All the Small Details with Designer Meg Lonergan
Individual style, color and travel inspiration from leading Houston interior designer
Interior designer Meg Lonergan would describe herself as a traditional Southerner. But dig a little deeper and you learn she is actually a woman of the world.
“I lived in Louisiana until I was 10. Then I moved to Chicago, then to Singapore. I went to Colorado for college, then moved to New Zealand, and then to Houston.”
And that Texas city, named for Sam Houston and known as the world capital for space exploration, is where Meg, her husband and two young children have called home since 2009, the same year she founded Meg Lonergan Interiors. Her firm specializes in high-end residential projects. On any given day you can find her and her team of three around the work desk in her central Houston design studio.
Meg describes Houston style as “a lack of color… very shabby chic and white linen,” perhaps a nod to trying to stay cool among the Southern heat. And that lack of color is the complete opposite of a Meg Lonergan home.
I’m the one pushing my clients to use more color. But the colors I like are saturated. I would much prefer rust rather than pumpkin orange, a mustard yellow rather than a taxicab yellow. One of my favorite colors is New Orleans green. It’s the color of a shutter that’s almost black but it’s actually deep green.
And now, Meg is passing along her love of color through a partnership with Pella. She will be sharing Pella’s latest products along with her take on color in an upcoming video shot on-site at her studio.
“Pella has done a really good job of making itself a leader in the industry. It’s a recognizable name. I go into houses where people need to replace windows and doors and I think it’s an intimidating process. They don’t know what to pick or don’t know what goes with the style of the house they are already in. It’s a great opportunity for me to educate.”
Meg appreciates the impact windows can have on spaces. She’s a fan of a big window in a big space or a small window featured as a charming detail, like at the top of a staircase or in a bathroom. Meg notes that steel is big right now.
“I’m working on a renovation where we’re replacing windows and doors with new ones at the back of the house – choosing fewer divisions so the individual panes are bigger and clearer. It makes a big impact. It looks more modern.”
“Modern” also translates to “eclectic” in the book of Longergan. Meg’s passion for color allows her to put a twist on what she calls her “traditional” design aesthetic. That, paired with the customization she provides clients through her bespoke selection of furniture, textiles and unique layered pieces, allows for maximum personalization.
“All our projects are different. All of our clients are different. We don’t have a set formula. Every house we work on turns out much different than the previous one. The challenge of that keeps me fascinated.”
Meg loves to experiment. And she finds that her clients are more willing to try something out of the box when it comes to the powder room.
“Powder rooms are really fun! And because I like dark, deep colors I like designing studies and offices too. They tend to be more masculine and moody. I also like designing dining rooms – they can be a little more theatrical.”
Part of Meg’s recipe for success is she does not get carried away by the trends of the moment. Instead she follows her heart, or the hearts of her clients.
“When I’m choosing something I ask, ‘would I use this in my own home’ or ‘would I love this’. We go to a lot of trouble to source things that are hard to find and focusing on small details. Anyone who has that appreciation is a joy to work with. My favorite clients are those who have a passion for design. It’s fun to collaborate; it’s fun to share that joy of creation to together.”
Joy is at the center of what Meg strives to achieve. It started with her first solo project, the stately home of close family friends, and carries through to her most recent project – a 1930’s house on North Blvd. in Houston that she calls her favorite. The home was originally decorated and designed in a very traditional Houston look. Her well-traveled young clients love contemporary design, so Meg kept the bones – the old floors and the antique pieces that were there, but infused the design with very modern furniture. “They trusted me and my vision – as a result, we got the best outcome. “
Meg warns homeowners not to get too tied up in pursuing perfection. Words of wisdom shared by a woman who appreciates art so greatly that she says if she were not an interior designer she would go to art school to paint, sketch and draw. Instead she recommends following your passion to create your own brand of art right there at home.
“People in New Orleans, their houses are not perfect, not styled, they are just ‘as they are.’ There’s something so charming about that. In the United States that has gotten a little bit lost. Europeans embrace people’s individual style. If people buy what they love and what speaks to them, they really cannot make a mistake.”