Category Archives: Design School

What A Year!

Hey there strangers! Happy Halloween! Guess who it is… ?!

I know it has been about 10 months since I have posted around here, but after the next few paragraphs, I hope you understand why!  I will keep the recap fairly brief, mostly because I am lazy and a lengthy recap has scared me away from updating the blog sooner. So short-ish and sweet it is!

January – March
I started working part time as I finished up my last quarter at school. It was my thesis quarter, so it was absolutely beyond insane with all of the work I had to accomplish! But the thesis project, which was broken up into three parts (residential, commercial, and business/portfolio components), went extremely well. I managed to pull off an A, making my final GPA for FIDM a 3.98! Woooo! If you would like to check out a bit of my work, I have a rough portfolio set up at (the website functionality isn’t great but you can get a good idea of what kept me busy!).

March – June 13
Once I had finished up my coursework, I switched over to working full time at the home decor shop (Kulture Bomb) where I had been working part time. I worked very hard to help transform a small e-commerce site into a brick and mortar shop on Melrose Avenue. It was very exciting! We opened our doors unofficially in the beginning of June.

In addition to working, I was wedding planning like crazy. Because of thesis, very little planning happened after December, so there was a bit of a mad dash on my part to get everything organized for our big day. I loved every second of it! Whoever said wedding planning wasn’t fun was doing it wrong. Yes, the last week was nuts… but that’s all part of the adventure, right?! Since our venue was a blank slate (with a KILLER VIEW!), we planned everything from the layout of the space, to the food, music, and decor of the day. We truly got to make the day very personal and exactly the way we envisioned it.

We also got our engagement photos taken in May by the beyond-incredible Richard at Clarkie Photography, and they were AMAZING. Check out the highlights here!

Erika and Walker Erika and Walker

June 14
I married the love of my life and my best friend at Doll Pond in Santa Ynez, CA!!!! The whole weekend was a like a beautiful fairy tale, watching our friends and family from all over the country mingle and bond in the small Danish village of Solvang. Our wedding was everything we wanted and more! It went off without a hitch (except the getting hitched part, obviously), and there is absolutely nothing I would change if I could do it all over again! Walker and I had the best day of our lives, and the memories will stick with us for a lifetime. I am getting teary-eyed thinking about that amazing day over 4 months later! I couldn’t be more proud and grateful to be Mrs. Dale! :)

Check out the photo highlights here!

If you would like to see a longer slideshow set to our special tunes of the day or to see the full gallery of about 900 photos, send me an email and I will happily send links to either! At some point, I will do a much longer wedding post with lots of photos, but today is not that day! ;)

Solvang Vineyard Wedding Solvang Vineyard Wedding Photography Solvang Vineyard Wedding Photography

June 17-23

All-inclusive honeymoon in Barbados, courtesy of Wheel of Fortune! Seriously, guys, this trip was like a dream. After all of the commotion of the wedding, it was divine to kick up my feet with my new husband and drink rum on the beach! We also went swimming/snorkeling with sea turtles followed by a booze cruise, went on an incredible submarine tour, had a wonderful champagne breakfast in bed, went zip-lining through the forest, and were treated to a private romantic dinner on the beach on our last night on the island (all thanks to our wonderful friends and family who gifted us these unbelievable experiences).


Winning the trip!

While we were in Barbados, FIDM had our commencement ceremony, and I officially graduated summa cum laude! I was a valedictorian candidate, but couldn’t apply since I would be napping on the beach in Barbados and couldn’t give a speech… oh well. However, I was lucky enough to win this year’s Sally Sirkin Lewis award, which honors one “outstanding Interior Design student who demonstrates exceptional creativity and innovation in approaching Interior Design projects.” My work was judged by a panel of industry professionals, and I couldn’t be happier to have my work/portfolio speak for itself (while I swam with turtles in the ocean)! I felt so accomplished, happy, relaxed, and in love in Barbados!


June 24
Back to real life.

In July, two of our best friends in the world had a beautiful baby girl named Lyla, so Walker and I became an auntie and uncle! That little peanut is so precious, and it has been amazing to watch our friends turn into such incredible parents! It is crazy how quickly Lyla has grown up! We saw her about every other week, and it was nuts how much she changed in those two week gaps!

