this little somethin somethin called…
The Meredith Heron Collection Vol. I
I mean HOLY MOTHER OF ALL THINGS DESIGN ETERNAL… RIGHT???!!!! I mean I know I created human being before, but I have to admit other than a swollen belly, it was pretty much a roll the dice and wait and see what happened kind of experience. Sure there were ultrasounds along the way, but still it was a decidedly passive, abstract sort of creating. I know, the roller coaster rides in my belly didn’t exactly feel passive, but the lil Alien as I called him, had already a mind of his own and I was but a mere host. Creating a fabric and now a wallpaper collection, is remarkably similar and dissimilar all at the same time and I think there were stretch marks in both instances.
After curating our first fabric collection, I had very definite ideas about where I wanted the next fabric collection to go and what was missing. When asked to include design ideas for a wallpaper collection, I was beyond thrilled and in truth I was definitely slightly more out of my comfort zone. Knowing what I know about wallpaper, scale and proportion, I knew that all of these factors had to be considered on top of the more obvious theme, motifs and colour and that it would be no easy task to achieve the visions in my head. The other twist that I had learned from the first collection of fabrics is that the buying audience has their own wants/needs/purchase agenda and I wanted to make sure that this was considered in the design process. Empathetic design - anticipating the needs of your clients and in my case, that means other designers. Of course the more obvious leading or trend setting is in there too, but I think that goes without saying. A lot of considerations, worries, frustrations (some designs don’t translate as easily as you’d hope and when you have to choose skus, those are dropped in favour of the sure things that don’t require much tweaking).
I worked for several days with my team on colouration after we finalized the designs. As you may have picked up, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. When it comes to colour, this is literally out of this world in terms of my exacting demands. We worked tirelessly over colour combinations. Some patterns had what appeared to be 4-5 shades/tints or different hues altogether and we had very definite ideas about how these needed to be expressed. While the patterns feel very much like me, the colours hit it out of the park. I can’t convey to you how thrilled, proud and excited for the birth of this collection. I found the fabric designs so much easier and was really surprised by how much harder the paper collection was to realize but it was a true labour of love. In the end, with Luke he was plucked and I didn’t have to physically birth him (have I mentioned how grateful I am for having had a C-section?? years of therapy avoided I swear to God). And as with my darling boy, holding my very first wallpaper book in my hands was definitely an insanely awesome moment in my design career. (And for those fearing that I love my wallpaper collection more than my own son, I wouldn’t throw myself in front of a car to save the book - I’m sure most of the papers would be fine even if run over but I would for my son… mkay?) Not that you’ll want to throw this book in the street - I’m confident that it will be prized in any designer’s resource library!!!!
Now, you may have noticed that in wallpaper books, there are a lot of stock photos that have had the wallpaper photoshopped into the pictures to give you an idea of what the paper looks like in a room. Some companies actually shoot real rooms with papers up in them but in our case, we were looking to use stock photos. I was told I could have a say over what these were and then it struck me, wouldn’t it make more sense to just include some photos from my own portfolio? Why try and find rooms that look like my work when I could just provide photos of the rooms themselves. SO you will see some familiar looking rooms - and no we didn’t run out to paper a bunch of different houses to make it possible…. The paper IS now available for sale. Mercury Retrograde has been having some fun with the JF Fabrics website, so hopefully the images will be loaded there in the immediate future. If you are a designer, check with your showroom or rep for samples or books. Books are handed out to accounts according to the amount of business you do with JF. If you are looking for a new account, sampling is still available but speak with your rep because they may have books available. I know that often our office declines books unless we love absolutely everything as we don’t have the room for storage. We kept this book though.. go figure! HA!!!
We’ve been sharing sneak peeks on SM the last week but here are a few you haven’t seen! Thank you for your love and support in this exciting adventure. It’s been an amazing learning experience as a designer and working with the team at JF has made it all the sweeter. SO FREAKING HAPPY!
As with our fabrics, we would LOVE to see how you use these papers and where (I have the book cover on our den ceiling and our Pagodas/Lanterns paper - they are numbered not named this is just for descriptive purposes on the walls if you head over to my IG you can see a sneak peek on the installs). Please tag your projects with #jfwallpaper and #jfmeredithheron and of course @meredithheron so that I can share as well. It’s so gratifying to see how you imagine a space using things that have come from my imagination. I never tire of it.
Talk about a month of extreme highs and lows. Let me tell ya…. I’ve mentioned before that I always experience a bout of depression when a project is finishing up - I mean I love a good set of professional photos and another successful project concluded with happy clients but I am always very sad when it’s over. #PennDr is almost finished for this round which is kinda sad… Our #Soudan project is wrapping as well and we’re about to install #Bessborough.
