The Summerhouse



Happy Monday, friends.
On this Monday, I share with you something that is long overdue.  In early April I asked my friend/designer/former intern to answer a few questions that I could post here on the blog.  And of course, it took me nearly two months to post it.  :/
Anyway, I was inspired to interview Erica after I saw the beautiful wedding invitations she created for our clients – Katrina and Hutch (pictured above and below).  Truly, the pieces were jaw-dropping and I couldn’t WAIT to show them off.
She has recently launched her new brand and website – The Summerhouse.  It is a must see website, as it showcases her awesome work that she has created for our business (she did our current branding and takes care of our album design needs), as well as other local photographers in Charlotte including Jen + Chris, Red, White and Green Photography (just to name a couple).
I could never recommend Erica’s services enough – whether you are a bride on the hunt for a designer to create a custom wedding invitation, a business owner looking for someone to overhaul your branding, or a photographer interested in outsourcing your album design……you can’t go wrong with Erica.  🙂
Tell us a little bit about yourself.


My friends call me ‘e’. I was raised in a small CT shoreline town by an Irish mother and a Danish father, both of whom traded in their “appropriate careers” for creative ones. I have one younger sister, now 20, who has a musical talent, perfect hair and an affinity to playing with swords. I believe in rescuing animals and donating to charity. I have a list of things I want to do with my life that is a mile long – at least. I am self-diagnosed O.C.D. (obsessive-compulsive-designer). I want to learn sign language. I collect scraps of paper, news clippings, found typography, quotes, stickers, snap shots and random scraps of nothingness. I always have a camera and a Sharpie with me, wherever I go. And when I just need to get away from it all, I find myself on the back of my horse, riding through the woods.

How did you get interested in graphic design and how long have you been doing it professionally?
My grandfather was an architect. My grandmother is a painter. My father is a custom home builder. My mother is a a fiber artist. And my baby sister is going to school for her fine arts degree. So I like to think that its “in my blood.” But I knew in 8th grade I wanted to be a designer — and I have many yearbook, newspaper, research and science fair projects to prove just how interested I was. I got my first freelance job before I graduated college in 2003, and I have been doing it “professionally” ever since.
What different design services do you offer? 
Branding. Print design. Web design. Wedding invitation suite design — which I like to call “suite-hearts”. Photography. Packaging. Album design. And I collaborate with other amazing creatives such as writers, filmmakers and developers to be able to offer comprehensive creative options to my clients. In my “spare time” (whatever that is) I like to embark on self-initated projects — photo shoots, posters, products – to support ideas, organizations and causes I feel strongly about.
Are you available to do work for those residing outside of Charlotte?  Outside of North Carolina?
Yes, and yes. In fact, the majority of my clients are already outside of the Charlotte area. I was able to retain many clients from my days freelancing in CT, and I’ve acquired many new ones from places like Alaska, Florida, Virginia, Washington and other areas within both Carolinas.
What does your creative process look like?
The skeleton of my creative process is always the same — client meeting > research > brainstorm > collect content > create first round of concepts > revise > present > revise > present …. double-check details > get client approval > go to production > archive final files. But as black and white as it may appear, it is the interaction with each client  that makes the process unique. I am fortunate to have a variety of people I do work for — from non-profit to individual business owner, corporation to private school — and each one teaches me something new, and revises my personal process along the way. Having a plan is a good thing, but the best results come from being flexible and collaborative.
What are your life passions?
Art, people and animals — and sometimes I am lucky when all three intersect. My biggest life passion is equine assisted therapy — primarily for children with special needs. There is nothing more amazing than a child in a wheelchair being able to ride a horse on their own. The bond between animals and humans is undeniable, and to see a thousand-pound animal take a side step to prevent his/her rider from slipping, or detect a seizure that no human could anticipate, makes you believe in the power and intelligence of horses – if you didn’t already. I began volunteering in equine therapy programs when I was a teenager, and now as a certified instructor, I am convinced that the kids and animals I work with are what inspire me – personally and professionally. They keep me humble, appreciative and engaged… and as much as I might impact their lives through teaching them, they impact mine even more.
What inspires you and your work?
The people in my life — whether they be family, friends, other creative professionals, children I teach, or clients. I am inspired by my clients’ passions for their own causes, and by those in need who spark my creative activism. Designers have a unique opportunity to communicate with different audiences around the world in every project they create – whether self-initated or that of a client – and that opportunity is one we should use to inspire every project we do.
Where would we find you on a Friday night at 8pm?
With the love of my life, on our neighbor’s deck, sharing a glass of wine and good conversation; or walking the dogs through the neighborhood; or sharing take-out dinner on the couch.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
A marine biologist, because I wanted to swim with dolphins all day. My parents even humored me with annual memberships to Mystic Aquarium so I could go whenever I wanted to. And then I remembered how much I hate
when my hands get wrinkly from being in water too long, so I had to change my plan.
What is your most treasured possession?
Photographs. I have boxes full of loose snapshots and old slides — my grandmother with her sisters in Ireland, my mother as a child, my father with his first car… myself holding my sister the day she was born. Sepia-tone ones with scalloped edges, Kodak stamped prints with rounded corners from the late 80s, and some saturated and glossy — all of them representing the most important non-material ‘possession’ in my life — the people in it.
What is one goal you would like to accomplish this month?  This year?

This month – taxes. This year – to find better balance; the down-side to working from a home office is that its hard to “leave your work at work”; but for the sake of my health, my relationships and my creativity, my 2011 goal is to plan better, relax more and learn how to close the office door.


Cheyenne Schultz

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  1. Katrina says:

    love. erica was absolutely amazing to work with and could not recommend a more talented person! everyone was blown away by her work for our wedding. she’s also just an amazing person in her everyday life too 🙂

  2. Karen / Mom / Grandmom says:

    Wishing you all of God’s greatest blessings, Erica….lots of great gifts to be shared by you.

  3. Jenn Lamar says:

    I’m so excited to see this post. Erica is currently working on my website and she is doing such an amazing job!


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