From an airy getaway home in suburban New York to a self-designed lakeside oasis in breezy South Carolina, we've loved seeing our designer community integrate Maiden Home pieces into a variety of spaces.
Today's project tour is no exception. Following on the launch of our latest fabric options, we’re thrilled to interview Leslie Martin and Kimberly Meardon of M and M Interior Design - two inspiring women who have incorporated Maiden Home into their personal and professional lives.
What makes this particular tour so exciting is that Leslie and Kimberly's approach to design derives from their experiences as business partners, sisters, and mothers (of eight going on nine children between the two of them!). Their refined taste and approachable outlook on design have established M and M Interior Design as one of the most sought-after firms in the Chicago area. And as you'll see in this story, these traits are brought to life in the duo's latest project in the charming village of Deerfield.
With our Ludlow in Performance Chevron Parchment as the focal point of the space, Leslie and Kimberly transformed their clients' living room to cater to their sophisticated, minimal aesthetic. Keeping in mind function and other technical details, Leslie and Kimberly also considered the couple's future needs - like starting a family, or more short-term additions like their adorable new puppy(!) - when adding the finishing touches to this truly jaw-dropping space.
I am Leslie Martin, an interior designer based in the Chicago area. I’ve been in the interior design business for close to ten years but took a number of years off to start my family, which now includes five kids! I stumbled into interior design when I was living in NYC. I was a Creative Director at a branding agency but was often asked to help friends design their apartments. At the same time my sister and business partner, Kim, was being asked the same, so we decided to join forces and make it a business. We love designing for young families. The challenge of creating functional yet stylish spaces is such a fun ride.
I am Kimberly Meardon, also an interior designer based in the Chicago area. My start in interior design began about ten years ago in NYC. I was a real estate agent at Sotheby’s, and they were handling high-end luxury properties, and I found myself doing a lot of staging for our clients. I loved real estate but found the design process so creatively satisfying. So when my friends would ask for design advice, I was more than happy to jump in and design their rooms. After Leslie and I realized we had a design style that really resonated with people, we decided to launch a business and so began our design careers.
Our clients are a young, newly married couple, who had just purchased their first home. The house was cookie-cutter and outdated, and the couple wanted it to represent who they are which is neither of those things! Making the room(s) architecturally interesting was our first objective. This specific room is their main living and hang-out area so not only did it need to be beautiful it needed to be inviting and relaxed enough to want to kick your feet up and watch TV.
Because of the double height ceilings and large open concept spaces we knew that we had to add architectural details that made the room(s) feel more approachable and interesting. Our clients love a really simple black and white palette - so how do you bring in interest without splashing color all over the walls?
The first element we designed was the box panel moldings on the main wall of the living room. This is a detail we also carried into the foyer and front staircase of the house. The stone fireplace surround was the next major design change which immediately elevated the room from '90s-snooze to current-custom. After choosing those two elements, the rest of the room fell into place.
What’s so appealing about Maiden Home’s designs is that they are updated and fresh without being trendy. You can’t go wrong with updated classics, which is how we describe Maiden Home to our clients.
A couple like this is making a big investment in their first home and furniture; they want it to feel current but not so trendy that it will look outdated in a few years. We love that the Ludlow has classic lines and styling but doesn’t feel stuffy. From a function standpoint, the Ludlow has the perfect dimensions to make it super comfortable yet gorgeous and impeccable. A tight back sofa with throw pillows is always our go-to for a space like this.
The design and proportions of Maiden Home’s pieces are spot-on. Add to that Maiden Home’s extensive library of fabrics, so whether you need something luxurious or high-performance, there are plenty of options. Lastly, we can’t forget the price which is incredible and really allows us to allocate more money to things like accessories and flooring which really pull the space together.
Our biggest tip when it comes to accessorizing is BUY WHAT YOU LOVE – almost anything can work in a space if the scale of the furniture is right. A teeny-tiny framed print that you found at a flea market may not make sense by itself but group it with a new piece you found, or an old black and white of your grandma and voilà you have a charming vignette that’s made up of things you love. The same is true with any object, large, small, colorful or not, if the basics of the room are correct (furniture, placement, scale) then any tchotchke you find will work, we promise!
We are lucky to have the best of both worlds, city and suburbs. We have clients in both, and they certainly can have different aesthetics and requirements. Our suburban clients are typically families with young children, so super-durable fabrics are top of the list. Our city clients prefer a little more glamour, so the velvets are always a hit with them. One thing they both have in common is the desire to have quality, well-made pieces and that Maiden Home truly delivers on.
Being mothers has taught us to approach design differently. Now before we even begin to think about the pretty stuff we are figuring out what really goes on in the room(s) we are designing. Do the kids eat on the couch? Do they do arts-and-crafts on the dining table? The client’s lifestyle plays a huge role in our choices, and because most of our clients are in the same boat we are, we know the reality of life with kids. It’s messy.
This particular client was interesting because they don’t have children (yet) but are planning to in the future, so when they said they wanted white couches and a white rug our initial inclination was to laugh (kidding). Actually, we knew that as crazy as that sounded it was completely achievable if we made smart finish choices. With the high-performance fabric we chose for the Ludlows we knew messes could be cleaned up easily. The day we wrapped this project the couple picked up their new puppy - let the fun begin!
The one thing we hear over and over is, "We can’t have a pretty room, we have young kids." Wrong! If you invest in quality pieces that are made with sturdy materials and fabrics, then not only will your pieces last they will continue to look great. Kids can be clumsy, and stuff is going to happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a room that is styled beautifully and looks like it should be in a magazine. Storage is key, lots of pretty baskets or cabinetry is great for storing brightly colored plastic toys. We also think it’s important to make a room look like kids actually live there and that doesn’t mean crayon on the wall and gum on the rug - it means fill it with approachable furniture and fun patterns. Framing kid’s art in big modern frames is one of our favorite tricks, and talk about a cost saver! At the end of the day when making a space family-friendly, just fill it with the objects and people you love the most, and it will all work out.
Shop the look: The Ludlow Sofa in Performance Chevron Parchment & Black Finish.