November 19, 2012:

It’s Always Something…

This was the title of the Gala we attended on Saturday night in support of Gilda's Club - Gilda Radner's Charity Organization to support people & their families doing battle with Cancer. It was a Variety night of entertainers. We were entertained. Though, I should mention that the Sony Centre in Toronto needs to hire me to revamp their interiors which look like what you would expect to find say in a shopping mall north of um Timmins Ontario (google Timmins or Northern Ontario Shopping Malls). NOT PLEASANT.

Who knew the ironic twist attending this Gala would provide us with come Sunday.

I got an email at noon on Sunday from a client who happens to be a tenant in the same building as ours at work. They also live behind the building so they routinely pop over to the office to do work when necessary. The email was to call her ASAP as there had been a break in. Turns out, the lock to the building had been drilled out and professional CRIMINAL THIEVES had broken in, got into our suite FIRST up on the THIRD floor (can you say inside job?) and stolen all of our computers. Our client was alerted to something afoul when they smashed the office glass across the hall from hers and the client came to see what was up. The CRIMINALS fled and our client called the police who were there in a flash.

So I'm headed in to clean up the joint, file the necessary paperwork and curse ANYONE who is trying to buy a 27" iMac or FIVE for cheap on ebay/kijiji/craigslist. The police have all the serial numbers which can't be scrubbed so if you are thinking you are looking at the Steal of a Century online for Christmas purchases you actually ARE. If you and or the perps are caught, we won't be compassionate and let you go with a slap on the wrist. I'm so mad right now, I'm thinking life imprisonment on an ice flow in the Arctic sounds totally justified.

I get that it's just stuff but here's the thing, get a job - a real one. I worked for each and every one of those computers and our office. I didn't receive a helping hand. No trust fund, no overly generous relatives. I didn't marry for money. Banks are a joke. I earned them. I gave up time with my child or my family/friends to make them possible. You are a coward and a lazy ass. 

Hate to start the week off on such a sour note. I still intend to have a kick ass one and look forward to hearing from Toronto's finest that they nailed the asshats who did this. Never mess with a redhead. Promise xo.

November 16, 2012:

Whoooooaaaaaaaaaa

What a week. I mean I'm relieved it's over I have to say. Being sick SUCKS BALLS BIG TIME. I mean I felt I was possessed by the Phlegm equivalent of Linda Blair. Sweet Baby Jesus. Last night was the first time in two weeks I slept straight through. No baby waking up, no waking up to find myself drowning. Seriously, there were a few times I thought I was a goner this last week. Death by Phlegm. I also didn't snore like a chainsaw and had to be nudged gently by my husband. That was TOTALLY my reality all this week. Glamorous and Sexy non?

So we had a HUGE photoshoot yesterday that has honestly been in the works since March. Well I was strategizing about it long before that but we only got the official word just after I got back from Rome and we had to pull things together lickity split. Being sick, meant of course that I had to rely heavily on the fabulous Celia to oversee details which she did in spades. I'm insanely excited for several reasons - most of which were firsts. First time working with this uber talented photographer & her team. Check that off the bucket list. First time being featured in this magazine. Check. Check. And I got to work with some of my favourite clients & not to mention the spectacular editor who made it all happen. Blessed beyond belief. Now the even better news is that we won't have to wait a full year for this to come out. March 2013 people. I may have started a countdown clock on my computer. Maybe. 

Have you gotten your copy of this month's Style at Home yet? You need to. I'm going to keep reminding you. It's taking all I have to not share the pictures of our shoot that is featured on pg 102. My ridiculously handsome and talented friend Jonathan Legate is featured in the spread just before. LOVE being bookended by this guy! Love him to pieces. You will have to make sure to get the January issue of Style at Home too... a certain KITCHEN ahem... #pkg people #pkg is going to be featured. You will weep tears of joy at the beauty that will unfold.

I'm in the office all by myself this morning and it feels like a luxury I'm not gonna lie. I'm actually looking forward to writing proposals for new projects and catching up on mundane things that I have missed. HA! I also have to find out which female is singing The Scientist by Coldplay on my radio right now. WOW she's good. How's that for a non-sequetor?  Is that even how you spell that? If it isn't don't burst my bubble. Let me enjoy the day spelling mistakes and all.

Have a great weekend!! I'm looking forward to WINE!

If you haven't already entered our Give Away for Kathryn Ireland's new Coffee Table book Timeless Interiors please do... the thread is over on ye' ol' Facebook Page here - https://www.facebook.com/meredithherondesigleave a comment letting u know what you consider to be a timeless and classic addition to any decor. You can also follow us on instagram @meredithheron and pinterest Meredith Heron again to increase your chances of winning! Contest closes next FRIDAY at midnight. The draw will be held by Handsome Man Luke...

