Case Study: Erica Davies
Aug 26, 2022
“You cannot build a scheme in a day - a room that feels like yours will take time to put together,” says former Fashion Editor turned Digital Content Creator, Stylist, and Author Erica Davies, and it’s a notion she’s followed throughout the entire transformation of her home in Essex.
When Erica and her family moved in seven years ago, putting their stamp on the space was the ultimate goal, and it’s only recently – after years of thought, planning and sourcing – that she’s ready to say it’s finished.
As well as a beautiful, timeless space that’s packed with personality, Erica’s home is a masterclass in the art of combining colour, pattern, and texture, which comes as no surprise when you consider her background in fashion – a world that isn’t far removed from interiors at all, she says: “It’s about being able to judge proportion: so knowing where you need to add something for interest, the way colours work together, the way a tonal shift can alter things”.
Here, Erica shares her home design story, and tells us why, when it comes to creating successful interior schemes, the key is to always start small…
Full name: Erica Davies
Occupation: Fashion Editor, author, content creator
Style and location of your property: Newish build in north Essex
Who lives there: Myself, my husband James and our two children Charlie, 12 and Lila, 10
What was the property like when you bought it? Was there a lot of work to do?
It had one previous family who had lived there since it was built. It was very simply decorated - lots of white, beige and magnolia! We knew we wanted to turn a conservatory into part of the kitchen, replace the bathrooms - and I wanted to paint everywhere and add our stamp!
What was your overall vision for the home?
Colour and texture. I am so drawn to pattern and colour and was keen to create a home that felt comfortable but that would be an inspiring place for our children to grow up in.
Where did you start?
We actually started with the main living room - which we took from white to a rich blue.
You’ve used a set of our reclaimed tiles in your hallway and our new Carmona Verde tiles from the Antique Collection in your bathroom. What was your original vision for these spaces and why were these tiles a great fit?
I love the styles and colours that Bert & May offer and really wanted to inject a modern interpretation of a classic style into our home. As our house isn’t that old, I didn’t want it to be a pastiche of an older property - instead I took my inspiration from older houses and tried to recreate it in a modern way. Bert & May tiles are the perfect way to do that. They give the encaustic look I love, but in vibrant colours and strong patterns. The Loredo tiles [one of our past reclaimed finds] in our hall are monochrome, which I love when paired with my bright green stair carpet. Then I wanted to bring the green upstairs into the bathroom with the Carmona Verde - which also has my other favourite orange colour running through.
What do the tiles add to the spaces?
They give it a sense of gravitas. I feel the hall tiles in particular really ground the space and give a sense of what the rest of the house is like.
What led you to choose Bert & May?
I love that Bert & May is a British company creating beautiful products. There is a huge choice and there are so many ways to interpret the collections in ways that work for your home.
Why and how did you make the switch from Fashion Editor to Digital Content Creator?
I was a national newspaper and magazine fashion editor for the best part of 20 years, before leaving to go freelance when my children were really small. I had started a blog when my daughter was born, which started to grow and my Instagram following increased when we left London for north Essex! I started working with brands and creating my own magazine on my social media account. Now I do a variety of things - I wrote my first book in 2020, have had a homeware collection for QVC and am about to launch my second collection of boots for John Lewis.
Have you always had a passion for interiors?
Absolutely! I used to cut up my mum’s magazines to create mood boards!
How would you sum up your personal interior style? Would you say it reflects your fashion sense?
I think fashion and interiors are absolutely linked - there isn’t much difference between the two. I have a love of colour, print and fabric - and all those things relate to the way you put an outfit or room decor together. It’s about looking at the balance of colours and layering to give a textural finish and interest.
Are there transferable skills between styling clothes and styling rooms?
Yes, most definitely. It’s about being able to judge proportion: so, knowing where you need to add something for interest, the way colours work together, the way a tonal shift can alter things. With a room I always suggest starting a scheme off with something small, like a cushion or a lampshade and building it from that. An outfit is very similar - start off with something small that inspires you, like a pair of shoes, or the print on a blouse.
What’s the key to creating personality-packed interiors?
You cannot build a scheme in a day - a room that feels like yours will take time to put together. You might come across a junk shop which has the perfect cupboard for that corner or see an Instagram artist who has created the most incredible print for the wall that needs something. But you won’t find these things all at once, so patience is key!
You recently wrote a fashion style guide called Leopard is a Neutral – does this count for interiors as well as clothes?
Oh yes! I have just put down a leopard-print carpet in my wardrobe! And I love an old Ercol armchair I have, that has been upholstered in leopard velvet. It’s a little nod but it works in so many schemes.
Where do you find inspiration? Whose style do you admire?
Everywhere from hotels and restaurants to Instagram accounts and magazines. I love Beata Heuman, Kelly Wearstler, Kit Kemp - anyone who is confident in putting interesting colours, textures and prints together,
Where are your go-to places for fantastic interior finds?
What’s next - any more exciting projects in the pipeline?
In the house, no - we have finally (after seven years!) finished everything! Work-wise, I am writing book number two and have TWO exciting collections coming up this October for John Lewis!
Follow Erica on Instagram - @erica_davies
For more information about Leopard is a Neutral: A Really Useful Style Guide, click here.