​When I first began my career, I was so excited at the idea of having clients, the prospect of working with someone an actual real live person, I swear to you, I overlooked the basic basics. I had no idea where to source fabrics for prospective clients. I was in the part of my career where I could easily score a colour consultation and make maybe $100 for like THREE hours of my time not including driving to and from and I was GRATEFUL. But I had no clue. No idea where to source - I can honestly tell you - this is SO embarrassing but I had NO IDEA where to buy furniture for a client and I found myself at the Brick one day asking if they had To the Trade pricing.

Seriously.

If you mention this in front of me I will deny it.

The fucking Brick. I know.

Anyway. I had no clue. I recall our teachers in design school refusing to tell us where to go to source. Susan Thom, specifically told us that we had to learn. I will tell you know, the requests on my instagram feed to provide sources for products makes me channel Susan Thom (she is the coordinator for the Design Program at Seneca) and boy do I get indignant. If it is a friend who I know to be a hard working designer I am happy to share, but for those who are on the rise, or trying to find a short cut - I simply say to myself, “Buck up and figure it out for yourself….” because I did. Sure I made mistakes. Horrific ones, but I did. I then figured out that I could shop for clients in stores. I was GRATEFUL for the 10% I got as a designer discount and eagerly passed that on to my clients thinking that I was bestowing upon them some great favour. Of course, I was losing money by doing so because the paperwork that putting that order through was never paid for… eventually I wised up but then began the arguments with clients who didn’t want to pay for my time to actually DO said paperwork necessary for them to get their product. But I learned about that too.

While I was skinning my knees learning from the ground up, it never occurred to me to focus on the details of each piece, each project. I was still so grateful and overwhelmed to have clients and was busy congratulating myself on this all the while terrified about where the next client would come from - well I was barely treading water. Details slipped or were overlooked. Espresso leg finishes were fine absolutely - not at all offensive.

Until they were.

You seem somewhere along the way, I grew in my experience and my knowledge and I wasn’t bogged down but the tangle of seaweed that exists just beyond the shore as you wade out into the ocean that is this business. It is vast and you often stay close to shore, because it is safe and it is predictable and less scary. You choose the same leg finish over and over again because it doesn’t offend or rock any boats. But somewhere along the way I realized that there was more to just an espresso leg finish for each and every chair leg. There were paint finishes, wood stains, different wood grains, ferrules, and a vast array of detailing that really took the average chair leg and made it into something to behold. Soon enough, I began to thirst for more options, more styles, refined, turned, chamfered. I wanted more and I began to swim out - deeper more exotic waters.

We installed our #MadisonDecoration living room last week and another piece today with one major piece outstanding. I can say without a doubt that I am in unchartered territory with this one. This is a game changer. My design world is forever altered. We didn’t stick to espresso legs on this one. We pushed. We challenged. We WERE pushed and WERE challenged and the results are nothing short of spectacular. How can I ever just be satisfied with the espresso leg every again? When there is so much MORE out there to create, to find, to push beyond and to swim toward?

So when you ask me, what colour did you choose for those legs, I am probably not going to tell you. You need to figure it out for yourself. Copying our leg colour won’t get you to where we are swimming. It won’t even get you off the shore.

​Chair legs and frames are subtle nuances or bold contrasts. For our #Wainwright project we want subtle.

​With a relaxed but sophisticated flair.

​And in the space of 30 minutes and the help of Marilyn and Gresham House we revamped an entire main floor fabric scheme with finish selection for the project. Marilyn remarked on what a team Celia and I are and how efficiently and quickly we are able to work. We don’t even need to finish the sentences because we are mostly on the same page to start with. No wake behind us.

Opening Photo: Samantha French Artist.

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May 25, 2015

​I totally took advantage of the fact that it was Memorial Day in the US on Monday and made it a long weekend in the blogging sense.

