Erin Donahue Tice is an accomplished artist who lives in Austin, Texas in a beautiful 1940s home designed by Kristen Nix. Known for clean lines and timeless interiors, Kristen worked with Erin and her husband to completely renovate and transform the home which hadn’t been updated since the 1990s. Erin’s traditional style is accentuated with bold color throughout, providing the perfect backdrop for her abstract art.
Kristen added thoughtful touches like painting the hardwood foyer into a blue and cream checkerboard, using a sage green lacquered wallpaper on the dining room ceiling, wrapping the now open concept family room/kitchen in a unifying blue-grey grasscloth, and enveloping the master bedroom in neutral Quadrille Arbre De Matisse using an old school “pattern on pattern” effect. “We have forged such a tight bond from working on this project,” said Erin. “Kristen also found a way to incorporate my artwork throughout the house – including a massive 48×72 canvas piece I painted to be hung in the formal living room, and a grouping of collages I created for the casual family room.”
Today, The Glam Pad is delighted to welcome Erin for a Style Profile Q&A along with a tour of her beautiful home and peek at her incredible artwork. Photography is by Hannah Mayson and Michael Hunter Welcome, Erin!
Q: What led you to become an artist, and how did you develop a passion for abstract art?
A: I actually spent over a decade working in the PR industry for firms in Chicago and NYC. I specialized in PR for corporate brands, mostly in the advertising/media and entertainment sectors. I loved my job but after having two sons back-to-back, I decided to take some time off to try the full-time mom thing. My second son, George, bless his heart – was a very tough, colicky baby. He really put us through the ringer. I think the first six months of his life were some of the toughest of my entire life. I decided I needed to reclaim a part of myself at that point since although I LOVED being a mom, I was missing having an outlet just for ME.
Around the same time, my husband and I were decorating our house in Austin (where we moved in 2014) and shopping for abstract pieces for certain rooms. We were coming up short, not finding any artwork we truly loved in the Austin market. I thought, why don’t I try to paint something myself? So, I went to my local art store and talked at length to the store employees and loaded up on supplies. I set up shop in our back-guest house and got to work. Not only did I create a piece for our living room, I discovered a newfound love – painting! I got lost in my paint brush, spending many nap times and late nights painting in my little studio.
After about six months of painting behind closed doors, I decided to launch my work to the public. I had a lot of encouragement from girlfriends, my parents and my husband. I taught myself how to build a website and launched an Instagram page – that was in September 2018. It feels like a million years ago, but also like a very short time ago that I had no idea I could even paint let alone sell my work!
Q: When did you become interested in interior design, and who are your favorite designers – past and present?
A: I think I first became interested when I met my husband in 2010. He was a very “evolved” man and had a beautifully decorated pre-war apartment on the Upper East Side in Manhattan when we met. It was the nicest, chicest bachelor pad I had ever seen, and he had enlisted his friend (and now very well-known designer) Lindsay Coral Harper to help trick it out. He had red Scalamandre Zebras wallpaper covering his tiny NYC kitchen an antique mirrored backsplash. He also had a super “Mad Men-esque” Ralph Lauren deep charcoal cashmere sofa and really interesting objets lining his built-ins. It was such a unique and cozy space, and I started becoming much more interested in design from that point forward.
Now that I’m an artist, one of the best perks of my job is collaborating with interior designers on projects. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with designers throughout Texas, as well as in places like Nashville, Richmond, Chicago, Seattle and beyond.
Some of my favorite designers are Caroline Gidiere, Mark Sikes, Anna Louise Wolfe, Lauren Lowe of Lauren Elaine Interiors, Hillary Taylor Interiors, Meredith Ellis and Heather Chadduck. But the list is endless. I also constantly reference Lee Radzwill – she was such a talent in so many areas, and I love how she effortlessly decorated her homes, each with a distinct yet recognizable look.
Q: How do you describe your style?
A: Traditional with a splash of contemporary. But mostly traditional.
Q: Your home is absolutely beautiful! What was your involvement with the restoration and design?
