the entry

{ en·try  /ˈentrē   [noun] }

For me, the entry is one of the most interesting places to tell a story in our home. It’s where we greet guests and welcome them into our home for an intimate dinner party, game night or just in for coffee. Almost always, we step into the outside world each morning and re-enter the comfort of our home each evening via the entry. Many times it is the first glimpse a guest gets into our personal style. As functional as the entry is, it can still be a true reflection of who we are and how we live. Don’t have a dedicated entry? No worries! You can create an entry space with a small table, a piece of art or a mirror and a simple vase of fresh flowers.

Here are some tips to make the most of your entry space…


A bench is always a safe bet in an entry when you have the room. It’s a great place to put on and take off shoes and to drop handfuls of grocery bags. And never underestimate the power of a mirror – it can double the visual size of a small space. [Photo source: via SWANK on Pinterest]


The entry is a terrific place to add baskets and lots of hooks to keep clutter stylishly at bay. [Photo source: via SWANK on Pinterest]

Always a plus, a small table adds a spot in an entry to drop keys and the mail. For additional storage options, add a table or stand with drawers and/or doors or a small chest. [Photo source: via SWANK on Pinterest]

It’s important to note that, while the entry is generally a functional space, it should also be welcoming. Add a lamp or a mirror or a tray and pretty it up! [Photo source: Uploaded by user via SWANK on Pinterest]


Draw the eye upward {which makes the space feel bigger} using some favorite artwork above a table or bench. No Picasso’s needed here. 😉 Framed book pages, kids artwork or photos provide inexpensive, personalized art. Group them in odd numbers and change them seasonally. Adding a beautiful potted plant or a vase of flowers will up the welcome factor and enliven your entry space as well. [Photo source: via SWANK on Pinterest]

{ Be inspired. }

P.S. These spaces have inspired me to make over my own entry, but more on that later. 🙂 E.


black + white

Chic, graphic and simple,
black + white has always been an inspiration to me.
Both in my home and in the shoppe, I just can’t seem to get enough!


Lately, I’ve been spending way too much time on Pinterest (one might say it’s become an addiction 😉 ) and have found some black + white inspiration. Take a look:

I just love the graphic punch that these black + white floor tiles pack in this bathroom. I also really like how the two rows of subway tiles around the ceiling tie everything together. {Source: via SWANK on Pinterest}

This fresh black + white bedroom is so fun! Just adore the simple statement of the black iron bed paired with the mostly white linens and {pops!} of black – the throw, the “DREAM” pillow, the pendant light and the numbers. {Source: via SWANK on Pinterest}

Ooh la la! The white walls, ceiling and floors in this space get a bold jolt of chic with the pairing of a black couch, stool, and rug, as well as a black framed mirror and artwork. Visually, my eye is able to really appreciate the beautiful lines of each piece against the white backdrop. {Source: via SWANK on Pinterest}

This stunner of a kitchen really inspired me. I just adore the white island paired with the black cabinets. I actually hope to paint the cabinets in my kitchen using this same classic combination one day!
{Source: via SWANK on Pinterest}
The exquisite mix of the contemporary desk with the French lines of the armchair with the animal print and sisal in this home office really spoke to me. When decorating with black + white, it’s important to use texture to keep it from becoming too cold. And notice the black walls. I just painted a guest room in my home Benjamin Moore’s jet black and I absolutely love the effect! {Source: via SWANK on Pinterest}
I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting some of the black + white spaces that inspire us at SWANK.

the lake house master

I take a great deal of my design inspiration from nature. We recently had the opportunity to re-do a rustic lake house in the woods of Central New York for some clients from Texas. The challenge? To maintain a natural esthetic and to keep the original vintage character, but to make it cozy and bring it up-to-date since there was A LOT of wood – floors, walls AND ceilings. Oh … and to make sure it wasn’t too feminine. The clients are customers of SWANK and Alexis had the pleasure of meeting them when they were here visiting. I didn’t meet them until the reveal. We did everything for the re-design via email and conference calls {a first for me}. These photos are of the master bedroom, which the clients told us “now feels cozy and is one of their favorite rooms in the place.” I was thrilled because we had taken this room from drab to FAB! To top it all off, it has this wall of windows that overlooks a gorgeous lake view, so when you wake up in the morning, you can’t help but be happy!

THEN: The bed faced another wall instead of the incredible lake view!

THEN: The clients wanted to salvage this chair, as it had come out of the husbands mother's home.

THEN: The chandelier, bedspread and rug out-date the entire room. It actually has great bones - a wooden cathedral ceiling, great floors, painted walls and a PERFECT view of the lake.

NOW: We began with a fresh coat of paint on the walls, added a cozy area rug and replaced the chandelier with this metal branched beauty. We happened upon this amazing bed while we were on a buying trip in Virginia and trucked it home to NY. Someone had made it out of vintage porch parts! {Cool, huh?} There was no closet in this room (they had converted it to a half bath), so one of the client's requests was for someplace to hang their clothes. We found this amazing vintage cabinet, which already had a shelf in it, and we simply retrofitted it with a bar. It works splendidly!

NOW: We had the chair slipcovered.

NOW: We added a series of white pitchers atop the "closet."

NOW: We repurposed the client's painted green table (originally purchased from SWANK) and placed it to the right of the bed. The perfect place to lay a book, glasses or a cup 'o joe. Love the juxtaposition of the mercury glass lamp with the burlap shade!

NOW: The dresser belonged to the client - we just spruced it up with some natural elements and took advantage of the ceiling height with a piece of artwork.

NOW: The bed is now facing the lake and is positioned between two windows. We framed it with curtains on the outsides of the windows for a cozy effect. Curtaining both sides of both windows would've been too bulky.

NOW: Absolutely *LOVE* the bedding! It really lends a finished element to this bedroom.

NOW: Last but not least, the client asked that we find a way to incorporate an area into the master where she could work while she was here. We found this vintage hall table, painted it white, put casters on it and added some unique cast iron hardware. The chair was existing. The BEST part? By moving the bed to take advantage of the amazing views of the lake, we were able to position the desk right in front of the windows so that she could work with a view of the lake. {Our apologies on this photo - darned flash! The desk looks neon and it's really a nice distressed creamy white, but you get the idea.}

There is so much to show you about this project. Stay tuned for future posts – you won’t believe what we did with the kitchen! 😉




Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Erika Perez and anyone who knows me knows that decorating is my passion. My mom encouraged this in me at a young age – I was allowed to decorate (and redecorate) my room more times than I can count {thanks Mom!} She also fostered in me a love for the charm and appeal of vintage finds and the “thrill of the hunt!” She taught me what to buy and how to pull it all together, how to make something out of nothing and how to decorate on a dime. Her sense of style and her creativity are a constant source of inspiration to me.

My husband Alex and I opened our retail home goods shoppe, SWANK, nearly five years ago in the quaint village of Hamilton, New York and have never looked back. What began as a 475 square foot project has grown into a 3200 square foot space complete with an interior design studio.

My mission is to take the mystery out of decorating your home – it should be FUN, not daunting! This blog is meant to inspire you to do great things – to mix and match the old and the new, the modern and the vintage – to help you create your own personal style and to show you how to live with the things you love.