We love seeing the inside of the homes of interior designers because they are all so different and oh-so beautiful. That is true for the home of interior designer, Amber Wallace. We adore the fun elements throughout (those guitars hanging on the walls have us swooning). Read on to find out how Amber got into the business and why she has a passion for all-things home design.
How did you get into home design?
I honestly think it’s in my blood. My grandparents have killer style. My dad designed metal and copper roofing for a living. I grew up dancing and creativity has always been huge in my life. I think my love for design came when I moved out to Los Angeles, four days after high school graduation, with a chair and a tv. I found stuff on the streets for free. And my first time at the IKEA Burbank was life-changing! I walked around for hours looking through every room and left with inexpensive chairs that I could finally have my guests sit on.
Years later, I had people like my home and ask me for help with theirs and then I eventually started to charge people. I got my very first client at a zoo play date. That was back in 2011. I actually had an old blog back then and did e-design work. I abruptly stopped after my daughter was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (now hypopituitarism) in late 2012 and four weeks later, my son, with autism. My family needed me and I needed a little healing. I quietly kept a few clients and did small projects, until diving back in the spring of 2017. I had a really big and special boho girl’s room I designed for my nieces that pushed me into knowing that I still had something and to really start putting myself out there. That’s when Where I’m With You was formed!
What do you love most about the work that you do?
I have the best clients for the vast majority. It’s so interesting to work with different styles and different family needs. It’s always fun to have people go from being skeptical to trusting me with the process. I’ve been called a marriage counselor lots of times. I think I’m trained from my kids to be patient so I can help people figure out the best ways for our styles to all mesh into a beautiful room.
And let’s be real, I love the reveal. Completely transforming a space to work better for a family gives me such a good feeling. Sometimes rearranging your furniture can change the way you live your life and how you snuggle on the sofa. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a room is, if it doesn’t function for the people who live in it. I get to leave things better than I found them. It’s a gift to be invited to do so in someone’s home. Something I hope I never take for granted.
How do you make virtual design work without it feeling impersonal?
I think it’s the same as almost any customer service job. It’s all about communication. I may have to change this at some point because it can get out of hand. But I love texting with clients through the design process, really digging into the first thing they love and find what they want to change. Getting excited when furniture arrives and being as much a part of the process as they want. I’ve been really lucky this year, in that I was able to go to two virtual design client’s homes to style them and really take them all the way to 100%. But I’ll do FaceTime, help with revisions, whatever! I love to be a part of the entire process. And it’s so important to me that they love their space at the end.
How would you describe your home décor style?
My personal style!? Always such a loaded question, right? I think if I have to pin it down I would call it Acquired Modern Mix. It’s approachable, family-friendly and affordable, honestly. But still just a little bit fancy! And it has taken time to collect.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
There is a flexibility with owning my own business that has been so nice. If my son has a problem at school, I can get there. If I need a yoga class, I can put it in my schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I am still trying to find that mythical work-life balance. But working this way allows me to be what my family needs me to be. I can work from 6 a.m. to noon and then take my kids to the pool one day and install during an evening on another. It’s not perfect, it never will be, but it has allowed me to be both.
I also love taking ownership in what I do. Having something that is all mine to be proud of. And seeing all my hard work pay off, especially this year has been really rewarding. My husband has been incredible through every phase big and small. I work with great contractors and people I trust. It’s been amazing to see my dream build.
What are some essential elements that you like to include in your home design jobs?
SOUL – I always want to add a little history to a space. Something old and special on a shelf. Anything that has a story, like an old lithograph, a book from a grandparent, pearls, a painting. I tend to use a lot in my own home. Luckily, my grandma was a painter and I was able to get three of her paintings. Including the one above my bed!
VINTAGE – I personally will only buy dressers secondhand. The quality is so much better. Every dresser in our home in at least 40 years old. And in any space, I think it adds something unique and special.
COMFORT – Sometimes a dirty word to a designer. But we all want to be comfortable. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, we can all have both. I want a comfortable sofa that looks great, and including cozy pillows and textured blankets only adds to that.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I was adamant for most of my childhood that I would be a writer. As I got older, a dancer. It really seems like a whole lifetime ago. But when I moved to LA to dance, I took classes from many choreographers who work on “So You Think You Can Dance.” I even danced with a few of season one’s top 10. I was pregnant with our first child then. I taught dance in LA for 8 years, before we moved back to Boise. I have always needed to do something where I could create and express myself no matter what. I think any time I haven’t done that I have suffered a little. I’m not afraid of hard work but I need some creative freedom to thrive.
What are 3 essential tools that help you run your business?
1) Graph paper and a pencil, hands down my favorite tool. I collect them! I love seeing what I drew out come to life. And when I do have spare time, it’s a straight up hobby as well. Probably because I can have a hard time sitting still sometimes. 2) Sadly, my phone. But it’s so much of my sourcing, Instagram time and communicating with client needs. I’d be lost without it. Even though it makes work hard to put away sometimes. 3) My second office, my car. I have an old SUV that has almost 195,000 miles on it. I’ve been holding onto it longer than I should. I don’t want a car payment and I got to get her to 200,000! But hauling, shopping and client meetings are major parts of my job. I’m driving a lot. Maybe it won’t be so hard to let go if I got a truck or something.
You have so many beautiful guitars! Who is the musician?
I wish I was! My daughter plays the guitar and my youngest son is an aspiring ukulele player. We are working on that one. I do think they are so beautiful to hang. Plus, I figure if they see them on the wall they will want to play with them more. I think having music in our home is important, even if it’s just a dance party or singing along to music while we have family clean up time. We measure cleaning by how many songs we will clean up for, ha! Fun fact, I did play the string bass for a time growing up!
I have a client project I did this year where I designed a built-in for their guitars and I am still so in love with it. We might have to all start playing so I can do one at our house.
Amber Wallace – www.whereimwithyou.com – @whereimwithyou
Photography by www.featherbluephotography.com – @lindseyloo_featherblue
Shop Her Home: