Erin & Her Home
Incredibly enough, it was nothing more than a simple online workshop that served as the jumping off point for Erin Barrett to discover her dream career. Well, that and a passion for creating, which, up until that point, had been waiting for inspiration to strike! Just two years later, Erin's creative weavings brand, SunWoven, has skyrocketed into the hearts (and homes!) of Team Glitter Guide, not to mention the digital retail shelves of West Elm. Color us impressed.
A few fun facts about Erin that you might not know: She has two children, a 4-year-old daughter named Sunny, and a new baby boy, Bowie. Erin was a professional ballet dancer for seven years before getting married, having kids and starting her business. Oh, and her husband is the drummer for Band of Horses. If you haven't given the band a listen yet, open up Pandora and prepare to be lulled into submission.
Below, Erin invites us through the doors of her bright and playful Charleston, South Carolina, home—a space that is brimming with the kind of super-saturated, beautifully bright colors that have us scheming up a complete home renovation. Scroll on to find out how Erin was able to put her personal stamp on her family's space, plus get the scoop on how this creative was able to go from workshop attendee to professional artist in less than two years!
Tell us your story! How long have you been weaving? Was it difficult to learn?
Before SunWoven, I was a professional ballet dancer for seven years in two different ballet companies. After marrying my husband and having my daughter Sunny, I stopped dancing as a career to stay at home and teach ballet part-time. The older my daughter grew, I really began to miss having a creative outlet and was searching for something that spoke to me. In August of 2014, I came across an online beginner's weaving tutorial by Rachel Denbow on A Beautiful Mess, and was immediately hooked. I bought my first loom the next day, and have done some form of weaving every day since then! Little did I know that something that I so adored doing as a hobby would blossom into such a wonderfully fulfilling business and career for myself. I am thankful every day that I found something that always challenges me, while allowing me to be creative and stay at home with my two children.
How do you source your materials, and what is your favorite to work with?
Most of the materials I use for my pieces are found online and in various Etsy shops. There is the most wonderful locally-owned yarn shop where my parents live in Missouri that I love visiting. Every summer while we are vacationing there, I stock up on all of my favorites. Right now, various metallic ribbons and materials are my most favorite thing to incorporate into my weavings. The little bit (or a lot!) of sparkle they bring to the pieces really make such a lovely statement. The contrast of the metallic on the wool yarn creates such a pleasant look.
What would you most like to make that you haven't so far?
Soon I will be focusing all of my energy on a really special large-scale weaving. I have a gorgeous piece of birch wood that I am planning to hang this piece from. I have been beyond blessed to have the opportunity to work on so many wonderful custom pieces for people recently, but I am longing for some time to create something new from scratch, and challenge myself creatively.
Where do you draw inspiration? Who inspires you?
Since the birth of my sweet son, Bowie, last October, I have been spending most of my time in my home and in my home studio. My children are easily my main source of inspiration. They bring so much light and happiness to my life, which I really feel is reflected in my work. Most days, all of my work is done with them right beside me! I have noticed that over the past six months or so, bright colors and funky color combinations have played a big part in what I create. Music also plays a big part in my life, and is constantly being played in all rooms of our home, providing all kinds of sweet inspiration. So much love and time is put into each piece that I make. My biggest hope and goal is that all of that positive energy and love makes its way through my work into the homes that they reside in.
Take us through a typical day in the life of Erin Barrett. What does your average workday look like?
The majority of my work is done during my children's nap time and bedtime. I spend the early mornings getting my 4-year-old ready for preschool with the baby in tow. During the baby's mid-morning nap, I make my way to my studio and work to get as much accomplished as I can before it's time to go back into "full-time mom" mode. Once everyone is back in bed for the night, I return to work for about three-to-four more hours. I love working alone in the studio at night with the windows and doors open while I binge listen to "This American Life." I definitely consider myself one of the very lucky ones who gets to stay at home with my children, but also work from home doing something that brings me so much joy.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your home?
We purchased this home in August of 2015. From the moment we first saw the listing online, we knew this was the house for us. There was so much work that needed (and still needs) to be done, but it's all been such a wonderful opportunity to take something that needed a little TLC and really transform it into the perfect family home for us. My husband is a musician and plays drums for Band of Horses. When he isn't touring, he is here working from home as well.
We see this house as not only our home, but the place where we both work and draw inspiration from. Mid-century modern is definitely our favorite design aesthetic and what we lean toward most often when picking out furniture and designing our space. That being said, I try not to get too hung up on one look, and keep things interesting by mixing it up and incorporating other styles of décor.
What did you hope to accomplish with your space?
We have an ongoing joke that we are trying to create a home that we never have to leave. We spend the majority of our time at home being that we both work from here. The most important thing is that it is a place where we all feel comfortable, happy and inspired. There is still a lot of work to be done, but so far we have been successful in accomplishing those feelings.
Little did I know that something that I so adored doing as a hobby would blossom into such a wonderfully fulfilling business and career for myself.
What are your favorite designers/brands?
One of my favorite pieces in the family room is our Gus Modern sectional. It so gracefully accomplishes being a super-stylish piece of furniture, while maintaining functionality for a family. Everything that Gus Modern makes is completely amazing.
Are there any pieces you are coveting?
A friend of mine recently brought the artwork of Kindah Khalidy to my attention through Instagram. I was blown away! Her pieces are so bright and colorful and would be so well loved in our home.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to decorating?
Pick pieces that you truly love! If you fill your home and surround yourself with things that you really love, it will reflect your own personal style and create the sort of space that you love spending your time in.
What was the inspiration behind your son's nursery?
Being that I was seven months pregnant when we moved into our home and started a major renovation, I was already nesting like crazy! As soon as the white paint was applied and the new floors were put in, I immediately put all of my energy into Bowie's nursery. I wanted it to be a simple and sweet place for him as a baby that would grow with him over the years. In the past, I have been known to overdecorate and pack every wall and corner of a room. This time around I aimed to be more thoughtful in my process and create spaces that would last.
What are a few of your favorite beauty products?
What are some of your favorite décor items? Where did you get them?
My favorite piece of artwork is by Elizabeth Pawle. She and I connected through Instagram, and I am one of the lucky ones who has been able to acquire a piece of her art. The Hamilton leather sofa in the family room is a favorite of ours from West Elm. Lots of family movie nights have already been spent cuddled up on that couch. The super-bright and happy shag rug in my home studio I found online through RugsUSA. This rug really helped set the tone and feel of what I was trying to achieve in my studio space.
So much love and time is put into each piece that I make. My biggest hope and goal is that all of that positive energy and love makes its way through my work into the homes that they reside in.
Any exciting upcoming projects that you can share with us?
Recently, SunWoven was chosen to be a part of West Elm Local, and is being sold nationally online and through the catalog. This was such a big moment for me professionally and has been a wonderful opportunity. Right now, there are six different styles and colorways available, but new pieces are in the works that will launch in the fall!
What fashion pieces would you consider your staples?
It's beautiful and warm most months out of the year here in Charleston. My staple outfit for all of our nice days is a simple white T-shirt and a pair of cut-off jean shorts. Flowy dresses have played a large part in my wardrobe for the past year during my pregnancy and after having the baby.
- Gus Modern Jane bi-sectional sofa
- France & Son Micheil tufted armchair
- Celadon Golden palm print
- Bali Goldtone 22-light chandelier
- West Elm mid-century console
- West Elm Hamilton leather sofa
- IKEA Raskog utility cart
- PineapplePhi tassel mobile
- Khroma Moroccan trellis shag rug
- White Molded Evie chairs