Erika Ward’s background as an accountant managing commercial real estate projects now serves her well in residential interior design, since they’re both about spending money on quality products. She’s also a joy to follow on social media, as she chronicles the foibles of work/family. In fact, Erika’s Instagram account brands her as Mrs. Erika Ward, a fitting moniker for this classy interior designer who proudly juggles decorating and family life. An Atlanta native, Erika is busy not only with her five children, but multiple projects spread out all over the city. Find out more about our latest Interior Designer Crush!
Where did you grow up, and how did that influence your design interests today?
Most people are surprised to learn that I am a city of Atlanta native. I was raised around a family of creatives — from architects, to hairstylists, to decorators and floral stylists — so I saw my relatives creating beauty on a daily basis. Our home was also classically current and furniture arranging was a biannual event.
What’s been the journey that led you to interior design?
I’ve always been interested in architecture, but I was encouraged to study finance with the idea of me taking over the money management of the family business. However, my plans took a turn and I landed in Corporate America, where I managed the construction budgets of high-profile, multimillion-dollar projects. In my “free” time, I also took on decorating clients for my business, Erika Ward Interiors. Three years later, in 2009, I shifted gears and pursued my design firm full-time and never looked back.
Tell us about your family and faith and how they’re intertwined.
Faith and family are the cornerstones of my existence. Being raised in the Bible Belt certainly had a tremendous influence on my outlook on life and determination in building a legacy for my own family. My husband Chris and I met at a wedding reception and spent a lot of our time talking about family during our year-long courtship. It was then that we literally planned our future together, deciding on our career choices, number of children, their names and where they would go to school. Looking back, I think our plans looked like a vision board on steroids, with the amount of detail that went into crafting our future. However, I say with surety that it has been the glue that’s kept our family strong especially during lean times and the most trying times of our lives. Most recently we rallied around our youngest son as he fought and won his battle against childhood cancer. Everyone, especially our children, was instrumental in keeping him encouraged and prayed over him constantly. I’m grateful for the opportunity that our children had to see a modern-day miracle in Cameron’s healing.
How would you define your interior design style?
My signature style can best be described as traditional style blended with more modern living. In every project I work on, you can expect to see clues of the homeowners’ heritage. We also pride ourselves in creating a look that is timeless, not trendy. Hopefully, you will never be able to put a date stamp on our interiors. It is a big investment and coming from a money manager, it’s important to me that it lasts.
Who are your own design idols?
I admire several designers for many reasons that often go beyond the realm of design. Designers who I’m drawn to are ones whose aesthetics are influenced by their coastal regions. For example, I love Amanda Lindroth, based in the Bahamas, whose work always includes antiques, natural elements and bountiful color! I also greatly admire the work of Sheila Bridges and Marshall Watson for their ability to breathe life into a room full of antiques.
Where are some of your favorite design sources, both brick-and-mortar stores and online?
What is your favorite room in the house to decorate, and why?
Family rooms are by far my favorite rooms to decorate. This is the setting where most of life’s memories are played out — at least when at home. I always “put on the shoes” of my clients and think about how they want to feel in this space when entertaining friends or enjoying a night of snuggling with the ones they love most.
What’s been your biggest success? Biggest failure?
My biggest success has been on a personal level. It’s been raising children who are respectful and feel loved. It’s so important that we sow fertile seeds now to grow tomorrow’s leaders. My biggest failure has been the years I spent second guessing my talents and skill set. I believe my age and experiences are helping make the turn to own and respect my perspective as a designer and to boldly forge ahead in producing my best work. I feel the best is yet to come.
What would be your dream project?
I’d love to design a large island home in the Caribbean that’s both colorful and relaxing.
Thank you, Erika. Learn more about Erika and see more of her work on her website, erikaward.com.
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