I'm back from LA - exhausted but so excited. SO MUCH HAPPENING!!!!
I will be back posting fabulousity en masse next week including the grand reveal of my house on the pages of Style at Home magazine.
In the mean time, indulge me if you will…
You see, I was asked to participate in a little contest with several other divine Canadian bloggers… Urban Barn, the Canadian Superstar Furniture Store reached out to myself and my fellow bloggers: Nyla, Christine, Kim, & Maria and asked us to design a chair for them.
We're of course competing for bragging rights, but ALSO get this, our chairs will be auctioned off and the monies will be donated to our chosen charities. I've selected the Arthritis Society of Canada. If you are not familiar with my twitter feed, you may not be aware that last year, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. This isn't the old, wear and tear on your joints arthritis, this is the full blown body attacking your joints kind. It was a shock to all of us - it literally came out of nowhere. Fortunately, I was immediately seen by a great team of doctors and was accepted into a new drug trial. It's medical advances like this that are made possible by charities like the Arthritis Society. Those of us who suffer - NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
So if you would be so kind, please vote for my chair! I want to make sure my charity is the big winner - for personal reasons!!
Got to LA on Sunday, still here but I have a glass of wine and a laptop and an actual wifi connection that seems to be sticking around so I thought I would whip together a little glimpse of LA Blogger Style. My fabulous roomie Katie Rosenfeld of boglestreet.com & I are hanging out in our room, drinking wine, pesudo napping (she's now packing).
So the little bit of news I have… this blog, this very one that you are reading right now just won Best New Design Blog and has been inducted into the Design Bloggers Conference Hall of Fame.
To quote The Zoe - I DIE.
This blog isn't even a year old. This time last year, I was talking about making it happen and had set the wheels in motion to get it off the ground.
Winning, I had to give a little speech. I wasn't prepared to do so. Not like THAT has ever stopped me before.
As a Canadian, I am so proud to have achieved this. So many of the blogs are American so I feel a little extra special to have received this award and we all know that I am still fighting to get parity with shipping/pricing etc between our two countries within the industry so it's special to me.
So many individuals have supported this blog and me personally in this endeavour including my fabulous husband Asa and team at MHD. Anne & Celia are great at encouraging me with post ideas, achievements and well they like my snark. I mean they have to live with me… so it's kinda important non? HA! I kid. My lil man Luke who also encourages and supports his Momma's blog writitng at times - it's the only way he'll let me stay downstairs after he's gone to bed. He understands that it's important that Momma work on this. Gawd he is really the best. I cried when the tres adorbs Kelley Moore interviewed me after winning. She asked me what I am most proud of - Luke - lost it on camera. I think that means I'm officially a mom well not just any mom, MY MOM. My goodness. I really hope my mascara didn't run.
I am a very lucky and blessed woman to be surrounded by so many wonderful friends - including my bestie Gina who has encouraged me to speak up, speak out and be proud but to always think with my pocketbook. I have learned so much from her and am so fortunate to call her my sister. So, now that my reputation as a right biotch is blown to hell and back… Sap that I am…
Thank you for reading;, for laughing with and/or at me; for supporting the work that I do and celebrating my passions with me; for challenging me to work at being a better designer and blogger always. I am grateful and humbled.
And now I have to go to the Ivy and hope to stare agawk at some famous person and paparazzi.
Because I'm in Hollywood y'all…..
I know, you may have heard my eyes roll once or twice about trend colours… this year's being Tangerine Tango. Many months ago, just about the time the colour of the year was declared, Benjamin Moore in the US approached me about featuring one of my projects in their magazine Nuance…
Here's a little sneak of what they featured. I ADORE how the put this together by the way. Best use of Tangerine Tango I've seen thus far and not just because my fabulous room (which was completed over 2 years ago ahem shameless tooting of one's own horn here) was included in it!
I'm headed to Design Bloggers Conference in LA this Sunday. I'm back next week. I'm going to be a tweeting machine so please follow me there.. @meredithheron or you can always stalk my instagram which is also @meredithheron oh and of course the telepathic network which is woowho @meredithheron too I think well you have to actually just THINK @meredithheron for the TPN.
I can't resist sharing a few pics from our shoot on Wednesday. I am beyond thrilled with the results and am furiously working on the article info to accompany the shoot.
::Parental Time Out to assure child that he does not, in fact, need Cookie Monster::
My mandate for this shoot was a little unusual as I mentioned yesterday. The magazine asked that I incorporate British Trends into the space.
