August 11, 2014:

Some Days Design is a Whirlygig

I love the word Whirlygig. It's one of those words that conjures up the exact movement/motion/visualization that it sounds like to me. You can get an immediate idea of what my day looks like when I use it non? Weds was one of those days where you are literally doing a million and one things, multiple conversations going on across social media, iMessage in and out of the office, phone calls, emails and then the to do list. I wish I felt like it was a productive day at the end of it and yes I know there are those people out there who schedule their lives to the nanosecond. I guffaw loudly to those people. I mean do I really want to be 100% effective and calculated and exact all of the time - HELL NO I love to be spontaneous, get inspired on a whim, fall down a rabbit hole, share private jokes with friends in the middle of the day and mock some people's instagram feeds. You know you do it too, so I know I'm not Judger McJudgerson Party of One on that one... let's be real.

I like frenetic, frenzied, crazy at times and other times it can overwhelm. My best decisions are often impulsive ones made in a stream of consciousness vs regimented and focused searching/contemplation. Things I see out of the corner of my eye that spur me into a different direction than I had been considering... this is the golden mean that is Meredith. So yes, I could be more productive if I texted less or surfed less but then I might miss a golden opportunity so I'm okay with where I balance out most days. Especially when I know that I have to buckle down the following day and get a crappola load of stuff organized and done for a shoot come Friday. It's also incredibly hard working when you know you've got your best friend coming in and a weekend of social merriment ahead... but still it gets done.

Here's an example of amazingness that was created in such a whirlygig...

We didn't have the inky fuzzy fabric on our radar until we switched up a plan for a daybed at the end of a bed to a settee and our choice of settee became a touch expensive so we went back to ol' faithful Wesley Hall and BAM found this fabric sample which makes me weak in the knees and works so perfectly with the rest of our room scheme. We added in a bargello in silk and an animal spot for a skirted ottoman and the Design Gods sang on high. This room is going to be DREAMMMMMY perfection. #AlexandraBlvd Amazing.

August 07, 2014:

Errors and Omissions…

PROLOGUE: I actually wrote this post two weeks ago. It seemed pretty heavy to post it while I was on vacation so I left it alone. Yesterday, I was on Instagram and saw yet another "DESIGN GUIDE" profile posting pictures of work done by colleagues. I tagged the post with the name of the designer but it would seem that post was deleted or maybe I'm blind. So I screen shot their post and tagged the name of the designer and added a #creditdesigners hashtag to it. Two knuckle dragging types emerged. One commented on my post that I was a cyber bully. Apparently, asking people to credit the work done by others makes you a bully. The other DARWIN AWARD WINNER claimed that despite the 600 #Hashtags the person tagged on the photo of Colleen McGill's work none of which included her name or handle - that this person perhaps couldn't FIND the name of the person who's work it was. ARE YOU FARKING KIDDING ME? You have time to screen shot a picture, upload it to your ipad or iphone, then tag it a KABILLION times but you don't have the ability, desire or skill set to figure out who's work you are posting? Don't give me the ol' "Inspiration" share excuse either. It's a cop out and you are failing at life people. FAILING AT LIFE.

I went to Catholic school as a kid, despite not being Catholic which meant that I was raised and influenced by Catholic traditions - my world view very much shaped by these with the added perk that I didn't really have to belong, go to church on Sundays or take on any of the bad aspects that having a religion can entail. Basically I cherry pick the good over the bad and lead a mostly agnostic existence. However, one lesson that stuck with me growing up was sinning by Omission. Not stepping up, letting silence reign and failing to accept responsibility directly or indirectly. As a teacher (I actually converted to Catholicism in my early 20's to get my teacher job - HEATHEN - and then taught in the Catholic School board for 7 years), I would always instruct even my grade ones about being guilty by omission. I teach Luke this today. This was further emphasized to me by my mom - an insurance broker - who deals a lot with Errors and Omission insurance. That's an entirely different post.

When social media platforms began to take off first with the facebooks, tumblrs, twitter, and eventually pinterest and instagram, the picture sharing was done with a euphoric naivete. Credit? What credit? Who cares LOOK AT THE PRETTY PICTURES...  We are now inundated with visual imagery and the lack of credit on said pictures has hit a critical point. If I see a picture on Pinterest that is without credit and I know who the work belongs to, I add the credit. When I talk to designers who are just getting into these platforms, I encourage them to pin from the source where possible so that the link is established. More nefarious sorts will find a way around that hell I've seen some supposed (bogus) designer types who blog do a How to Scrub the link and make it your blog that the picture links to - I SHIT YOU NOT. Real Gem that post was.