Yes, we already made her a Huskers fan! :)

Yes, we already made her a Huskers fan! :)

In mid-September, I interviewed for a job working for an absolutely incredible interior and furniture designer, Michael Berman!! He was going out of town for a week and would be in touch afterwards, so I patiently waited, fingers crossed for this amazing opportunity!

In all other aspects of life, we went back to normal for the most part, enjoying married life! We managed to put away all of our wedding gifts into our tiny apartment, but made looking for a bigger home our new project. We had absolutely no success in three months, so we were about to come to terms with the fact that we would have to make our place work for a while longer. Until…

September 21-22

On Sunday, September 21, at 3pm, I saw a house for rent in Pasadena on Craigslist and emailed the owner some questions. Her assistant called me back a few minutes later, saying the ad had only been up for two hours but there had already been a huge response, and she was planning an open house at 5pm. As she answered my questions, all of our wish list boxes were being checked off. I started to get excited… this place sounded perfect for us! So I dragged Walker away from football to check out the place, swearing to him that it would be worth our time! I love it when I am right! :)

Pasadena Cottage 1

Pasadena Cottage 2

These are the original photos we saw posted on Craigslist!

We were head-over-heels with the place from the moment we walked into the gate and saw the yard! Then, we stepped inside the cottage, which is the rear house on a property, and fell even more in love. However, we were a little disheartened that there were about 15 other people at the open house who seemed to be circling the new landlord like vultures! Once we started chatting with the her, though, I felt like we really hit it off. I got the feeling she really liked Walker and me, meaning we could have a shot at the place if my gut was correct. We left the property, knowing it could be so wonderful as our next home!

I got a call from her later that night, saying that, after the open house, she was sending out three applications to the people she thought would be the best fit for the house. However, she confided in us that she had reported back to the owner that we were her favorite candidates for the place! We immediately filled out the application and send it back that night, crossing our fingers for good news.

The next day, I got a call… WE GOT THE PLACE!

30 minutes later, I got another call… I GOT THE JOB!

Best. Day. Ever. Since. June. 23. (See wedding and honeymoon above.)

We were so thrilled for both pieces of exciting news. I was felling so lucky I even went out and bought a lotto ticket (but I had already used up my luck that day… fine with me!!!). Needless to say, we popped a bottle of champagne that night… we had a lot to celebrate!


Once we got all of our ducks in a row for the move, we had to do exactly that: move. Ugh. It is incredible how much crap we managed to shove into our tiny Burbank apartment over the 5 years lived there. However, we spent the month packing and getting organized in order to make our move on Saturday, October 25, as smooth as possible. Once all of our stuff had been moved into the new place, we cleaned up the old apartment. On Tuesday the 28th, we turned in our keys for the Burbank apartment.

As I stood in the empty apartment on that last night, so many memories flooded back to me. It looked exactly like it did when I first fell in love with it 5 years ago: empty and full of potential for a great little home. I moved into that apartment with Bo only months after arriving in Los Angeles.

It was the first place where I lived on my own.

It was the place where Walker and I shared a glass of wine after our first date because we were having too much fun to end it after lunch.

It was the first place Walker met Bo.

It was right by the front door where we had our first kiss.

It was the first home we ever shared once Walker moved in.

It was through blogging about making the apartment a home that caused me to realize my true passion and change careers to interior design.

It was the place we came home to after becoming engaged.

It was the place we planned our wedding.

It was the place we came home to after becoming husband and wife.

There were so many firsts and big moments that we had in that cozy apartment. It has seen many new jobs and life changes. It has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. It has put up with my DIY abuse for years without complaint. I basically grew up from a clueless college grad to an empowered and beyond-happy adult in that place. We all felt very attached to and sentimental toward that apartment, so as I looked around inside of it for the last time, I cried and cried. It was hard to say goodbye to such a great old friend. It was certainly good to us!

Throwback to our one of the “before” photos of the old apartment!

The only thing that made walking away from the apartment easier that night was knowing we had a beautiful new cottage to go home to just 15 minutes away… a cottage we knew would hold other “firsts” and beautiful memories.

