If you walk into interior designer Meredith Ericksenâ€™s home, you may notice the architectural details of the rooms, the interesting light fixtures and a vignette above her piano â€” a personal collection she decided not to hide away in a box.
The vignette includes silhouettes of her three daughters from when they were young, a wreath, a silver baby rattle that was Ericksenâ€™s when she was young, and a little cubby-holed box that she painted and decoupaged and which displays teacups from her collection.
â€śI like to create vignettes and encourage people to hang their collections up â€” to put things that they love up … instead of hiding things away in a box,â€ť said Ericksen, a Frederick resident who runs her own company, Tuscan Blue Design, in downtown Frederick. â€śI really encourage clients to figure out a way to live in their spaces instead of just putting everything away.â€ť
A graduate from Auburn University in Alabama with a degree in interior architecture, Ericksen became fascinated with architecture living and traveling abroad with her parents. In high school, Ericksen lived in Cairo, Egypt, and she talks about an intensive photography class that began to inspire her to pursue design.
â€śWe went out and photographed so many different beautiful sites in Egypt,â€ť she reminisced. â€śI think touring all those amazing ruins and the pyramids â€” and I photographed a lot of those things â€” I began to think about structure and design in those years.â€ť
Rather than simply emphasizing decorating or design, Ericksenâ€™s program at Auburn dedicated the first two years to studying architecture, followed by two years in the interior design program. Because of this, Ericksen said she doesnâ€™t just look at a space wanting to add curtains or paint â€” she sees the space as an architectural project as well.
â€śItâ€™s a little more than just decorating. Itâ€™s how it structurally works,â€ť she explained, adding that she loves to see how the whole space flows together. â€śI really like to bring interior-architecture details. I will always talk about adding moldings â€” what can we do to add more interest to the space?â€ť
While Ericksen said she doesnâ€™t have a trademark style, if you step into the Urbana home of Jennifer and Ian Morrison, you may notice a few details that mimic Ericksenâ€™s taste. Above the window in their living room is custom molding that ties into the crown molding around the room â€” showing Ericksenâ€™s love for architectural details. Or the stunning light fixtures hang above the dining room table might catch your eye. Spanish paintings are about to go up on the wall, Ericksen said, the beginnings of vignettes to bring the Morrisonâ€™s unique personality to the space.
About a year ago, Ericksen started working with the Morrisons, who moved into their home in Urbana in August 2011.
â€śWe had moved into a house with a very open floor plan and needed help to define the spaces and select paint colors that would complement one another,â€ť Jennifer said.
Ericksen said the Morrisonâ€™s home is beautiful â€” but everything was painted a builder white, and the Morrisons wanted her â€śto bring a lot of warmth and interest into their home.â€ť Ericksen started by creating a paint scheme.
Often, she said, clients choose to center the color scheme around a painting or a piece of furniture. Ericksen used a transitional rug Jennifer already had for inspiration â€” woven hues of blues, greens and brown. The warm palate Ericksen created for the downstairs played off of this piece â€” a warm beige, warm gray green and a warm blue. Then, Ericksen floor-planned their family room, breakfast room and the kitchen area.
In order for things to work well when crafting a design with a couple on their home, a partnership must be formed, Ericksen said.
â€śIt is about taking their style and making it work. Leading them in right direction but giving them a space for them,â€ť she said. â€śI want to design functional, beautiful space for clients. I donâ€™t just want to sell furniture, window treatments, etc.â€ť
The custom touches are among the things in the Morrisonâ€™s home design of which Ericksen is most proud.
â€śThey have a raised bar in the kitchen that attaches into the breakfast room, but the breakfast room is really small. â€¦ We put a bookshelf underneath that ledge for her to put all of her cookbooks and storage items in there, which turned out perfectly so they have a room for table and chairs and extra storage in the breakfast room,â€ť Ericksen said.
Jennifer said she has been thrilled with the outcome.
â€śMeredith quickly honed in on our design preferences when we had not fully defined them for ourselves. She is very easy to work with and really took all of our suggestions and worked them into the design,â€ť she said. â€śOur home now feels very warm and inviting, yet remains functional for a family with two young children.â€ť
For the future, Ericksen said tile around the fireplace might be in the works.
When not at her studio a block or so from Volt on Market Street, Ericksen is with her husband and three daughters. Ericksen said her family settled in Frederick and decided to call it home after 12 years of Air Force travel â€” and they love all that Frederick has to offer including the downtown area and the local history.
For more information on Tuscan Blue Design, visit www.tuscanbluedesign.com or call Ericksen at 301.620.0500. Or keep up with Ericksenâ€™s work on her blog at www.tuscanbluedesign.com/content.