A: Thank you! In 2019, we decided we needed more space and purchased a new house in our same historic neighborhood in Austin, a 1940 colonial. We gutted the home and brought it out of its bad 1990s makeover with the help of a female dream team of Carlie Blanford (CB Crafted Homes) and our designer and friend Kristen Nix, Principal of Kristen Nix Interiors. We were very involved in the process given our love of design, but also completely trusted Kristen and Carlie to make it beautiful.
This home felt much grander in scale than our previous bungalow, so we needed to purchase new, larger furniture and rugs for most of the rooms. We also doubled down on keeping many of its historical elements in place (intricate moldings, original fireplaces, shiplap that we discovered in my son’s room, scalloped trim around a bathroom ceiling, etc.), but also modernized certain spaces with interesting contemporary art, and wallpapers. My favorite room is our dining room where we used Schumacher’s Madame de Pompadour on the walls but covered the ceiling in a sage green lacquered wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries. It’s the perfect juxtaposition. I also LOVED Kristen’s idea to have our entryway floor hand painted with a blue and white checkerboard design. It brings the whole space to life and you can see that floor from almost every angle in the house.
I also was involved with the home on a deeper level because I created custom artwork for two of the rooms – a large canvas for the formal living room, and a set of collages for the casual family room. It was fun to collaborate on this level with Kristen.
Q: Do you have any favorite pieces of furniture or collections?
A: Antiques will always be my favorite. I’m obsessed with a vintage chinoiserie chest Kristen sourced for our living room. I also love a large Hendredon dresser we had in our NYC apartment but had been sitting in storage since we moved to Austin in 2014. Luckily, we (barely) got it up our stairs and it fit perfectly in our master bedroom and brings the right amount of warmth to our very neutral room.
Q: What are five possessions you could not live without?
A: 1) Obviously my kids, although what do you define as “possessions?” 🙂 2) Lululemon Align Leggings – I wear them on repeat 3) Eos chapstick 4) My “My Pillow” – I have neck problems and I swear it helps!) 5.) My gold Chanel ballet flats
Q: What are your tips for incorporating abstract art within traditional interiors?
A: It’s all about the mix. I LOVE mixing abstract art with more traditional interiors. The key is color. Try to coordinate 1-2 colors between your interior fabrics and your artwork. I also think that a traditional art light can tie abstract artwork into a traditional space seamlessly. Most of all, invest in art you LOVE. I always say you’ll find a place for it. It’s very pleasing to the eye to go from one traditional element to a more modern one. Have fun with it!
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: So many places, but interior design and travel are my two go-tos. I love to look at interior design coffee table books as well as Instagram accounts to find unique color combos to use as a jumping off point. I also love to look at photos of places I’ve traveled (my favorite happiest place being The Hamptons), and draw in the colors of nature to my pieces. I always tend to gravitate to blues and greens in my work. I actually just created a commission for someone who had traveled around to many of the national parks for her honeymoon and wanted a piece to remind her of the trip. I got lost in her photos of the rivers, wildflowers, trees and blue skies in our nation’s great outdoors and it was great inspiration for the painting.
Q: When you aren’t busy painting, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I’m mostly with my husband and our two boys – William (5) and George (3), and we have a third boy coming in June, so that will definitely keep us on our toes! But other than that, I am very into entertaining and setting tablescapes. Right now, it’s mostly for the fun of it since we aren’t having dinner parties these days. I also love to exercise and have been very into virtual classes by Obe, Exhale and Physique 57.
Q: Where can we purchase your art, and do you accept commissions? I have work available in a few places:
A: My website – erindonahuetice.com
2. Via galleries/art collectives – you can find the list here: https://erindonahuetice.com/pages/gallery-exhibition
3. And YES, I do commissions! It accounts for about 1/3 of my work and I work with clients and designers all over the United States. Commission inquiries can be directed to [email protected]
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: It’s my dream to continue collaborating with interior designers and clients to dress up their spaces. This past year has been such a tough one and I hope that I can keep creating happy artwork that speaks to my clients’ souls and makes them smile. Thank you so much for having me!
Thank you so much, Erin, for joining us today. Such a beautiful home and artwork! I am eyeing a particular piece for our home. 🙂 For additional information, please visit Erin Donahue Tice for additional information and follow @erindonahueticeart for ongoing inspiration. Erin has been featured in House Beautiful, Southern Home, and Luxe.