Friday, 31 October 2008

A Meade Design Group Modern Fable - Happy Halloween ! (and also Happy B-day to me!)

Once upon a time ... at Meade Design Group in Victoria BC...

The beautiful Little Red Riding Hood was searching for a stunning new fabric for her little sofa, and of course it has to be red. She found a lovely swatch from a Barbara Barry Collection (Dreamplush - Lacquer) that she wanted to take to her designer extraordinaire Grandma to confirm that her selection was appropriate.

Knock knock - " Grandmaaaaaaaaaaaa.... designer extraordinaire "
" Are you there ? "
" Ok then I will just come in " Little Red Riding Hood called out to her grandma as she entered the design studio.

" What happened here " ...
"and who would knock over such a beautiful Philipe Starck Ghost Chair? "
" What a mess " Little Red Riding Hood said.

" Oh, it looks like grandma was working on a colour scheme, but why on earth is she using green instead of red ?

As Little Red Riding Hood was making sense of her Grandma' s selection she heard some foot steps behind her...

" Grandma you look so voluptuous... and hairy! "
" But your night gown matches the studio perfectly, you are such a design diva "

Little Red Riding Hood had no idea that grandma had actually been eaten by a Big Bad Wolf that wanted to take over Grandma' s design studio.

"Grandma your ears look so big " said the puzzled Little Red Riding Hood.
" The better to hear my clients design needs my dear " answered the Wolf in the Grandma's clothing.

" But why is your nose so big Grandma ? " asked the unconvinced Little Red Riding Hood
" The better to sniff out great design finds my dear " answered the Wolf
" You are not making a lot of sense Grandma " proclaimed Red

" Ok Grandma, then why are your teeth so big and pointy ? "
" I have had enough of this... " yelled the Wolf
" THE BETTER TO EAT YOU WITH !!! " He said as he devoured the Little Red Riding Hood.

Satisfied with his meal the wolf cleaned himself up with Red's hood and dozed off in the beautiful ghost chair.

Meanwhile, Red's uncle - The Hunter, heard the noises coming from the Grandma's studio and snuck in to make sure everything was alright.

When the hunter found the Wolf having nappies inside he realized what had happened and snuck up to seek revenge for his dead family members.

The Hunter successfully defeated the big bad Wolf and continued to run the Grandma's design studio happily ever after. ( Although Grandma's studio's aesthetic appeal became much more rugged from that day forward - he stuffed the Wolf's head and hung it next to the Framed Fornasetti to remind him of that sad day).

The End.


Little Red Riding Hood - Echo Eaton
Big Bad Wolf - Ivan Meade
Hunter - Jeff Michaud

Set Design:

Meade Design Group

Products available through Meade Design Group:

Dreamplush in Lacquer - Mohair Fabric by Barbara Barry (Kravet)
Ghost Chair - Philipe Stark
Colour Selections in Grandma's scheme
Jute AF-80 Affinity Colours by Benjamin Moore
Wasabi AF - 430 Affinity Colours by Benjamin Moore
Fabrics in Grandma's scheme
David Hicks GWF-2723 York Castle
David Hicks GWF-2738 Brockholes
3 Form - Varia Seaweed
Wallpaper - Stacy Garcia luxury wallpapers - page 3

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

In Conversation with Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

There are magazine covers that are so memorable that they stick in your head forever, and this was the case with an issue of a Canadian House and Home on March 2002. The exact same month and the same year I officially started Meade Design Group in Victoria, BC Canada.

When I saw the stunning work of Vancouver interior designers Ian McLeod and Kerry Johnson for the first time I wondered if I had what it takes to pursue a career in interior design. That cover with an asymmetrical placement of 4 perfect square orange and yellow abstract paintings, a traditional freshly painted white mantle, white walls and a round concave mirror with an exquisite white frame inspired some of my first projects. Clean, fresh, simple and unexpectedly sophisticated; the work of this design duo has been on my mind ever since.

