• Tell Your Friends

design-happens-islas-portrait400x600EMI Interior Design, Inc. is a full-service residential interior design firm, founded by award-winning designer Erica Islas in 2000. Through her years of experience, Erica has developed a unique style of mixing old with new and giving each project a timeless feel. Seamlessly juxtaposing limestone, marble, earthy woods, textured fabrics and organic colors with materials such as metal and glass is what gives Erica’s work a striking and harmonious feel. The always busy Erica dishes on a challenging kitchen remodel and what she loves about vacationing south of the border.

1. Which designers influenced you?

I am a BIG fan of Philippe Starck, Christian Liaigre and Kelly Hoppen. The work of these three designers is timeless and very tailored. I love Starck for his bold, innovative designs — he is truly unique. Liaigre and Hoppen are just classic. Their attention to detail is very similar to my approach.

2. Show us a picture of the room you most enjoyed designing and tell us why you love it.

I enjoy all of my projects. I have the most amazing clients who love my work and trust my design choices. Kitchen and bathroom renovations are my favorites. One of my prized projects is a kitchen renovation in Silverlake, CA.

I love a challenge and this kitchen had them, such as existing posts that we had to work around and windows that the client hated.

design-happens-islas-kitchen-after529x400I was able to enhance the windows with new horizontal cabinets and brought in other warm woods to tie the design together. 

Function was also a challenge. We had to completely redesign the layout by moving the sink from one side to the other. This is never easy to do when you are on a slab-style foundation. I also enjoyed  giving the client what they asked for PLUS more. The client loves cooking, so incorporating her dream AGA stove into a modern kitchen was a MUST and took center stage.

It was my job as an interior designer to keep with the rustic-modern architecture of the house and not let it get old or traditional looking. It was also very important to the client that we use sustainable materials wherever possible. I did not compromise my vision but still gave them exactly what they wanted.

design-happens-islas-kitchen-galley555x400Bet you can’t tell this kitchen has a hidden washer and dryer and a hidden ironing board, too. We custom designed all cabinetry to the very last detail. The clients were a true delight to work for.

3. What’s your favorite design style?

I love modern interiors. I also enjoy contemporary design when it is NOT trendy. I like classic designs that you cannot put a period label on.

4. What’s the essential home accessory (or piece of furniture) you use in your designs?

There should always be something reflective in a room. Whether it be a mirror or silver tray, a glass globe or any metallic finish, something in the room must catch light and reflect. It should happen casually in at least two spots in a room, so that your eye travels. 

Another one of my design must-haves is textures — layers are important. Again, this ties in with the textures and different finishes. A room that is flat is boring. You can always tell a designer has been there when the room looks complete. It’s because we layer, layer, layer — almost if by second-nature. The easiest layering is playing with textures, materials and finishes.

5. What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere in Mexico.  I love the people, the culture and the food. The beaches are amazing.

For more lovely designs from Erica Islas, check out HGTV’s Designers’ Portfolio.


Designers & Talent

19 Responses

  1. Jim from HBQ says:

    Erica I love your design concepts, I enjoy seeing great use of space and material combination's.

  2. Shirleen Hymas says:

    I love your design for your contemporary home office on HGTV. Do you share where you got the pieces to make up this room, minus the murphy bed? I would love to do something like this in our home but don't know where to find these pieces.
    Thank you.

  3. @NicaBradley says:

    The kitchen design is just gorgeous. Very nice pair of appliance colors and wall paints. :) AGA Cookers should go with it and you're a winner. :D

  4. Very well written information. It will be helpful to everyone who employess it, as well as myself. Keep doing what you are doing – can’r wait to read more posts.

  5. link:Mid day random horny tweet:

  6. B156XW04 says:

    I constantly go through your site content attentively. I’m likewise looking into lcd panel manufacturers, perhaps you might write about that at times. Good day.

  7. Without asking them to obliterate it, is there a way i can remove my own blog comments on a celebrity also’s blog? Please help(:.

  8. Hi there very nice website!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing ..

    I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally?
    I’m happy to seek out a lot of helpful information right here in the submit, we
    want develop extra strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing.
    . . . . .

See What We’re Pinning

  • Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas: Acorn Place Card Holder

  • Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas: A Giving Tree >>

  • Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas: Fall Harvest Centerpiece

  • Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas: DIY Cornucopia >>