Several years ago, while visiting my sister at her home on the Chesapeake Bay, I met one of her neighbors - Erin Paige Pitts. My sister noted that the neighbor was an interior designer who was building a house nearby, but the house was under construction so I did not get to see it.
A family picture (above) of Gregory and Erin Pitts and their children, image via Traditional Home, photo credit Gordon Beall.
Flash forward to last year – and that very house was featured in Traditional Home! Not only was the house featured in Traditional Home, but Erin Paige Pitts, the designer and owner of the house, was selected as one of the Traditional Home ‘20 Young Designers to Watch’ for 2010 (see the March 2010 issue). Design runs in the family, as Erin’s husband Gregory Pitts and his brother own and operate David Edward, an internationally distributed high end manufacturer of wood and upholstered seating and tables. Gregory is Executive Vice President in charge of design and marketing.
After I read about Erin’s wonderful mention in Traditional Home, we reconnected and Erin graciously answered some questions for me to share with my readers. It is always fascinating for me to learn more about the thoughts behind the designs!
Erin and Gregory’s home in Chesapeake Bay home in Gibson Island, Maryland. Image via Traditional Home, photo credit Gordon Beall.
Where do you get the inspiration for your interiors?
Erin: At heart, I am a classicist. I get tremendous inspiration from Robert A.M. Stern, Victoria Hagan and other architects who emulate things with scale and balance. With that being said, I also love French, Dutch and Moorish influences. I am a big fan of McAlpine, Booth, Ferrier and love how they integrate old with new.
The open flow of the family room/dining area/kitchen of the Gibson Island house is perfect for entertaining. Image via Traditional Home, photo credit Gordon Beall.
How would you describe your personal style?
Erin: I am not a trendy designer although I like things that are "current". I love clean lines in architecture and furniture. I always love symmetry and balance. I am never going to suggest an interior that is going to quickly date itself. If I had to sum up my personal style it would be "classic traditional".
The dining area of Erin’s home, with one of my favorite chairs – the Ribbon chair by David Edwards. Image via Traditional Home, photo credit Gordon Beall.
In your own home, what is your favorite room and why?
Erin: I love my living room. It has basically floor to ceiling windows or doors on three sides. It is beautiful inside and there is a great water view from the back, with beautiful mature trees on the other two sides. It is very calming, the perfect place to relax with a glass of wine at the end of a long day. I am not a big fan of a lot of color. I like a neutral base palette (whites, taupe's, natural linen ) that you build some color accents into. I believe your home is the only place in the world where you can really let your guard down and relax and that is my living room for me.
Erin’s beautiful living room, perfectly designed with the indoor/outdoor connection of the room in mind – look out these windows, and you see a beautiful view of the Chesapeake Bay. Image via Traditional Home, photo credit Gordon Beall.
Do you have any favorite paints that you use over and over?
Erin: I love Ralph Lauren's Journal White and Benjamin Moores Revere Pewter, Gray Cashmere. I love Sherwin Williams Quietude. I also use a lot of Farrow and Ball's Clunch, Borrowed Light among others. The best true white is BM Super White; I often use this color on trim.
The family room in the house, which can be closed off with pocket doors. Image via Traditional Home, photo credit Gordon Beall.
Do you have any favorite materials that you like to use on a project?
Erin: I love all natural materials and use them all. I use a lot of limestone and marble. I love any fabric with a linen ground and now linen with embroidery is becoming a trend. When it comes to wood, I love walnut and alder. I like to incorporate caning in cabinetry. I have a project now with pecky cyprus beams, which adds a great feel of the natural element in the space, and adds depth and dimension.
The living room of an Italian Villa for which Erin recently designed the interiors (love those round windows and the sofas flanking the fireplace).
A wider view of the living room and dining room. Interiors by Erin Paige Pitts.
Are you seeing any trends on your projects right now?
Erin: I always find this to be the hardest question to answer because no two project are alike, and no two clients are alike. As a designer who has their own firm, I certainly have my own aesthetic, but I don’t always get clients who share that aesthetic preference. However, I have learned the most from from projects that were outside of my preferred aesthetic/comfort zone. For example I recently finished work on a Italian Villa, it was more decorative and elaborate than anything else I had ever done; It pushed me to think more in those terms. I definitely grow more on those types of projects.
A lovely hall in the Italian villa. Design by Erin Paige Pitts.
On any design project, what is the absolute first thing that must be done?
Erin: The first thing that must be done is the client must be totally honest with you about themselves and their life. If that doesn't occur, it is difficult to read the client and therefore do a design that will work for them. They also need to communicate to the best of their ability what they want me to accomplish for them. Pictures from magazines can help convey this as well as what I call "the download" which is usually the "kick-off" meeting where I do my best to ask as many questions as I can to understand the client. This meeting usually takes hours!
Erin’s screened in porch, with its view of the Chesapeake Bay. Image via Traditional Home, photo credit Gordon Beall.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Erin Paige Pitts, selected as one of the "20 Young Designers to watch in 2010" by Traditional Home magazine. It is truly amazing what she has accomplished given that her design firm is only 5 years old! You can vote for her on the 'Young Traditional Readers Choice awards on the Traditional Home site - http://my.traditionalhome.com/photos/photo-contests/young-traditional-readers-choice/1498000021/?photoId=1495100020
You can visit her website here: www.erinpaigepittsinteriors.com
Erin also has a new blog, which can be seen at www.erinpaigepitts.wordpress.com. You can also follow her on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gibson-Island-MD/Erin-Paige-Pitts-Interiors/272176153717?ref=ts
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