Ian McLeod and Kerry Johnson have been designing home and business environments for over 12 years. Their projects have ranged from eclectic Yale town law firms to sleek urban apartments, as well as the respectful restoration of historic houses. Johnson and McLeod Design Consultants work emphasizes clean-lines, good proportions and quality materials and craftsmanship.

Iván Meade - What was your first experience with design?

Ian McLeod - Making a playhouse out of a big cardboard box when I was about 6. I remember thinking that the box had a ton of potential as a private space.

Kerry Johnson - It sound trite, but my earliest memory is making the perfect house with those rubbery toy red bricks. I guess the writing was on the wall.

Photograph courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

– Your interiors are not just beautiful and contemporary but they are also very livable. How do you achieve that?

Ian – We lay out and draw every detail of our work, as much for ourselves as for our clients. That process fixes the spaces in our minds, and tells us early-on weather the design provides visual coherence and good spatial flow for easy movement. We also shun surface materials that can’t take a beating. Why fear your home?

Kerry - When planning layouts or altering floor plans, I always start with what is most practical, and what will allow maximum usage. Once those decisions have been made, we are free to add more decorative elements that create the sumptuous atmosphere that our clients crave.

Photograph courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

Iván – I have noticed that in your interiors you paint the wood paneling with a crisp coat of white paint and this has become one of your signature styles. I definitely agree in painting wood paneling because the change leads to a cleaner, brighter, and more elegant room. However, designer to designer, I just have to ask this question– How do you convince your male clients to paint the wood paneling?

Ian – That’s a hilarious question, because it comes up so often. Men love natural wood. Women prefer to paint it all out. The truth is that most of the woodwork we design for our projects is built from ‘paint grade’ materials, which removes the need for reverential treatment. We reserve high-quality woods for use in floors and furniture.

- That is a great question. We've waged some pretty major campaigns to convince the husband that not all wood work is sanctified. Luckily, we do a lot of our work in contemporary structures that don't have any of these elements, so that when they are added, we can do so with paint grade lumber and mill work. It's a compliment to us that you think some of these wooden interior details are vintage, when in fact they are brand new.

Photograph courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

Iván – Talking about signature styles, one of the most clever things I have learned from your work is what I call the glass phone booth effect. I remember being surprised and impressed the first time I saw this architectural detail in one of your published projects in House and Home. How did you come up with this concept?

Ian – We invented it to create transparent separation between 2 spaces in our apartment. It defines a vestibule, yet preserves long sight-lines and allows for good light in either direction. We have since expanded on the phone booth idea many times. We also love the feeling that French doors add to a space, and it’s a great way to use them.

Kerry - Again, this decision was borne out of practicality. We were working on a media room that was accessed by a stairwell to the main rooms upstairs. Our first requirement was how to come up with a way to keep the sound downstairs. We didn't want to darken the room with solid walls, so it seemed that the answer was to use glass. It's a perfect example how something that had to be practical, actually ended up enhancing the look of the room.

Photograph courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

Iván – I believe one of your strengths is styling; your vignettes are always exquisitely well done –Any words of styling wisdom? Where do you get your inspiration?

Ian – I’ve been obsessively collecting and grouping objects all my life. I’ve come to think of it as temporary sculpture or 3D collage. It’s all about creating balance and contrast with a group of assembled forms. There’s usually a unifying element to the grouping in terms of color, shape or subject matter. I might gather and group blue glass, primitive wooden animals, or things that are all in shades of white. Styling is a temporary art form, and that’s part of the fun.

Kerry - We've always been magpies, and have cupboards and cabinets brimming with objects that we've collected all over the world. Our current faves are a set of silver articulated fish that we found in Siem Reap, while touring Angkor Watt. A good friend of ours refers to the constant re-arranging of objects as Chachkas Chess. We're always on the look out for things that sit outside of the ordinary. When displaying these objects, the basic rules of yin and yang something tall next to something squat, arrange things in threes, keep color and texture in mind, and if you're looking for inspiration, take a look at any European magazine...Marie Claire, World of Interiors...they just seem to have a knack for this sort of thing.