My latest soapbox movement however is on instagram. There are MANY designers or wannabees on there that post pictures of "Inspiration," gain tens of thousands of followers (or buy them) and then fail to credit the original designer, the magazine, the photographer. Some even use hashtags with their own design tag in there #IMascammerdesign within the photo tags. Some when called on it, claim they are just sharing design inspiration but I call BULL SHIT on this. I challenged one such person this week and had seriously a dozen messages and even more comments on a picture I posted exposing this fraud from people who wondered about this person. The pictures and the designer's tag in them lead them to believe that this may be the work of this designer. Why I call foul on this is because I believe the omission of the actual credit or an acknowledgement that this is not their work is intentional - to create the impression that it is their work and to get hired from it. Instagram is not about curating. It's about sharing your own work/life/blog it's not about borrowing someone else's. Just this morning, another designer instagrammed my work and a friend tagged me in the photo. NOT COOL PEOPLE. Did you do the work? Post the picture. Did you borrow the work for inspiration - CREDIT THE PERSON(S) who it belongs to or... DO NOT FARKING POST IT. If you are so damn lazy that you can't use google image to find out who's work it is - then you have no business posting it unless you include the disclaimer #inspiredby #fabulousworkdonebyothers #notmyworkbutmyinspiration. 

I am willing to bet that after a few years, when these poseurs have some work of their own under their belts and start to see their work being borrowed or not credited, you can bet your bottom dollar they will cry foul. I actually had that happen not that long ago. I had a hard time feeling sorry for this person because s/he is very much guilty of the Sin of Omission. I took some satisfaction in this. So I ask you, implore you to speak up when you see an account that posts an abundance of amazing projects. Who has the time to post all of these fabulously styled shots that are portfolio drool worthy when they are busy actually working?? Ask yourself - where are the credits and then challenge that person to provide them. I think that if more people speak up we can turn the tide on this one. #PleaseProvideCreditWhereCreditIsDue #CreditsPlease or get creative... 

Thank you!

Here's the link to this infographic HERE. The original image can be found HERE. Please note it took me under a minute to credit both where I found it initially and then where the post originated from. 

August 05, 2014:

Style Spotting, Tastemaking and Trendsetting….

I'm not sure if you happened to see this the other day but I had the opportunity to do a little Q & A with Crystal Palecek EIC of Rue Magazine. You can check out the feature HERE.  I routinely struggle with how honest I should be in these sorts of interviews. Should I be less verbose or should I just givvvver? How much Meredith should I really share?? I do try and keep it interesting and varied even when I'm asked a question that I've previously warbled on about somewhere else. I really enjoy the entire interview process because it gives me time to reflect on how I am seeing the world, how I used to see it and the changes/impact that has occured through growth. Reflecting on how far you have come is very good for the soul and it really helps to temper stressful situations when you can look back and think well in the past I would have said or done this and now well it sort of rolls off my back. As much as I may appear to be a hot head who tells it like it is, I'm actually significantly more calm and thoughtful in what I say and how I react to stress. I know - I am even DIPLOMATIC. This is remarkable. I'm very proud of my ability to mostly stay cool under pressure - makes me feel like an adult.

Of course, I do like to be indulged in vindication still - please read THIS. I do believe that I had quite a bit to say about how our culture has become one of the "Expert" a few months ago. This is a great read and I feel a bit vindicated by it.

I am grateful for opportunities to share things that I have experience in. The more I have the more I cringe when I am referred to as an expert ironically enough. I prefer to view it as this: I'm fortunate to be able to pursue a career that enables me to be a lifelong student. I am always studying how people live, how they react to certain life milestones and changes. I get the privilege of sharing in their lives so that I am able to affect them in a positive manner and make their houses into a home - a sanctuary a refuge that enables them to share their lives with others. Now I don't do this as a charity operation and while I'm grateful to be entrusted to this, I charge for it. I make money off of it. I want to make more money off of it in fact. While it is fun and flattering to be asked to Trendspot, Stylespot and Tastemake what I know is that I am an excellent judge of a person and what they want even if they can't articulate it for themselves. I also know that as much as I would love to have my own way all of the time, this will never be the case so I consult, I ask questions, I push limits but I never take for granted the extremely fortunate position I am in doing what I do. This is the secret to becoming a great designer. Every day, I'm one step closer.


Still obsessing over some of my favourite details from our #Madison project

This happened on vacation. Taken with my iphone no less.

Clearly I returned to the office inspired from the picture above this and put this together.

I'm still obsessing over my Heather Dusk colour palette.

I need to do this somewhere though. That blush wool is beyond beyond beyond. It may just have to work with my Heather Dusk scenario #chezmoi. Always growing, trying, challenging, pushing, learning. #nextplease #serveitup #readyforit #bringit #haveIabusedhashtagsenoughyet?

August 01, 2014:

What’s One Degree Beyond Obsessed?

