Whether it’s a new purchase or a repurposed piece of furniture, interior designer Meg Lonergan knows how to make any space fresh again.
Thanks for joining us, Meg. Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in interior design?
I’ve been redecorating, reading design magazines and flea market/garage sale shopping since I was a little girl. In college I worked for a fine linen boutique and also an Asian antique company. I repainted my college apartment (every room) twice, and made myself window treatments and a custom duvet cover! I then worked for a high-end contemporary furnishings showroom and design firm in New Zealand after university. After moving to Houston in 2009 I was approached by some family friends to help with their new home, and the rest is history.
You live and work in Texas. What are some Texas-like themes you carry into your design that might have originated in the Lonestar state?
As you’ve probably heard, everything is bigger in Texas. I love furniture that fills a room. Nothing is worse than seeing a puny small sofa, or rug that only sits under a coffee table and not under the sofa and chairs too. When putting in bookshelves in my own home, I had them installed floor to ceiling. Not an inch was wasted. I don’t necessarily think that bigger furniture is better, just maximizing the space to it’s fullest potential by placing furniture of an appropriate scale is very important.
All spaces are unique, but in Texas you must find that there are design features every client wants. Which are most popular? Any type of furniture or finishing you find dependable in pleasing your client?
I think Texans appreciate comfort. There is a sense of casualness about them. They like to entertain, they like to cook and they like to hang out at home and watch football. I find that most of my clients approach me because they want their home to feel lived in, totally comfortable and have that ‘collected over time’ feel. We are using a lot of natural materials that are not necessarily super formal, but are practical and not too fancy. Seagrass rugs. Linen English arm sofas. Old French farm tables. Antique Rugs, that may or may not have a hole or two. I like to find vintage and antique pieces to fill in the blanks. They make a home more interesting.
What are you first priorities when meeting a new client in a new space? How much are you matching their needs to your design experiences and current forms of inspiration?
My first priorities are to find out how the client wants to live. How they vision the space functioning. What must they have and what are those things that might be an absolute no. What the is the budget? What spaces are the most urgent to complete? Then my job is to help them make the best decisions in purchasing their furnishings. What can we reuse that they might already have, maybe re-purposing something. I draw on my experience and pass on that knowledge to them, so that they avoid making costly mistakes. I am always keen to try something new in each new project, I like to design using a different color palette, or shopping with a new vendor. I am always giving my clients choices, letting them choose and make final decisions. At the end of the day, they are living in the home and I want my projects to reflect them. I am there to offer a new perspective, some creative ideas and facilitate the entire design.
Texas has grand hallways and with that comes nice hardwood floors, and eventually some area rugs. Tell us how you use rugs in your designs.
I am obsessed with rugs. Growing up overseas in Asia I spent many hours shopping for Persian carpets with my mother. I gained an appreciation of their art from an early age. My home is covered in them. Rugs over rugs. I’ve been layering a lot lately. I recently placed a small (5×8) antique mustard and raspberry Oushak over a large seagrass rug in a clients’ home and the result was gorgeous. It makes that special piece show off even more than if it were laying alone. It was so simple, and gave the room a new look by adding color and pattern. I also always use rugs in kitchens. Who wants to walk on a cold floor barefoot?
Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?
I usually lean on seagrass. It’s so inexpensive and it’s so durable. I laid a seagrass rug wall to wall in a bathroom to cover some ugly tile. For $500 it was cheaper than ripping out the tile, and in a few years when it needs to be replaced you’re not breaking the bank. Then after that I lean on Persians. I love them old and beat up, they are wool and they last a lifetime. They will never go out of style in my book.
Is there a price limit on what you’ll spend on the rug?
No! I have shopped for antique Persians that are $70K, and are truly collectors items. Then I’ve also found deals at estate sales for little entry rug for $250.
Any words of design advice for the wannabe’s out there?!
Work for a couple of designers or design firms. Everyone has a different way of organizing their business and it really pays off to get exposure to a few different people to find out how they work. Also it seems like a glamorous profession on the outside, but there is a lot of unglamorous stuff that goes along with it. Installations are messy, moving furniture can be miserable, the paperwork is a nightmare. It’s good idea to try to see 100% of what goes on behind the pictures in Elle Decor.
Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?
Readers can see more of my work on my website, www.lesueurinteriors.com. I have a few new finished projects being uploaded soon. Although it’s been ages since I’ve been able to blog (being a mom to a 1 yr old and running a growing business is time consuming!), my blog has a lot of images that I find inspiring and that gives people an idea of my sense of style.
Thanks for your time!
Thanks to you!