Studio Stalker! Inside Erica Tanov's Swoon-Worthy Workspace

Bay Area designer Erica Tanov is currently ruling over a small retail empire. With shops on Fillmore, on Berkeley’s bustling 4th Street strip, in Larkspur's newly revamped Marin Country Mart, and in New York’s Nolita, she's slowly taking over the world. But that's not actually where all of the magic happens. That distinction goes to Tanov’s shabby-chic, canine-filled studio located just a few blocks from her East Bay boutique. Housed in what used to be her grandfather’s laundry business, the space packs a lot of history and intrigue. Peep the beautiful workspace after the jump, and get mega-inspired to infuse some personality into your own office.
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This space has quite a bit of history behind it. Break it down for us.
“The building once housed my grandfather's laundry business, Victor Laundry (‘To the Victor go the Soils’ was his slogan!). Ever since, it has remained in the family. I took over the building when I moved back to the Bay Area from New York. Back then, we had the store in front, the studio behind it, and then we lived in the apartment that's attached in back. Now, I use the entire space as my studio.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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What are your favorite items in this workspace?
“My collection of vintage clothing I use for inspiration. There are also many pieces of castoff furniture that we've used in our photo shoots, which I cherish and store at the studio.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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What’s on your inspiration board right now?
“Postcards of various painters' work, such as Kori Girard and Pablo Picasso (from his recent show at the de Young), and a beautiful tactile piece of work by the artist Yasmin Holland. And of course, all my fabrics for the upcoming spring/summer 2012 collection, too!”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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The Tanov trimmings.

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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Tanov's patterns in the workroom.

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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How would you describe the prints and fabrics that you create?
“The prints I design are pretty eclectic. They come from a wide range of inspiration. I often draw or paint flowers or leaves that I find, and turn them into prints. I also like to use vintage patterns taken from scraps, clothing, wallpaper, origami paper—anything, really—and re-scaling, re-coloring, and/or reconfiguring the pattern to create my own print. Using my kids' drawings is another favorite way of creating the prints for my collection.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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How would you describe your design aesthetic?
“Natural, unrefined beauty. Understated and relaxed glamour.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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You have so many dogs around! Are they good co-workers?
“Yes, we bring our dogs to work! I have two: Lily and Earl. And Jack is the well-behaved one that belongs to Nel. They are somewhat good co-workers. The best is when a fire truck or ambulance goes by; They all howl in unison. It's pretty cute — until it gets annoying. This can happen several times a day. You have to love dogs, or at least tolerate them, to work at the studio.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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Something new (Erica Tanov stickers) and something old (a vintage scale) in the workroom.

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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What do you think has been the key to staying successful in the industry?
“Staying true to my vision.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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How would you describe the space?
“Sentimental, functional, cluttered, and definitely un-designed.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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So, you didn’t have a specific style in mind when you were decorating?
“No. I've been in the space since 1994, and have continued to change how I use it. So, we pretty much just keep moving things around to suit our needs at any given time. I would love to do a major overhaul of the space, but there never seems to be a convenient time to stop everything in order to do it.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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Stamps on Tanov's mood board.

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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What do you love most about living and working in Berkeley?
“I love how almost anything goes here. All kinds of people live in and visit Berkeley. I especially love that it feels just urban enough, yet we're so close to such gorgeous natural landscapes.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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A sketch for a future collection.

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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Tell us about this old clipboard.
“It's one of the few remaining items from my grandfather's business. I love that it has stuck around over the years, and that it is still in use.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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Stacks of pretty things in Tanov's office.

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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What do you have coming down the pipeline?
“A hotel project is in the works, which I am extremely excited about. Designing the rooms and creating the ultimate guest experience is something I've long wanted to do.”

Photographed by Michelle Drewes
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