ERICA REID — founder of Nécessité — and author of two bestselling books, The Thriving Child and Shut up and Cook! — gives us a glimpse into the world she has created for her and her family. Erica Reid is happiest when she’s nurturing others. And at home is where she does it best.
Whether it’s a blowout pre-Grammys bash attended by A-list celebrities like J-Lo and A-Rod, a fundraiser for Barack Obama (where Erica and husband, music legend L.A. Reid, introduced the then future President to Jay Z and Beyoncé) or just a casual gathering of girlfriends, the Nécessité founder — and our personal hero — has a knack for making her guests feel special.
Take the time L.A. organized a lunch meeting between Oprah and Jay-Z. Yes, that Oprah and Jay-Z. “They had never met before,” says Erica. “We knew that Oprah loved a certain meal from [famed chef] Jean-Georges, so we decided to have Jean-Georges prepare this meal. She couldn’t believe when the food was served that he was in our kitchen making the meal she loved.”
This attention to detail is an essential part of Erica’s DNA. To put it simply, she’s wired to please.
“As soon as you step into Erica’s home, you can feel the warmth,” says friend and fashion designer, Tamara Mellon. “I always believe that people don’t remember the material things, they remember how you made them feel.”
Mary J. Blige, the Queen of Hip Hop Soul herself, describes her friend, Erica, as “warm, welcoming, and graceful.” She adds, “All of the food in her house tastes amazing, even though she’s vegan.” Erica cooks daily for her family and has been vegan since 1996, long before it was fashionable. Blige’s playful nickname for her is Coconut Oil.
Creating a home grand enough to entertain celebrities like Blige and Beyoncé yet cozy enough to feel welcoming — and above all, comfortable for her two teenage kids — is no small task.
I wanted my home to be a reflection of who we are, every chair has a story, every glass you drink out of has a story. Whether it’s the African wood pedestals or African ceremony chairs, everything has a story.
Photographs by Irving Penn and Gordon Parks sit alongside a prized personal photo of the Reids with Nelson Mandela (that photo greets visitors as they enter the home). There are tea sets, something the couple has been collecting since their engagement. And roses, one of Erica’s favorite flowers, saturate the house. “I think we need to bring in the color and elegance in our homes,” she says.
Throughout the house are lucite-framed keepsakes, like special-edition Louis Vuitton purses and shoes made by the late, great architect Zaha Hadid. Erica framed a t-shirt Usher wore at one of his concerts then later gave to her, a special edition Diana Ross doll and Misty Copeland doll for her daughter and, yes, she even framed the baby clothes her two children wore out of the hospital just after they were born.
“I don’t like rules, I like to create my own,” says the self-described gypsy spirit. The avid traveler is famous for hopping on a plane at a moment’s notice — with only a carry-on bag in tow — and landing in, say, Paris to peruse the famed flea market. Years ago, while there, she found an Art Deco mirror and a big brass floor lamp shaped like oversized tulips in a vase. “I love a bargain, especially when traveling aboard,” she says. The lamp now sits in the corner of their living room, the mirror nearby in their cozy, moody French red screening room. In the dining room, a gorgeous Vladimir Kagan round table and chairs — made for the Reids just before Kagan died — take pride of place. Lush, ivory suede Kagan and Christian Liagre sofas and chairs serve as the perfect compliment in the living room.
Erica’s eclectic style choices extend to her closet, where you’ll find vintage Valentino hanging next to an Off-White jacket. Or a charm bracelet Erica made out of a Louis Vuitton keychain. And now, some of these carefully-curated, one-of-a-kind items can be yours. Erica has decided to “Marie Kondo” her life and make some of these special items available for sale right here on necessite.co. Breathtaking vintage and the latest finds from today’s hottest designers.
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Whether it’s the closet or the furniture, it’s this mix of high and low, important period pieces and funky flea market finds that make the Reid home — and the woman herself — stand out.
“If I see something that speaks to my spirit and I can afford it and there’s a way to transport it,” she says, “I’m going to make it happen.”
Making it happen is a central theme in her life. Raised by a single mother, Erica worked three jobs to put herself through college. She also, for a time, served as an au pair in Paris — even spent months sleeping without a bed.
“I really believe in manifestation. I believe you can have the things you want and bring that energy into your space if you have faith and exercise that, too,” she says. “I’m a real, true living example of it. After all, you’re speaking to a girl who slept on the floor in Paris.”
Photographer Credit: Robert Ector