Okay I’m not going to lie it is a lot of fun being me and doing what I do. I’ve said it until I’m blue in the face though, “It’s not nearly as glamorous as it looks…” This is of course a gigantic understatement.
A little back story on where this post is coming from. Back in April, I made a decision to do something for myself that was a pretty big step and commitment. Three times a week, I leave my office in the middle of the afternoon to go and workout with a trainer. I don’t do early mornings and that’s time with my son and after work is never a sure thing and again it’s time with my son so that left some point during the day and we settled upon 2pm MWF.
This was MAJOR for me. I don’t like to be pulled away from working - working comforts me. If I get stressed about finances, I would double my efforts and work harder. Deadlines were almost god-like to me. So taking time out of my schedule - unfathomable. I feel guilty if I take an afternoon off or go to the spa. I shop online despite a plethora of stores within walking or biking distance of my office because I don’t want to take time out during the day to shop. It’s crazy. I’ve worked since I was 14 to support myself and it’s what I know. No one ever calls my work ethic into question and I would and still do take pride in that.
So taking the time out of my day - to make this personal investment in myself, my health and well-being and I’m not going to lie - my own vanity - major milestone for me. I’m thrilled to be doing it, still feel a bit guilty when clients try and reach me during my work out and I’m unavailable but I’m getting over it. It’s been an adjustment to my schedule because it’s amazing how much I feel like I’m losing many hours despite it only being about an hour and half. Interestingly enough what has actually suffered the most in all of it, is the blog. I don’t have the time I did to write the blogs at work that I used to and I’m opting to NOT work in the evenings. CRAZY huh?
But still, I feel like my day is getting sucked up into little quadrants and it’s really caused me to examine how time is used, what’s an efficient use of time and what time suckers certain aspects to this job can be. Specifically - SOURCING. Now I know that some people think that sourcing or shopping for clients is SO MUCH FUN. It is, it can be but it can also be daunting, overwhelming or the complete opposite - it can all too often UNDERWHELM. A client lit up recently at the samples and pretties that are in our office and then asked if she could go on her own to showrooms and look for samples of things she liked. It seems like a harmless request but I declined politely because it is not in her best interest to do so alone. I agreed to take a client about ten years ago to a showroom only to find that by the second one she was curled up in a fetal position in a corner of the outdoor fabric section, gently rocking back and forth because she was done like dinner. Too many choices, she had lost sight of what she wanted and was after and felt drained. We agreed to part ways and I returned the next day and found the perfect options - she’d looked past them in her confusion.
Even more than that, when we are sourcing, we are vetting based on a myriad of options. Price point, location (Canadian vendors vs US vendors vs UK or EU vendors which given the dollar can really impact a budget), timing, use/functionality, degree of supplier dickishness (yup that’s a real consideration), degree of supplier awesomeness (we routinely go out of our way to work with vendors and suppliers who are super awesome and fabulousness and ignore all others so that we can work with them again and again). Availability much like timing is another factor. I know that this vendor may or may not have good stock levels, this vendor may take a minimum of 14 weeks to ship anything and then there is the ol’ “In Stock but it takes us 10 days to process your order, another 7 to pick the order, if we get it to the loading dock on time you may make this week’s delivery or if you miss it by an hour because someone took an extra five minutes in their lunch break, you’re delayed until next week and then it has to actually ship up to you which can be another 2-3 weeks…” but ya it’s “IN STOCK.”
You see we know all of this the foibles and ins and out of working with different vendors, shippers, carriers and so forth. We know what fabrics work in what areas and with what sort of application needs to happen with each. That being said, the amount of time it takes to present a client with say, 5 chandeliers, would shock you. Sometimes it’s quick. Boom we are done - this is usually when we aren’t worried about hitting a budget. If we need to look at budget, we are restricted to who we can purchase from. I’ve had people say, “Well why don’t we go to this lighting store…?” my head immediately starts to rotate a la Linda Blair. Between the hour to get there and back and the minimum of 2hrs in the store itself a half a day would get sucked up by that one trip. It’s just not worth it time wise. I can file through my sources in less time and review more options that I’m still going to discard the bulk of but it’s more efficient for me to do that sort of thing solo. Can you imagine debating a store full of choices with a client who is going to hit glazed eyes at some point?? Yikes.
Losing that hour has enabled me to gain a lot of perspective on the business of design. I understand why we have our go to fabrics, furniture pieces, light fixtures etc. At the same time, I have a thirst for bespoke and original pieces designed for each client on an individual basis because I want new and unique but that’s a major time commitment. Time IS the ultimate luxury in the end isn’t it?
Opening Photo: One of my favourite photographers!! Paul Edmondson
I love presenting ideas to clients. I usually have a few different ways to spin a design, depending on the response but these days, once I have a vision I am prepared to fight for it. Okay, I hate to disappoint so if a client doesn’t love love love the idea, I’ll toy with other options. Amazingly enough, we often return to the original idea I presented. Not an ego thing, it’s just often the first idea is the best.
We laid out our table in anticipation of a presentation that is happening today for our #CarringtonPlace Project. It is a complete house project in Oakville that we are so very excited about. We’ve given you a tease before but now we have concrete ideas on where to take this baby.
