Meet Meredith Heron, the brain behind her eponymous Toronto-based interior design company. “Ultimately I’m a pleaser,” she says of her work. “I make sure the client is happy at the end of the day, no matter what.” She’s been featured on HGTV’s Love By Design, hosted Design Match and was a series regular on Restaurant Makeover on the Food Network. Her new line of rugs became be available in select showrooms last year. We asked Heron to answer a few questions:
What do you like most about styling homes? I’m really passionate about colour and patterns. I love to tell stories and my design work is an extension of that. I’m trying to reflect back the homeowners’ personalities. It’s not about it looking like a show home or putting my own personality in there. I want them to walk into a room and say, “I love my house!” I become very close with my clients; it’s a very intimate relationship. Nothing makes me feel better than when I nail the design for them. But it’s also a two-way street. They have to trust me and but I have to earn it.
Does your personal style shine through in your designs? I always manage to incorporate horizontal stripes somewhere; I love them! I also tend to go for more neutral colours on walls and I add in splashes of colour.I know that sometimes I have to let go of an idea I love, while sometimes the client has to let go of an idea if it isn’t working. It’s a joint effort. There are times when I say to the client, “you have to trust me on this.” Ultimately I’m a pleaser, though. I make sure the client is happy at the end of the day, no matter what. Design is 85 per cent accounting, 10 per cent creative. The rest is personality management. Trying to keep husbands and wives happy and together.
Do you have any design rules to live by? Scale and proportion are behind so many of my decisions. What am I trying to do in a space? Am I trying to make it feel bigger, or am I trying to make it feel cozy? Horizontal lines add huge volume to a space. I have my patterns and fabric combinations that I like to use. I often do different fabrics on the reverse side of the pillow so you can switch up the look. I like to mix geometric patterns with a bolder floral to create a tension between the masculine and feminine.
What advice would you give to a young designer just starting out? You have to listen. Ask a few open-ended questions at the beginning, and then shut up! You can learn a lot from observing and getting to know your clients. Figure out what each person wants for the space. I’m a big advocate that everyone’s voice should be heard.
What’s the benefit of hiring an interior designer? You basically get to create a wish list and give it to someone who has all these connections and make things happen that you wouldn’t be able to do on your own. It’s also way more efficient. You are working with someone who knows the process. One of the biggest problems that people have is that they love design, but they’re overwhelmed by the number of options out there and they have problems creating a cohesive look. It’s tough to narrow it down on your own to the best options.
To find out more about Meredith, visit www.meredithheron.com.