December 31, 2012:

2012 What a Year!

Some time in 2011 I had a conversation on twitter with Stacey Bewkes who writes the fabulous Quintessence Blog about what 2012 was going to hold for Virgos. I'm technically a Virgo but I'm also a Leo. Or it could have been a numerology thing. It was something Wooowhooooy anyway. Anyhow, the point she made to me was that as of June 2011 straight through until the end of 2012 it was going to be a BIG year with momentus things happening. Now we'll never know if this would have still be the case had she not told me this and thus planted the idea in my head but I would say, reflecting back over 2012 that her words came true in every way imaginable.

Last year, I read a blog by Tobi Fairley that summarized her 2011 month by month in terms of accomplishments. I can hear my business coach now saying to me that I should do something similar and of course, I'm being all Canadian and thinking that that is a bit much even though I think that it is a great way to quantify it to one's self. I will say that I more than achieved my goal of getting the work I do published. 2012 was for certain the year of MHD #GettingPublished.  I think when I totalled it up, we were published 8 out of 12 months in 2012 though if you take into account the magazine column I write, blogging for and being featured in Apartment Therapy I think I could probably up that to 11 3/4 out of 12. Thank you to Style at Home, Canadian House & Home, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Canadian Family, Chloe Magazine, Nuance, HGTV, Fine Life Saskatchewan, Canadian Home Trends, Steven & Chris.

The most interesting thing to reflect back on about getting published for me is to see what resonated with people the most and the demographics that are associated with each project that was shared. It's actually something that we've spent a lot of time reviewing and studying and it is going to shape how we approach new projects in the future and of course the magazines themselves. We've spent the last three years really honing our awareness in terms of our audience and how that in turn translates into new work for us.

Sashay won Best New Design Blog at the Design Bloggers Conference in LA. I'm still blown away by this. I am indebted to each and every reader, every person who comments or shares this blog with others. You are my favourite form of therapy by far and I've tried a few.

I was nominated by four different bloggers for New Trad Home - Designers to Watch. I didn't get picked but you should watch me anyway. ::wink::

These accolades are truly appreciated and I am most grateful for the opportunity to share my passion with the world. Lord knows I've learned a lot of things the hard way - it's taken 20 years to become an overnight success. HA!

Some things that I have learned specifically in 2012 though...

1) Do not apologize for running a business with the goal being to make money. Men do it and don't have to apologize for it - why should I as a creative woman feel ashamed or guilty for doing the same.

2) Pattern is my thing. I excel at working with patterns and colour. Now despite living in the land of beige, taupe & grey people seek me out for my eye. I need to celebrate and embrace this in 2013 and show those afraid of a little colour how to incorporate it into their life.

3) Know Thy Ideal Client. We've spent years refining this but I think in 2012 we've finally found our stride. We know who our ideal client is and in 2013 our voice will be targeting this individual more and more.

4) Custom & Bespoke are key to great design & a luxury service (I will add that they don't always mean that they have to be beaucoup de dollars either). In 2013 we will do more, seek out new craftspeople to collaborate with. More unique work for our wonderful ideal clients.

5) Working on projects in the USA is just as easy and considerably more economical for Canadian designers. If I showed you the numbers for our project in Boston in terms of what the client was quoted there vs what our cost was here in Canada you would not believe me. Heck, I didn't believe the numbers half the time. There were seriously times when we considered what the cost would be to send down our painters at one point. As it was, almost all of the custom furniture was made here in Canada and shipped down to the US for considerably less money than buying it in the US or from a US based company. I don't often find reason to cheer on NAFTA but can I get an AMEN?? We'd love to work in the US more in 2013. I find Americans far more receptive to colour and decoration on the whole. They love to share what they have but not necesasarily in a "Show Off" kinda way but more in appreciation for working hard. I would love to see more Canadians embrace this in the coming year. Be proud, celebrate your sanctuary, ahem... hire me to design it.

Last year at this time, the world of design lost Ray Staples - an incredibly talented creative force here in Canada. Margot Austin editor extraordinare shared with a many people on her blog what has now become a mantra of sorts from Ray...

"Where's the F*CKING Magic?"

I now ask myself that very question each and every time we embark upon a new project along with "What haven't we done before that people won't be expecting...."

So 2013...

December 27, 2012:

This Cobbler’s Tale Has GOT to END!


It's fast approaching and while I'm not a big believer in making the annual "Resolution" but I defnitely do look at my goals and priorities for the coming year but I also re-evaluate, change/add, remove throughout the year. It's an ongoing process vs a one shot deal.

I HAVE to prioritize my own house in 2013. It's essential. We've left certain spaces as long as we can but with a rapidly growing 3 year old some of these items simply cannot be put off any longer.

Here we go - end of the year/start of the year people love LISTS!


The crib isn't cutting it. I think the kid even asked for a bed recently. Can't ignore it when he's asking for it. Before we went to Italy though, I broached the subject with him and he was staunchly pro-crib. Something changed so now we need to make this happen. Of course, I'm undecided as to whether or not to work with the drapery that we have or start fresh. If I abandon the drapery, then I can really do anything in the room - upholstered bed wise that is. If I keep the drapery though, I'm restricted. WHAT TO DO? Periwinkle, Indigo, Chartreuse & Turquoise is what we are doing right now... that could change. 

Love me some Indigo, Green Periwinkle and either Red or Chartreuse. What do you think?

Our Main Bathroom needs gutting. We have a VERY narrow stairwell and we need to put in a new tub. I want it to be chic the tub that is. HELP. Anyone know of a small tub that is chic that is 36 x 60 or smaller but fabulous? I don't know if it can be deep. I barely could get a chair up the stairs and had to take off trim. 