The good news beyond that these projects are all looking amazing and I love them to pieces is that we’re ordering a bunch more for our #Rye project in NY and have some more amazing things shipping down to #DoradoBeach in Puerto Rico. A LOT of work culminating which is rewarding. We also discovered last week that our Wallpaper Line with JF Fabrics is going to be launching within in the next week. That means, wallpaper books available to those accounts who qualify and sampling available for all other accounts through JF or Duralee showrooms depending where you are located. HALLLLLLEELLLUJAH!!!! Fabric will follow end of May. I mean SERIOUSLY I couldn’t be more thrilled. The book landed in our office late last week and I gotta say - SO FULFILLING. I was working with the papers today for two of our projects and I know I’m biased and all but HOT DAMN it’s so versatile. I had floor tile for our #PennDr powder room to work with and I have options galore. So many unexpected combinations. I may have overwhelmed our client with text messages. Careful what you wish for right?
Some sneaks have been shared of the new wallpapers including few that may be creeping into this very blog post…. If you notice the picture above, that’s not the animal print in my office you’re used to seeing. We gotta new bad boy.
JF Fabrics shared the orange colour way of this floral and the pink one… so it’s really not entirely hard to imagine it in blue is it? You see nothing. Mum’s the word yes??? I’m loving this fabric as romans and the floor tile is a bit different in our #PennDr powder but it’s the same marbles.
I shared a sneak peek of one of our Marble papers back in March when I was in Florida showcasing the new line. Our #Rye client loved it and asked if we could switch out the paper we had lined up for the dining room and go with this one. Who was I to disagree with her on such a thing? We are lacquering the rest of the millwork in the dining room now to suit. We have even decided to go with an unexpected colour on the drapery just to break up all the greys.
Our house is kinda at a bit of a stand still. Well floors began today I think. This is the problem with mostly cosmetic enhancements. Once you get some of the ugly out of the way, you’re basically setting the stage for the pretty which has to happen in sequential order. I wish that some of the work could be done at the same time but you kinda need the floors in before you put the baseboards, no point painting until you have all the trim in including crowns and casings and the aforementioned baseboards. You can’t wallpaper until the painting is done. You shouldn’t paint before the floors are sanded. So ya… we always tell the clients that once drywall has gone up in a renovation, that is when time officially begins to stand still. You THINK you are in the home stretch but really, time will ground to a trickle if not a complete halt. If one trade fails to meet their window for completion, the entire schedule can get thrown out the window. We’ve had that happen at our #Soudan project as walls weren’t finishing being painted and patched and our wallpaper installer arrived on three separate visits to try and install paper only to find the first two times were a No Go. So depressing. But you rally. It’s a team effort and shitting on one trade really accomplishes very little other than it gets your blood pressure up. Mine’s been pretty high of late. Asa’s higher still. But as I said, we rally.
Ceiling medallions. We have them.
Our cornice is in and looking divine. The artisans who installed it were so meticulous. We still are waiting on the custom made plaster arches to arrive. I’m kinda loving how simple these are but they do look a bit naked. I have to remind myself that clients myself included, can easily became fond of the where you are in stages of the design. It’s easy to become complacent. The fatigue can sometimes really wear you down and you need a designer to rally for you, pick you up, help you cross that finish line. I’m SO there right now. I have decision making fatigue. I am tired of living as a nomad. I hate eating out. I want my house back. I want my stuff new and old back. I’m so ready to be done. But I will rally. I do know that patience pays off… the opening photo is an array of Paul Lange Big Blooms photos and I’ve waited YEARS to use one of these in a project and we just got the A-Ok from a client. SO FReAKIN excited!!!
We are still suffering from Sprinter here in Toronto. That’s Spring that is suffering from the delusion that it is in fact, still winter. Hopefully we’ll be embarking upon more SPRING like weather shortly. Rumour has it, it may grace us with its presence this coming weekend. One can hope. The down side of having your house under renovation in Sprinter is that you really become a Nomad - hell I think I’ve been bordering on Sherpa of late. I have to bring my gym clothes in one bag, have an array of footwear and outer wear at the office or else I’m ferrying it back and forth. First world problems for sure.
Fortunately, for our new project #StGeorge, the client is living elsewhere and has had tenants in the pied a terre we are looking to fully gut and renovate. The client will then move in to the newly renovated abode. I’m very excited about this project for a whole host of reasons; specifically because we are design sympaticos and well it’s about five minutes from my office. I really enjoy a short commute. The building is a former mansion that was designed by EJ Lennox who was the architect in Toronto who designed Casa Loma. It’s a Queen Anne Revival building that was then converted into apartments some time ago but it was done a la Le Cheap Subdivisione. We are seeking to rectify this.
What’s not for me to love?
My inspiration as you will see here - Jean Louis Deniot, Joseph Dirand, Steven Gambrel & Rudolphe Parente….
Millwork, Ceilings, Cabinetry the entire gamut. If it is possible to overthink detail, I’m doing it.
Love the cornice profile in both of these abodes. The pic on the left is Mary Mcdonald for Chaddock Home.
This is the palette I’m consumed with for this project. Jean Louis can do no wrong. Masterful.