I'm religiously opposed to Keep Calm & Carry Anything Signs (except for virtual voodoo dolls & ice picks which you will know I favour heavily for emergencies, asshats & the like).
I can occasionally accept Union Jacks but they need to be subtle and make sense in the space vs. SCREAM at you like a stadium full of rabid soccer/football fans.
There are many other british design influences to be had. British Colonialism in India, period furniture, toiles, chintz, bone china, cut crystal… I can go on. We've incorporated a wide variety - which has the following appeal: Layered, collected interiors that are built over time. Evens the design playing field when you go for this eclectic approach.
We also achieved a much richer space by shopping from the client's own collectibles as well as mixing in new to the client antiques and new pieces made to look old. Are you still following me? Okay I'll shut up now & post the pics.
We are doing a photoshoot today for a magazine. We're styling one of our projects to suit a Trendspotting Twist that they've asked us to incorporate. We're game.
Our challenge is to Anglophile the space.
It's a challenge considering our initial design for the space lends itself more to a Beachside Art Deco inspired cottage.
I've posted some sneak peeks of the space before… can't wait to see what we come up with for an after though..
I'm also aiming to try and do it without using a single Union Jack. Impressive non? Actually it's my twist on a trend.. think 1940's Beachside Cottage transported to say Blackpool on the Sea circa 1940's….
We'll also be adding a little Downton Abbey.
Maybe I should finally watch an episode. I see from my twitter and facebook feeds that it's all the rage.
Sluggish Blogger here. Not going to pretend otherwise. I have a voodoo collection for overly cheery people I mean, I'm relentlessly cheerful and optimistic most days but there's a fine line between that and Stepford Wife/Husband territory ya know? My mom used to wake me up as a kid with this sing songy voice… “Meredith, Rise & Shine, Time to Get Up..”
That's what I fantasized about doing to her every time I heard that song sung to me. It got to the point that I could hear her coming down the hall and I would start to imagine a giant hole opening up in the flooring to swallow her before she got to my room. I eventually confessed that this disgustingly cheerful way of rousing me was a fate worse than death and she immediately changed her tune to a simple, “Meredith, it's time to get up.” It was in fact, a relationship saver I truly believe.
I have to confess now that there is a similar Song that is sung in Social Media circles and blogs that reminds me of my mother's insanely cheerful morning greeting. I'm sure, that like my mother's own intent, all is meant to be positive & uplifting. There are just times where it grates on my last nerve and makes me invision taking the occasional ice pick to my eye. Never let it be said that I am wishy washy or lack imagination…
I'm just being honest or true to my “authentic” self. Gawd that's another phrase that sends me round the bend. It's become as over-used as eclectic and ironically, it's often used to describe the most contrived of people/places/things/etc. Whooaaa who pi**ed in my Cornflakes you are wondering? See what happens when I get an extra day off?? Totally dangerous right? No, it's not meant to be bitchy for bitchy's sake, think of it as the Social Media equivalent to Brown (p)Leather Parson Chairs…. that's all. Purging my online soul if you will… Right up there with Collaboration but only on a need to know, when I deem to share it with you basis. That's speshal too.
So maybe, after this purging, things will be like my teenage years when I could wake up without the homicidal fantasies, get my groove on peacefully all the while enjoying breakfast with my mom. Oh did I mention that I preferred to not have any conversation until I had eaten my breakfast and mourned not still being in my warm cozy bed? Ya, I was a complex teenager but then who wasn't right??
Here's some not quite Teenage Decor Porn to kick off the rest of the week - which is going to end pretty fabulously with Moi headed to Sunny (but not Stepfordy) California…...
Lots on the go, LA is a week away and I will be off enjoying friends, the Design Bloggers Conference and the sights for certain. I do believe my friend Katie has us all lined up to visit The Ivy, Villa Blanca of RHOBH fame (if you have to look that up, consider yourself lucky) and the best Mexican not found in an actual restaurant.
In addition to my designer hat, I've got a few photoshoots to get ready for (these are perfectionist's nightmares come to life), shopping and packing to do and finishing off a few projects that we've been working on for some time now. The last 10% of any project can honestly take the longest.
We're also getting closer to crazy time at the restaurant we are working on. Demolition is mostly done, now it's time to put Humpty back together again…
Some days I can take it. Others I can't. Currently, our PVR has me apoplectic. It's not letting us record the shows we want and is requiring more brain power than is healthy to expend on it. Let's just say it's become a complicated game of Tetrus.
