Blogger Erin Gates has had one foot in the design door since childhood. “My father is a self-taught architectural designer so I grew up around blueprints and fabric samples my whole life, as well as in our family’s three-generation-old women’s clothing store,” she says. “I was surrounded by design, in terms of both fashion and interiors.” This early exposure to fashion and design is best reflected in Erin’s artfully curated blog, Elements of Style.
From lending a peek into fabulous spaces to divulging one-of-a-kind finds, Erin offers her readers design inspiration and advice—all with a sense of wit and humor. It wasn’t surprising, then, that just one year after her blog was founded, the Washington Post named it one of the “Top Ten Design Blogs of 2008.”
Fresh off a trip to Paris, and chock full of inspiration, the blogger-decorator sat down with us to chat about her blog, ABC Home and the design trends she’s currently craving.
How did you stumble upon the design world?
I tried working in fashion, art and interior design for others before deciding to launch my blog and design firm almost five years ago. What started as 10 readers and helping people pick throw pillows has grown into something so much bigger than I ever imagined. It took a lot of hard work, daily dedication and even some tears, but it’s been so worth it.
Elements of Style is a mix of fashion, interior design and pop culture. Any fashion or decorating advice you could impart to someone looking to update their home this season?
Invest in basics. I cannot stress this enough (even to myself). Trendy things should always be something you skimp on. Save those pennies for well-made classics you will wear or sit on until threadbare. Cashmere sweaters, a great fitting blazer, a perfect sofa or marble countertop—these are things you will never regret. Also: mix, mix, mix. Never do all one look, all one store or all one era. Have some investment pieces, some budget finds, some antiques and some modern stuff. Make sure that everything is something you love and is useful to you.
Where do you find your design inspiration?
I am always inspired by other blogs, magazines, books, art, travel and my clients themselves. I love pulling ideas from people’s life stories, possessions and personalities.
What words of wisdom should everyone follow when decorating their home?
Try not to worry too much about making mistakes. Just go with your gut and if you only buy things you love, then the space will work itself out.
Home to you means…
A place that reflects who you are and makes you feel comfortable and safe.
What decorating and design trends are you smitten with right now?
I have a total hankering for distressed and limed wood, velvet and tufted upholstered pieces and faded, worn antique Persian and Turkish rugs. And brass! After years of only liking chrome and nickel, I am obsessed with anything gold or brass, hardware-wise.
What does ABC Carpet & Home represent to you?
ABC really reflects my style in that it’s such a great combination of looks—traditional, modern, global and also a mix of fashion and home!
Erin’s picks from ABC