I don't feel that obsesssion properly encapsulates my feelings toward this particular colour family. I have been known to ask for a car to come to an immediate (but safe) halt in order to try and take a picture of something usually a sky/sunset or plant material that has it. If you've been reading this awhile or stalking me across various forms of social media you will know that I have a particular fetish when it comes to mutable hues. What is this - well it's a often a greyed hue that reads as various shades/tones/tints depending on where it is, the light that it is hitting it and the other hues that surround it. Chameleon. Now my adoration lies within the Dusk/Indigo/Charcoal/Heather/Iris/Wisteria range. It's not contained to just this palette but if you think of a Desert Sunset and how it's one moment bright but then it becomes washed out/greyed out - that's the sweet spot.

My house needs to be repainted. I was thinking of going with the designer's ol' stand by - WHITE but since I've been away I'm reconsidering this. I may keep the living and dining with a white on the walls but I'm completely inspired by this palette of Wedgewood on the ceiling and then the white on the walls. I'd love to do lacquer but that could be biting off more than I can chew given that the house was built in 1856 and I don't want to rip all the drywall down - I firmly believe that in some cases, it's the only thing holding the house up. So I will see on that front.

I'm also thinking of carrying the Dusk/Iris hue upstairs into the hallway. We have Revere Pewter up there now and it is SO dingy. I really hate it. I know that the internet just heaved a collective sigh because that is the colour du jour but a not so humble brag - I put it up almost 10 years ago now. So it's more than ready to say adieu. We have C2 Paint in our Master and in Luke's room and they by far do my favourite in the way of Indigos and their Dusk/Iris/Wisterias are perfection. I think I can commit to samples!!!! That's big words from my mouth....




If you wonder where inspiration comes from or what it looks like the little slice of the table in the Wisteria palette from Kindel arrived in my inbox yesterday and this blog post was born out of that.



Dusk BD-11 by C2 Paint is part of Barry Dixon's new collection. I had the pleasure of having dinner with Barry back in April along with the team from C2 Paints and he's like liquid elegance I have to say.



Captivate C2-802 does things to me beyond captivating me but it's the perfect name really.



Hush C2-803 I wouldn't want to argue and immediately became quiet in awe. This is my sweet spot.



Fabric wise - we know I use these babies a lot. The flamestitch is perfection.






See how I quickly find myself adding in a little magenta.



And it is a slippery slope to pink if you don't reign it in. I'm thinking I'd love to pair blush with the Deeper Duskier colours. What say you?



July 30, 2014:

#AlexandraBlvd Update

Just before I took off for a lil RnR we installed drapery in our Kitchen/Breakfast room at our Alexandra Blvd project. The chairs and coffee table weren't ready for the install sadly but they will come in the next few weeks. It also gave us time to check up on the wallpaper installation in the dining room which is major and measure up the Master for our proposed plan. It's a good thing that we did, we had to quickly jump to Plan B mode as the clients want to go from a Queen bed to a King Bed and our proposed bed would make for a rather tight squeeze given where the bed needs to go in the room. There is only one option for the bed and it's centred between two dormers and there's a wall that jutts out that is fine with a queen but makes a king a bit trickier. We'd planned for an upholstered base to match the headboard but we need to just stick with a headboard and forego the base which will make the bed too big for the space and we can't off set it given that the bed is situated between these dormers.

Measuring twice before you order paid off yet again.

The plan is gorgeous. I introduced you to the furniture plan HERE.

And now for the fabrics...

We'd initially hoped for a blush scheme. Had we pushed it, blush would have been the order of the day but we opted to pull the Heathers and Dusks from the main floor up to the Master Suite. I can't say no to Dusk as a colour it's a visceral reaction for me. Pulls me in. So here's how it is shaping up....

This is the dining room. We'd initially done a plan for the living room which we've put on hold and then decided to move ahead in the dining room. New furniture will be in the fall. It is exquisite. Literally this Cole & Son paper takes your breath away. I've used the Malabar for years but this Dusk colour way is inspired. Truly.

We have a wall of windows and french door off of the breakfast room that needed privacy at night. We opted for a Valance to hide the track which we needed to make this drapery functional and kid friendly. 

Another practical solution - the kitchen window overlooks the driveway and the neighbour's house so we opted for a cafe curtain that lets the light in but gives privacy.

And here we have the master palette. The grey velvet will be a tufted headboard. The Watery floral will be Euro Shams and a bedskirt. The Geometric in the top left will be the area rug cut to size to dampen the noise which the dormered space enhances. The scallop quilted fabric will be a coverlet. The worn damask fabric is really spectacular it's like a worn velvet. This will go on the outside of the chair with a graded chenille on the inside. The animal print in cotton and the corresponding one in velvet will be pillows and the hand blocked print will find it's way on to the bed in a pillow or two. We've got a settee at the end of the bed that we're doing in the same chenille as the chair. The idea is to keep things light and airy with hits of richer more luxurious fabrics and tones. Can't wait!!!