Photograph courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

Iván - I noticed that you always use beautiful contemporary art in your projects. While researching for this interview I discovered that Ian is the artist for some of that art. Ian, I have to say you are a master in colour theory and composition – How long have you been painting?

Ian – I’ve been drawing and painting since I could hold pencils and brushes. I made my living as an illustrator and painter long before Kerry and I developed our design business, and having a background in art helps with the design process in many ways.

Photograph courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

Iván – Continuing along the topic of art, I am curious to know if you select art pieces to work with a room or if it is it the art that inspires the design of the space?

Ian – We have a very open mind about art, and tour local galleries and websites regularly. The art we choose must work well within the completed space, but we try to create rooms that are spare and gallery-like enough to receive an eclectic assortment of art, and allow it to breath.

- Generally I defer to Ian when it comes to art work, though we have worked on a few custom pieces together for specific sites.

Photograph courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

Iván – My research also reveals that you both are published writers. Kerry, your articles for the Georgia Straight are full of humour, but also reveal an honest concern regarding what is happening in your surroundings – Do you feel especially attuned to the changes in your surroundings?

Kerry - When something new arrives in the house, it's a bit like introducing a new sibling to the family. It informs everything else, and can have a domino effect to the point where the whole place needs to be restyled. We can't live in a place without visual Harmony.

Photograph courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

Ivan – I still remember the front cover of the House and Home where your condo was featured. The blues and oranges of the square paintings made a very strong impression. I noticed today in your portfolio that your place has changed completely. The architectural details remain, but the furnishings and the rest of the elements have been updated. How often do you change the decor in your own place?

Ian – As the seasons change, we change the art and objects in our environment. I crave the coolness of whites and blues and transparency in the summer. I crave the warmth of gold, orange and red tones in the fall. Our place makes a great design-lab for such change, as it is all pure-white. Rooms based on a white or neutral palette are the ideal place to make low-commitment changes at whim.

- Hourly...I know that may sound crazy, but the tweaking never stops. This is a labour of love, so it's a source of enjoyment for us to play constantly with the interior. The basic structure of the house remains much the same, but the furniture, lamps, artwork and lamps are in high rotation. Then of course, there are wholesale seasonal changes that have to be made. Carpets come up for the summer, and go down in the fall, that sort of thing.

Photographs courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

Iván – What is next on your design journey?

Ian – This winter’s roster of design work includes residential projects in Maui and Antigua, which is very exciting. We are also designing a large, family-compound in the gulf islands and will be the architects, as well as the interior and exterior designers. It’s a big challenge, but a great opportunity for us to work without parameters, which is very rare

Kerry - This is a very exciting time for us, as we've been commissioned to plan our first house from the ground up. This has always been a dream for us. Our clients have signed off on the initial drawings, and after years of trying to fix and alter compromised places, it's a joy to start with no restrictions. The architecture of a house is very important, and it's a thrill to start with a clean slate.

Photograph courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

Iván - Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?

Ian – That is very kind of you Ivan. We just keep working on each project in a consistent effort to create lasting elegance and value. There really is too much waste in the name of fashion. Things that make sense from a practical and aesthetic point of view don’t date easily. I’m proud that many years after we’ve designed a space, a new coat of paint and a change of sofa are often all it takes to bring it right up to date again. If you get the spaces and the lighting right, there’s no need to keep tearing it all down.

Kerry - I'd like to think that we've helped people maximize the potential of their homes, and that at the end of the day they get to live in a home that inspires them every day.

Photographs courtesy of Johnson & McLeod Design Consultants

To see more of Ian McLeod and Kerry Johnson stunning work please visit:

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Eye Candy of the Week

Product: Long Neck Vessels
Designer: Vicente Wolf
Material: White Marble
A collection of Indian custom marble vessels
Variety: Available

Website: VW Home
In Conversation with Vicente Wolf
Yummy Factor: yum yum

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

HGTV - Here we come !

