Massachusetts-based interior designer, blogger and author Erin Gates is known for creating beautiful spaces that are home to children, pets and the chaos of family life—believing "it's possible to raise a family in a home that is chic, functional, and uniquely personal." Gates listed us as one of her top lighting sources in her second book, Elements of Family Style, and graciously shared a few highlights. This all-new book is packed with her signature honest advice, inspirational ideas, and lessons learned about combining style and function. Discover how our lighting illuminates Gates' elegant spaces for everyday life.
For this kitchen, Gates created a peaceful moment in a typically busy kitchen belonging to a family of five. A pair of Plantation Small Square Lanterns in Polished Nickel by Chapman & Myers carry serene sophistication over the island's marble countertops, while the barstool's easy-to-clean outdoor fabric allows for family-friendly seating.
For this kitchen renovation, Gates installed new backsplash, removed the decorative accents on the cabinets, updated the hardware and replaced the light fixtures with a pair of Hicks Small Pendants by Thomas O'Brien. She shares why kitchen lighting is so important: "If you have an island or peninsula counter you plan to hang pendants over, consider them jewelry of the kitchen. You want them to be as beautiful as they will be one of the first things people notice! If you need a lot of light, look for multi-bulb fixtures or those with white glass that conceal stronger bulbs."
Gates made this casual family dining area feel more cozy by installing the open-frame Darlana Large Linear Lantern by E.F. Chapman and hanging a gallery of cherished art and prints on one wall. She believes that kids deserve a little more flair than a magnet on the fridge, saying "it looks fantastic and keeps the fridge from getting massively cluttered."
The crystal arms of the Vivian Large One-Tier Chandelier by Thomas O'Brien amplify the elegant formality of this dining room. Gates says, "A rule of thumb we designers use is to always have the bottom of the dining room light fixture thirty inches above the top of the table. If it’s a little higher that's okay, but if it’s too high it feels less formal and intimate, and if it’s lower your guests will have trouble talking to each other and you will be limited in your table décor, especially flowers."
To give these built-ins depth, Gates incorporated textured wallpaper behind, and the 24" Cabinet Maker's Picture Light by E.F. Chapman above. The Arpont Floor Lamp by AERIN adds another layer of interest next to the modern taupe leather chair with its Parchment Stitched Shade.
"This client wanted a special room all to herself in tones of blue and lilac, so we created a comfy retreat with striped swivel chairs, floral roman shades, and a to-die-for light fixture," says Gates. The Hampton Large Chandelier in Gild by AERIN is a nod to this home's coastal location, while the Mia Floor Lamp by Thomas O'Brien inserts a contemporary note into this sophisticated sanctuary.
Gates explains "Having options for lighting in a nursery or a kid's bedroom is really important-an overall ceiling fixture or recessed lighting is a good base (a dimmer is a big plus), but you'll also want low lighting options for snuggle time and a light by a chair or glider for reading. Utilizing a mix of floor lamps, sconces, and table lamps will accomplish this-just make sure you use LED bulbs so the fixtures don't get hot to the touch."
Here, the Paulo Small Bracket Light by Thomas O'Brien is both functional and beautiful for this girl's room—it saves space and cannot get accidentally knocked over. The Polished Nickel finish lends elegance to the subtle star wallpaper and violet accents throughout.
When designing spaces for children, Gates likes to ask what their desires are for their room. She says, "Maybe it's just a color, or a pattern, a piece of art or a favorite toy, but I feel like children should have a say in the creation of their own spaces."
This room is a study for the client's daughter as well as a guest bedroom for visitors -Gates designed a space appropriate for both. A pair of French Library Single Arm Wall Lamps in Hand-Rubbed Antique Brass illuminate the daybed's playful pillows below and add welcoming warmth against the cool wallcovering.
The powder room - featuring the Bristol Single Sconce by AERIN - is one of Gates' favorite rooms to design, allowing to create a unique statement personal to her clients. She says, " A spunky chartreuse-and-gray wallpaper is exactly the facelift this powder room needed. The brass mirror and sculptural sconces are icing on the cake!"
Erin's all-new book, Elements of Family Style, is now available for purchase. She walks you through each room in the house, pointing out where to splurge and where to save, which stain-restistant fabric are durable yet beautiful, how to organize storage so that clutter doesn’t become chaos, and ways to create retreats that adult can truly appreciate. Like a best friend who has a knack for style and a taste for fun, Erin opens her front door and invites you into her life and all of its beautiful imperfections.