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Grab A Drink And Come Explore This EHD Stylist Alum’s Treasure Filled Living Room Reveal

A couple of months ago, Sara mentioned she had shot Erik’s (EHD alum and stylist’s) apartment entirely for fun. As soon as we saw the photos we knew we had to run it on the blog (not that we were surprised). And if you can’t tell from his joyously designed home, he is a real-life ray of sunshine. It’s impossible to not be happy when he’s around and his talent has secretly graced many, many projects on this blog. So it is with extremely excitement that we get to introduce him to you, properly and completely in his element. Erik, take it away…

Hey Henderson Heads! (Is that a thing yet!?) Before we get started, I need you to grab a statement earring, pour yourself a cocktail (mine will be a dirty gin martini), and BLAST Diana Ross’ “It’s My House”. Because in order to fully understand my living room, you’ll need to live like me. Oh and honey, I do a lot of LIVING in this space.

Charmed to meet your acquaintance, my name is Erik Kenneth Staalberg (I think the middle name adds a little something don’t you?). You might not recognize me, but I have been a long time friend of EHD. Emily basically launched my career as an Interior Prop Stylist. I assisted her for many years back in my mid-twenties, and she absolutely taught me many “Secrets From a Stylist” 😉 Then after lead styling in the biz for a few years working on catalogs, campaigns, and design magazines I was fortunate enough to come back to EHD last spring to style for the much anticipated 2nd book Emily is bestowing upon us! Talk about a dream job! 

However, styling my own apartment is completely a different game altogether. When I create a space “on set” I am bringing together a room I don’t live in, and it really just needs to be balanced and chic. But my home must incorporate all of my many treasures and heirlooms, while also being functional enough to hold the dozens of soirées I host and satisfying my overly critical eye.

Just as my expression as a queer person wasn’t an overnight development, neither was my home. It’s a muscle that must be worked out daily. My personal style started with movies that stimulated me (usually something with drag in it), which then evolved into wearing anything that Jackie O would rock, and finally seeped into my home. Trust me, seeing a space day in and day out that reflects your unique point of view proves to be constantly gratifying. It reminds me of who I am and where I can go. I want to be the queer Martha Stewart that treats every aspect of life with dignity and respect. To me, expressing myself through my home is the ultimate form of self-love. 

My living room is fluid and ever-evolving, just as we are as people. I tried not to map out too much when I first moved in and instead locked down a layout with the pieces I already had coming into it. The mahogany credenza was in my grandfather’s office, that my mother more or less stole when she retired from the same company. And the well-loved campaign desk is from my late cousin Heather, who absolutely taught me all about being unapologetically myself in every corner of my life. Everything else was up to the universe!

I knew I needed a new couch that the room could revolve around, to act as the centerpiece. With rounded curves, low back and saturated color this West Elm burnt orange beauty and I met on super sale at $350, which is the most expensive item I have purchased for my home. I am a bargain girl and always have my eyes peeled for any opportunities to elevate my world. I have even started doing it for friends now, sending them deals I stumble upon.

Now, after 4 years of living in my 1931 apartment suite, I feel like I finally reached my own design nirvana. My living room, or as I tell my distinguished guests, the drawing room, is a culmination of inspiration and memories from my life’s experiences. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was my home. It was brought together bit by bit, a garage sale here, an estate sale there, an impulse stop at goodwill, a family heirloom no one in my family saw value in, trips with my partner in thrift, and my amazing mother. This room is an ensemble show and I am the star.

Now, please welcome to the stage, the 7-foot art ledge I built myself!!!!! It was NOT a labor of love, but she hasn’t fallen down yet so we are still friendly. It was a perfect solution that allowed me to remain loose with my styling. For every room I style, I like the art to be related and my collection of vintage portraits seemed to be best highlighted in the room I spend most of my time. But they needed a place where I could rearrange easily due to an addiction to thrifted art.

It probably goes without saying I am close with my framer, Summer Camp in Ojai, CA. Well, one day when I was visiting they had some furniture pieces in their very stylish shop. Like out of a Nancy Myers movie I turned and saw my two mint armchairs. Without blinking I threw the incredibly cheap $200 dollars down and skipped off into the sunset with the pair. The search was over after 3 years hunting for a matching set of cocktail chairs. Once those pieces fell into place everything else moved quickly.

At this point, I had several muted colors and accessories that needed to pop. Against white walls, everything just seemed foggy and dull. The only way to punch up the drama mama was to paint the entire room a saturated hue (enter Valspar’s Jaded Lime). And that’s when everything clicked. It was like Dorothy landing in Oz, I was seeing my cherished pieces for the very first time.

Most wouldn’t think to paint last but I would have never gotten this dazzling outcome if I had started with paint. I was able to finish it off with just the right key lime custard shade and it was the cherry on top. The rest was history! It instantly became a palace where I could hold court with my sensational queer family. Creating a space that gives my community safety and fantasy all rolled into one.

