So Canadian, eh? : Meredith Heron

This week's 

has such a fantastic witty outlook on life.

 If you follow her on twitter you will know what I mean. Not only is she twitterific, she is an amazing designer with a fabulous sense of style. Meredith has worked in numerous design firms, is the principal designer of her own firm, Meredith Heron Design, where she is both a residential and commercial designer and has been a HGTV host extraordinaire on design shows such as Restaurant Makeover, Design Match and Love by Design.

 Most recently she launched her own blog, Sashay, where she takes us on her design journeys. One project she is tackling is Christine from Bijou and Boheme's Project Kitchen Gorgeous which is going to be an one-of-a-kind design show piece! I also feel she is a bit of a kindred spirit as she too was a teacher once upon a time before realizing her calling was design, only difference is I am still teaching and dabbling in design while she is just designing up a storm!

Please welcome Meredith Heron.

{Can you believe that is her wedding dress? Gorgeous!!}

Here are some photos of her work:

{Who wouldn't want to eat fish and chips here?}

1.    Tell us a bit about your background? Your education? Has design always been in your blood? How did you come to be a designer?

Out of high school I decided (felt pressured) to go to university & take a degree. I did a concurrent program at Brock University in Child Studies/Education and graduated with two degrees at the age of 23. Managed to get hired by a school board and began a 7 year teaching career. I hated it. I felt stifled and constrained by rules, dogma & overbearing principals & parents. I began an exit strategy in year 2.  Creativity is who I am, I would describe myself as an artist first and foremost. A part time job at Home Depot (teachers aren’t paid enough) took me down a path that resulted in a part time design program at Seneca College. With support & encouragement from my teachers/instructors in the program I decided to pursue design full time, leaving teaching behind 9 years ago.

2.   You have been a HGTV host designer on Restaurant Makeover, Love By Design {loved that show} and Design Match, how did you get your big break?

I offered to put together a charity package for the Starlight Children’s Foundation Bachelor/Bachelorette auction. One of the organizer’s had a friend who was a casting agent who asked me to do a screen test - the rest they say is history...

3.   Even though you have what some would feel is the dream job, what goals or aspirations do you have?

World Domination, My Very Own Lunch Box with my face on it... a book deal, furniture line, fabric line, tile line, lighting line I could go on...  I want it all.

Ultimately though, I would like the freedom to be able to pick and choose my projects and to travel & see the world as I desire. If it involves work, so be it - I would really love to expand where we do work!

4.   As principal of your fabulous design firm, Meredith Heron Designs, where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I’m inspired by so many things from fashion, to travel, architecture, nature. Sometimes I simply challenge myself to do something different - an unusual combination, playing around with scale. I stockpile ideas that I am looking for the right client to try out on...

5.    Is there a common design mistake that homeowners make that makes  you cringe?

Homeowners call in a designer when it is too late - not too late as in forget it, but after a major purchase or design decision has been made that will forever change what we can do with their space. Usually it involves buying a matching set of furniture or a sectional that is too big for their house. With new homes, it’s after they’ve made all the decisions finish wise with the builder. It’s always prudent to call a designer before you make a big decision or commitment. Resist the urge to shop for your new home/space until you’ve consulted. Heck, resist the urge to buy/rent said space without first consulting a designer.

6.   What is one thing that anyone can do to update his or her home without breaking the bank?

Cheapest thing you can do is to buy some fresh flowers. It really does make all the difference. So does removing clutter & editing your rooms. Move art around to different rooms - can completely change the feel of said space.

Beyond that a little paint can spiff things up. If you want to make a great difference, paint your walls and ceilings a warm white. If you have dark furniture, play up contrast and stick to a monochrome scheme of white plus your sofa colour. Strip out the rest of the room’s colour and only add back in colour with art. It will make your space seem polished and chic without even putting a dent in your pocket book.