We have the MOST GORGEOUS fixtures in the world from Delta Faucet. These are I DIE worthy every time you walk in the bathroom. So the tub can't be off the shelf fuglicious. Neither can the tile. I have found spectacular 2x4 rectified subway tile that I am wild about but I need our floor tile to be a show stopper. I had settled on one but it's out of stock until God Freaking Knows When. I also had had my eye on another but when dealing with their PR person I couldn't even get a discount let alone any special pricing. At $230/SQ FT even a teeny tiny 5x6 bathroom was insanely expensive. Did I mention I'm desperate to do a heated floor in this one? Don't even get me started about a vanity. 28" wide is the max width and that is pushing it. Oy. My head hurts.

I've been threatening to take down a wall in my back room to make it more than a shoebox... more like a boot box. We need another lounge so that Luke has a space and more importantly, his TOYS can have a space that is NOT our main room. I also need to blow out the back wall and put in some sort of patio door/window fabulosity. Oh and the whole main floor needs hardwood. And the stairs need a new runner. Hell, the entire upstairs needs new carpet.

So I'm looking for collaborators to ensure I actually DO SOMETHING or a winning Lottery Ticket... which ever comes first.

December 27, 2012:

Holiday Haze

I trust you were rewarded either by Santa for being nice or well if you were naughty all year long I suppose that has some sort of reward that went along with it right???

We've been imbibing, indulging and relaxing with a bit of work thrown in to keep us on the mostly straight and narrow. We had a fabulous photo shoot with Stephani Buchman at our house on Christmas Eve which was great fun except that it didn't snow as I had hoped so we didn't do any exterior shots. Maybe she can come back tonight???

We are going to be overhauling our website and blog in the new year so I'm hoping that some of our photos will work!!

2012 has been truly wonderful in terms of sharing our work in magazines. We feel so very grateful to all of the editors, stylists, writers and photographers that we have gotten to work with over the last two years in fact. There is just nothing like seeing your work on the glossy pages of a magazine oh except maybe for this....  

(Scroll Down a bit and you will see what we are so excited about).

Thank you Thank you Thank you Style At Home!!!!

Just wrapped up a meeting about a new restaurant we are designing. I love when I hear the words - "We trust Meredith's vision..... "




December 21, 2012:


If you are reading this, then the world didn't end. It also means that it's my friend Robin's birthday - Happy Birthday Robbie I hope you have a fabulous year ahead. 

I'll be blogging next week when I have a moment to breathe. I just agreed to do a photo shoot on Christmas Eve at my house. Because I didn't want you to leave 2012 thinking I'd lost my edge.

Crazy is in full effect.

I'm also working on my countdown blogs to 2013 and the Trends WE MUST MAKE DIE. Please hit the Join the Conversation Button to let me know what trends you want to see take their last breath!!!

In other amazing news - my friend Wendy has written the sweetest of pieces about yours truly over on her blog please check it out HERE! Thank you so much Wendy I sincerely appreciate all of your support in 2012!!!!

Have a great weekend!!

Spike the Eggnog!!!!

Style at Home January 2013 - Photography by Donna Griffiths

December 20, 2012:

Witness Relocation?

Okay not YET. I had a blog typed out but my start up disc decided to be full & the program quit mid save and it's clearly NOW in the Witness Relocation Program. Bastards.

It was a great blog post.

Farking hell.

I'm swamped with new & existing projects so blogging is not finding time for itself. Coupled with being a Momma it's a struggle.

Hitting SAVE now.

We had a meeting at Aya Kitchens with our #Unionville clients today. It was fantastic. Of course the part where they told me I couldn't do a custom colour on the cabinetry had me feeling woozy - I mean "Do you KNOW who I am?" may have ran through my head for just a second or maybe six but I didn't stamp my feet, nor did I put my hands on my hips hell, I didn't even huff and puff and threaten to blow their house down. I worked the problem and trust me, ME not getting to pick the exact colours for the cabinetry is a HUGE problem for me. But I persevered - hey that includes SEVER and SEVERE in it... freudian slip in noticing of course....

We are opting for a customizable kitchen vs bespoke kitchen because of budget. This was not in the initial scope of work but the client doesn't feel that the existing kitchen is functional for what she needs it to be so we are changing. Opting for a kitchen company that works incrementally with specific finishes and profiles keeps cost down. They also include design in their kitchen cost and I'm just consulting. A great way to get the most bang for you buck. It's the same reason you should always hire a designer to go to any builder meetings for new home finish/upgrades selections. We can save you TENS of thousands of dollars in upgrades if not more.

I'm using this picture as inspiration. We are planning to invert the colours of the kitchen and put the dark cabinetry on the walls and then to do the island in the lighter. REVOLUTIONARY I KNOW. This fulfills the "Different than the Norm" that the client is after all the while tying into the traditional architectural features already existing in the house. I think it is a brilliant flip myself.

We chose these floors today from Woodchuck Flooring. I love how they tone in with our entire scheme.

Here's the palette. You see the Bedford Door Profile on the Left in Anthracite - that is our door choice and the Oyster on the right is for the island but also in the Bedford Door Profile. I love when the edge of the door is scribed - it's a great way to create the appearance of a framed kitchen when it's standard. See that's why you hire an expert!!!! Amazing things can be done with filler pieces to create the look of a bespoke framed kitchen without the price tag even if you are paying top dollar for a designer to consult.

Here's a close up so you can see cabinets, wall colour and fabrics/flooring. Tones beautifully together. Fingers crossed that everything hits the budget targets!!