Our Maple Bay Project was selected to be filmed for HGTV's new TV series "TOP TEN". This show profiles their top ten picks for room categories. Our project will be featured as one of North Americas best games rooms early in May 2009.

The View from the Games Room overlooking Maple Bay

This project means a lot to me because it was a project where I designed lots of the furniture pieces myself and was designed thinking ahead of the game. The place used to be a Volleyball court yard and the planning of the space was a lot of fun. We transformed the whole space to accommodate a sensational games room, a gym, a kids bedroom and a lounge area.

My favorite pieces in Maple Bay - Chubby Birds of course

On Monday we styled the space for the filming of the show that took place on Tuesday. There is always a sense of nostalgia when you go back to a project that you designed years ago, but this project still looks as current as it did when it was first conceived.

We styled the space ourselves with a lot of planning and shopping. We also were fortunate enough to count on the help of Susan Ramsey from Ramsey and Ramsey - Flower Merchants. I am a firm believer that fresh flowers always complete the space
. The talent of Susan, Reika, Barbara and Sarah was definitely evident in the end result.

The mini Calla Lily arrangement by Ramsey & Ramsey

Grass and rose arrangement

Lilies in an Itala vase and a Jonathan Adler Ceramic "Aorta"

On Tuesday HGTV sent camera man Jim and assistant Austin to shoot the space. It is amazing the amount of equipment and detail that goes into a seemingly simple shoot. Jim and Austin were courteous and professional, a real pleasure to work with. It was a crazy day but we would like to thank Jim and Austin and of course our client for being so accommodating. It meant a lot to us.

Austin and Jim setting up the Jib

Austin and the TV monitor

Jim planning a shot of the view

Keep your eye out for HGTV's new show "TOP TEN" in early May. We are really looking forward to our future career as international super star designers (lol).

To see more of the Maple Bay Project please visit our website at:

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Eye Candy of the Week

Product: Lumiere D'Asie Folding Screen
Designer: Kenzo Takada
Material: Black Laquer and Crystal

Yummy Factor:
C'est exquis !

Kenzo Takada is a Japanese fashion designer. He is also the founder of Kenzo, a world-wide brand of perfumes, skincare products and clothes. Kenzo Takada announced his retirement in 1999, leaving his assistants in charge of his fashion house. In 2005, he reappeared as a decoration designer presenting "Gokan Kobo" ("workshop of the five senses"), a brand of tableware, home objects and furniture.

Kenzo Takada

In launching his new business, Takada chose to create partnerships with established manufacturers that could handle the production of the Gokan Kobo line: Baccarat for crystal, (you can see in this entry his folding screen for example), or Niderwiller and Manufacture Nationale de Sevres for porcelain.

With a very distinctive East-meets-West vibe, Takada's own house is a marvel of calm, yet stunning, interiors. In describing what he wanted for his home, Takada said, "I didn't want anything too overwhelming or ostentatious. I wanted an oasis for both my creative time and leisure time."

Interior Design: Kenzo Takada
Photo: Joel Laiter

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

In Conversation with Patricia Gray

Patricia Gray

Patricia Gray is an award winning, highly recognized interior designer from Vancouver, Canada, who finds time in her busy schedule to update her interior design blog almost daily! and I know how hard this is. Her blog features her inspiration, including other designers and architects that she admires not to mention sneak peeks of her stunning work. She has been published in Architectural Digest, House and Home, Style at Home, Western Living along with other notable magazines.

Iván Meade - What was your first experience with design?

Patricia Gray - When I was 5 years old I remember rearranging the furniture in the Living Room.

Laurel Residence
Photograph courtesy of Patricia Gray

Iván – A client of mine sent me a link of your blog a couple of days after I launched my own blog last November – I have to say that I still have a lot to learn . What does it mean for you to blog your ideas in design, your travel experiences and basically open your personal life to the web?