7.   What tips do you have for aspiring designers to hone their skills?

Whenever I speak to students in design school, I encourage them to do. Don’t just write about it, or work on abstract pretend projects but get out there and move your furniture around. Play with scale and proportion. Feel your way through design.

Get outside and experience design. Retail stores are a great place to study how a space is designed. Restaurants for that matter, also a good way to study design though mostly what NOT to do.... I totally believe in taking courses at your local college especially to get an understanding of the History of Furniture, Drafting, Design Principles these govern almost everything I do that is related to design. Invaluable.

8.   If you could meet anyone or do anything who or what would it be? 

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Barbara Barry which was always my stock answer to this question. She is beyond lovely, such an inspiration. So graceful I shook for 3 hours after meeting her. Positively vibrated.

I would really love to purchase & renovate a residence in Key West. I fell in love with KW earlier this year and I just need to live there.

Oh and I’d pretty much die of joy if I could meet, have dinner & dance with Ricky Martin.

9.   You are surrounded by such amazing design inspiration, how do you decided what and how to decorate your own home?

      OH dear lord - did you read my blog re: my own renovation recently? I’m a terrible client. Horrible. I’m everything I dread in my own clients. On top of this, I was sick with tonsillitis & on medication so I couldn’t even drink my way through it. I love so many things it’s hard to choose. I change my mind a lot. However, I have certain pieces that steer my choices which does help. I also use my staff as a sounding board to see if I’m off my rocker or if I’m playing it too safe. Just wait til you see what I did to my bedside tables.

What do y0u like to do in your free time?


Seriously, this is what my husband will say I do in my time off. I can’t help it. I love what I do. I love to surf design blogs. I love to plan little projects that are for me even though it could take years for me to realize them or to get motivated to do them. I love to be on twitter - I’m rarely disconnected. I can’t vacation anywhere unless I’m guaranteed reliable wifi. It’s a bit of an addiction.

I also love to travel with my family and with friends. My best friend lives in Alberta and we take turns flying back and forth or sometimes we meet in remote destinations. I’m currently trying to convince my bff & her hubs to join us in Mexico in the winter. I may have to enlist my almost 2year old to convince them to join us.

How do you manage to balance your family time, your work and now blogging {not to mention all that twittering you do}?

My husband would love to post a picture here to answer this for you - Me tweeting while descending down the stairs. I just add it in to my regular day. I blog at night instead of complaining that I’m being subjected to YET ANOTHER HOCKEY GAME - don’t get me wrong, I like the sport but playoff season gets annoying. Beyond that, well there are arguments over the time I spend online trust me. It’s fine line that I am always blurring. I’m working on balance. Sorta. Maybe I should ask Twitter for some suggestions???

What are your views on the role of Canadian design on the world stage? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, the way we design and decorate our homes? If so, what do you think sets us apart?

I think that Canadians are fiscally conservative too much so for their own good and that it holds us back. I’m routinely shocked to find out what sort of budgets our US counterparts work with. I think that this limits us in some regards but at the same time, inspires us to dig deeper and be more creative. As a designer, I will say it’s much harder to compete with big budgets when submitting to US magazines. MUCH.

Fortunately, we have great magazines here in Canada that support Designers like myself. I just know that we are more than Industrial mixed with Rustic with a chandelier thrown in to call it eclectic ya know?


  1. Meredith is my favorite! She is so talented and fun and sweet too!! A real inspiration. I loved this interview and I hope I get to actually meet her in person one day :)
    Nancy xo

  2. Great interview! I discovered Meredith's blog through Christine and I think she is just fabulous! I love her work and the way she writes is just hilarious!

  3. Great post! I love reading all about Project Kitchen Gorgeous with her and Christine.

    Thanks for stopping by :)


  4. Loved this interview. Look forward to reading Meredith's blog and learning more about her work.

  5. Of course I loooveeed this interview. Meredith is just insanely talented and to say I feel lucky to be working with her, would be a HUGE understatement!


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