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I'm Erika Ward

Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation.  My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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Los Angeles-based furniture and interior designer, Vanessa De Vargas has received as much national press as any A-list celeb. She’s not known for wild nightclub antics, but for her knack for polishing diamonds in the rough.  In addition to making the world a more beautiful place, she also unselfishly gives of her time with community efforts such as The Upward Bound House as well as the operator of the Designer Networking Group. Vanessa gives us an exclusive interview that truly defines her as a woman on a mission.

Please tell us about your firm Turquoise. Who, What, When, Where, Why…
Turquoise is a full service interior design firm located in Venice Beach, CA. I design full homes and also do consultations for clients that need less time to work on their projects. I feel like everyone should be able to afford design. I work all over the surrounding LA area and also offer virtual design called E-Decorating to help design spaces for clients that don’t live in LA. I call it E-Decorating because nothing is mailed its all emailed and its also Eco friendly! I also run and organize DNG (Designer Networking Group).

Please tell us about the success you’ve had with DNG events. Do you feel it encourages unity among the artist community? How?
DNG hosts a series of meet-ups for designers and the like to network and to hang out in a more social environment. We meet once a month at a different location could be a new showroom or art gallery. Its been very successful that people have gotten jobs, have met new vendors and made friends. Feels great giving back to the design community.

I read in an interview that you selected the name Turquoise because of your family’s vacations to New Mexico. Do you ever draw inspiration from those memories?
Its where my father is from and most of my family lives in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. I also love the color and have worn Turquoise jewelry for years. When I thought about what to name my company I knew it was not going to be my name but it had to be something the represented who I am. Turquoise fit perfectly.

Sherman Oaks Residence / photographer – Lloyd Rosen Photography

Were you always an interior designer? Before starting your own firm, what was the most valuable piece of advice you learned while working for others?
I was a talent agent and also worked on staff for some of the biggest commercial and music video production companies in LA, before I went into interior design.  When I did go work for other designers  I realized what NOT to do. This town is small and some working relationships can get personal with vendors and/or clients. You have to pick your battles and be clear about your emotions when it comes to being an artist. The line can get blurred so its best to ask questions and clear the air. Don’t assume and jump to conclusions.

Upward Bound House / photographer – Laure Joilet

With so many other talented interior designers in L.A., How do you distinguish yourself from the rest?
I’m not a one trick pony. I listen to my clients to guide me. All my projects are different then the next. I may use wallpaper or Lucite or pops of color but you don’t see the same “look” over and over again.

Upward Bound House / photographer – Laure Joilet

You do a wonderful job of promoting and branding yourself.  What are some of the best ways designers can create buzz for their business?
Make long lasting relationships with bloggers, store owners and editors. If you have a blog make it your own. I don’t mind looking at pretty pictures of other peoples work, but its also exciting to see what each individual is working on. A sneak peek into other peoples careers makes you different than the other blogs out there. Create a blog that’s about you, people notice.

Beverly Hills Playroom / photographer – Lloyd Rosen Photography

What are some of your favorite finishing touches when designing a room?
Artwork  and black and white photography, fun colored drapes, found objects and mix and matching pillows.

What is your ideal work environment?
ORGANIZED number one, tearsheets, fabric samples and my laptop.

When not designing I am…
Going to concerts and spending time with friends and family, listening to new music. Spending as much time as I can by going to the beach.

My Mom.

Highest Compliment…
My friend said “If I owned a Fortune 500 company I would want you to run it. (I was floored, such a huge compliment!) 

Lucky Break…
Oh that’s a hard one I have had so many lucky wonderful opportunities but I do feel like all my experiences in life have been lucky!

Eureka Moment…
Having my placed published for the first time in Sunset Magazine.

Looking forward to…
Learning, being creative and designing exciting spaces while thinking MORE outside the box.

Best Advice…
Go with your gut, don’t second guess. If you don’t know something always say let me get back to you on that one – don’t let anyone know that YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOUR DOING!

Encino Residence / photographer – Lloyd Rosen Photography



Vanessa was recently selected to be featured in the first edition of Crave Los Angeles, The Urban Girl’s Manifesto. This comprehensive, creative lifestyle guide lists over 125 industry professionals who either design, make or sell their amazing products.  Most are shop owners or provide a one-of-a-kind service in Los Angeles.

One lucky reader will have a chance to win a copy signed by Vanessa!

Just simply leave a comment below. 
The giveaway ends Thursday, August 26th at 11:59PM PST. 
Open to U.S. residents only. 
Winner will be announced Friday morning at 8:00AM EST.

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Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation. My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

Learn more