Yesterday on IG Live I chatted with my friend and sought-after Main Line designer Erinn Wiley (you can watch the entire segment here!). Erinn is known for her masterful color mixing and pattern pairing, and her former home in Villanova beautifully showcases her bold, yet approachable style. She is on a mission to bring more color into our lives, and when you see her warm and gracious home, it’s easy to understand why!
Erinn was kind enough to answer some questions here on the blog about her former home (her family sold that home last year and moved to an 1810 stone farmhouse in Berwyn that they’re currently renovating), her go-to shopping spots on the Main Line and her number one design mantra.
• Why was this your favorite design project?
This project was so much fun to do, for so many reasons. First and foremost, it was my home. Every day I work with clients, helping them realize their vision of what they want their home to look like and how they want it to feel. But this time, every piece of furniture, every single painting, every little item placed on a bookshelf was chosen for my family and for our vision of what we wanted to be surrounded by each and every day. The greatest compliment I could get was when guests lingered long after dinner was over, or my daughter would say that our house was “happy” because of all the colorful art on the walls and fabrics on the furniture. But the best compliment was when my husband would say how he loved coming home to our house at the end of the day…that when he drove around the bend and saw it all lit up inside (lighting is SO important!), it made him smile. We moved to a new home a little over a year ago, and while it’s taking forever to complete and sometimes I wonder what we were thinking, I know it’s just a matter of time until he says that again.
• How did your design career start?
I guess you could say my love of design started at birth. No seriously! My nana was a fabulous decorator in Cincinnati, and I loved visiting her beautiful home. She had the most gorgeous lemon yellow walls in her living room and on the mantels was a pair of turquoise and aubergine foo dogs. She was bold with color and had impeccable taste, and it rubbed off on my mother and then on me. My mother used to be a decorator herself so I guess you could say it’s in the genes. My father’s mother wasn’t a decorator but her home was so wonderfully put together. She loved chinoiserie and Persian rugs and Imari plates on the wall. Clearly I am her granddaughter. After college I went to design school and interned with several very talented designers in Baltimore but an unexpected and amazing opportunity in NYC came my way and I couldn’t turn it down. So I packed my bags, moved to the city and put that dream on hold. I wasn’t really planning on getting back into design, however, a dear friend (who is also an amazing designer herself) urged me to reconsider. I’m so happy I did!
• Favorite place to shop on the Main line?
Oh gosh, there are so many great places to find treasures on the Main Line. If I’m looking for a fun find or an affordable piece of furniture I can spruce up, definitely The Velvet Shoestring in Wayne. What a gem! I also love to pop into Frazer Antiques in Malvern from time to time just to look or when I’m styling bookshelves and looking for that perfect Imari plate. The Little House Shop in Wayne always has beautiful accessories as well as a wonderful selection of coffee table books, which is my favorite gift to give and receive. And ML Wilcox is the absolute queen of all things blue and white and orchids. She always has the best stylish, affordable treasures for your home. I’m fairly certain I have never left her shop empty-handed.
• What is your dream project?
I would have to say that my dream project would be to decorate and renovate a grand old Upperville, Virginia country estate/equestrian property. You know the kind I’m talking about…sprawling, old, Georgian colonial on 100 rolling acres complete with a guest cottage, amazing pool and gardens that would make Christopher Spitzmiller swoon. I dream at night of tall ceilings, heavy crown molding, lead glass windows and no budget!
• Top interior design tip?
My number one design tip that I tell all my clients (and remind myself from time to time) is to choose things for your home that make you happy. What I mean is, select fabrics and accessories that feel good when you touch them or make you smile when you see them. Think about the colors you like to wear, those that compliment your skin tone or eye color. Take those colors and paint them on your walls and upholster them on your furniture. If you wouldn’t put on that chartreuse sweater because it doesn’t do anything for you, then for God’s sake don’t put it on your bedroom chaise. (Fun fact: Chartreuse is one of my very favorite colors!) But you won’t see a lot of griege or cream in my house for that very same reason. Oh, and most importantly, don’t take it too seriously. I’ve had clients torture themselves on every little decision. Life is hard; decorating shouldn’t be.
Thank you so much Erinn for sharing your gorgeous home with us. Be sure to follow Erinn for more colorful design finds and inspo!