Monday, February 25, 2013

The Design Diaries: Meredith Heron Design

I am so thrilled about today's Design Diaries interview.  Meredith Heron, principal designer of Meredith Heron Design, is a confident, cheeky designer who manages to do much more than just create beautiful spaces.  Oddly enough (or maybe not so odd?) I first came across Mrs. Heron via Twitter, where her coveted tweets crack up thousands of followers daily.  One thing's for sure- she isn't afraid to speak her mind.  In an age of "political-correctness", I find her outspokenness refreshing.  And it seems she surely knows what she's doing: she's been a host to 3 HGTV shows, runs a successful business, manages her company's social media, pitches collaborations with brands and also is a mother and wife.



What are 5 words to describe your style?

This is the question I dread most.  I am pattern obsessed.  Quality and craftsmanship are important to me.  I am passionate about colour. Textiles are the language I use to communicate my visions with.  My designs tell the story of the people who own them.

I've been told that I have a strong feminine aesthetic.  It's not foofoo but there is definitely a feminine voice and she's confident and occasionally outspoken.  There's a controlled whimsy.  I love to be ironic.




What does your typical day look like?

I hate mornings.  I fight to stay in bed as long as possible.  I start the day with my iPhone in bed.  Sexy, huh?  I check email (it amazes me how many people email me through the night), my Twitter, my Facebook.  I am usually then greeted by a smiling, wild-haired almost 4-year-old boy who comes for a cuddle. My fabulous husband cooks us breakfast (I don't cook) as we race to get the little guy to nursery school (we are never on time), and then head in to the office.  My husband is my business partner. Sometimes we have to tag team the drop off because we each have client meeting or site visits. Our days are anything but routine.  I do prefer to start in the office and head out from there but you have to be flexible and go with the flow.  We try to eat lunch as a staff but even this is dependent on the level of crazy going on.  If we are on deadline, you'll find us all wolfing down food at our desks.  Installation days we're lucky to eat on the fly.

Studio days I return emails all day- my phone is practically surgically implanted in my hand.  My Morphie has to be recharged throughout the day to keep my phone at full charge. I meeet with suppliers, clients, prepare presentations- my staff tell me I'm the most hands-on designer they've ever worked for.  All the while I'm overseeing all of our social media, pitching collaborations with brands, designing my own lines of fabulous (can't say more than that at the moment!  Top secret.) As my husband says, I'm constantly working unless I'm sleeping.  The odd TV show can distract me for an hour.



How did you decide you wanted to become an interior designer?  When did you decide to start your own company?

I've had my company for almost 20 years now but it wasn't interior design when I began.  I made floral arrangements.  I am a colour savant and have been asked to pick colours and patterns for design projects since my teens.  I went through university and become an elementary school teacher but that pays next to nothing so I got a part time job working at Home Depot making paint.  People started to throw money at me to come to to their houses, so I went back to school for design. I did that part time while teaching and working in the Paint Department, and then eventually added clients on the side for consultations. That all came to a head 11 years ago when I left teaching and started my own firm full time.  I landed my first hosting position with HGTV 6 months later.  I've since hosted 3 shows that have aired in over 121 countries around the world.



What is your favorite part of your job, and what do you feel is the least glamorous?

I love putting a design together.  Telling the story of the client.  Installing that can be less than glamorous.  We are often glorified movers but it's worth it.  Quoting and negotiating suppliers is tedious as is time billing.  There's an entire business of design that people often forget about.  They just want to see the pretty. 



What is the best piece of advice you have gotten regarding your career?  Do you have any of your own advice for aspiring designers?

You need to go to school.  You don't need a fancy degree but you do need more schooling.  It sets you apart from the hobbyist.  Not everyone is cut out, however, for working for themselves.  Don't be afraid to work for & with a designer.  Find your strength and play to that.  Be flexible and open to opportunity- work in your zone of genius and delegate or share the rest.  If you are certain that you want to work for yourself find a mentor. You may have to hire them or pay to consult with them but it's worth it.  As you become more established, hire a coach to help you with the business side of design.It's absolutely worth the investment.  It's cheaper than therapy.



What are 3 items currently on your "bucket list"?

1.) Licensing.  I want my own fabric line, furniture, lighting- you name it!  I want it all.  I'm working on webisodes to be hosted on my website in 2013.  I think the world needs to see the cheeky side of design and Lord knows my rants are rather popular on my blog.

2.) My husband and I love to travel. Barcelona and Denmark are on our list in the next 18 months list. We are currently looking forward to Morocco and Turkey, Prague, and eating and drinking our way through Tuscany.

3.) We often travel with our son which is such a great gift.  I look forward to more of this as part of his life-long learning. 



Speaking of your adorable son....  How do you manage to balance your home life with your work life?

Luke is part of all we do. He spent his first two years in the studio with us.  We had a "Manny" with us there and then as he got bigger and needer more stimulation and routine we transitioned him into full time nursery school which he loves. We bring him to launches and trade events - he's very partial to the sliders which are often offered by the caterers. He comes to clients' homes they love him and he's very excited to know them. He prefers a hotel suite to a hotel room and if he can order orange juice at a restaurant he is in his glory.

A big "thank you" to Meredith for finding time to participate in this interview and sharing her story with us.  I learned so much and enjoyed hearing your take on the world of design!

{all images via Meredith Heron Design}

14 comments:

  1. cute!! ^^

    new post

    www.live-style20.blogspot.com

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  2. Love her and her unapologetic aesthetic. Totally obsessed! So glad to get inside her head even more!

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  3. Wow! She has such a timeless aesthetic. There isn't one room above that I'm not obsessed with! Amazing interview too!

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  4. I love her! She totally makes me so depressed I am not as funny and witty. I literally lol at her twitter feed way too often. Awesome post!

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  5. I adore her work, and am glad to know her personality a bit more! What a fun woman!
    xo Nancy
    Powellbrowerhome.com

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  6. I love her too!! I don't have time for Twitter but I do look forward to checking her blog every few days. She is an inspiration to me and I love her work!

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  7. MH is definitely one of my favorite designers. I love that she knows her stuff but doesn't take it too seriously. Girl crush!!

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  8. Such a great feature! Love her work!

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  9. The images are so beautiful and refreshing.

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  10. Wow - this woman sounds like an all star. Excited to check out her Twitter page. Also, loved reading her interview and checking out her home pictures. She's truly inspiring!
    Isn’t That Charming.

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  11. What great advice about the schooling! Thanks for sharing this too Sam!!

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  12. Meredith is an amazing inspiration to me. Her no-nonsense approach to design, business and blogging is incredible. I've been a fan for awhile, and this interview was a great peek into her crazy world. I work at the Home Depot part time right now, so her story gives me a lot of hope! Thanks for sharing Sam!

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