discussed I'm now certain we are destined to become BFF's.

I hope you all enjoy getting a sneak peek into the inner workings of Erika's head. If you've never read Erika's blog before I urge you to run and get your laptop and a blanket and snuggle in for a long read and start at the very beginning!


Blogger Sweet Nothings said...

great interview!!! I have a new crush

March 9, 2009 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Paloma {La Dolce Vita} said...

Excellent interview, Camila! I really enjoyed reading this. Erika is hands-down, one of my favorite designers for the same reason she likes her top designers. She creates unpretentious, stylish, and attainable interiors. Her kitchens and bathrooms are amazing! She is incredibly talented and equally sweet and gracious.

March 9, 2009 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVE her style---it's a little traditional, a little relaxed, and 100% wonderful!

and I'm SO in agreement about the father of the bride house being the best house EVER!

March 9, 2009 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger Blueprint Bliss said...

Love the interview. Thanks so much for sharing.

When I first came across Erika and her blog- I read it from start to finish on Sunday afternoon. I was hooked!

March 9, 2009 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger michelle said...

Pattern Language is a classic, and inspired a book called Patterns of Home, which I highly recommend.

Great interview; your crush has rubbed off on me too!

March 9, 2009 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger LindsB said...

What a great interview! I've had a design crush on her ever since I found her blog! She has great style and is super sweet- cant get better than that!

March 9, 2009 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger MyLittleHappyPlace said...

I'm so thrilled you got an interview with Erika! I would love to ask her to do the same for MLHP, but have been too scared of looking like a stalkeratzi! Knowing her (albeit only via her blog), I imagine she'd be as gracious to just about anyone.

You are so right about her being such a lovely person, and quite the role model for us - as design junkies and human beings.

Well done on the interview!

March 9, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Sarah Danielle: Jeune Marie said...

Great interview, Camila!! You always have the most interesting things going on at High-Heeled!! I love Urban Grace style/blog and it was wonderful to read this. I especially love the "10 commandments"!!

March 9, 2009 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger erika said...

Camila! You made my day! I've been home since lunch with a headache I can't shake... I just got up off the sofa and much to my delight I see this interview is up! Thank you for being so gracious and kind! I'm blushing and grinning ear to ear for your kindness.
Honored to be BFF worthy!

March 9, 2009 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger {michelle} said...

I recognized it immediately, Father of the Bride house! GORGEOUS, I used to wish I lived there.

Love your blog!

March 9, 2009 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Centsational Girl said...

Great interview. Funny how everyone loves the 'Father of the Bride' house. I used that house as inspiration for drawing up our house plans !

Perhaps a new career in journalism? Naaaah ! Design, always !

March 9, 2009 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger No.35style said...

i LOVE her work!! She is definately a favorite of mine...soo anxious for her nursery ideas and i am in love with her office kitchen!!

March 9, 2009 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Great interview!!! She really is just amazing. Hahaha I totally emailed her & told her how amazing I thought she was when I first found her blog (via you!) too!!

March 10, 2009 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger amber {daisy chain} said...

wow - loved that interview. her style is very real and comfortable but still stylee - now if I could only afford to hire her, buy do I need some help.

March 10, 2009 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

What a fun interview - I'm off to look at her blog.

March 10, 2009 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger alice said...

Great Interview Camila!

You asked some really interesting questions and I loved hearing Erika's answers. Her idea of staggering projects is something I must learn from!!!

March 10, 2009 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

words can't describe how very much I love this girl! She's the absolute best and it's really true...every time we're together, I get hoarse and loose my voice. She makes me laugh THAT much!

She's so very talented!!

March 10, 2009 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

I’m so glad you reached out to Erika so we could enjoy such a thoughtful and insightful interview- great job!

March 10, 2009 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger mary-kathryn said...

i always love her blog too... and now yours as well!

March 10, 2009 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger pve design said...

oh, how could we not love that erika as she is just lays it all on the line, with grace. really, one talented gal, who will be adding the role of mommy to her repertoire, can hardly wait to see her multi-task.
Sure to impress us all, in her down to earth lovable self. Nothing faux about her. Love her.
Great interview.

March 11, 2009 at 12:09 AM  
Blogger Haven and Home said...

Erika was one of the very first blogs I read, I love her! I was thrilled to read this interview, great job Camila!

March 11, 2009 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Elements of Style said...

Great interview with a GREAT girl!!!!

March 11, 2009 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger paula said...

fabulous interview. Erika has amazing taste. thanks!

March 11, 2009 at 1:51 PM  
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March 12, 2009 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger Freckles Chick said...

I ADORE Erika! I've been following her blog too (and her twin sister's!). This is a fabulous insight into her work/life. Thank you so much for featuring her!

March 13, 2009 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger smitten design said...

I'm echoing all of the comments above, but great interview. I simply love her blog and her i'm off to discover your lovely blog!

March 31, 2009 at 1:53 PM  
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