Totally going to pitch this idea to a client who I think can be tempted.... In fact I'm dying over how this could be a total possiblity. YAHOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 14, 2012:

::Throws confetti:: GIVE AWAY TIME!

Million Dollar Decorators. It's over the top to the extreme but I love it becuase it doesn't feature Death by DIY Design. I was recently presented with Kathryn Ireland's new book Timeless Interiors.

Now traditional design is not everyone's cup of tea HOWEVER I think that even the most modern of spaces can incorporate in a timeless classic whether it be a chair, a runner a casegood or piece of art. I think the tension that comes from mixing classics with more contemporary pieces always makes you pause and take a look. This entirely invites you in. I love that about a space. All too often, people look at a room and nix it because they don't love the entire room or because they hate a piece in the room. With Kathryn's book, there are many layers to consider which makes for a great read vs a quick skim and scan. I love that about a book, especially a coffee table book. I think this will make a great addition to my design library AND I hope to yours seeing as I have an extra copy to give away!

Here's the deal:

To Win a Copy of Kathryn Ireland's Timeless Interiors hit the Join the Conversation Below button and share what you think is a favourite classic piece that will have timeless appeal.

If you want to increase your chances, LIKE Meredith Heron Design's facebook page.

Want to increase them a bit more? Follow @meredithheron on Twitter @meredithheron on instagram and Meredith Heron on Pinterest.

The draw will be held Saturday November 24th - a name will be drawn randomly by Luke who will jump clap and cheer for the winner as well!

 

November 13, 2012:

Hunkering Down

My palm trees are still living as are my Boston Ferns. Sigh. These are in my planters outside. Part of me wants them to die already so I can do my winter urns but the other part of me can't be bothered. I'm officially on the fence about how crazy I want to go with Holiday decorating inside. Being on the DL list - our entire family has been mowed down by this nastiest of flu/cold bugs that seems to recirculate and strike each of us one by one and over and over again in the last week  - has made me sincerely wish that we had a fireplace in our house. There is just something about a fireplace that makes things feel right in the world. I mean I now FINALLY have heated seats and steering wheel in our new car, both I don't know how I've lived in Canada for 40 years without may I add... now I'm feeling the same way about a fireplace. 

I NEED ONE.

This has to be one of my all time favourite fireplace vignettes. It would be perfect in my Victorian and would feel like it was original to the house. However, we have no chimney so electric fireplace is pretty much the only way we are going to get one. Sure there are ethanol options but I don't know if that will really give us any heat. Of course I'm open to being swayed if the look is right. I'm not into modern fireplaces on the whole especially not for my own house.

We know I'm obsessed with these mantels. This profile + Electric fireplace = ecstatic Meredith.

I'm happy to do something simple if I can embellish like this one... I just hate when they look like they are stand alones that stick out from the wall. MUST look integrated.

I love this combination. The wood mantel with the cast stone. Of course the dark walls are pretty amazing too.  This would look fabulous in our bedroom with our rich indigo walls.

It's really all about the insert isn't it? It needs to look as real as possible. We have gas in our house so I suppose we could opt for a gas fireplace too.... but they are damn expensive. 

I like the looks of both of these (though I'd paint the dark wood if it didn't come in white or an offwhite) electric fireplaces from Stylish Fireplaces. I'm sure they have the answer.. Well I hope they do. This is becoming an obsession of mine.

If you are looking to get all cozy up near a fireplace, get the latest issue of Style at Home - it's the Holiday Entertaining issue. I'm thrilled to announce that our #CarltonCondo project is featured in this issue. Shot by the fabulous Stacey Brandford and styled by the ever darling Jessica Waks I am over the moon excited for you to see it - my good friend designer Jonathan Legate also has his house featured in this issue. YIPPEEE!!!  I love working with the talented team from Style at Home!

November 12, 2012:

Valuing the Creative

There is a danger in being good at what you do - you run the risk of making it look easy and therefore something that anyone can do. It is a sad reality that designers (graphic, interior and the like) are often approached and or hired to work on a project and then find themselves dismissed with a "I can do what s/he does for free," by the client.

It happens a lot.

Now some people would argue that this is a taboo topic and shouldn't be spoken about in public, let alone on a blog. There is this unwritten rule in the design community that we must suffer in silence or some such.  Get a bunch of designers together and they inevitably unleash a torrent of horror stories especially when they find that their company has experience the same sort of trauma/horror/misfortune. It is quite a spectacle to behold. Some information regarding a project I worked on this past spring/summer came my way and it's too good a story to NOT share so here I go, airing some dirty-ish laundry avert your eyes if you are not able to cope. (The mere mention of such a thing will guarantee your attention though - am I right?)