I know that the reason most of you decided to even read this post was because you were hoping for pictures of the new place. Sorry to burst your bubble, but those will come very soon! This post is long enough for today, and I haven’t unpacked my camera cord yet! ;)

To Florence, our cozy Burbank cubbyhole, we will always love and remember you! Thank you for everything! <3

Life Update – September 2013

Oh, hey! Guess who’s alive!? It was touch-and-go there for a minute but I managed to pull through. I really can’t remember the last time I was SO busy in my entire life. Thankfully, I managed to survive the last few weeks of school and have had a few minutes to come up for air over the past couple days. So I think an inclusive (but brief… my brain is garbage after all of the nonsense of this past month) update is in order. Let’s do this.

SCHOOL:  This was the craziest quarter ever. I pulled more all-nighters this quarter (including a few back-to-back doozies) than I ever did in my entire four year college experience, thanks, in most part, to Chairing Styles. The class was an amazing experience, but it was NO joke work-wise. The class is really designed to push you to make great progress in a short amount of time. I was very happy with my final design, but due to the confidential nature of the scholarship contest, I can’t actually share it with you until it makes its runway debut in the spring. I will say, though, that my final pitch to the manufacturers went really well, and I got chosen by on of my top picks! :)  We being working on my chair in the next few weeks. My other classes were fine… I barely remember how I was able to give them any attention, but obviously I did because I pulled off all A’s. Woo! To be honest, this semester totally burned me out. Usually, I try and plan productive things during my two week break. NOT THIS TIME. I am going to nap with Bo and read blogs in bed. :)

I did manage to sneak in a couple fun school-related activities this quarter, so I thought they would be fun to share with you. Please be kind… I am by no means a professional so these were just for fun. I will not pretend that I had any clue what I was doing! ;)

First of all, I was featured in an issue of Ragged Magazine (page 10), talking about how I style a pair of jeans and how that relates to my overall style as a designer.RAGGED_FullPage RAGGED_JustErika

Secondly, I was also featured on an episode of The Nick Fix with Nick Verreos. You may recognize this awesome man from Project Runway, among many other fashion television shows! Nick was a blast to work with and we did a lot of laughing! :)


So, I did manage to find some time to have a little fun among all of the work madness! Speaking of fun…

WEDDING: We got a bit of a slower start planning the wedding for two reasons. First, I was drowning in school so it was tough to find time for research. Secondly, because Walker is from Nebraska and I am from New York (and we both live in California!), we were having a hard time deciding where to have the wedding! If you think it is tough to plan a wedding in one town, try doing the research for THREE! Thankfully, after several weeks of exploring a million scenarios that might make things easiest for the guests, Walker and I sat down and had a heart-to-heart about what we both truly wanted out of our special day. I took us only a few minutes to realize that we both had the same vision of our dream wedding in our heads.

We both want to get married in the California wine country where we first traveled as a couple, first said I love you, and got engaged. A casual but elegant BBQ wedding on a vineyard is the dream. We know it makes it tougher for the guests, but the location is such a sentimental piece of our lives that we want to share with everyone. We can’t imagine having our special day anywhere else, so we finally jumped into the planning this past week.

Since we want to get the Save the Dates out as soon as possible (since we are leaning toward next summer and most people will have to plan flights), we have done exhaustive venue research and even drove up to wine country on Saturday to see a few in person. We haven’t quite decided on the final spot (we are still waiting on info from a few vineyards), but we have a couple great contenders. For those who are wondering… no, Shoestring Vineyard, where we got engaged, is not doing weddings for two years while the work on the buildings. Boo. They would have been a perfect fit.

It's impossible to pick a bad venue when you are dealing with these views...

It’s impossible to pick a bad venue when you are dealing with these views…

Walker and I are feeling great about the wedding plans, and I will of course share details soon when we make some final decisions. :)

BO: Broke another toenail. Got a little fat. Cute as ever. Happy as ever. Not much else to say! Oh and no, he won’t be in the wedding… he likes to be underfoot too much to stick in the middle of a crowd.

APARTMENT: It looks the same as it did a month ago, so nothing to report. The heater came on (how was the thermostat still set?) for the first time this morning, which means the temperature in the house was lower than 70. Hallelujah! The temp is supposed to shoot up into the 90’s again soon, but at least the nights are starting to cool down. It is FINALLY starting to feel like fall. Football helps. So do pumpkin beverages.

