Expert Advice: Patterns, Prints, and Color Pops—Erica Tanov Explains How to Have It All

Remodelista

Here at Remodelista, we have often been (accurately) accused of a predilection towards the monochromatic. That said, we are not averse to mixing prints and patterns in a myriad of colors, it's just that it takes a certain talent. That knack is one that our friend designer Erica Tanov puts to good use: with effortless aplomb, Tanov incorporates multi-patterned prints in charming colors in both her clothing and home collections. We asked her for tips on how she does this—and how we, too, can pull off the look.

Erica Tanov Bedding Pinwheel/Remodelista

Erica Tanov Bedding Pinwheel/Remodelista

Above: Embroidered sheets with a checkered quilt and pinwheel pillowcase from Erica's 2013 collaboration with artist Emily Payne. Photo by Erica Shires via Popsugar.

Remodelista: How do you go about mixing print and patterns in your home design collection?

Erica Tanov: There are no set ways or hard and fast rules and it differs from each collection. My current bedding is called the Bookprint collection. I had collected some vintage leather-bound books and inside the end papers are these incredible patterns. I took four of them that I thought somehow all worked together and played around with scale and color. It's very intuitive for me. The prints are graphic and very different, but by mixing the patterns and keeping a similar color palette and scale it all seems to work. 

Erica Tanov Fabric Inspiration/Remodelista

Erica Tanov Fabric Inspiration/Remodelista

Above: Erica's journals, the source of her inspiration for Bookprint.

Erica Tanov Bookprint collection- Remodelista

Erica Tanov Bookprint collection- Remodelista

Above: Swatch samples from Erica's Bookprint collection.

RM: How do you translate this into a home?

ET: If you are unsure of how to mix things then stick with one element like color. You can mix a floral in that color with an ethnic print and then a pattern print, all in the same color. If you're scared to use a lot of color, keep it monochromatic and bring in patterns in different scales. Right now I'm working with artist Lena Wolff. We've taken an eight-point star pattern from a simple dahlia motif and created an abstract print. We've also taken half of it and used it on the borders then played with scale. Although the pattern looks different, it all comes from the same original motif. It's a natural palette with black, ivory, and sepia and then I brought in a pop of bright coral. It's not about color, but more about graphics and scale. It just feels right.

RM: Tips for a minimalist like me on integrating color, and pattern into the home?

ET: I'm not a minimalist myself, but my home is pretty much a natural palette against which I love introducing pops of color. I feel a shock of color stands out more against a neutral background. 

Erica Tanov living room with Beni Ouarain rug. Photograph Kelly Ishikawa for Anthology magazine

Erica Tanov living room with Beni Ouarain rug. Photograph Kelly Ishikawa for Anthology magazine

Above: The living room in Erica's home with a Beni Ouarain rug and hits of pink. Photograph by Kelly Ishikawa for Anthology Magazine.  

RM: Any advice on how to work with a patterned rug? 

ET: It depends on the space. I love tribal rugs, such as the classic Turkish prayer rugs—they work almost anywhere. I have a Beni Ourain Moroccan rug and I love to introduce ethnic items to a super-clean room, to add something rough hewn to the mix—it's a great combination. 

RM: Favorite Wallpaper?

ET: De Gournay's Chinoiserie collection. It's hand painted with tarnished silver and is so gorgeous. It's like artwork.

 

Erica Tanov Bedroom photograph by Leslie Williamson-Remodelista

Erica Tanov Bedroom photograph by Leslie Williamson-Remodelista

Above: The bedroom in Erica's bedroom with a wall covered in hand-painted wallpaper from de Gournay's Chinoiserie collection.

RM: How do you make wallpaper work?

ET: I used the de Gourney wallpaper in my bedroom as a beautiful backdrop and the rest of the room is white. I like to wake up to white so I only wallpapered the wall behind my bed. The pattern creates warmth and beauty in the room and I can see it as I walk in.

RM: Favorite shade of paint?

ET: I've just been asked to decorate a designer suite at the Sir Francis Drakem a San Francisco Hotel. I love white, but in a hotel room you want to feel more romantic, sexy, and warm. I'm thinking of a rich gray that is soothing and beautiful, something like Benjamin Moore's Nocturnal Gray, a deep gray with a bit of blue. 

RM: Your favorite white?

ET: I've used a lot of Benjamin Moore's Super White. It's a nice white without being too cold. Farrow and Ball's Slipper Satin is also beautiful.

Erica Tanov Home Interior

Erica Tanov Home Interior

Above L: Erica Tanov in her Berkeley home. Above R: Her upstairs hallway covered in Dryden and Wilde Carnation wallpapers by Osborne and Little. Photographs via Martha Stewart.

RM: How did you come up with the contrasting wallpaper in your hallway?

ET: It's by Osborne and Little. So much of the house is white that I wanted something bright, but not in a room we're in all the time, so I did the whole hallways in pattern and color. One is flocked forest green with a bohemian royal pattern and the other is a green citron with metallics in a large deco pattern. I didn't follow any of my own rules, but I love the pattern, color and bigness.

RM: Colored towels or white towels?

ET: I am a white towel person; that's what I prefer to use, but have a bunch of colorful towels by Layla that my kids use. I love opening the linen closet and seeing the patterns. 

Erica Tanov 2013-14 Collection

Erica Tanov 2013-14 Collection

Above: A striped coat from the Erica Tanov 2013-2014 Collection.

RM: Stripes versus florals?

ET: I like them together—it's almost safer than mixing a bunch of florals. But that doesn't mean any stripe goes with any floral. Graphic stripes with classic feminine florals could work if they're all done in bright bold colors. 

To see more of Erica Tanov's designs, have a look at our previous posts: The Ultimate California Romantic and Bohemian Luxury in Marin.

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