I love the idea of a very formal looking kitchen as it will be open to the dining room and I think we want a mix of formal casegoods and lighting but maybe opt for a more contemporary take on the seating. The kitchen in the opening photo is actually from an article in the Daily Mail - you have to read it. Go HERE. It simply has to be seen preferably on a 27” iMac like I have in my office I was practically licking the screen. I love the layout of this kitchen and the embellishment. The Hicks pendants not so much but that’s okay I have my eye on a killer fixture for over the island that is part function part sculpture!
Rudolphe Parente’s apartment in Trocadero is sublime. THAT CEILING. ZOMG! We’ve got 1200 sq ft in total over two levels. I can’t wait to make it extraordinary.
Hello my friends. If you are worried about the impending Gin shortage, I may have sped things along the last few days. I apologize for facilitating said shortage but renovating one’s home, especially as a professional designer, is not for the faint of heart. Worse yet when those in neighbouring houses aren’t especially, how shall we say it, neighbourly. This is why I need to write a tell all book. Yesterday at the gym I threw SO MANY F-Bombs out at my trainer, she remarked that while she’d considered putting the boxing gloves on me to let me wail it all out - she felt that her own life would be in danger or at the very least her face so she found other ways to exhaust me. I thought I was good but not long after I was riled back up again at the NERVE of some $(#*$*&%*&*%($($$ heads. I had to explain to Luke what a Fiery Redhead stereotype was and that yes, his mother is the very picture of this definition.
::I am currently cranking Your Song by Ewan McGregor in my office as I type this. It makes my spirits soar. Alessandro Safina’s vocals in the background never fail to give me the chills::
Anyway moving ON. I have learned something over the almost two decades I’ve been doing this design thing and I always tell my clients this gold nugget of design advice: If you get mired down in the negative in your design project you invite more negative. If you stress and worry to the Nth degree over ever little bitty thing, BIG BAD THINGS HAPPEN. Without fail. It’s imperative that you let the little things roll off your back and trust that they will resolve themselves or leave it to the professionals to strategize and problem solve. There’s an issue with our kitchen floor and given all the layers of VC tile in the house we chose to stop removing at a certain point (Asbestos Tiles presumably). This actually creates more of an issue for us because we need to put in a 3/4” sub floor and that’s no bueno with our dishwasher. Stone is already in so unless I want to remove my kitchen (I don’t) there will be a level difference. I trust our contractor Evan to sort it out and make it work but there will be a slide into the kitchen as a result. When he called me to discuss yesterday I asked the important questions: “Is this the best solution that you are proposing? Is there another scenario that you would prefer to see happen? Is this the easiest and most cost effective solution?” Okay I’m good.
Meanwhile, I was face timing with Wendy our #PennDr client who was also having a bit of a day. The GC on her project is great. A sub-trade less than sadly. I really love empowering my trades to work their magic. I am less than enthusiastic when they critique my choices from the sidelines. Fortunately, Wendy, feels the same as I do on this. Our light fixtures are magnificent and TOTALLY on point. The GC on #PennDr and the GC on #Soudan are both awed by our choices and how our designs have dramatically changed the feel of both homes without massively reconfiguring each house. In both homes, our designs have focused on embellishment and some strategic doorway choices. Our own house included. The arch wasn’t really on my radar until we were underway. I was content with squaring it off and making it taller if possible. NOW… it’s a focal point in the foyer complimenting the wallpaper that is universally beloved. I thought my mom hated it - she said “WOW!” the first time she saw it but nothing much thereafter which is often a bad sign. When I told her what we were doing she remarked; “Oh Gosh dear, I hope you aren’t removing that wallpaper in your foyer, I love it so much!” Who knew?
Living like Nomads back and forth between home and work is getting a bit tired but I figured out how to watch The Affair and some of my other shows legally on the internet which I’m putting into the win column this week. That and my ability to find time to do cardio on top of my regular training. The small battles can win you the war.
Here are a few pics of some of my wins this week…
So we have insulation, no more aluminium wiring (surprise) and drywall now on our ceiling #ChezMoi. I need to find out if my painter has a sprayer. He’s gonna need a sprayer.
Our #Bessborough project has newly covered breakfast room chairs. Our #Hurndale fabric now adorns them. Those are walnut floors. The floors caused many a person to swoon yesterday on the internet.
#Soudan - BOOM. I mean that ceiling. THAT CEILING!!!! The walls will be the same colour as the plaster cornice. THAT CEILING!!!! We have a huge sparkly chandelier that will be suspended and the wall that you can see there that juts out belongs to the Fireplace. The upper portion will be covered in antique mirror. There’s a built in that runs the full length of the wall and we have a marble bolection going in today to surround the fireplace. UHHHHMAZING.
#PennDr I mean hello.
Our drapery was installed at #PennDr this week. Q Design did a fabulous job. Truly.
We’re looking to funk up the Master Ensuite at our #Rye project. How and why this fabric will be used is for another day. I found it via the Opening Pic - Massucco Warner Miller designed this room for the Maison De Luxe Show House back in the fall. LOVE.
And last but not least our Lacquered Cubbies in the back hall of our #Rye #MtHolly Project. GAWWWWGEOUS!