New projects ahead. New phases on past projects and tying up loose ends on others still. The last 20% of any project ALWAYS requires the most effort. Once momentum slows down on a project it is MUCH harder to finish it. I always tell clients this at the start of a project when I warn them about cheque writing fatigue. It’s a real thing. Heck I have it too. You start to feel guilty about spending money - a LOT of money and you start nickel and diming yourself. You cut corners. We’re currently redoing my mom’s ensuite bathroom and let me tell you it is NO small undertaking despite the lack of sq ft. We’re putting up Calacatta Porcelain slabs on the walls - ALL the walls and the floor and I’ve ixnayed the granite countertop she bought with the vanity she pre-bought in favour of the Calacatta too (she thinks she’s putting up the matching wall cabinet over the toilet - that is SO NOT HAPPENING). Well with all of this fancy schmanciness going on she refused the $180 matching hooks to the faucet etc for the back of the door. I mean she’s spending a LOT of money on this bathroom and well let’s just say that I over-ruled her veto ( I always have the BIGGEST design veto) and told Vanessa to order them. I’ll pay for them. Consider it an early Christmas present because cheap ass hooks are not going to cut it in the end. That’s a BAD decision.

But it is easy to get caught up in it, I totally get it.

I’m sure there is some sort of statistical formula based on % of overall budget and what you shouldn’t worry about spending in relation to the budget. Over-runs happen. Knowing what is worth ponying up the extra money for is an art. We as designers, advise on this all the time but it’s a fine line you have to walk. I will always remember our very savvy clients who had hired us to renovate their home in the Beach in Toronto. It was a massive undertaking involving a 2nd storey addition to link a previous renovation done by other owners over the garage to the main house. 18 months of planning and implementation. To support the new addition we had to do some major engineering, underpinning, piles etc. It meant ripping up much of the basement. I was like 15months pregnant (size wise) and remember going down into the basement to take a look and the contractor advised that we had about 80% of the basement dug up and for around $14,000 we could dig out the rest of the basement to give them 9ft ceilings there. They didn’t even blink and said “Done.” They were already into a DEEP budget and the ROI for spending a little more (comparatively speaking) was great for them and eventually when it came to their selling of the house.

I usually counsel clients to do things that they won’t want to do later, can’t do later or WON’T do later to do them at the time of the major part of the work. Momentum, disruption and undoing work that was already done are all huge factors in pushing clients to spend a little more than they wanted to, in order to get the big hurdles out of the way or enjoy their home all the faster in the way that they truly want to.

Designer, Accountant, Enforcer, Counsellor, Therapist, Financial Advisor, Comic Relief, Confidant, Alcohol Pusher…. many many hats to be worn!

​Here’s a wild suggestion I made for our #Rye #MtHolly project. The client was torn between having the laundry room on the main floor or up on the second floor. Her initial gut was to move it up to the 2nd Floor instead of keeping it on the first floor where the builder had put it. We informally polled a bunch of people and 2nd floor was the overwhelming response so we moved it. I saw this as an opportunity to create a much needed Kids’ Homework room right off of the kitchen. With 4 kids, managing homework and keeping a handle on the paper stream (even in the computer age) is practically a full time job. Teaching the kids to manage and create systems for their school work is a super important milestone and by investing in a space that encourages the best of habits to be formed and to give the rest of the house a bit of a break on kid-crappola really is a sanity saver.

We have the same millwork on the opposite side of the room as well - one per kid! Super smart!!!

​THAT ISLAND!!!!! ZOMG.

Opening Photo: Gillian Lindsay

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May 21, 2015

​We went and saw the Met’s Through the Looking Glass on Monday in NYC. HOLY HELL YOU MUST GO!!!!

​We were joined by the lovely and talented Laurel Bern of Laurel Bern Interiors who came into the city to hang with us. What a lovely treat that was.

We also had lunch at Bergdorfs and talk about a major treat that was!!!! It’s hard to have conversation when all you want to do is stare at all the details!!!! I hope we were good company. Hanging out in the prime centre of all things luxurious got me to thinking….

​A while back now - okay like a year and a half ago - we were doing our second intensive with our biz coach and we were discussing what “Successful” looked and felt like to me. It was an intensely personal exploration and revelation from which our coach suggested to me that I consider as part of my homework, starting to work with a personal trainer. Her reasoning was pretty straightforward and resonated with me: If you are going to provide a luxury service, you have to regular indulge in luxury services. It’s all part of walking the walk and talking the talk and you can’t be authentic if in trying to get someone else to invest in quality, luxury services that you yourself spurn them.

It absolutely hit home at the time. I meant to do something about it. By August last summer, I was determined to do something about it and I started biking to and from work on a regular basis. I kept that up until the snow hit in November and I started back up again this past March.

