If you don’t read designer Amber Lewis’ blog or follow her on Instagram, you’re missing out on a lot. First, girlfriend is FUNNY. She doesn’t take herself too seriously, and I’ve never seen a designer come up with better names and hashtags for her projects—”Client Rad Trad” or “Client Oh Hi Ojai,” anyone? Second, her California-based firm Amber Interiors is killing it right now, especially if you love bright and boho interiors that feel at once both old and new, airy but grounded.
Simply put, Lewis’ spaces have soul, and she’s not the type to play it coy by showing you just a corner of a room or a close up of a detail. Full room reveals, often with before shots, keep coming on her blog, so there’s something new to see all the time. Oh, and if that’s not enough, Lewis also runs an amazing home decor store, Shoppe by Amber Interiors, so you can take a little piece of her aesthetic home no matter where you live. We caught up with this lady boss to ask her how she got her start, what she’s loving right now and what’s next on her agenda. So without further ado…
Apartment Therapy: How did you get your start as a designer?
Amber Lewis (AL): Long story short, I loved making things and that sparked an interest with styling, which turned into obsessing over all things design. In 2010, I bought my first home and started a blog documenting the process. I started getting small opportunities to help others design their homes, and I quickly turned my small side job passion into a full-blown career. I officially started my firm in October of 2013 and have grown from two people working at my dining table to an always-growing firm of eight, as well as brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores selling home goods.
AT: Did you always want to work in interiors?
AL: I knew I wanted to be a designer, but I had no idea that it would ever turn into all that it has today. It’s been a wild ride, but I am pretty sure I was meant to be a business owner and definitely am doing my dream job everyday.
AT: What would you say is your design calling card?
AL: I’ve been keyed as California Eclectic, which I’m into, and also is the working title of my book set to launch soon! To me “California Eclectic” is just a low-key, comfortable place that you can kick up your feet and call home at the end of the day. All my interiors are meant to be lived in and tell my client’s story. I start with a clean palette, add in pretty fixtures and finishes, create textural elements with a mix of new and vintage furniture pieces and then come in and accessorize it with items that make the space feel a little unique.
AT: Who or what is inspiring you right now?
AL: I am really into Belgian farmhouses right now! I am actually designing my own home that my husband and I are building, and I am heavily influenced by the hand hewn beams mixed with higher-end clean lined cabinetry, steel windows and french oak floors.
AT: Where do you go to for inspiration?
AL: My go-to for inspiration is always and will always be travel! We just returned from a trip to the UK visiting my in-laws, and I took home some serious inspo.
AT: Is there a trend in decor you’re loving right now?
AL: This may sound shocking to all, considering what my projects look like, but I’m obsessing over dark exteriors and interiors. We currently have a few clients who are getting down with the more moody vibe I am craving.
Trash is treasure, and I’ve found that out time and time again. — Amber Lewis
AT: Is there something trend-wise you just can’t get behind?
AL: I am having a hard time getting behind seeing the same room done over and over again. I am not sure if we are all just soaking up too much Pinterest or what, but I am more impressed with the firms who are creating a little more of a kooky cool vibe then going to Pinterest and seeing the same ol’ thang. Maybe it’s the “safe and simple” trend happening now that I can’t wait to see fade away!
AT: What’s your best budget decorating tip?
AL: If you’re passionate about designing your place, go out in the field and search for some pieces with a story. Everyone thinks vintage has to be expensive, which isn’t true. Do your research and find a source that Pinterest doesn’t know about just yet. Go to the flea market on the weekends, and make it a fun hunt for the perfect piece. Heck, I don’t even care—go dumpster diving. Not even kidding here. Trash is treasure, and I’ve found that out time and time again.