About Megan Gerdes, Interior Designer


Megan GerdesMegan is McDermott Remodeling’s interior designer, an integral part of our team and always a bright and creative light in any project. A naturally creative soul, as a child, she wanted to be a hairstylist but decided she didn’t want to have cold, wet hands all the time.

Fashion design followed, and eventually, interior design. She considered architecture for a moment, but decided it was “too much math.” After having taken both drafting and fashion design courses in high school, interior design ultimately won out.

Design and remodeling were a natural direction for Megan. She grew up watching shows like Trading Spaces, and her mom was always redecorating their home, repainting her room or the kitchen whenever it struck her to do so.

In college, Megan discovered liking Frank Lloyd Wright, leading her to delve more deeply into mid-century architecture and design. Its clean, timeless beauty is something she still gravitates towards today though she also cites a love for designers who are arguably the polar opposite – Lilly Pulitzer and Holly Hunt and their tendency to the more floral, busy, and ornate.

We sat down with Megan to discover more, and here’s what we talked about:

How would you describe your style?

My personal style is very eclectic – very bright and colorful, and I don’t know what you would call it. Bright, creamy pastel. Floral, like Lilly Pulitzer. Spring-like creamy pastel. Nate Berkus is also one of my favorites. He uses a lot of steel colors – navy, brown, taupe, and gold. Emily Henderson’s a good one too.

There’s also a man named Mike Harrison who designs Broadway dressing rooms. These old theaters, they have these little, teeny-tiny closet dressing rooms, but since famous actors are doing a lot more Broadway, they have him come in and design their dressing rooms, and the transformation is just amazing, what he can do with such a small, challenging space. Often, you’re looking at a room with a little sink, maybe a radiator, and he’s able to get a great couch in there and use different textiles to create texture and dimension.

Thinking outside-the-box – that’s a big part of who you are too, am I right?

Yes, absolutely. That, and I have always been focused on sustainable design, which doesn’t really have really much of a thing here. Sustainable, green, LEED-certified and all of that stuff. LEED-certified buildings were a big part of my college education.

Also, natural light is a key focus of late. People, I think, are starting to realize their moods and how they feel are really affected by natural light. They’re wanting to amplify the natural light in their homes, especially basements.

Megan Gerdes

Are your color choices conducive to the tendency to feature natural light?

I would say yes – with tints of color – because I think so many people want a neutral like a taupe or a brown, but that’s so boring. I try to get them to feel a little bit of a tint of color, so they have some interest, and everything isn’t just gray. I think people tend to go with really neutral colors because they think it’s safe, but it’s also not as exciting.

Any there other designers that have inspired you? Anything/anybody else other than designers?

When I was in college, we had a class called residential design. Our teacher was very interested with and borderline obsessed with Palm Springs. We had to do a project that was essentially a Palm Springs renovation, and we could do whatever we wanted. I started investigating designers and artists to design and decorate the house. Jonathan Everett came up, and the artist Charley Harper came up. He’s a graphic artist. And then I don’t know if you the company Fishs Eddy in New York, they do plates and glassware. Charley Harper’s dead, but they picked up his prints and put them on dinnerware a few years ago and then the whole thing just blew up. I’ve been doing Charley Harper since 2010.

What’s your creative process?

I don’t know that I could really explain that. I think it’s a natural thing for me once I connect with a client and learn more about who they are. You go into their house, you look at what their instincts were when they were designing something or buying something for themselves, and you try to morph that into something that’s a little outside of their comfort zone. Even though it’s something they would not have come up with themselves, it’s still coming from them, if that makes sense.

That’s a good point that you bring up. Instincts and philosophies. Let’s say the client is a creative type, and they really like a lot of bold and evocative things, but then the rest of their family doesn’t necessarily feel the same way. How do you help them meet in the middle with that?

My approach is that there should be splashes of things. If the most significant features are neutral and calming, and across the board, everybody’s okay with it, then you could do little ops that represent each person. If this person’s really cool and wants color, then you do a bright accent piece or maybe something that can be changed easily at a later date. If you get tired of it, then you can turn it into something else.

I think when people end up not liking something it’s mostly because they’re not comfortable making that decision because they believe it’s going to look bad or that other people won’t like it. This happens when a designer just doesn’t care. When you are passionate about something, it’s easy to help a client visualize how great it’s going to look. That’s always my approach.

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