Interior designer Erica Reitman has a definite design point of view — how can you tell? The tagline of her website (VintageDesign.Me) says it all: “I Will Kick Your House’s Ass.” And that, she does very well. Erica strives to help homeowners make their homes look “bangin’” and when she’s not working her magic in homes across the country, she’s offering up helpful design tips and advice online. As we’ve done in the past, Design Happens dares to go beyond the interior design photos we’re accustomed to seeing and talks to the designers who actually created some of these stunning rooms. This week, we’re chatting with Erica Reitman.
D-Happ: Tell us about your website.
ER: I created VintageDesign.Me to be a spot online where people can go to get great advice, learn an easy tip, or read about my favorite resources. I really try to stay focused on tangible, real-world value and results, so I don’t do inspiration posts or random mood boards that don’t relate to anything (though I love looking at those things on other people’s sites!). I get how valuable everyone’s time is, so I always want people to come away feeling like: “I’m SO ready to go do this random decorating thing that I’ve never thought about before” after reading one of my posts. I also try to stress that while, of course I’d love for you to hire me to come decorate your home, you really don’t have to because e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e has it in them to put together a great space that makes them smile when they walk through their front door. And yep, I do mean everyone.
D-Happ: How would you describe your aesthetic?
ER: My overall aesthetic is kind of like a mosh pit at a Pearl Jam concert in 1992. I love, love, love the graphic, colorful design of the 60′s and 70′s, and really dig mixing pieces from that era with newer modern pieces. Big, bold pieces of art make me smile, and vintage anything always gets me revved up — especially if it comes from a flea market or a thrift store. I do tend to lean more toward more masculine interiors, and so I especially love working with guys on “dude designing” their spaces. So I guess my aesthetic is eclectic/vintage/arty/masculine/70′s/chic?
D-Happ: Where do you source inspiration?
ER: My favorite source of inspiration is vintage interior design magazines and books. I recently moved to Los Angeles, and the flea markets here are pretty amazing. So I often find great old issues of Architectural Digest, Town & Country and House and Garden magazines that I buy for a buck apiece and then pore over at home.
D-Happ: What’s your favorite space/room to decorate in a home?
ER: I really dig bathrooms, because for some reason people are more comfortable taking chances and stepping outside their comfort zone with a bathroom. My suggestion of emerald green, tribal, ikat wallpaper magically gets very little push-back when we’re talking about zhushing up someone’s bathroom walls, but for living rooms or bedrooms I might get the side eye. Also, can we agree that this should now be the official spelling of “zhush?”
D-Happ: What’s your current color obsession?
ER: My last home was all white from top to bottom: white floors, ceilings and walls with pops of color. So in my new space, I’ve gone in the opposite direction and decided to do a dark and moody color palette. We painted the walls in our main living area black, and in the bedroom we went for a dark, inky blue. I’ve mixed in lots of brass, leather and coral/oranges. I’m calling this my “thunderstorm” phase as it all reminds me of the crazy colors the sky turns right before a big storm rolls in. The dark colors really make the whole space feel so cozy — and debunk the myth that you can’t use dark colors in small spaces. I swear, you can!
D-Happ: What’s your favorite space that you’ve designed?
ER: I recently designed my niece Gigi’s bedroom and it was so much darn fun. I don’t have kids, so I really love to design children’s rooms as it’s a challenge to try to get a feel for a space that I don’t know much about. Working with moms who really dig interior design is fab too, because they often want to create a space that doesn’t necessarily scream: ALERT: A KID LIVES HERE! Gigi absolutely loves ballerinas and tutus, so we created a reachable storage/display solution for her that allows her to grab her tutus whenever the mood strikes. Needless to say, the mood now strikes often.
D-Happ: If you could re-do any space in your home, what would it be?
ER: Does my storage unit count? It’s currently overflowing with all sorts of fab furniture and decor that I either need a bigger house for or some fun new projects.
D-Happ: What design faux pas absolutely makes you cringe?
ER: Crazy, mismatched paint color choices. I often see this in photos that are featured in real estate ads. Someone will start off with great intentions thinking: “let’s get some color in here!,” but by the time they’re done, their house looks like a bag of skittles exploded. Green living room! Orange kitchen! Blue bedrooms! Red foyer! Please don’t ever do this. I promise: Rainbow Brite is not a design trend that is, was, or will ever be on anyone’s radar.
D-Happ: What design trend can you not stop using/doing?
ER: I will never ever ever get sick of animal prints — animal anything, actually. I also have an obsession with brass and gold that I just can’t crush…not that I’ve tried to, but still.
D-Happ: What trends do you see popping in 2015?
ER: Design seems to be moving in the direction of in your face bold, and I really hope that continues. My favorite spaces are the ones that grab you from the moment you walk into a room as if to say “yo, check me out!” Mixing fabrics, eras and colors in new and more exciting ways is a trend that I’ll never get sick of. Also, I think the wallpaper trend is definitely going to continue in 2015, and I’ve loved watching it become more and more mainstream. I think everyone should have at least one space in their home wallpapered. Wallpaper is like a secret handshake code for: “I care about design” — when I see it in someone’s home I immediately know we were meant to be BFF’s.