For those already acquainted with fashion designer Erica Tanov’s line of winsome frocks and chic-as-can-be homewares, it should come as no surprise that enchanting interiors come second nature to the Northern California-based style-setter. In addition to the magic put on display in her four bicoastal stores (the first of which opened in 1994), Erica’s Berkeley hills abode is a bohemian haven to behold. Brimming with tumbledown treasures she’s sourced both close to home and abroad, Erica’s nest features the same understated glamour that put her on countless fashionistas’ radars. To go along with her recent collection of Chairish favorites, Erica invited us inside her by-the-bay hideaway and cracked her bohemian playbook to share a few of her favorites with us. Here, Erica gives us the scoop on the verdant locale she frequents for inspo, the estate sale treasures she can’t stop collecting, and the Berkeley gems she recommends to visiting friends.

Erica Tan poses in front of blue painted glass door and wood furniture piece
Photo by Alanna Hale

What do you love about shopping on Chairish? 
I love the wide variety of vintage items to be found on Chairish and the ease of the hunt, by simply typing in what I’m searching for. I love that I can treasure hunt from my desk, or the comfort of my bed! I get that same rush from scoring at a flea market or estate sale. It’s a bit addictive—I’ll find myself stuck on Chairish for hours! One search leads to another….

Is there any particular category where Chairish is your go-to?
Unless I’m looking for something specific for a project, my automatic reflex is to search for lounge chairs and lighting. I’m a bit obsessed with chairs and interesting light fixtures. If I find a good lamp, I’ll buy it and figure out what to do with it later. As you can imagine, I have quite a collection of light fixtures!

What are your most frequently searched for keywords or designers on Chairish?
Always VINTAGE.  The designer is not so important to me.

Living room with white texture couch, globe floor light, and white bookshelves
Photo by Richard Powers


What’s your favorite thing about designing with vintage pieces?
Vintage pieces add so much soul and character to a space. I also find that it’s easier to get good quality at a lower price with vintage pieces. Plus, reuse is good for the environment, which should always be a consideration with design. Disposable is unacceptable to me.

Favorite source for design inspiration?
Nature. I find endless inspiration from nature—color palettes, patterns, textures, prints—everything I design begins with what I see and feel in nature.

What influences your design aesthetic the most? 
Again, nature. I learn so much from observing nature and paying attention to the smallest details. Appreciating and embracing imperfections.

Blue painted chest with gold table lamp and vintage glasses
Photo by Richard Powers

When it comes to decorating, where do you tend to go vintage rather than new?
Almost everywhere! I love mixing vintage with new, but vintage does reign supreme in my mind.

How does your home reflect you as a person? How does it reflect your personal style?
My home is full of things I love, from the vintage pieces I collect to artwork by my kids and friends. It’s relaxed and nothing is perfect.

Have your design leanings at home changed over time?
While I’ve always been drawn to antique objects with a story to tell, over the past few years I’ve been enticed by mid-century pieces as well. I love the contrast of mixing ornate, raw beauty with simple, clean lines.  

Describe your decorating style in three words:
Imperfect, layered, relaxed.

Mid-century style sideboard with assorted tableware and colorful cocktail glasses
Photo by Richard Powers

Do you have a favorite way to mix high-end and with less expensive finds at home?
That’s probably my favorite thing to do, mixing high and low. But a low price does not mean you have to sacrifice quality. That’s the beauty of vintage. It’s all in the art of the hunt…and patience. For me, finding a bargain makes it ok to spend a lot on that cherished piece that you’re dying for. Some of my favorite things have been the least expensive.

Who/what are some of your favorite iconic designers or design pieces? 
I don’t pay too much attention to designer names, rather I seek out a style or shape I love. That said, I love de Gournay wallpaper. And, of course, Erica Tanov : )

What’s something a home can never have too much of?

How did you think about the design and decoration of your stores?
I first think about the actual space and architecture and see what that conjures up for design. I don’t like my stores to feel too “designed.”  I appreciate an undone beauty where the contents of the store are what speak.

A dark wood chest sits on a wall with pinned inspiration photos.
Photo by Richard Powers


Favorite travel destination when you want to relax: 
Hmmmm…. Some place that’s verdant with dappled sunlight, surrounded by ferns.

Favorite travel destination for tons of design inspiration:
Cliché, but Paris. It’s inspiring in every way.

Favorite hotel to check in to:
I go to Los Angeles quite a bit to visit my store downtown. The NoMad Los Angeles has become my home away from home.  

Favorite app:  
I just got iNaturalist which I can’t wait to use, but I probably use Lyft the most.

Favorite Instagram accounts to follow:
Those of friends who live far away.  It’s such a great way to keep up with their lives.

Antique yellow painted chest stands under an abstract painting.
Photo by Richard Powers

Favorite podcast at the moment:
I mostly listen to podcasts when on family road trips, so the crowd pleaser is This American Life.  I’m also a big fan of Marc Maron.

Favorite thank you/hostess gift:
Wine and flowers are my favorite gifts to give and receive.

Favorite adult beverage:
A glass of rosé. Our “house” favorite is Domaine de Fonsainte Gris de Gris.  I always have a bottle in the fridge ready to go.

Favorite saying/quote:
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”  – Vincent Van Gogh.
And I have this quote taped on my refrigerator, which I love:  “Those who live within their means lack imagination.”  – Oscar Wilde

Favorite entertaining essential:
A beautiful, abundant spread on a long table using all my collected platters, glasses and serving utensils.

Dining room with wood table and assorted dining chairs under a crystal chandelier
Photo by Richard Powers

Favorite flower:
Magnolia—an entire branch, please.

Favorite artist:
That’s way too hard! If I have to name only one, then I’ll say Egon Schiele.

Favorite style icon:
Louise Nevelson

Favorite thing to collect:
So many things. Luckily, my husband is a minimalist, so he keeps me somewhat in check.  But…. vintage gold rimmed glasses, chairs, light fixtures, ceramic vessels, platters, engraved silver napkin rings are among my favorite collected items.

Boho distressed metal display case with gold disk accent wall
Photo by Michael Weber

Your City: Berkeley, CA

Local restaurant you love to frequent:
Bartavelle. Their Persian Breakfast is one of my favorite things to eat – any time of day.

Hotel you recommend to visiting friends:
Unfortunately, there’s not an amazing hotel in Berkeley that I’d recommend (yet). I’m dying to take on a hotel project in Berkeley and create the most inviting rooms of lived-in grandeur. Relaxed, beautiful comfort. In the meantime, I invite friends to stay with me.

Local culture hub you love:
Creative Growth Art Center

Local attraction people shouldn’t miss:
The UC Botanical Garden.

Favorite local flea market/vintage hunting ground:
I’m sure the Alameda Fleamarket (1st Sunday of every month) is still great, but lately I’ve been sticking to local estate sales. Follow the signs!

Shop Erica’s Chairish Favorites >>

Lead photo by Richard Powers


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March 28, 2020

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