Who knows what it will look like in another 4 years, but that’s the fun of life! My expression allows me to show the world who I am on the inside, and who I am on the inside is ever-growing. So turn a look, ascend the stairs to suite #4, and turn up that disco cause the martinis are shaking. Cheers! 

Design by Erik Staalberg | Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

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Kamina
2 years ago

I. LOVE. THIS.

That is all.

Amy
2 years ago

More of this genius please!!!!!!

Siel
2 years ago

I had a smile on my face from the first sentence till the last one. Love your vibe!

Laurie
2 years ago
Reply to  Siel

I agree completely! What a fun read accompanied by fabulous design.

karen
2 years ago

Fun writing!

Ally
2 years ago

What an amazingly refined winner of a living room. You are brave and bold and I love it! But not a word of explanation on the seemingly two-story closet featured prominently in the pics? Another post, perhaps?

2 years ago
Reply to  Ally

Yes! We need to know about that so, so interesting closet situation!

Kimberly
2 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Neely

Yes, and I can only dream about the fantasy he has created in his bedroom. Fan girls want to know- please share.

Arlene
2 years ago

Love him, love his place. HGTV are you listening?

Paula
2 years ago
Reply to  Arlene

Sadly, HGTV is the real estate/flipper channel now. No design to be seen anywhere. I was just thinking of Kitty Bartholomew yesterday…she introduced me to Legoretta!

Kendra Yoes
2 years ago
Reply to  Arlene

yes! I agree, HGTV needs something like this!!

Alex
2 years ago

My eye immediately went to those fab turquoise taper candles above the fireplace. Love it all!

Jenny
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex

I thought that they were lightsabers at first! But candles are cool too 🙂

Elise
2 years ago

This was the BEST start to my day! More, more, more like this!

Lauren
2 years ago

Love this, “I want to be the queer Martha Stewart that treats every aspect of life with dignity and respect. To me, expressing myself through my home is the ultimate form of self-love.”

Elisabeth
2 years ago
Reply to  Lauren

Goals! That statement, the home, and Erik’s writing — all goals!

Kendra Yoes
2 years ago
Reply to  Lauren

a quote that should be remembered!

Molly
2 years ago

I love everything about this. Everything.

Amanda
2 years ago

I love this eclectic space!

kkhh
2 years ago

Tell me about those amazing Orion/Artemis pieces hanging above the triangle chair!!!

shauna
2 years ago

whoa whoa whoa, you can’t just show us one room and not the full tour!

Jane
2 years ago
Reply to  shauna

AGREE!! AGREE!! Brava!! I MUST have more of THIS…….just THIS!!!!

Lori
2 years ago

OMG! I AM IN LOVE!!!! I would love to see more of his projects/read more of his writing!

Jenna
2 years ago

I love this so much! Love him, love the design, just…LOVE. Please, can we see the rest of this fabulous home?

Jessica
2 years ago

I would absolutely buy Erik’s masterclass on being unapologetically oneself. Take my money!

Also, I will now be flanking my built-in bookcase with mirrors. So good. And I realllllly wish the antique shops and Brooklyn Flea were open

Annie K
2 years ago

Giving your community safety and fantasy…that is beautiful! The room is beautiful. The writing is beautiful. You are beautiful, Erik. Hurrah to beauty in all its forms. Thank you for sharing.

Sarah
2 years ago

I am shook by how essential that paint color is.

Miruska
2 years ago

Gah! I want to tour his place with him and stop at every.single.thing. so he can explain its history and reason for having it. Loved his energy, personality, style and would love to see more. That blue/purple peaking behind the curtain has me intrigued so I hope you will feature his whole beautiful home.

Kimberly
2 years ago

Oh my goodness- please bring Erik on board full time. What a writer- what a voice- FABULOUS. This piece just oozes Personality. We need more Erik everyday. Can’t get enough of his style, attitude and panache. More- pppplllleeeaaasssee.

Lisa
2 years ago

Love your voice, love your style, love your jewelry. Couldn’t live with that green paint if my life depended on it because, hospitals, but I would fight for your spectacular right to use it;).

Admin
2 years ago

(know I work here but…) THE LIME! THE ORANGE! i’m SO EXCITED!!! it’s SO GOOD!!!

lynn
2 years ago

Well, that was fabulous and fun!

2 years ago

I like Erik. 🙂

Jenms
2 years ago

Ooh I want more! That CLOSET! That is a dream – please have more reveal posts from Erik, pretty-please!

Pam
2 years ago

Those colors and textures-love. The way the collection has been put together over time speaks so much about what makes us all love design-the way we are all always searching for something unique that speaks to us. More Erik please!

2 years ago

ALL! OF! THIS! Yes, design nirvana has been reached. Absolutely stunning space.

