Designer Crush: Erinn Valencich

1. You were born into a family of skilled architects and makers - when did you know design was your destiny and how did you get your start?

I have always loved homes and interiors… and grew up in a very creative family full of architecture, new construction, fine cabinetry and painters.  But I actually fell into the field myself a bit by accident. I guess you can say it’s in my blood and therefore was destined. A friend suggested me to someone as a designer, and it all started from there.

2. How does a solid understanding of architecture enhance your work as a designer?

I would say it gives one the history of place.   And to be creative with an interior that allows more freedom of ideas and at the same time opportunity to tie things together in an unexpected way that still works.

3. What inspired you to launch your own custom furniture line and how has it evolved since its launch in 2011?

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 bird house, it was a wooden sofa! So from there it was natural for me to start making pieces for clients. Understanding how things are made really helped this passion grow. I began building and designing about 80% of what we put into our clients homes quite early on in my career. That is the beginning of the furniture collection.  We started making pieces for other designers and it all took off from there.

4. Tell us about your experience on American Dream Builders.

It was quite a production—like a massive movie set.  I think the idea was right and could have been a terrrific show, but sadly they powers that be decided to focus on creating “drama” instead of on the design.  But I’m thrilled to have been a part of it. I’m still friends with many of the cast! Nate was great and I had the opportunity to work with some very talented people.

5. You have a huge Instagram following - how has social media played a role in developing your brand?

It really hasn’t played much of a role for me, I just kind of do what I do and have added that into the way I promote and keep up with new trends and what gorgeous projects others are creating. I think Instagram is great for design. I use it to find a lot of cool bespoke and boutique makers around the world.  I know a few designers that get most of their clients from Instagram though- I need to figure out how to do that!

6. Describe a particularly memorable/challenging project for us.

Developing and designing the house on Sunset Plaza drive was quite a feat.  3 years of construction. It was in Architectural Digest and on the cover of the new Objekt Magazine this year.  

7. Who’s your dream celebrity client and why?

Hmmm…I can’t say I have thought of this before.  It would have to be someone that loves design…so maybe Brad Pitt. I mean, who wouldn’t want to work with that guy!

8. What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?

My perfect Sunday is one that I don’t have to work! Running three companies keeps you quite busy. So first I’d stop off at Chaumont Bakery in Bevelry Hills, they have the best croissants outside of Paris. Then I’ll drive out to Malibu. I used to train horses there, and it’s still one of my favorite places to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. I’ll cap off some shopping at the Malibu Country Mart with dinner at my favorite local Greek restaurant, Taverna Tony, before heading home.

9. Which musical album or artist has inspired you most and why?

Can’t say that any have inspired me. I love music, but don’t follow the artists really. I’m more of a radio girl…whatever happens to be on.

Lightning round!

10. Pancakes or waffles?

Pancakes, but thin ones!

11. Early bird or night owl?

These days more early bird.

12. Dance machine or karaoke queen?

Dance Machine. Never Karaoke’d!

13. Heels or flats?

Love heels, but flats for sure!

14. Beach escape or mountain retreat?

Probably going to say beach, although I hate being in the sand!