Patricia – I started Blogging basically as a personal journal to record and catalog my inspirations. I thought it would be a good forum to express myself outside of my professional practice as an Interior Designer. It has now taken on a life of its own.

Iván - What has been the best experience of being a design blogger?

Patricia – The other bloggers I have met all over the world. It is quite a network. I have made friends in Morocco, Houston, New York. My readers are from all over the world and are very sophisticated and savvy. They keep me on my toes.

Sketch by Patricia Gray
Photograph courtesy of Patricia Gray

Iván – Your interiors definitely celebrate restraint and order. To what/whom do you owe this influence?

Patricia – My Professor, when I was a student in Design School, Terry Kutcher inspired in me a love for design. He was meticulous in criticizing all my designs and floor plans. I learn to edit, to be selective, and to create rooms that had a focal point and were unique.

I was also very influenced in my formative years of study by the fabulous Michael Taylor, who was at the time creating designs that were new and innovative and were totally suited to the times.

Gastown Project
Photograph courtesy of Patricia Gray

Iván – There is an European influence in your timeless interiors, they are not just beautiful and contemporary, but they are also very livable. How do you archive that?

Patricia – Part of the European influence I think comes from the time I spent studying Interior Design in Paris. It is very important for me to create spaces that are comfortable, functional, and beautiful. I make sure that when you enter a room you feel comfortable, when you sit down you have an experience with the space you are in and that you have beautiful things to feast your eyes on.

Editing is an important part of the process for me, because if you have too many things in a room, you don’t appreciate any one thing in particular. Also important in editing is the details. They have to be executed to perfection.

Gastown Project
Photograph courtesy of Patricia Gray

Iván - It’s the big installation day. What could have gone wrong did go wrong. How does Patricia Gray deal with that?

Patricia - You deal with one thing at a time. It is also important to work with a good team that are each experts in their field.

Gastown Project
Photograph courtesy of Patricia Gray

Iván – The popularity of the design shows on TV has brought interior design into homes all across our country. If you had a show, how would you educate the viewers about interior design?

Patricia - That’s a big question. Design is a process and involves many steps to get to the end. I think that a lot of the detail of this process is left out in the current shows. In a 30 minute show a home is completely finished. I think it would be educational to follow a project week by week to completion.

Laurel Residence
Photograph courtesy of Patricia Gray

IvánA decor fad you hope never to see again?

Patricia – Well, I hoped that I would not see a revival of the 80’s, but it is upon us now. I am now really starting to appreciate it again in a fresh new way. For example the resurgence we are seeing in the use of wallpaper. I still have clients that cringe when I say the word wallpaper because they lived through it and the horrors of having to remove it from walls that were not properly prepared for it.

We go through phases in design and I think we become saturated, so we change and move on, then a new generation comes along and loves the things of the past and breathes a new life into it.

South Granville Project
Project Photograph courtesy of Patricia Gray

Iván – You recently returned from a design course in Italy, what was that experience like and what is next on your design journey ?

Patricia – I spent a month in Italy studying Contemporary Italian Architecture. It was an amazing experience. I lived in a dorm and rode a bicycle to classes in the most Beautiful Medieval walled city. The Italians have an appreciation for Design that is in their blood. It permeates everything in their lives. For my next experience I want to spend some time in Belgium. Some of the top design in the world right now is coming from this country.

Laurel Residence
Photograph courtesy of Patricia Gray

Iván - Any words of wisdom?

Patricia – Take your time to make purchase decisions for your home. Buy fewer thing of better quality. Have only things around you that you love!!

Yaletown Project
Photograph courtesy of Patricia Gray

Iván - Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles, what would you like your legacy to be?

Patricia – That I created spaces that were memorable, stimulating to be in, and stand the test of time.

To see more work of Patricia Gray please visit:

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011