Bi-coastal decorator Erin Fetherston is known for the bright, airy, and expansive interiors she creates for clients like actress Jenna Dewan and The Jane Club. But also for the joie de vivre – jumping on the bed, hosting al fresco dinners – she shares on Instagram. As our inaugural designer profile subject and a favorite design customer, we asked her to share some of her House Rules, so to speak. We’ll be sharing advice from a different designer each month, so stay tuned.
“The way that you approach a modern loft is different than the way you approach an historic 1920s LA bungalow, but no matter what the space is, I always want it to feel bigger and brighter than when I first walked in.
It’s not a daring, bold move, but white paint always works, and if you paint a room white, it’s going to instantly feel bigger and brighter, in my opinion.”
But Don’t Choose Your Paint in a Vacuum
“The floor in my home in Los Angeles has kind of a gray tone, so for the walls, I chose Chantilly Lace from Benjamin Moore, which has kind of a cool undertone. But in my New York home we did a blond floor, and so the white that I chose – Wimborne White from Farrow and Ball – is a little bit warmer.
Looking at everything together is helpful, because you don’t want to choose your paint color in a vacuum; you want to take the other surface colors into consideration.
I’ll also paint a piece of foam core, maybe two feet by four feet, and move it around the house to see how the light bounces off of it in different rooms.”
“Positioning a mirror opposite a window is almost like creating a second window in a space. I can’t say that it works every time, but I always look for an opportunity to reflect the natural light using a mirror because it makes the space instantly feel much bigger.”
“In the foundation phase of design planning – when you’re making decisions about things you want to last for a long time, like key furniture pieces – I personally tend to go with the safer choices.
The second phase is sort of the ‘fun layer,’ and this is where we can take more risks and play with trends. Pillows and blankets make it easy to switch it up, so you can be playful without making such a big financial commitment.”
“Maybe you have young kids, so you’re going with a charcoal gray couch so it doesn’t show wear and tear as much. And if you’re a person who tends to like lighter colors like me, you can add a lavender mohair throw blanket.”
“While planning the foundation phase, 99 percent of the time I use a Jute rug to define the space. And the great thing about Jute rugs from Annie Selke is that they come in every size you could ever want so you have a lot of options, which makes it easy. You can really trust that a Jute rug — especially one from Annie Selke — is going to hold up well and not go out of style. You can literally use them in every single room.”
“I also use Jute rugs as a way to solve an ugly floor problem. Let’s say you’re in a home or a rental and you don’t love the floor but you don’t want to change it because changing a floor is a big and expensive project. Just covering it with a huge Jute rug can kind of make it disappear. And then the floor, you just don’t even see it any more. So Jute rugs just never get old.”
“Then I’ll layer a high pile shag Moroccan-style rug on top of a larger Jute rug. I also love to go on Etsy and find something vintage to layer in a small way, like under a coffee table.”
“I have an 8-month-old baby at home, and I’m trying to juggle working, being a mom, and also making sure I take care of myself – which allows me to do the first two things! I do yoga every day at home. And I love to relax in my infrared sauna – which is probably the greatest gift that I ever gave to myself.”
“I’ve been taking my older son to the Farmer’s Market every Sunday since he was 9 months old. All of the vendors who are there regularly have really seen him grow up, and he knows them all by name. It’s nice to step into a place where you can get a village feeling – even within a big city like LA.”
“I actually discovered Annie Selke through their Dash & Albert rugs. I was like, ‘Oh, these are the greatest indoor/outdoor rugs hands down on the market,’ and then I kind of discovered the whole world of Annie Selke.
It’s very quality product, and it’s not completely astronomical. I think for me and for many of my clients, we’re in that stage of life where no one wants to spend 10 thousand dollars on a rug with little kids at home.”
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