I was at my local hair salon when I was approached by the owners (I saw one of their stylists) because they had some questions about process. They were working with a designer at the time to overhaul their space. This is something of an awkward situation for any designer given that A) you don't want to malign a fellow designer B)you may be horrified by what said designer is proposing C)you are only getting one very skewed side of the story and D) you may actually want a chance at the job but feel conflicted based on A-C.  They pulled out the plans and explained what they were after and it was very obvious to me that what they wanted was not what was being presented to them. They seemed pretty specific about what they were after and immediately I said to them that I saw a disconnect and perhaps they needed to reiterate what they told me to their designer. I also said, that if they still weren't happy with the direction they were headed, they could conclude their business with said designer (ie: PAY HER/HIM) and we could discuss next steps.

Sure enough, they did decide that they were not happy with their first choice and retained our services. I was aware of the budget they wanted to keep within and advised them immediately that they needed to be prepared to put in some sweat equity to meet this goal. They were on board. Of course, the list of wants grew. We put together a concept which was approved and then began to budget it out. Before we truly dove in, I should add, we ran some preliminary numbers by the salon and they didn't seem to be too phased by what we provided them with number wise..

Salon Equipment is expensive. Shipping Salon Equipment is expensive. Our budget came in at the high end. In fact it was higher than the high end but I wanted to present it to the owners because it would help them prioritize and make selections/choices based on these so that we could scale it back to a number that they were more comfortable investing. They had some pretty definite must haves and these were all expensive so we gave them options in terms of phasing things in. Suddenly, their number became fixed at the lower end of the range and I was now told that that was the max. This number, was entirely unrealistic. They left our office to mull things over and review the numbers we had provided them with.

Crickets. 3 weeks worth of Crickets. I finally got ahold of one of the partners by email and was told that they couldn't afford the budget I provided them with and that they would take over from there and go it alone.

Beyond disappointed but we parted on good terms. They had paid for the conceptual we had delivered and took it upon themselves to implement. It happens. I arrived for a hair appointment a few weeks later and saw that they had opted for a much different ceiling tile than I had specified. MUCH. It was oh so wrong but I said nothing. They had put in fluorescents that would not have been my choice but more upsetting was the temperature of the bulbs they went with. It was too cool, too blue and did NOTHING for their patrons. This was NOT something to settle for. My husband had an appointment a week later for a trim and I told him to take one of the partners aside and advise him on the correct temperature and to give him directions on where to buy them. I mean if you don't look good leaving the salon, you won't come back right...? I care.

A month went by and I got a message from my stylist that she had moved to a new salon. I follow the stylist - salons won't keep me based on the salon. It's the stylist that matters. So I happily followed her. I asked how the renovation went and she felt that she could be forthcoming in that it didn't go well. Then, she dropped a huge bomb on me. Two in fact: A) When patrons were asking the partners about the status of the renovation, they said that I the designer had gouged them and that they decided to do it themselves. I was beyond horrified but I get that pride can get in the way and saying to your clients "Hey, I can't afford to invest that much into the space," isn't exactly sexy. Hair is sexy. So I understood. But then the big bomb dropped. Apparently she'd been sworn to secrecy while she was working there but one of the partners (hold on for shouty capitals) HIS FATHER HAD WON $50 MILLION IN THE LOTTERY AND HE'D BEEN SITTING ON A NICE LIL NEST EGG THE ENTIRE TIME I WAS MEETING WITH THEM.

I'll let that sink in just a bit.

If I've said it once, I will say it again. Never ever mislead your designer about your budget. Trying to get an $80,000 renvovation for $30,000 can't happen. It just can't. The margins are not there. Sure there are some that will gouge you in any industry but when you do the math or look at an itemized estimate that allows you to do the math, you gotta know, the margins aren't there to soak you. Designers are business people, we have responsibilities that need to be taken care of and surprise, we actually want to make some money on occasion. I'm not being glib, it's just something that people (especially women) feel like they should or need to apologize for. We invest in our clients and their projects and we want them to succeed. I won't even tell you about the number of times a project doesn't move forward for budget reasons only to find out that the clients took it on themselves and ended up paying what we estimated or more for LESS. That happens A LOT.

It would have been such a beautiful space. What started out as disappointment that they couldn't phase or move ahead with parts of the design has morphed into complete and utter disbelief. 

"The Designer Gouged Us...." Um... ya... no.