WORKING WITH EMILY
The process of designing a home with Emily begins with a conversation to understand her clients’ needs and wants. This is followed by collaborative design concepts conceived by both Emily and the client. Using photos from magazines, Pinterest boards and Instagram for design inspiration, a shared vision for the home begins to take shape. Emily is careful to consider the client’s existing antiques and heirlooms when suggesting new furnishings to keep a harmony between the old and the new. From fabrics and rugs to draperies and accessories, every element of design is explored and selected.
Rollins Andrew is a fully custom interiors firm that handles every aspect of the design, purchasing and installation processes. The ordering, customization, delivery and installation of the new furniture and furnishings falls under Emily’s purview.
Emily oversees every aspect of a project from floor plan design, lighting placement, tile-setting and millwork installation. Over her 12-year career, Emily has forged relationships with some of the finest craftsmen, contractors and tradesmen who work tirelessly to ensure every project is done to Emily’s standard of quality.
When any construction or painting is complete, Emily oversees the installation of all furnishings, draperies and accessories. The space comes together before the client’s eyes and the vision for the project is fully realized.
A Conversation with Emily
You are a third generation interior designer following in the footsteps of both your mother and grandmother. How do you think that has influenced your work or your process? How do you think you differ from them stylistically or in your process?
As a young woman, I would accompany my mother or grandmother on trips to vendors and the Pacific Design Center. I was able to learn their aesthetic by being exposed to all the beautiful spaces they would design for their homes and the homes of their clients. The common thread throughout was their use of exquisite fabrics, antiques, rugs and paint colors. They both had great resources — vendors I still work with to this day.
My foundational sense of style was heavily influenced by my mother and grandmother, but my aesthetic has evolved for a more modern age. I now have the benefit of exploring new options — such as African, Middle Eastern and Asian furniture and art — that I’m able to incorporate in my designs.
My palette has also shifted slightly. They leaned toward softer tones, while I tend to lean towards bolder, brighter colors. Although I must say, my coral living room was inspired by my mother’s salmon colored dining room. I just took it up a notch!
What is your favorite part of your job as a designer?
The best part of my job is being able to see the project vision unfold. I enjoy the process of learning the client’s personality and finding the best ways to fulfill their needs. It’s always rewarding to see the project come to full fruition.
What do you like to do when not designing? Hobbies? Favorite food? As a lifelong Pasadena, what is your favorite thing about living here?
Favorite hobby: Collecting Staffordshire (something my grandmother and mother did as well!)
Favorite food: Mediterranean
New favorite restaurant: Arbour on Lake Ave in Pasadena
New favorite restaurant in Highland Park: Hippo
Favorite things about Pasadena: Culture, heritage, philanthropic diversity
Favorite places: Huntington Library and Gardens, Art Center College of Design
How do you conceive of a unique design for each of your clients? Is it a collaboration or mostly your vision?
It’s definitely a collaboration. I’ll have a vision for a home almost immediately after I walk in, but it’s really conversations with the client that solidify the plans. When I understand my client’s style and how it pairs with the architectural style of the home, I can then conceive a design unique to them.
There is a quote from the book Billy Baldwin Decorates that exemplifies my approach to decorating:
“Unlike most decorators’, Baldwin’s first impulse was to use some of the furniture the client already possessed —” I do not necessarily believe in throwing out everything and starting from scratch.” The full atmosphere or mood of a room could never be achieved, he felt, without an “enormous personal manifestation” on the part of the client, which would serve in turn to enhance his own work.”
Are there any projects you’ve undertaken that challenged you in a surprising or unique way?
Every job has its’ challenges, for example when I take on elderly clients it is challenging to transition them from their lifelong homes into senior living communities. Although it can be a sensitive process, I am happy I’ve been able to help select cherished items that bring the client a sense of comfort and familiarity in a new space.
Scripps College was my first large scale institutional project. It was challenging because the donor lived in London and there were many more people involved in the decision making process. Meeting times were limited because of her short visits on campus and communication was challenging due to my client’s busy international schedule. Through it all, she was quite pleased with the end result.