Erinn Valencich believes that interior design is in her blood.
By Kelly Potts
Fine craftsmanship and luxury, livable furnishings are Erinn Valencich’s hallmarks. It’s a journey, she’ll tell you, that started at the age of 8. Her grandfather was a fine cabinetmaker. And her father? An architect who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright.
Today, Valencich is the founder and creative director of Erinn V. Design Group. Since 2004, she has designed for discerning clients around the world, including lofts in New York, oceanfront estates in Mexico, hotels in Las Vegas and chic restaurants in Los Angeles. Now, Valencich also transforms spaces with the help of her custom furniture line of 90 pieces, the Erinn V. Furniture Collection, in addition to several signature collaborations with a variety of brands.
What inspired you to get into the interior design world?
I have always loved homes and interiors and grew up in a very creative family full of architecture, new construction, fine cabinetry and painters. I used to train horses, then ran a lifestyle company for six years and knew that I always wanted to have my own business one day, but wasn’t quite sure in what field. I actually kind of got into the design field myself a bit by accident. A friend suggested me to someone as a designer, and it all started from there. I guess you can say it’s in my blood.
How would you describe your design style?
Modern Classic. I like touches of old with touches of new. I love a mix. I love rooms that make you linger and ponder the associations between the elements in them. I build and design homes of all styles though, from traditional to Spanish to architectural modern. It’s the mix of work that keeps things interesting.
How do you balance your style with a client’s needs?
At the end of the day, it’s the client’s house so they have to love the result, but they wouldn’t hire me if they didn’t like my taste. It’s always a juggling act. I am there to push them and to open their eyes to things they didn’t know they loved yet. I think as my career progresses and my own taste evolves, I’m able to get my way a little more!
What has been your most challenging or rewarding project yet?
Developing and designing the house on Sunset Plaza Drive was quite a feat, with three years of construction. It was featured in Architectural Digest and on the cover of the new Objekt magazine this year. I love to build a home from scratch, being able to bring together various ideas and, with a great team, seeing it all come to life is really rewarding.
You also create custom furniture and cabinetry, what motivated you to offer this to your clients as well?
I built a Barbie sofa out of scrap wood when I was eight years old in my grandfather’s wood shop. I wasn’t the kid making the birdhouse; I was making a wooden sofa! So it was natural for me to start making furnishings for clients. Understanding how things are crafted really helped me in designing furniture. I began designing everything from cabinetry for kitchens and wine rooms to furniture, beds, tables, even lighting, quite early on. I would say about 80 percent of what we put into our clients’ homes, we were designing and building locally. A few of those early pieces were the foundation of the furniture collection. We started making pieces for other designers and it all took off from there.
What makes the Erinn V. Collection stand out?
My collection is bespoke, bench-made furniture crafted in Los Angeles. It’s an intricate blend of materials, design and art, based on old world tradition and enhanced by modern technology. I find inspiration for each piece in many places; a trip through Europe, an antique found in a client’s home or even flipping through magazines. Quite often it’s based on the fusion of a few concepts, or from some materials found at the shop. It’s an artisanal line. Each piece is made to order with locally sourced materials and offered in a range of sophisticated finishes.
What are some things you have planned or hope to achieve in the future?
I am in the midst of a tech start up for the design industry called StyleRow. It’s very exciting to be creating a global destination for designers to source furnishings and offering the digital tools we all need to do business today. I also have a line of hardware launching next year with Baldwin, a rug collection and a lighting collection!
I see you were recipient of the 2016 Arts Award for Interior Design; can you tell me a bit about what contributed to your success?
It was quite an honor to receive this award. I love to be busy, and I think that appetite for creation and for making something happen in life is what leads to the winning of awards. They are not the end goal, but a nice byproduct of a busy and happy life doing what you love.