March 13, 2013:

#Hurndale Paint Update…

Do you recall last week my post about our new project #Hurndale and the paint vs not painting the wood dilemma? I say dilemma - but it really wasn't my dilemma. I like to present clients with a fair and balanced perspective when it comes to their options. Of course, the key to doing this is to make it known pretty early one, what your personal preference is as the designer. I find that if I get my own bias out of the way sooner rather than later, clients don't feel unnecessarily pressured to go in one direction or another. My goal is always to find out what is informing their choice even if I don't agree with it. In this particular instance, one of the clients wanted to ensure that the character and charm that made him buy the house in the first place, was maintained. What I had to do was to make sure that the choices and options that I presented kept in mind that charm/architecture and character. One option was to restain the existing wood trim (which is gum wood and it should be noted is not really good wood) and the second option is to paint it out. The clients said to me that they were concerned that painting out the wood would make the house feel more suburban. This was very interesting to me so I had to pursue that line of thinking a bit more to ensure that I properly understood what this meant to them. What I determined, is that a conventional white trim/wall colour approach is not the way that we should be heading. Instead, we're going to paint out the wood (WOOOOOWHOOOOOOO) but in a richer tone than the neutral we will opt for for the wall. I'm SO on board for this. The house is going to feel bigger and brighter with this plan in motion. 

We also decided that a classic chevron installation with the hardwood floors is going to ensure that we replace the character that the wood trim used to hold in the house. So think a Parisian Pied a Tere on the floor with a Brooklyn Brownstone/West Coast meets Toronto vibe. HA! We're also going to go for majah drama including a custom theatre/viewing lounge on the 2nd floor...

This herringbone Merbau floor is what I'm proposing as our MUST do floor. Well until I get the actual samples and then we shall see right??

This is what we've settled on for the dining room. Rich deep Sapphire/Black grasscloth walls. Cognac leather on the dining chairs around a round dining table (I'm thinking black gloss). The idea for the chairs is to add some antique gold hardware to the chair backs. The clients have very nice parson chairs that will reupholster beautifully and then a pop of embellishment. 

This bad boy. Must Have.

Living Room is going to be tone on tone neutrals because it's in the middle of the house with not that much light. We need to create a lighter feel in there but we also need to maximize seating and make it a hub. These are our final selections which is fun. It's almost the exact same scheme as what we are doing in our #Thornhill family room BUT it's going to play out entirely different. I so love this. The leather in the dining room may find itself making a repeat performance on very tailored and chic slipper chairs. I'm pretty stoked about these. Tailored & oh so handsome. Just like the clients I may add!

Our clients are BIG movie buffs and we're turning the 2nd floor den and making it into a Viewing Lounge. Sectional Sofa, Built ins, Projection Screen. Smokey Blues and Charcoals... we're going to opt for a rich dark Smokey Blue Topax for cabinetry in a high gloss. I think we are also going to look at switching out a wood burning fireplace for an electric one. Good thing I've got a most excellent Electric Fireplace Hook Up!! Jeanne I'm hitting you up soon!

March 12, 2013:

On the Fly…

There are many days that just blur by. As someone who has to track her time in order to get paid, there are days where I look at my calendar at the end & it's a whirl and blur of colour thanks to all the different things I've done that day. Today was one of those days. Sourcing, specifying, sketching, pick ups/deliveries, on site - electricians and contractors HATE hanging chandeliers with me... I don't really blame them. I like to FEEL the piece in the room vs a standard install height. We've gone to extreme lengths to visualize light fixtures and the heights they need to hang at for our projects. When we were installing #Boston's light fixtures - specifically two sconces over the kitchen island, Celia and I went so far as to recreate the fixtures out of paper. You see they were an hourglass splayed pendant so working off of the tear sheet specs wasn't going to work. So we made these to scale paper versions and then stood on chairs over the marble table in my office with measuring tapes. It was memorable/scarring and we still laugh about it... you can imagine though holding a rather heavy chandelier while I him and haw over the heigh doesn't exactly give the electrician the warm fuzzies right??

So #Spruce has light now. Sexy. As. Adam. Levine. Light. Fixtures.... Don't believe me?

Picture lights &  Spike are all Visual Comfort. Blue Crystal Chandy which is so so perfect for the dining room was found at my fave lil Antique Store. Don't hate me boys, it's worth it I swear!!!