What does that have to do with a Design Blog you ask… other than PVRs needing a better design both aesthetically & functionally? Um well moving right along… (In an ironic twist, we had to Vote SURVIVOR off the island to resolve the schedule conflict…)
I've been asked to participate in a fabulous piece for a magazine about yours truly. A photo shoot is involved - GLAMAZILLAS LOOK OUT - and my office is the backdrop. Cue the Psycho Shower Theme Music.
Umm we just moved. We're not exactly done. Did they read this blog where I say I need a deadline and pressure to make things happen in my own backyard? I KNEW this blog would eventually come back to haunt me (wink).
Okay so we have not only selected the gorgeous Tanzania wallpaper from Thibaut, it's ARRIVED AND the installer has been booked.
I also have this sofa. It's not my forever I love you sofa, it's for sale to a good home but for now it has to work.
Inspirations are an ongoing topic here on Sashay. Whenever I'm interviewed or asked to discuss my work, the topic of inspiration always comes up. I think that one of the many mysteries or marvels in the world is how creativity comes to be. Often it's catching a glimpse here and there of something, anything but other times one has to go looking for inspiration.
I'm currently working on a top secret, ultra hush hush project. Not saying what it is is practically killing me. I'm not good with keeping secrets. I mean I'm REALLY terrible but I'm also superstitious. I promise though, I won't keep this to myself for much longer.. just a bit.
However, because I am terrible at keeping secrets, I'm letting you in on some of my inspirations. I've collected these for some time but it's amazing to be able to gel them all together. I will say that I'm looking at pattern, texture and colour combinations. This is seriously like crack for me. I live for this stuff. I lie awake at night dreaming up combinations, I can't walk outside without being inundated with inspiration. I am so fortunate to be able to spend my days absorbing all of this and then creating rooms, spaces, objects that reflect what moved me.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em? Yes, that's what's going on here. I am staunchly against Valentine's Day. Express it, show it, live it all year long is my belief. Don't get sucked into commercialism. My son however, has discovered holiday magic and loves any and all of them. He especially loves the giving aspect of them, so I'm fully exploiting this and using it to make my lil guy into a gentleman.
For those of you who don't know my background, I'm actually an elementary school teacher… taught for 7 Lonnnnnnnnnnng years before running screaming from the classroom into design full time. This year marks the 10th Anniversary of my Exodus. I was known immediately as the Artsy Teacher. The custodians HATED me and fought to NOT have my classroom as part of their assignments. I don't blame them, it was a creative war zone. The output was constant and the children flourished.
I'm a big believer in throwing people into the deep end when it comes to trying new things or learning. I do this with interns in my office all the time and I've begun to do so with my son. If you set the bar high, people will achieve more than if you low ball it for them. Always keep reaching. This can be true for even silly little valentines… If you saw my Martha Stewart moment yesterday, you will see that I had a full on Martha Style meltdown of domesticity here today. Oy Vey. I was drinking the koolaid. It's passed now. I'm angling for a foot rub from my husband as I type this. He's not biting… yet. (Truth be told, I get a lot of foot rubs. He's the best.)
I know. Your Worlds Are Offically Rocked.
It happens occasionally.
Okay, it's a rare bird sighting to see me cooking or baking in the kitchen. It kinda shocked me too.
Here's the story behind such a crazy turn of events: You see last year, I totally forgot Valentine's Day. I don't like the holiday, rarely acknowledge it. I used to as a teacher but only for Art Projects. I loved to do art projects when I was a teacher because it let me indulge my creative side. It was my sanity. This year marks the tenth anniversary of my quitting teaching for good. Anyway, when Luke arrived at the office after going to nursery school in the morning, he was bogged down but Valentine after Valentine. I only discovered the class list that had been sent home when I rifled through his bag to see all of the Valentine loot he brought back. GUILT TRIP. It has lasted an entire year.
Luke has just started going to school for most of the day so I managed to get the class list early last week. I was on it. To make up for it, I'm going to make the class some cookies. I considered doing something more elaborate but I didn't want to set the bar too high for myself… can't have the teachers thinking that a) I bought them or b)that I'm a culinary goddess. Too much pressure, cookies it is.
I decided I would document the event.. who knows if it will ever happen again!
Thursday night was date night chez the Heron-Weinsteins so not a tremendous amount of time to put together a blog. Oh to have the time to blog all the things I want to say… ::GONNA NEED TO WIN A LOTTERY TO MAKE THAT BABY HAPPEN::
In addition to remembering that I can actually take cold medicine again, not being pregnant or nursing for the first time in um… well forever it seems, Thursday ended better than it started. ALSO I got word that THIS is happening in my office.