2 years ago

I was lucky enough to meet Erik once in Palm Springs (I’m sure he doesn’t even remember), and I was absolutely GRILLING him on how to join/support the EHD team. He was so kind and absolutely sparkled, and I probably frightened him because when I walked away I was like, “Did we just become best friends?!” I have a feeling he does that to a lot of people. It’s so fun seeing his space.

Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Gretchen

That is exactly the type of person he is!

Alex
2 years ago
Reply to  Gretchen

I had the pleasure of having lunch with Erik on a fluke. we happened to be both sitting outside at the same restaurant having lunch and we ended up eating together at the same table and enjoying g a wonderful conversation. That doesn’t happen in Los Angeles! Just love Erik!

Roberta Davis
2 years ago

I love all the colors, including your pink shirt against the green! Very glamorous and I love that you did it without spending a lot on the pieces. I also like that you’ve mixed a few styles very successfully. How did you decide green was the right color for a backdrop? Was it the chairs?

Paula
2 years ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

Heh, I believe that’s not a shirt. It’s part of his lounging pajamas (I want to use the British spelling — pyjamas) ensemble.

Amy
2 years ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

Also fascinated to know how/why Erik picked the green. Never would have thought of that colour combo with the burnt orange and deep turquoise.

Roberta Davis
2 years ago

Wow. I’m now reading through all the other comments and the word LOVE is coming up a lot. 🙂

Dana Graner
2 years ago

More, please! I really need to see the rest of your apartment – kitchen, bath, all of it. Love the aqua tapers on the fireplace and the wall color is gorgeous! I see such happiness in your house.

Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Dana Graner

we are going to post it! 🙂 there is a good pink moment. stay tuned. xx

A.B.
2 years ago

Wonderful!!

Emily C
2 years ago

Thank you for the cheer this morning – love your space and your writing!

Suzanne
2 years ago

Erik, I love your use of color in this space. The room feels eclectic, energizing, and calming all at once. And all those vintage finds — Amazing!

Kristen
2 years ago

Talented and original style in his home and writing. That was just fun. More please.

Erin
2 years ago

Those walls. That art ledge. The writing. SO SO GOOD.

Rachelle Seguin
2 years ago

Damn! those are some long candle sticks! And they are perfect, like the whole damn place! If someone would write out what this room was I am afraid I would start running away, but seeing it with my eyeballs, it makes me so happy! Bravo! (also some of the best dramatic poses to grace the screen 🙂 )

Jenn
2 years ago

Everything about this post is brightening my day

Michelle
2 years ago

I literally caught my breath in delight at the very first picture! The colors, balance, sense of space and history….so good.

Janine
2 years ago

Really gorgeous!! This place is like a jewel box. Thank you for sharing Erik with us ❤️

SSM
2 years ago

Um, more of this please. Where did we find these gorgeous sconces for these very long taper candles? I’m feeling inspired, I need more details thank youuuuuuu

Arlyn
2 years ago

ERIK!!!! You friggin’ sparkle, even through black and white letters on the internet. Seeing spaces that really speak to their owners is everything we need in design right now. And the voice! So much design writing is BO-RING (I mean, not here, but everywhere else ha). Can you write everything forever and ever? ERIK FOR PREZ 2020!!

Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Arlyn

Arlyn, I second this nomination! xx

Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Rose

third!!

Kelley
2 years ago

Bubbles of joy lifted me up reading this post. I love everything about your space and your voice. Thanks for sharing!

Julia
2 years ago

Thank you. A post for the real world folks! So refreshing and fun and relatable. And gorgeous. 😍😍😍

Leslie
2 years ago

All of it! It is just ALL so good. Please show us more 🙂

Jane
2 years ago

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! EvErYtHiNg…!! Must. Have. Moooore…..of ALL of it!!! This brightened my day today!! And DAMN, I needed that!!!

Jen
2 years ago

What delicious eye candy! Love the green walls with the pops of turquoise and orange. But best of all, it’s all vintage finds collected over time (and that lucky score with the arm chairs—OMG!!!)

More please!

Paula
2 years ago

This is wonderful. You have my little hexagonal Moroccan inlaid box on your cocktail table! I adore those two Art Deco hunting prints. Are they pochoir? I collect pochoirs (most from La Gazette du Bon Ton). All the shops in Ojai are awesome. I’ve found a few bargains there myself, but the things I loved most were way beyond my budget. Sigh. Now I want to go to Bocalli’s (Ojai, not OakView) for some fresh tomato salad, pizza and strawberry shortcake (it’s the season!), but I will substitute raising my dirty martini (a martini is always made with gin; vodka “martinis” are an abomination — although I’ll occasionally drink a Gibson) to you and your super stylish apartment. 🍸

Lori
2 years ago

This is THE BEST.

Alexia
2 years ago
Reply to  Lori

Erik, you make my day .
So unexpected , so refreshing , so happy !!!
We need you !!

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