Erin Gates’ award-winning blog, Elements of Style, was born from a lifetime of design passion. From being surrounded by fashion and architecture at an early age to later ventures into fine art and event planning, Erin has lived and loved the full spectrum of design – and she has shared that passion with the world.
This passion led to Erin establishing her own design firm, being featured in numerous design publications, and publishing two books. Now this life-long wallpaper lover is releasing her own collection and sharing the joys of her journey with us:
When did you first fall in love with design?
I’ve loved design since I was a little girl – not so much with interiors themselves, but with design in all forms: art, architecture, fashion. When I was younger, my parents ran a clothing store that was passed down from my great-grandparents to my grandparents and then to them. My dad also taught himself architectural design and eventually opened his own firm. I was taught an appreciation for aesthetics early on.
What first brought you professionally to the world of design? Did you plan on making a career out of your passion, or did you find yourself here over time?
I interned for my dad’s firm on school breaks and then once I graduated college worked in an art gallery, slowly finding my passion for interior design. It took a few career changes before I ended up working for a designer, and then eventually starting my blog and then my own firm. I always knew I’d end up doing something creative and design-driven, but I just didn’t know what until I tried a few things (fashion in NYC, event planning… I was even an insurance broker!)
How would you describe your style?
My style is based in traditional New England classicism with a contemporary lean. I like to blend high end and affordable, new and antique, form and function, and want my spaces to convey the personalities and stories of those inhabiting them.
Do you tend to attract clients who have similar tastes to you, or do you like the challenge of adapting to your clients’ tastes while bringing your personal touch to a project?
We have a combination! A lot of people who hire us have similar taste, which is why they seek me out. But I always find it interesting and challenging in the best of ways to work with people who have different taste than mine - I learn a lot more on those jobs! Maybe it’s introducing myself to a new fabric line, or artist, or seeing something I thought I didn’t like in a new, appreciative light!
How did you first come across A-Street Prints?
I’ve been obsessed with wallpaper for as long as I can remember, and so it has always been a goal of mine to have my own collection. A-Street has always been on our radar as a fellow local business and we are SO excited to work with such a talented and enthusiastic partner on this.
What does this collection mean to you as a designer?
Launching my own wallpaper collection is a HUGE point of pride for me - creating unique products under my brand name is something I love doing and take very seriously. It’s such a thrill to sketch and mock up designs that I would want in my own home and then get to share them with the world!
What was it like designing your first wallpaper collection?
The process was really fun! We hired artist Rachel Rogers, who designed the birth announcement I used for my daughter, to work with us on creating these hand-painted patterns. I crafted inspiration boards, color palettes and did sketches, which she interpreted and transformed into the collection you see now! It was like Christmas morning every time we’d see an email from her in our inboxes with a new pattern!
Do you have a favorite design or pattern that is particularly meaningful to you?
I went to an all-girls boarding school and all the dorm rooms had this old, floral wallpaper; I named our lily of the valley pattern in honor of that formative time in my life. The Emma bow pattern was born from wanting a sweet, girly pattern for my daughter’s closet and inspired by some watercolor stationery I’d come across. I cannot WAIT to install the grey version in her room!
Any styling recommendations for those interested in using your collection in their own home?
I see this collection as a classic grouping of prints that could be utilized in a number of rooms and in various styles of home, though probably ones with a slightly more traditional sensibility. There are a few designs that would be SO great in children’s rooms, as they aren’t juvenile and could grow with them. There’s also a few that are elegant enough for a dining room that I could see being fun in a powder room as well!