1.04.2011

Erica's Favorite Interior

Today for Favorite Interior Tuesday we have the lovely Erica Swanson joining us from Erica Swanson Design.  I met Erica a few years ago, and I have adored her ever since!  She is a talented designer and an entrepreneur extraordinaire - I am proud to call her my friend.  Erica, take it away...
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This is a futile exercise, you understand.  Trying to find a single interior that encapsulates the entirety of your point of view, or one that speaks your language, is like trying to decide on a pair of shoes you’ll wear for the rest of your life.  For every single occasion. 

Not.Even.Remotely.Possible.

So I’m cheating.  Because when it comes to visual inspiration, cheating is totally allowed… eye candy for the design-inclined should not be limited to one interior.  Of course, it should go without saying that much of the driving force behind my inspiration at any given point in time is closely related to my particular mood, and that too, is bound to what is happening or what projects I’m working on at any particular moment.  All of this is to say that what I’m loving now will likely evolve considerably over the next year.  Sort of the point, no? 

With that said, I lean to the masculine, the dark, the sexy, and the organic.  Kind of like this:

I can work here.  A hint of sparkle in the darkness.  A sliver of light; shifting and dancing as the light fades.  Books.  Artrwork.  Vintage leather.  Crystal.  Original hardwood flooring.  I’d add a roman shade in the deepest, darkest purple I could find and add a ¾” satin ribbon in oyster lining the bottom edge.  Because a working girl has got to have her privacy, you know.  Especially when her special someone knocks on the door.

Speaking of working, I suppose we could consider the kitchen the workhorse of the home.  I’m not a cook, myself, but if I ever did get around to learning my way around a Wolf range, this might be what I’d go for.  Given I’m prone to the super-organized, “everything in its place” kind of environments in my own life, I’m insanely attracted to those that have a liquidity to them; a free-flowing vibe that seems to suggest, “creativity and inspiration live here”, and, “anything goes”.  This is the Sunday-evening-barefoot-and-jeans-with-a-glass-of-wine-while-the-pasta-sauce-simmers kind of kitchen.  Or brunch-in-your-underwear-and-your-boyfriend’s-button-down-shirt-with-coffee-brewing kind of kitchen.  

Bohemian confidence at its best.  I dig it.

After dinner, while the sun was setting and the stars were beginning to sparkle, I’d meander out to the veranda and light a fire.  The veranda would look like this:

…and instead of the ‘70’s rattan and (quite) unusable stools, I’d plunk a vintage sofa, reupholstered in claret red velvet facing the fire, piled high with antique quilts and vintage blankets.  A few tiny burn marks be damned. 

Of course, if I were in the mood for a more formal fete, I’d have to circle back to the blogosphere darling, Steven Gambrel (of course). 


For me, it’s not so much the individual elements that draw me to Mr. Gambrel’s work; it’s the quality of light inherent in his photographed work.  Brooding and slightly mysterious, the imagery makes me lean in ~ and that’s precisely the kind of feeling I want my spaces to elicit in my guests.  Curiosity.  Comfort.  Just enough edge to keep it sexy.

I imagine sitting around this table for hours, fire blazing while I share time with those I love the most.  One thing though; those stools have got to go.  High-backed loungers for me, please.  All the better for ensuring your bum doesn’t go numb and your back is supported while you’re whiling away those hours.

And in keeping with the formality of the dining area, drinks would be served from the adjoining butler’s pantry.  Of course.

Frankly, this would be just as sexy in the morning as it would be at midnight.  I can’t say the same about many other interiors.  Such is the power of Steven’s work.


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Oh, and the powder room:

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Now, that is some serious stilettos and cocktails sex appeal. 

But I’m cheating.  So if I had to choose one place and one place only, I’d have to honour the artistic leanings of Jill Kantelburg.  One of Toronto’s top designers and antique purveyors, Ms. Kantelburg’s aesthetic sensibilities are as close to “home” for me as any designer could get.  Having grown up on a hundred acre horse farm in an 1880’s rambling (and historically untouched) farmhouse, ‘home’ to me means permanence and longevity.  Trendy or glitzy (not to be confused with true glamour) need not apply.  I ache for craftsmanship.  My heart lies in the pieces that have seen many more years than I have, and will stand the test of time long after I’m gone ~ no matter how glamorous or “of the moment” those pieces may be.  I should admit this isn’t nearly as romantic as it sounds… my high school girlfriends used to come for sleepovers decked out in turtlenecks, long underwear and mittens while we curled up by the wood stove.  But I digress.

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While the overall effect of this home is far lighter in look and feel than I would prefer, the basic pieces are all in place; hearth-centred kitchen, stone floors, post and beam construction, and antiques galore.  I am drawn to this home for a myriad of reasons; one of which should be obvious: the architecture is gorgeous and the décor, just as casually grand.  So picture this crossed with the first image I presented; dark and masculine, with a hint of mysterious sparkle, sexed up with velvet, wool, brocade and deep paisleys.  Lit by candlelight, wax dripping, incense burning.  Scotch on the rocks by the roaring fire.  Now that would be something to come home to, regardless of the decade.  Say ahhhh…
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My, my, my!  That was so great, so in depth, and so well written - not a surprise coming from Erica.  I love so many elements of all of these spaces, thanks so much to Erica for participating!  I hope you all enjoyed it! 
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6 comments:

  1. Girl has style!! And I love that veranda too.

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  2. I agree with Staci - so very well written and in-depth! I found it really hard to choose just one space, so I'm glad Erica pulled from a couple of different sources.

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  3. Thanks for posting this, Staci. I had a ton of fun putting this together.

    I now have the sudden urge to go antiquing...

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  4. @Chassity **blush** You charmer, you.

    @Shannon Why, thank you! I've been accused of being a little verbose. Heh.

    What a fun series!

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  5. I love the classic rural farmhouse. I think that kind of girls weekend, chatting 'round the fireplace sounds simply wonderful!! Thanks for sharing the eye candy and your wise words!

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  6. Loved it! Lots and Lots of eye candy :)

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Oodles of thanks for the comment!