My process has been interfering with my blogging at least I’m working on material that will eventually make great blogs… If you aren’t already following me on instagram @meredithheron.. for a good time.
I’ve got speaking engagements and editorial coming up and so I’m of course reflecting on Design Process and Communication but Process is really on the brain. I have a process. The most successful projects I work on - that you see in magazines - have one thing in common: I was left alone to carry out the project according to my process. Deviations in the process, unless motivated by me, are no bueno. They slow things down, they cause miscommunications (Mercury is STILL Retrograde people as if we need any more disturbances in the force) and can in some cases this side steps can completely derail a project. See earlier NO BUENO.
For me, I like to start with the fabric and finishes and then work out to furniture and while I am doing this, we are working on layout, millwork, trim profiles and lighting. Of course if you are doing an entire overhaul, we will start with the overall layout and flow and then dive into the pretty stuff but we do that early on so that we can get a grasp of the overall look and feel that we are after. I don’t pick paint colours until the painter is confirmed to show up within 72 hours. I order paint at the 48hrs to go mark. Seriously. It doesn’t work any other way. If we can select a fabric scheme early on and stick to it - I’ll pick the colours but otherwise - I try and stall. I won’t decorate around a $40 can of paint. I just won’t.
I recently had someone ask me to put together a paint palette and I did and it was BEAUTIFUL, unique, a true show stopper. They didn’t like my choice. I was stunned. I don’t take rejection very well but I rolled with it. However, there were seriously bossy elements to the space and I was asked to go against my professional opinion to provide them with a different option. It will be fine. It won’t be a show stopper. It’s a safe choice. I had to let it go. ::sad face::
What I know to be true is that I will put a fabric scheme together like no other. It’s my wheelhouse. I mix textures, patterns, sheen and hues. My pillow schemes are carefully thought out, balanced and are a work of art on their own. You won’t see us mixing cotton on cotton. The variety to our choices is the secret to our success. Part of my process is knowing that I will not compromise on key elements and this variety is one of them. You can like what you like but I will always take it to the next level. If there is a drag on this process, it quickly loses steam and the room will flounder. I know this. I’ve spent 17 years honing this process and I stand by it.
I’m feeling all Al Capone all of a sudden. I’m a Design Enforcer… I like it.
I like to put together concepts like this - I have the core pieces that I know will be in X fabric but it is all very mutable. The client may say no magenta (I will clutch pearls) but that’s easily switched out for something else - we often completely disassemble a project once the client is here to dig in and touch and feel their way through the choices. I’m entirely flexible in that regard but not if the choices they are making don’t make sense or fail to meet the goals they’ve outlined for me from the start.
Other clients are way more hands off… I look forward to presenting this kitchen plan to one of them. #Ridgewood is going to be amazing. Our #MadisonDecoration clients who love to push the design envelope and only ever up the ante on all things fabulous get wallpaper installed next week which means this room is about to really become a reality.
Hell to the Yes.
Total aside… if Podcasts are your thing - I participated in one that my first Brand Coach Perry Gladstone put together. It’s in the What’s New and Noteable already on iTunes and I’m episode two if you’d like to listen in.
Opening Photo: Paul Edmonson
It was no secret that I was looking forward to 2015 but January has been a Boss Month. The response to our collaboration with JF Fabrics and Crypton Home has been amazing and whilst we were basking in the after glow of this awesome sauce news our collaboration with DXV Canada went in to overdrive and our booth launch at #IDS15 Toronto came together. The Gala was Thursday night, Trade Day was on Friday and then this weekend the show was open to the public.
My best friend Gina surprised us with a last minute flight to make the Gala on Thursday. As if this wasn’t enough - it really was - but my friend Genevieve Ghaleb won the Design Competition for the storefront space in the booth and it just was perfection. Add in so many amazing designer and trade friends and their best wishes and we were riding HIGH. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, I saw a single tweet that took it to the next level. Our booth won Best Booth Design voted on by #IDS2015 themselves. BLOWN AWAY. My team, the team from DXV and American Standard in both Canada and the US, Maverick and of course Marcom who made it all come together - all together a dream team and a dream result.