What am I missing? Does that about cover the gap? What else would you like to know about the activities around the cubbyhole?

Chairing Styles

Happy Hump Day, all! I am super happy today because I am all done with finals and have completed the quarter. Fingers crossed for another 4.0!

While I fully intend on enjoying and making the most of my three week break, I am also super excited about next quarter. As I have mentioned before, I spent a significant amount of time applying for a really amazing program/class at school over the past couple months. The class is called Chairing Styles and is offered once a year.

Basically, the program accepts 10 textile design students, 10 fashion design students, and 10 interior design students. The textile students have spent the past quarter designing a fabric based on the theme or requirements of the particular year, which happens to be two-color woven cotton fabrics this year. During this break, the fabrics are actually going to complete the manufacturing process so that the students have a physical bolt of fabric to bring to the table. Then, the textile design students are each paired up with a fashion design student and an interior design student to create a team of three. The fashion design student will create a garment and the interior design student will create a chair using the fabric! Then, not only is it FULLY manufactured (so cool!!), but the chair and garment are presented at the annual FIDM fashion show in order to win scholarships!

Since this is an incredible experience and opportunity, there is always a lot of interest so the application process is very rigorous. The first step was to create a portfolio based on their requirements. Since the class is only offered once a year, I was applying with a lot of students who were much further along in the program and therefore had much more experience and portfolio material. However, the faculty made it clear that they are open to students that are “young in the program” if they have confidence in the student’s ability and skills. Here is a link to the portfolio I submitted for consideration (and a little preview below if you don’t feel like looking through the whole thing): Erika’s Chairing Styles Portfolio


After the portfolios were submitted, we each had to have a preliminary interview with the faculty. Since my portfolio projects were probably more basic than other students due to being only two quarters in, I knew I had to wow them with my portfolio design and in-person enthusiasm and dedication. The interview went really well and they told me that they would be narrowing the interior design applicant pool to 16 (from about 40-50 ID students that applied). I got an email the next day that I made it to the next round and was so happy!

A couple weeks later, we were given another assignment to complete over Memorial Day weekend. We received materials on the preceding Tuesday and official instructions on Thursday night (with a due date of the following Tuesday morning). The assignment was called a “charrette” and was basically to design a chair based on one of three provided inspiration words. We needed to submit 2-5 concept sketches, 3 orthographic views (to scale in AutoCAD — plan/top view, elevation/front view, and side view), a perspective view, and a 3D model to scale (all in black & white). I basically worked straight through all four days, since I had to teach myself a significant portion of AutoCAD! Here is a link to the chair design I submitted (minus a few sketches since they were pasted in): Erika’s Chairing Styles Charrette Assignment


I used the word “dialogue” to create the “Quote” and “End Quote” Chairs. The chairs were fun and just a little bit off the wall so I was hoping they would stick in the judges’ minds in a good way. In case you didn’t read the charrette project, the gist is:

Inspired by the both the discourse of daily life and the famous quotes that transcend time, the “End Quote” chair is truly a conversation piece! Right at home in a contemporary, pop-art-inspired space, this chair makes a bold, graphic statement. The striking “End Quote” chair is crafted with large upholstered quotes and a clear molded acrylic seat. Perfect with its sister chair, the “Quote Chair,” these fun chairs allow you to be truly enveloped by and involved in the dialogue of the moment.

Once it was submitted, I anxiously awaited an email the next day. Finally, at 5 pm, this showed up:ChairingStylesEmail

YAYYYYYYYY! I GOT IN! I really couldn’t be more excited to take on this amazing, challenging adventure! In fact, the head of my program told me that I have the biggest challenge coming in since I am the only second quarter student that they accepted (in fact, everyone else is graduating now or in one quarter so I am way behind). So I may have to work a little harder, but that’s my style anyway! I like being the underdog so I can really blow them out of the water with my work! ;)

In preparation for the start of the class, we have an assignment over break. While it seems like a bit of work, it also seems like a lot of fun! Once the class starts, hopefully I will be a diligent enough blogger to keep you all involved in my design process. :)