The Design Experience of a Lifetime
Erin DeRouen grew up learning design principles from her mother, Melane Landry. Now she puts that experience to work for each and every Signature Southern Accents client.
When you decide to work with a designer, how much experience should you expect her to have? A few years in the field? A decade? Well, how about a lifetime? That is true in the case of Erin DeRouen, who has watched her mother, Signature Southern Accents’ owner Melane Landry, creating beautiful spaces ever since she was a little girl. Now with a degree in merchandising and several years of hands-on experience creating gorgeous living spaces for clients of her own, Erin has the right blend of experience, training, and natural talent to transform even the most challenging settings into luxurious havens for living life to the fullest.
“I was perpetually ‘redecorating’ my room as a child, picking out the craziest combinations of colors and patterns,” Erin admits. “My mom really helped guide my tastes early on as I figured out my personal style. Now, when we shop together, we’re always picking out the same things. She’s really taught me a lot about design and business. We share a love for antiques, classic looks, and old homes.”
What is Erin’s biggest takeaway from her years of experience? “Don’t buy pieces to ‘just fill a room,’ ” she advises. “Instead, slowly accumulate décor that tells a story. Something my mom still reminds me of to this day is ‘You aren’t going to find everything at once. It takes years of collecting to hit the mark on your style.’ That’s what makes the design process so special.”
That “build-your-personal-style” design aesthetic reflects from every project Erin takes a hand in. She says that when approaching a new project, she tries not to impose any ironclad set of design “rules,” instead identifying elements that are not only functional and aesthetically beautiful, but also in step with her clients’ personalities. “At the end of the process I want for a client to feel like their house reflects who they are as people—what they like, and what is important to them,” she says.
“I think functional seating around key areas really optimizes a home,” Erin observes. “A seating nook by a kitchen, in a bedroom, or in a place with a pretty view of your yard doesn’t have to go unused. We can create a cozy place to curl up with a book, or for a good heart-to-heart.”
“Recently a client bought a historic A. Hays Town home on the LSU Lakes,” Erin says. “They had some existing pieces that were beautiful and interesting, so we took care to make them prominent in the new design scheme. Luckily they’re not afraid to take risks, and it’s certainly not hard to make a historic Hays Town Home look fantastic! I picked a fun pattern for the accent chairs, then paired that with a ‘pop’ of color that really pulls the outside landscape into the home’s living spaces.”
“I loved this idea my clients came up with: they travel extensively, and when they visit favorite restaurants around the world they always get the chef to sign a menu. Those experiences are very personal to them, so we incorporated the menus into their décor, in a way that creates a great conversation piece for guests, too. The seating nook allows for family and friends to gather around while the cook of the family creates a great meal. Guests sit at the island with a glass of wine, or in the seating area, all while chatting with the cook—a common hang-out area.”
Another small space—this one a master bedroom nook—features Mid-Century modern chairs upholstered in soft textiles. “I approached this space with slow Saturday mornings in mind,” notes Erin. “How great would it be to drink a cup of coffee and take it easy here? The beautiful landscape around the home doesn’t hurt, either.”
In true Hays Town fashion, the exposed wood ceiling and fireplace combination makes this living room cozy, comfortable, and functional, without sacrificing style. “We chose these chairs, which swivel and rock, so you can turn towards the fire or towards the matching sofas. This space transitions between seasons so well because of the natural light coming from floor-to-ceiling windows (not pictured), and the fireplace.“
Next time you have a project that calls for a designer with a lifetime of experience, call or email Erin for a design consult, or pop into SSA to set an appointment.