I HAZ A BAD CODE.
I CAN BAREWY BREEDE MY NODE IS SO STUFFED UP.
I'm also clearly yelling as I type this… Oy Vey.
Amazing how pregnancy warps your brain though. I just realized that I can totally take cold meds. I was pregnant and couldn't. Then I was nursing and couldn't. Um WTH? Why am I suffering needlessly?? ::frantically searches through desk for sinutab:: SUCCESS!!!!
To distract you while I go and blow my nose aka practice blowing a Tuba…
Computer woes, yet ANOTHER plague thanks to Nursery School children & a darling little boy who is upping the anti on the bedtime guilt trips are cramping my blog style today. Also, we ate the last of the Toblerone last night so I'm in Chocolate Mourning. As a rule, I don't really like chocolate. ::GASP:: did I really just say that out loud you are wondering? Yup. Prefer caramel and vanilla but I make an exception for Toblerones or the PC - President's Choice brand version of them (just as yummy).
We had a great meeting today on our new restaurant project. Serious decisions made. Hermes Orange is totally involved which we are going to use in a decidedly classic way. Can't wait to share.
Also stressing me out right now - Valentine's Day. I loathe Valentine's Day (see above re: not being a huge chocolate fan). I think it is trite, commercialized and over done. I think I've mentioned this once or twice before. I got the dreaded list today from Luke's teacher - the “Totally Up To You” Class list for those who are inclined to make/buy Valentine's Cards for the class. I forgot all about it last year and then discovered the list had been sent in Luke's bag about a week after Valentine's Day. #BadMommyMoment I felt bad when Luke had come home with all of these cards, even worse when I discovered there was a list. So now, racked with left over guilt, I'm determined to ease my conscience… we made these tonight.
So many fabrics, so many options to utilize them. I find that putting stories together helps clients to make decisions. Sometimes it can be confusing but mostly, it helps for clients to envision how they will all work together.
Our Browning Avenue client loves contrast. Our mandate is to paint the walls an off white. Being a narrow semi-detached house, we are also charged with doing what we can to make the main floor seem bigger than it is. The trick to doing this.. well hiring a designer for one - wouldn't want to overlook that lil gem. You will have to stay tuned to see how we make it happen BUT I will say that it is going to be dramatic.
Here are a few of the palettes we are presenting to our client:
Coq Au Vin, Royal Conservatory Music Class, Great Friends, Apple Genius Bar, Rhino Virus, Chocolate Raspberry Ganache, Merengues, Delicious Wine from Canada & South Africa…
We are heading out of town again for a new project. We do a lot of projects outside of Toronto, love the chance to get away and see the sites! Our mandate is a kitchen overall but as you can well imagine, this is going to spread out to the other main living areas in the house. In fact, I find that it's often easier to start there and work back to the kitchen, even if we are starting with the kitchen. Does that make sense? Come on, keep up, my brain is going in a zillion different directions, at least humour me and play along. I kid, I kid. Okay not really. HA!!
What I am saying in my usual cheeky way, is that you have to start with the big picture and then work back to the finer details. Like when you go on vacation. You have to commit to at least a country. You may then narrow down to a state/province, further refine to cities & towns etc before deciding which museum you are heading to. It's no different when designing your house. Sometimes, you have a starting off point or a must work with that becomes bossy pants, supreme leader of all but other times, people blow everything away and say make it purty.
So, I'm starting with the Great Room to figure out how to make it all work.
And for me, it comes down to a single fabric. I'm a fabric-trollope (was going to type whore but then I realized that you may not want to talk fabric whores on a design blog. Oh wait, I've gone and said and look here were are talking about it on a design blog. Funny that). I really do love finding a fabric that speaks to the entire project. Check out the fabric on the sofa pillows.
Damn. It's got it all.
I'm often asked where do I come up with design ideas. Truth be told I have zillions floating around at any time just waiting to be actioned on. Often ideas come from ideas presented and rejected by other clients. Other times, clients will see previous work and ask for something similar. I've had a few recent meetings where the clients referenced previous projects to me & simply said ” I love that, I want that feeling.” One client has had trouble finding anything in magazines that she loves, but every time a picture of one of our projects comes up she says “LOVE THAT.” It's unusual for us to actually use our own projects as inspiration but a wonderful compliment all the same.
We have gotten many many requests for a headboard similar to the Boswell Ave bed in our portfolio. One client is very smitten with this tufted headboard with upholstered base so we are putting a plan together that will include this. We're torn between linen or a silky velvet.