A few years ago I went to a holiday party at Erica’s small Mill Valley cottage. I was so impressed by the way she had put her home together. Every item was chosen and placed with such care, and she had managed to create an interior that was both eclectic and cohesive. The result was warm, inviting, and oh-so-livable. Read on for more about Erica’s style, some great decorating tips and her inspirational and shop worthy picks.
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Name: Erica Henderson
Occupation: Marketing Manager for a start-up natural snack food company & founder of Tin Roof Farmhouse (www.tinrooffarmhouse.blogspot.com)
Location: Mill Valley, Sausalito & Grass Valley CA
-How would you describe your decorating style?
My style is a bit eclectic. A little beach cottage mixed with rustic farmhouse and some industrial eco-chic to mix things up. I like glossy white paint, rusty metal, worn natural linens, chippy paint in muted colors, shiny slick new metal, crafty fabric pieces, sparkly glass accents, rustic wood and vintage pieces with stories to tell. I like to create still-lifes out of my collections. I love photography, so I see spaces and collections in individual images. I like juxtapositions; a collection of shiny metal vases on a rough wood console, vintage ironstone with bright pink napkins, concrete floors with a crystal chandelier. I like to experiment with the collections I’ve gathered over the years.
-Do you have any rules for home design? Not really rules, more just ways of living. I only buy what I love. I make do with what I have. And I prefer to re-use, re-claim and re-purpose pieces. I am ridiculously thrifty. I like to see how I can use items that others would toss away in new and unexpected ways. It makes me happy. How do you create a cohesive look? White helps bring things together or make certain items pop. I love white walls to keep things cohesive. It helps to balance out my eclectic mix of styles and interests. I try to stay with two accent colors in a room layered on top of the white backdrop, with metal and wood accents. I always make sure every room has some natural elements; a vase full of driftwood, a bowl of collected stones, a platter of seashells. A cohesive look comes from keeping a space balanced. Triangles work well for spacing similar elements or colors throughout the room. I generally just shift and re-arrange items from table to console, from room to room, until I feel comfortable. It’s always a work-in-progress for me.
-How much does the architectural style of a home and the location influence your style? I definitely find places that I know I can make my own; that I connect with on an emotional level. I love architecture and prefer spaces with “character.” I gravitate towards homes that need a little love to make them shine. I tend to find beauty in places that others would disregard as old and dilapidated. It truly gives me pleasure to fix these places up while keeping a bit of their original charm and some may say funk.
-You recently bought a new home. What do you love about your new house and what are some of the challenges you have faced when decorating? I love the fact that everything we do is ours to keep. This means that we get to do it exactly as we see fit. We are fortunate enough to have this as our project/vacation home, so we are able to take the time needed to feel what the space needs and find the right items or solutions. I am grateful to have a husband that is a carpenter, so we are able to do all of the remodeling ourselves. This leads to the second part of the question…We aren’t quite to the decorating phase yet. We’re still working on redoing floors, replacing windows, adding closets, gutting and revamping the kitchen, etc. We’re still working on the backdrop. The main challenge I see so far, is that there are so many options and choices it makes it a little overwhelming at times. But my husband and I work really well together to come up with a cohesive plan that makes sense for our lifestyle, budget and the house.
-Where do you look for inspiration? I grew up in a creative environment, so I have been blessed with an eye for seeing disparate items and bringing them together in inspiring spaces. I find inspiration in my daily life from friends, nature, Pinterest, flea markets, etsy, store window displays, Country Living magazine, my parents, Anthropologie, fashion…basically my surroundings. I love items that are worn and have their own story to tell if you take the time to listen.
-Where do you like to shop for home decor and what are some of your favorite brands? I generally buy my home decor second hand, whether it’s from Craigslist, flea markets, thrift shops or often hand-me-downs from friends that replace their decor often. And sometimes I splurge at sample sales for new items. Like I mentioned previously, I have to love an item to purchase it and I keep them around for a long time. I still have furniture pieces that I had as a child and when I was in college. I’ve always had my own eclectic style that has developed over the years, but remains very consistent. I like to re-invent pieces using them in different locations – a dresser can be used in the kitchen or the bathroom as storage and a prep area. If I tire of an item, a fresh coat of paint can bring it back to life.
As far as brands and specific shops…I love Anthropologie for their eclectic and creative sense of style; they always inspire me. I also still love Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic style and line. I like the ease of her spaces and use of white as a backdrop. Barnlight Electric is my new favorite retailer for inspiration.
-What is your dream home item and why? I honestly don’t have one dream item. It’s all about the layers. Individual pieces that bring a smile to my face because of where I found it, how little I paid for them, the time I spent creating it or the friend that passed it on to me. Oh and a kick ass Viking stove will make The Farmhouse perfect.
-What are you shopping for now? A used Viking Professional Series stainless steel stove for The Farmhouse. The perfect item for our Industrial Farmhouse look we’re going for. We’re obsessed. My husband and I feel that the kitchen is the heart of the home and the stove is the centerpiece. It brings warmth and life to the space. It’s where friends gather and memories are made.
Here are some of Erica’s favorite looks: