Meet Olivia Erwin Interiors: Designing spaces across coasts

Meet Olivia Erwin Interiors: Designing spaces across coasts - 2
Meet Olivia Erwin Interiors: Designing spaces across coasts - 3
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Meet Olivia Erwin Interiors: Designing spaces across coasts - 5

Above: Krewe Store, Royal Street, New Orleans © Gieves Anderson / Below: Cole Residence, Hermosa Beach, California © Manolo Langis

Artsper had the pleasure of speaking with Olivia Erwin, the interior design based between Los Angeles and New Orleans, and beyond! Olivia's versatile portfolio spans residential, retail, office, and restaurant spaces, with a commitment to capturing the essence of each location. Join us as we delve into the world of design with Olivia Erwin Interiors!

1. Hi Olivia! Thank you for speaking with us today. Could you start by introducing yourself to our readers? How did Olivia Erwin Interiors begin?

I graduated in interior architecture and design from UCLA and worked during school and after graduation at the world renowned architecture firm, Marmol Radziner, in the interiors department. Which was a dream job! I cut my teeth there for a few years then started my own firm after I had my first daughter. It was great because I could take on as little or as much as I wanted, depending on the needs of my daughter. I turned down clients in the beginning because I told them I didn't want to hire a full time nanny and they would say, "We want you…just bring her to the meeting!" So I started taking on clients when she was around 4-6 months old. I'd pack her up with enough bottles and toys to sink a ship and we'd go to client meetings!

2. What is your favorite project to work on between residential, retail, office or restaurant spaces?

They all have their pros and cons. A residential project is much more intimate. Sometimes clients have been dreaming of this home for years, saving money and having multiple renditions of wishlists. And with residences, we always get to know our clients on a very intimate level because we want to know exactly how they live, function, entertain etc. We get to know their children, their pets. A ground up project can last for years so it's really special making these connections with our clients. With commercial projects we are usually dealing with multiple investors. It's less intimate and more about the business side & meeting usually aggressive deadlines. These are interesting because there is a psychology to how customers shop, activate a space, and gather. We love solving these little mysteries to ensure the customer or guest enjoys the environment or for retail…buys product!  

Meet Olivia Erwin Interiors: Designing spaces across coasts - 6
Meet Olivia Erwin Interiors: Designing spaces across coasts - 7

Four Seasons Penthouse Residence, New Orleans © Gieves Anderson

3. How does the location of a project affect your design work and overall style?

Our style doesn't change…however things may look a little different for a home in Aspen vs NYC but the signature aesthetic is consistent. We always take into account the relationship of the space with the surrounding environment. The project can not be designed properly without taking into account the location and the environment.  

4. Are you inspired by any past art or design movements in particular? If so, why and in what ways? 

I love Haussmannian architecture and its quintessential Parisian style combined with modern interiors. It's the best of both worlds. This is also very common in New Orleans. We have some of the oldest, most unique architecture in the US. We celebrate the structure of this and layer in modern furniture, lighting etc. And on the other hand, I am very inspired by Los Angeles and the amazing mid century movement still so prevalent around the city. The simplicity of indoor/outdoor living along with open, uncomplicated floor plans.

5. What visual artists do you have your eye on at the moment? 

I tend to be drawn to abstract pieces. Art evokes such a visceral reaction - it is the ultimate personal preference. When it comes to art, clients fall in two categories. They either know exactly what they like and have their own collections or they have no idea and need us to hand-hold. There is rarely anything in the middle. There are so many artists I love but I was recently introduced to Dana Piazza and his meticulous drawings. The world of digital 2D art has exploded, and there are some amazing pieces that are renderings. I also loved the phenomenal Anish Kapoor exhibition at Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice last year.

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Meet Olivia Erwin Interiors: Designing spaces across coasts - 9

Left: Four Seasons Penthouse Residence, New Orleans © Gieves Anderson / Right: Krewe Store, New York © Gieves Anderson

6. What's your best-kept design secret?

Curiosity! Getting to know the client in every way possible is the secret weapon! This is one of my favorite parts of my job. I have a genuine interest in everyone we work with. Partly because I feel so honored they would entrust us for their project, The majority of our clients are repeat clients and those that aren't we are still very close to. You have to listen to their needs and wants but also pay attention to the micro. It's very nuanced and it doesn't happen overnight. There is nothing better than knowing what a client likes and dislikes without having to bother them. The trust that comes with that is invaluable and can only be achieved from paying attention to every detail of your client. Once you speak their language it's smooth sailing. This is why we love working with repeat clients. These relationships have already been established. We know what they want and don't want and can hit the ground running. It truly is a luxury to have that type of rapport with a client. 

7. What are the lengths you've gone to please your clients? Or a crazy story from a project?

Of course we want our clients as happy as possible so we will do whatever it takes! And there are many crazy stories, but I don't kiss and tell ;).

8. What would be a dream project for you to work on? Or a dream client, from the past or present?

Not to be boring but all of my clients are dream clients! And we are so thankful for all of our projects. We really do have dream projects, and feel very fortunate we get to pick and choose what we work on at this point. A true luxury!

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Portrait of Olivia © Olivia Erwin Interiors

Their favorite artworks

Painting, DB2 18, Joanne Freeman

DB2 18

Joanne Freeman

Painting - 46 x 46 cm Painting - 18.1 x 18.1 inch


Photography, Sans titre 06 : Loyalland serie, Mauren Brodbeck

Sans titre 06 : Loyalland serie

Mauren Brodbeck

Photography - 30 x 25 cm Photography - 11.8 x 9.8 inch


Print, Vibes, David Shrigley


David Shrigley

Print - 76 x 56 cm Print - 29.9 x 22 inch


Print, Perspective immergée, Maude Ovize

Perspective immergée

Maude Ovize

Print - 70 x 49 x 0.1 cm Print - 27.6 x 19.3 x 0 inch


Photography, Morning Sun, Rodrigo

Morning Sun


Photography - 27.1 x 19.4 x 0.1 cm Photography - 10.7 x 7.6 x 0 inch


Painting, Paysage en quête de lignes, Florence Boré

Paysage en quête de lignes

Florence Boré

Painting - 110 x 61 x 0.4 cm Painting - 43.3 x 24 x 0.2 inch


Sculpture, Tumble I, Asli Törün Erbengi

Tumble I

Asli Törün Erbengi

Sculpture - 19 x 26 x 10 cm Sculpture - 7.5 x 10.2 x 3.9 inch


Design, Vintage Sofa Piumino, Paolo Lomazzi

Vintage Sofa Piumino

Paolo Lomazzi

Design - 90 x 190 x 105 cm Design - 35.4 x 74.8 x 41.3 inch


Design, Biagio 282 Table Lamp, Tobia Scarpa

Biagio 282 Table Lamp

Tobia Scarpa

Design - 39 x 13.5 x 39 cm Design - 15.4 x 5.3 x 15.4 inch


Design, Camaleonda - Modular Sofa, Mario Bellini

Camaleonda - Modular Sofa

Mario Bellini

Design - 68 x 96 x 96 cm Design - 26.8 x 37.8 x 37.8 inch


Painting, Into Eternity, Nikolaos Schizas

Into Eternity

Nikolaos Schizas

Painting - 80 x 150 x 0.1 cm Painting - 31.5 x 59.1 x 0 inch


Painting, #1642, Arvid Boecker


Arvid Boecker

Painting - 80 x 60 x 6 cm Painting - 31.5 x 23.6 x 2.4 inch


Painting, #1656, Arvid Boecker


Arvid Boecker

Painting - 80 x 60 x 6 cm Painting - 31.5 x 23.6 x 2.4 inch