INTERIOR DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Eric Guenther, Whim and Studio Pink, San Juan Capistrano, California.

His store and interior design businesses may have “whim”sical and colorful names, but Eric Guenther is totally serious about creating eye-catching environments. He first developed his interest in “all things design” from his grandmother who tutored him in the aesthetics of fine living, architecture, design, fine art, and travel. At 20 years old, Eric embarked on a career in the interior design industry. Seventeen years later, in 2002, he established his own firm, Studio Pink. In 2003, he co-founded the exclusive home store, Whim, with jewelry designer extraordinaire, Daviell Maldonado.

The first thing overwhelmed clients want to know, is where to start. Says Eric, “I always begin with a couple of key pieces of furniture, and the best quality rugs.” If you’re decorating on your own, he emphasizes that floor coverings should not be treated as afterthoughts and that it’s extremely difficult to put together an entire room, and then say, “Wow, now we need to go find an area rug.”

This is because it is from the rug that you pick the room’s colors. It provides guidance as to the range of colors used, “Work backwards from that.” He stresses that this actually simplifies the process.

One of Eric’s personal preferences that can make all the difference to a room is choosing a rug that offers a real contrast between the rug and the floor, as in a dark rug on light wood or a light rug on dark wood. Eric thinks this is best because this combination draws attention to the room, as well as the motif that is inside of that rug.

Design don’ts? Eric has a couple:

•Avoid a too-small rug, as it will shrink the room. “The best rule is to make sure that furniture has at least its toes on the rug.”

• Be sure the rug brings a comforting element to the room, not one that says, “Don’t come in here; don’t walk on me.”

The element, however, that makes a room “very Eric”, aka more interesting: “I’m not afraid of mixing patterns.” He insists though that when choosing your combinations of two patterned rugs or patterned rug/patterned furniture fabric/draperies, the trick is that they have a strong color in common. Eric Guenther’s expertise in creating magnificent spaces of course goes beyond area rugs, to everything from furniture to the perfect accessory. Hence when he defines what Whim and Studio Pink are all about, he says, “Our specialty lies in creating beautiful home décor and professional timeless design.”

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