(Editorâ€™s note: This is a continuing series of profiles of the designers involved in the 2014 Pasadena Showcase House of Design, one of the most successful Showcase Houses in the country. Each year a major estate in the Pasadena area is selected. The property is then completely renovated by leading interior and exterior designers. The Showcase House is open to the public for four weeks during April and May.)
One might call Erika Bruder a bit of an overachiever. As one of a select group of designers and decorators asked to participate in the 2014 Pasadena Showcase, she joins an elite group, but design is actually her third career. After graduating from UCLA in 2008, she enjoyed fulfilling careers in both travel and entertainment.
â€œIâ€™ve always loved design all my life; as a teenager I subscribed to design magazines, and I always loved that field. So I went back to UCLA again to get another design degree, through a professional-level program, she told Pasadena Now.
She then worked at an architecture firm, then a high-end residential builder, and was then ready to open her own company.
â€œI am on the board of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA),â€ she said, â€œand I do a lot of volunteer work for them. I always wanted to find my niche in design, and I think thatâ€™s it.â€
In terms of her own design ideas or philosophy, Bruder says, â€œI like very clean lines, but I can help with anything, any ideas a client might have. I might recommend refining something, or I can warm up some contemporary styles and ideas.â€
Bruder continued, â€œI am always studying and taking workshops, and I am a member of a number of interior design groups. Iâ€™m always enhancing my knowledge, and trying to keep up with emerging trends.
â€œI like a very clean uncluttered look, but I can do traditional or loud colors,â€ She added.
Bruder is in some ways, a facilitator of design ideas, helping to nurture a clientâ€™s idea with some of her own expertise, saying, â€œI like to refine their ideas. I am a good listener, and a good business person, and I think thatâ€™s important.â€
Where many decorators bring together otherâ€™s designs to create a look, Bruder feels as if she actually designs the designs. â€œI am more of a designer than a decorator,â€ she says. â€œI do drawings and space planning, and the drafting. I do a lot of technical, a lot of the construction designs, all of the tearing down walls and the nuts and bolts of it all. Â I like being involved with all of that.â€
And ultimately, says Bruder, the clientâ€™s satisfaction will rule the day.
â€œItâ€™s very important to me to make the client very, very happy,â€ she said. â€œWhen I get a job, I like to work on it, and get it done in a timely manner. Itâ€™s emotional for people, clients want people out of their house, so I like to be really organized. I tell my clients, â€œHave all your plumbing there, have your tiles, have everything ready to go, so we can get it all going and not prolong the process.â€
I was raised with a good work ethic,â€ she continued,â€ and itâ€™s important to work hard. I respect what people are doing and the fact that they are paying me. Itâ€™s important to me to be fair and work hard for them. More than having an eye for design, customer service is very important. You have to have a lot of passion for this business, because itâ€™s not easyâ€
The 2014 Showcase House is her second participation in the event, having worked on it in 2008, but as she says, â€œItâ€™s a big commitment. So I had put it aside for a while, and worked with the NKBA volunteering, until I deciding to try again.â€
This year Bruder is doing the laundry room.
â€œI work with a group of artisans and builders that have the same style and ethic that I do. I wanted something clean and fresh, something very white with upscale products; the Rohl Modern Line, as an example, some very rich materials, very sophisticated.â€
As a longtime believer in the organizationâ€™s goals, Bruder says, â€œItâ€™s a great way to give back and to show my skills. Iâ€™m looking forward to this, and I hope everyone likes what I do.â€
The 2014 Pasadena Showcase House of Design will beÂ held AprilÂ 13â€“ May 11, 2014Tuesday,Â Saturday and Sunday, 9 am – 5 pm, and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
9:00 am – 9:00 pm. Showcase is closed on Mondays. www.pasadenashowcase.org/