Mr Weaver & Loom and I giving our best pose.
I need to start a campaign to get DXV to customize this sink into brass - who’s with me??
This last bathroom was designed by Corey Klassen and styled by moi.
I’ve been a busy gal and at this point I feel I’ll be saying that until March maybe longer. I will try and stick to a regular blogging routine but forgive if I suddenly go dormant and follow me on Instagram and other social media to you know get your daily stalking fix.
We installed the finishing touches at the DXV Booth at #IDS15 yesterday - today it opens for the Gala and tomorrow is Trade Day. I’m doing Media in the booth tonight so if you are there please come by Booth #1610 and say hello!!! Bring a glass of red wine if you’ve been by the bar recently xo to xo.
While installing yesterday we (Celia and I) were also delivering items for the winner of the DXV Designer Competition - a concept Storefront Window space that will debut in Toronto and then head to NYC to the DXV Showroom. My colleague and friend Genevieve Ghaleb from Montreal was the winner and DXV had her courier her wares to my office so that we could ensure they arrived safe and sound and so we delivered them to the booth (in pristine condition no less!! Designers are very skilled packers and movers have I mentioned this before?) Anyway, it was amazing to watch the care, worry and fretting that has gone in to the execution of this amazing storefront. More amazing was reflecting on our (Me and C) reactions. We were calm, reassuring and if you’ve read Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck…” we were TOTALLY embodying this. Gen was quite taken aback at first at our cool reserve - we probably made her feel all the more self conscious but really it’s what experience at these shows, residential projects and the like have taught us. It always comes together, even when it looks dark and bleak and disaster looms at every turn. Don’t over think it. If the gold on X isn’t the exact gold as on Y no one is going to really notice. If this is 8” and that is 7 7/8” no one is really going to notice if they are seeing it from 6ft away. Sometimes you have to resign yourself to the notion that good is good enough when you are a perfectionist designer. Fixating on the little things that really don’t amount to much in the way of being a big fucking deal isn’t going to help matters. The moment when we were told that our mirror MIGHT not get attached to the wall in the space that was a “NOW YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION” moment but we calmly reviewed options with the trades and we came up with a most acceptable solution - I was totally cool with airplane wire to suspend it vs the cleats that came with the mirror and everyone else looked relieved at my blessing. I was like - totally fine the mirror and the sink are so gorgeous NOT ONE PERSON will care.
I don’t get phased by curve balls. I’ve got the experience to know that we’ll figure it out, find a solution and you don’t need to worry. I’m paid to worry and I don’t worry most of the time because I work with the best trades, the best team and we’ve got it covered. There will be little stresses along the way but like Mark Manson pointed out 127 with his use of the work fuck - most of the fucks aren’t worth giving a fuck over. I focus on key specific fucks to worry about and the rest I trust to resolve on their own, or with a little gentle nudge in the right direction.
This is the secret to a designer’s success AND the best projects always have a low ratio of fucks given. It doesn’t mean we don’t care - we just trust that we’ve got it covered. It’s like a secret insurance policy. I swear.
Here’s a sneak peek of how fabulous things have been turning out while we just enjoyed the ride.
So here’s a moment from my #ModernGatsby Bathroom
And the original space if you recall…. nice re-interpretation eh?? Not bad if I do say so myself.
Here’s the new Lyndon suite. It’s Mary Douglas Drysdale’s space re-interpreted by moi - I think we did a good job in paying homage to the original yes?
The tub area - all of the windows have the DXV logo as grilles - amazing.
Gen’s Storefront… it’s perfection it really is. It ties in so beautifully with the entire booth. There’s another kitchen and two other baths I haven’t shown you yet so you must come by and take a look. Make sure to tag me in your pictures!!! I look forward to seeing you all enjoy our spaces.