March 11, 2013:

Current Inspirations…

As you you may have gathered, we're in full swing on many projects right now. The good news of course, is that some are just starting, others are in full conceptual swing while others are being ordered and or just hitting install/wrap up. This is something that we strive to find balance in - you don't want all of your projects at the exact same phase at the exact same time - that's just crazy waiting to explode HOWEVER many times, this isn't exactly within our control. Clients don't always make decisions when you think they will, trades don't always get back to you in a timely fashion and then just when you think you've got it all under control, product is either backordered or discontinued prompting you to start all over again. You try your best to line things up but sometimes the Design Gods like to throw you a curve ball.

Sometimes the curve ball comes from a spouse who doesn't love everything that you & other half of the client equation have plotted. This has recently happened with our #Thornhill project. We'd proposed to the wife half the most beautiful Berm ottoman evahhh and she was on board - we'd spec'd it in the most yummy of greyed purple/aubergine sateen wools. We just couldn't succeed in making her husband love it as much as we all did. Now instead of getting one's nose out of joint, I prefer to think of this as the Design Gods challenging us to find something better. Now, the hubs has good taste - the word Lalique and table have been thrown around. I'm personally lobbying for a Murano table and of course the sending of a certain redhead design to Murano in Italy to select (I think this would totally be more cost effective than the aforementioned Lalique table)... I've got a few other ideas up my sleeve for this foyer though...

We are also nixing a pair of asymetrical, channel-backed slipper chairs that the wife loved in favour of some tub chairs. I love tub chairs. I think they are totally under used thanks to the "clean, straight-lines" of the last decade. MORE CURVES PEOPLE!!! 

GAHHH. Isn't this the most divine staircase maybe ever?? The foyer itself is bigger than my living room it may be bigger than both my living and my dining rooms come to think of it.

Schonbeck. Sparkle. There are a few of these. LOVE THE SPARKLE.

This was the beauty we'd imagined for the middle of the foyer but it's off the table. I do understand though - the wrought iron work on the staircase are so gorgeous, it does seem a shame to block them... well it wouldn't have but I do understand the thinking... it gives me another thought though...

So what about these?? I'm thinking that these could TOTALLY work on either side of the foyer non?? Upholstered in a wool similar to the wall colour which is Abalone by Benjamin Moore... Pretty luxe non??

This is the Lalique Agave Table. Can you imagine this or something similar between the banquettes above? With that staircase behind it? That chandelier above it? I am SWOONING are you swooning yet? You see when one decor door closes bigger and better ones open up... it pays to be flexible. Better opportunities abound!

March 07, 2013:

Gettin Shizz Done…

This week has been a week of kickin' ass & getting shizz done. Take no prisoners.

I've arrived home each day in a sort of dazed haze unable to say my name let alone spell it correctly. I was unable to put a blogpost together yesterday, opting to curl up in a fetal position after arriving home in time for the wee boy to be put to bed. I think I mumbled something about putting Sons of Anarchy on to the hubs, poured myself a glass of wine before giving in and going to bed.

My Thursday consisted of meeting with the teacher who oversees our latest Co-Op student. Yes, we take on High School students each term. I'm a big believer in the whole "Become a Slave to learn the business..." ideal. If you can handle the grunt work, you can develop a thick enough skin to work in the luxury service industry. You need it. I've said it often enough, what appears to be a glamorous business is rarely that. I've recently added that to be extremely successful as a designer, you have to acquire and cultivate a very specific bedside manner. What amazes me about my own personal growth in this business in the last 3-4 years is how calm I've become. I mean I know that I SEEM to be rather volatile in my passionate decrees and such but I'm actually exceptionally calm and centred with my approach to our work and with our clients. More so when I'm faced with potential conflict whether it be time lines, installations gone astray, curve balls, yada yada yada. This week alone I got a text telling me that an install booked for the end of March was to happen this week. I laughed. It so could not happen until the end of the month and I was confident that we'd resolve it. Today, I got some VERY bad news about a project that I simply couldn't let happen so I calmly responded with a polite, let's have a chat... and by the end of the day, all was the way it needed to be. To that end, I will send out some very special #FollowFridays on twitter because we are working with companies that are rising to the challenge and meeting the special requests that we are asking of them. In some cases, they are exceeding our expecatations in the most mind blowing of ways and we are so very very grateful to have them as partners on behalf of our clients.