But I didn’t do anything about the trainer.

Until about 8 weeks ago when after learning that Asa had signed up with a trainer that I could join as well and I did.

I’m not always QUICK to move on suggestions but when I do, I go all in. I know this is a design blog and now I’m talking about personal trainers and such but it really IS relevant. Here’s the bigger adjustment - I’m taking time out of my work day to go to these sessions THREE WORK DAYS A WEEK. People, THIS IS HUGE. If you know me, you know I’m a complete workaholic. I hate taking time off. I do not look forward to vacations and spend much of my vacation time pining about getting back to the office to work. It’s who I am. I get upset when I see those ridiculous posts about the Sickness of BUSY because I ENJOY being busy. Like I LOVE it. Seeing people in NYC last week, a common comment was “You look SUPER busy…” and my retort/thought almost always was, “I could be busier!!!” But here we go, I’m making a MAJOR life change for me and I am enjoying it. The best part of my sessions with Robin, my trainer (who by the way specializes in Speshal Snowflakes like me with my RA issues) is that I don’t have to think. For an hour three times a week, I literally do as I am told and while I may swear like a truck driver, make guttural noises and wish I were anywhere else, I’m loving it. Sure, I can barely hold my arms up and type this post and getting in and out of bed can be a bit of a challenge after certain AB torture techniques have been imposed but it feels great and I feel like I am making one heck of an investment in myself and consequently my business.

Well that is when I don’t have the overwhelming urge to take a nap where I sit/stand/lie down. Thank goodness for muscle memory. Apparently I have it in freakish supply.

So while I am busy building my physical strength, I am finding that my creative strength is also growing. Here’s a lil taste of things we’ve been working on of late.

​I’m going to edit that photo and blow it up… it’s just SO BEAUTIFUL and luxurious.We

​We were in NYC for ICFF and the faucets… god how I love bath fixtures.

​We also managed to head out to our #Rye #MtHolly project. The master bathroom is coming along fast and furiously!!!!! SO NICE!

In the living room, we loved how the trim/mantle contrasted with the walls up until the client went and had Super White Quartzite installed on the surround which ended up being way more grey than we’d anticipated. Now we just pivoted and said the stone will stay but that means the trim colour needs to change.

​Here’s a sample of super white. The white on the left is the wall colour. The two colours on the right are my options for the trim….

​Here’s the greyer option with the proposed fabric for either chairs or sofa. Not sure which but I’m obsessed with it.

​We flew back on Tuesday. Wednesday was a bit of a blur and Thursday started off with checking in at our #YorkMills project. THESE are the foyer/powder room floors. I mean AMAZING right???? We’ll be installing the end of June it looks like. We’re installing #MadisonDecoration’s living room FRIDAY which depending on when you read this is either TOMORROW OR TODAY! (if you read this after Friday - holy Slackers) ZOMG!!!

I can’t keep the days straight, barely know my own name but man I’m a happy camper!!!!!

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May 14, 2015

​I have many colour palettes that speak to me. When I see them grouped together albeit in threads or in poms for rugs I get a little excited. I get so inspired when I see my favourite colours all grouped together. INFINITE POSSIBILITY.

​Saw this picture on Zak&Fox’s instagram feed and I had to have it in my own photo arsenal. I practically licked my iPhone screen. Seriously. Other people freak out over chocolate and ice cream. THIS IS MY DRUG OF CHOICE!

​DeGournay came and gave us a stunning show. I love the watery tones of this silk. It’s the Kelly Wearstler custom paper that she used in Bergdorf’s restaurant. I’m headed there on Monday!!! Be sure to follow along on instagram as I am unleashed on NYC.

​We sent this to our clients in Puerto Rico. I think this paper could be a MAJOR statement in our foyer. MAJAH BABY!

Opening Photo: Paul Edmondson

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Meredith Heron Design

Sashay

verb (intr), informal

1.To move or walk in a showy way; parade.

2. To strut or flounce in a showy manner.

Once upon a time we had a Design Forum on our website. A member (who exactly, escapes me) coined the term “Sashay” to describe the excitement that was experienced every time a client/forum member received a package or had a “Reveal” from Meredith Heron Design. I love the visual I get whenever I hear it spoken or see it written..

Here’s hoping every day includes time for a little Sashay!

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