I know a lot about inspiration, I also know a lot about being presented a new collection fabric or otherwise. I am very decisive and quick on what I like/don’t like/HATE when reps come to visit me. Unlike many designers, I don’t believe in passing off the task of meeting with reps to my associates or staff. If a Fabric Rep comes to share a new collection or book, I want to see it. Some Fabric Reps bring their bosses because I don’t think they can quite believe HOW honest I will be. I spare no feelings. I’ve taken books in the past because I feel guilty and didn’t want to hurt their feelings - but no more. Of course I have mixed feelings on this now because I know first hand how the collections come to be and in my case, there was a tremendous personal investment in the curation of three AMAZING, FABULOUS, OH MY GOD BOOKS. I still know that it won’t be for everyone and everyone won’t be crazy about every single pattern. I get it. Even in my own office we’ve tried to spec all MHD fabrics but that quickly goes by the way side because the mix is critical and if the pattern/colour/texture doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.
So how did it all begin? Technically, it began before I knew there was going to be a collection with my name on it. The Mill along with the Creative Team at JF stalked my instagram and pulled images of fabric combinations I put together for client presentations off and pinned them up on their wall to see what I liked, what colours I loved using and how I mixed pattern and scale. So for all of you who think having an instagram account is too much work and you couldn’t possibly invest the time… think again.
Next - imagine a 12+ foot table give or take FILLED and I mean filled with fabrics. Then imagine boxes underneath, around, on top of FILLED with more textiles. The goal being to narrow this ocean of samples down to 94. Yup. 94. The actual number of patterns being closer to about 20. I know right?? Let me tell you, it was a STRUGGLE and yet my decisive nature made it remarkably speedy. We set aside two full days to wrangle, wrestle, stress, freak out, barter, beg, extort the fabric selection. In reality we put in a good 5 hours the first day and an hour the second day. Crazy huh?
It’s true. Now that’s just when I was there of course. After I narrowed a zillion down to about 500 fabrics the creative team at JF put my selections together in what they call a Rotation. This is the order the fabrics would appear in the book. They took my 500 fabrics and created three books according to colour. They then chose a lead fabric to be the first fabric in the book and began the rotations. When I arrived on day 2 they had these Rotations laid out on the table. Now this is where some Bartering, Negotiating and a little Begging and Foot stamping may have come in. There were some fabrics that got removed that I was GUTTED about. Other colour ways that were obliterated that I was devastated to see leave. However, this is where the education came in… Patterns that were too similar meant we had to choose one. This meant that past sales, current patterns that are similar etc all had to play a part. One has to be open to this sort of feedback and in some cases it made a lot of sense and in a few other cases, I had to present my own case for why a fabric needed to stay in the mix. Of course when I lobbied for a fabric to stay, it meant that another fabric often had to leave. In a few cases this negotiation carried on after the fact - when the books themselves were quoted out by the Mill and a third round of negotiations had to begin.
The goal of course is to have a well balanced set of books that have mass appeal. The performance of the fabric, the hand and of course the looks themselves have been put together with so much thought and care, they really do feel like children. I miss some of the patterns that didn’t make it in to the mix but fortunately, we’ve got another collection that we are beginning to work on in about two weeks time… WOOWHOOO!!!!
This is narrowing down - we had to lose some really great colour ways. As a designer you must know this part KILLED me. I always want MORE selection but it doesn’t make financial sense - if you have colour ways too close together, it actually reduces the number of sales for both of them. I do recognize that sometimes too much choice for clients leads to a harder time making the decision so the business woman in me appreciated this even though it was hard for the creative in me to pass up.
Melcourt is on the left. Gosh I want more colour ways for this pattern. I adore it.
MADE THE CUT!!! This is our Hildegard fabric.
I am thrilled with our Meredith fabric. I gave it my own name because it’s one of my favourites. I haven’t even touched on how hard naming fabrics is. So many of my first choices were Kiboshed. Luke for example didn’t make the cut. Nor did his middle name.
Our Heron fabric - it’s Chinoiserie… I love it. We have it in bold colours and in tonal ones.
It really takes on a different look and feel depending on what colour way you have.
And of course there is this chair that we did with Wesley Hall. Versatile in colour and then there is the performance of Crypton Home. Now that I have a better understanding of the how and why when it comes to putting fabrics together, I can’t wait to head down to the Mill, stalk their archives and bring my own ideas to the starting gate.