All of this AND I'm a redhead. It's not an easy feat I often have to deny my own nature but I'm doing it and the results only encourage more of this. It really does help when you love what you do and are working with clients who you love and adore and moreover you are working with products and companies that you are wildly passionate about. If you are friends with me on Facebook, you'll recall that I started this week out with the status: "It's a Great Day at Meredith Heron Design." That's been this week though I'd add my own personal... "It's a great day BEING Meredith Heron." I am very much #blessed.

Looking forward to relaxing this weekend with very good friends and plotting a new little project that will be #Published later this year. But I have to admit, I'm also VERY excited about getting back to work next week because there are so many wonderful things that I am plotting and I can't wait to share them all with you. Thank you for being so supportive on this little journey I am equally as blessed/lucky/fortunate to have you to share it with.

I'm totally going to enjoy this every time I walk the three flights up to our office.

#AlexandraBlvd Yummy. I love how the addition of one new fabric changes the entire scheme from other projects we've used the others in.

We're looking at some unique options for a very large, customized area rug for a gigantic living room x 2

And then there is this slice of heaven. It's VERRRRRRRRRRRYYYY much an investment rug option. It's like the perfect shade of not quite white. Enjoy. Savour. Dream. 

March 06, 2013:

New Project: #Hurndale

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it much before on the blog but we get a lot of new client work or referrals directly from Social Media. We've been hired straight from Twitter more than any other form of SM in the last two/three years it's quite remarkable in fact. A few of my instagram shares of our #Spruce project brought us together with our new clients on our #Hurndale project within minutes of my sharing them to twitter and facebook. So for those of you out there who wonder if it is worth the effort, it very much is.

I'm excited about this project because they want us to pull the entire house together and make it feel finished. This excites me to no end. I should warn you though, there is wood trim in this house and well we all know that I'm staunchly on "Team Paint the Wood" but one of the client's hasn't quite come around to that way of thinking. YET. The concern, which is always valid, is will it detract from or ruin the character of the house? It's a good question to ask and as a designer, you have to actually invest a bit of time in understanding how natural wood conveys character to one person. What I usually pose is the following: If I were to paint it out, but say restore a fireplace or choose wood flooring that will enhance the original character and play that up through additional moulding or architectural features, would you care if the wood was painted or not? I've never had a client regret painting out the wood. Ever. You do however, have to ensure that other architectural details are played up. In truth, painting out wood actually highlights the details of it better than leaving it natural. So this is clearly a task that is set out for me to tackle. I'm up to the challenge.

I've put together a few fabric stories to test the waters with them on... 

The overall feel I'm going for is Brooklyn Brownstone meets West Coast Chill meets Urban Sophistication. Can you get that from my initial fabric selections? This palette here is decidedly more neutral. Greiges/Taupes/Browns/Greys. It's a great mix of texture and sheen. The main floor sees a living and dining room flipped. The dining room is at the front of the house with the fireplace and the living room is in the middle across from the kitchen. Cozy. Plus they have an insane piece of art in the living room that is what I called "Moody Impressionist" - love it when I love the client's artwork.

Here's a close up. It's masculine with an organic twist.

We could always add in some flaming orange very Hermes. Or we could add in other Mineral colours as accents. Versatility. If we opt for this palette on the mainfloor then I'd recommend painting out the moulding and trim in a mid-range taupe or greige and then opting for lighter walls say in a putty or maybe even a grasscloth?

Now we could opt for a different direction altogether on the mainfloor but truth be told, I see this as more for the 2nd floor Library/Media Room. We're going to line the room with built ins and cabinetry so I love the idea of mixing Mineral Tones with a Greyed Jade.

Doesn't the Jade play well with the Greige? Loving the direction of this.

Loving the Textures. So hard to choose.

I'm quite taken with the idea of a navy dining room though... either a lacquered wall or grasscloth. I think it would just be divine.... the fabric looks like silk but is a Contract fabric from Robert Allen. LOVE.

So now that you've seen the palettes I'm presenting here are the options trim wise. On the left Mr S. Gambrel's gorgeous foyer with painted out trim which I ADORE. That mirror GAACCKKK lust. Then on the right we have Belmost Design Group's stunning family room with beams stained darker... Maybe that's the answer? I can't believe I just typed that. I need to lie down.