The clients had two distinct preferences in terms of taste/style which were actually in conflict with one another. By this I mean, the wife has two different looks that she is drawn to. On one hand, she loves a very formal and traditional look. The other is decidedly beachy. How to marry the two? Well our idea for the foyer is to do a traditional diamond checker floor in white marble & honed bluestone. It will look like an old marble floor that has lovingly worn the polish off so it has a more casual twist to a classic design. We also want to play up a lack of ceiling height with paneling on the walls to draw the eyes up and then treat the ceiling in an unusual way. This new wallpaper from Celerie Kemble looks like parquetry and I love the idea of framing out the ceiling in this to look as if we’ve clad the ceiling in wood.
The powder room we love this formal take on an aquatic theme with the wallpaper which is to die for when installed and then add in amazing mouldings and this mosaic floor. We want to play up the rich iron tones with the black nickel sink and faucet from DXV of course. I’m thinking a marble counter with brass legs to finish it off…
Our palette is pretty yummy. It’s colourfully neutral.
The formal living room.
The dining room is a bit of quandary. It’s a smaller than expected room sandwiched between the living room which is massive and the kitchen which is likewise massive. The client has a table we could work with but I don’t love the scale and proportion of the legs and apron. I much prefer one of these two - again a relaxed formal and a more modern beachy take. We love the idea of wallpapering the room in this water colour stried ombre and then laying in tonal fabrics.
The master bedroom has views out over Lake Ontario so we’re using that as our palette. Ocean Froth sounds better than Lake Froth but really it’s a watery palette we are after where lake and horizon meet. I haven’t quite got a complete vision on this room yet so hopefully our meeting will yield more definitive answers.
Opening Photo: Treetment by Gillian Lindsay
Readership is notoriously down during summer months and I’m using that as my excuse for being an occasional blogger. We are blessed with an abundance of amazing work and that leaves me little time to break out the keyboard. Well truth is, it’s easier to write the blog than it is to edit the photos, find the credits and so forth which is often what interferes with posting on a more consistent basis. You know where to stalk me in those instances…
I am just back from Atlanta. The amazing people at AmericasMart invited me down to attend their #atlmkt this past weekend. It was amazing and I’m not just talking about Building three and designer apparel at wholesale though that was a really amazing and unexpected surprise. A lot of accessories were found and some really great new resources so I am pretty darn stoked. You want me to get to the best of I’m sure. Well I will share with you things that really caught my eye. I absolutely think that attending this market is great for designers - in addition to the permanent showrooms, the temporary ones were insanely faboosh. A LOT to see and a whole lot of southern hospitality to charm the pants off of you. Well in my case it was my shoes. You probably didn’t want to see a pantless redhead from Canada running around the mart. Shoeless was fine.
I found a lot of lighting that I either overlooked at Highpoint Market or there were new introductions or new to me introductions. Loving the addition of the Gros Grain ribbon from Barbara Cosgrove!
I’ve already spec’d these hammered lights for our #Coaldale project. They are so impressive in person.
These industrial pendants were a new find and I really was quite taken with them. The scale was perfect.
I found a lot of great accent chairs. This one was surprisingly comfortable.
I’ve had my eye on this one for some time. I think the black version would look great in my office. Oh that’s an idea!! A PAIR!
I saw the sectional of this sofa at HPMKT but I’m in love with the sofa version. I want it for my own home. I practiced lying down on it and made Brian Patrick sit on the end to see if it fit…. it did.
I found this poof at the CODARUS showroom and spec’d it for our #DoradoBeach project on the spot.
I need to use this piece of Rockies art somewhere. Anyone have a ski chalet that needs to be Meredith-ified?
This artwork comes in a series of 3 and is perfect for a nursery. We just so happen to have a nursery (Baby Girl!) to be helping with.
I was charged with finding a sphere that can be gold-i-fied and put on top of a large black marble pedestal. BINGO!!!
I found the Lionshare of Vases and Porcelain products - including lamps. I haven’t even told you what awaited us in Building Three!
Opening Photo: Christine Patterson
Lots of eye candy out there that speaks to me and you never know when it ends up influencing a design, fabric, palette or accent pieces. I love using inspiration from unlikely sources and here are a few things that caught my eye this weekend and well a sneak peek.
I think she’s a Duchess but Sophie in the green dress at Princess Charlotte’s christening - GAH!!! Want and need. It is so beautiful I can forgive Camilla for being in it because she just looks so utterly blah in comparison. Photo was found on Instagram via the Daily Mail
The pale grey periwinkle on the left from Pratt and Lambert. I still use their colours in my work all the time even though we can’t get their paint here. FREAKING LOVE IT. Astrachan you and I will dance!! SOON.
When you can’t find what you want, you have it made. We had these spoon back chairs made for our #DoradoBeach living room and they are just divine. We are upholstering them entirely in a chinoiserie fabric except for the legs but we did consider doing the legs too but decided against it in favour of a lil show wood love. SO EXCITING!!!!
Opening Photo: Anthony Redpath; Bau Xi Photo Gallery