The Good, The Bad- Confessions Of A Traveling Interior Designer Revealed!

Check out our map!  I cannot believe we have made it to 17 states…and counting.  There are days I think of when I started this firm back in 2003 and how much we have grown and all the places we have been.  Travel is not always easy and growing to accommodate out-of-state installations has seen it’s up’s and downs, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Well, maybe there are some things I would change…

Traveling across the country in the winter has its challenges!  Mid-January we had an install in Louisville, Kentucky.  I tried to starting driving out ahead of the storm, but that didn’t work out so well.  My 9 hour trip home turned into a 15 hour trip going 10 miles an hour on a sheet of ice and an overnight stay in Champaign, IL.  Thanks for keeping a room for me Marriott! 

For our our out-of-state projects we typically design a model apartment and a community space.  The model apartment is ready before the rest of the spaces, so there are two trips to each installation site.  With anything there are growing pains right?  We usually have all of our items sent to a third party receiving company and they store the items until the project is ready.  Typically in one city we have several projects going on at the same time, so the poor 3rd party receiving companies are having to sort through everything. As you can imagine, depending upon who the business is run this could go smoothly or not so much.  

I will never forget an install we did earlier this year. We travelled to install a model apartment and when we showed up the model unit wasn’t ready.  It’s not easy to move in furniture with a stove in the hallway and trim still being installed. The contractor and I had a few words and I don’t think I was his favorite person that day. On top of that, our third party receivers brought furniture for another project in the same areas and mixed it with what we needed for this install. It was like Christmas, trying to sort through all the boxes to find what we needed and what we were missing. In the end, the apartment turned out AMAZING and it was nothing that a good assistant, glass of wine/dinner and meditation couldn’t solve!

I am not perfect and sometimes things don’t look perfect and I need to make adjustments on the fly. This is great when we are in larger cities where we can do some local shopping, but there have been a few times where the nearest Target is over an hour away.  That prompted me to order our sprinter van.  We had to go on a waiting list, typical for just about anything now-a-day’s. Now that we have this asset, we can load it with extra accessories for big installs, just in case something else didn’t work out! For the non-drivable projects we just get a rental car with a big trunk! 

No matter what comes our way when we’re getting to the site and installing or heading home, we always come up with a plan to pull the design together and it almost always looks better than the original design anticipated. We call those “happy train wreck”s and we are happy to learn and grow from each one so that we can perfect our process. Here’s to the next happy train wreck….Cheers!

If you enjoyed this blog, check out my video on the EED Process, If you have a topic you would like us to cover in a future blog, please email us at and let us know what topic you would like to hear about!  Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with all the latest tips.  Have a beautiful week and remember Elizabeth Erin Designs is here to help you achieve your vision!