My Design Dilemma. And your's too!

Today is sharing day and I just pray that I'm not sharing too much.  If you feel the same way I do or deal with this in your own world of design - please say hi and be my little support system.  Or tell me to take this crap down because I've taken a nosedive into TMI.  Either would be helpful!  Thanks <3

Meridian Abbey Interiors - Indianapolis, IN - Interior Designer, Kitchen and Bath Designer

I love high-end, jaw-dropping, heart-swelling, lust-inducing design.  You see it in Architectural Digest and Dwell and, well, you know where to find it.  I love that.  I love looking at that and I love designing that.  There are at least a couple of issues here, though.  The first one being that the typical (and wonderful) client does not have the budget for an Elle Decor worthy home.  The second being that I can't post personal images of my home that look like this because although I can design it, I personally cannot afford it, either.  It is a humbling thing and painfully frustrating to desire a master bath dipped in marble and dripping with nickel, and realize that I will not have that in my life (for the next few years, anyway.  I have long term goals).  

So how do I deal with this without feeling like a fraud?  A limited budget always stretches those creativity muscles, but at times I become stagnant with the thought that if I just wait a little longer... I will be able to buy those window treatments that would imbue the living room with texture and diffuse the ample afternoon light to an inviting glow.  

Meridian Abbey Interiors - Indianapolis Interior Designer, Kitchen & Bath Design

So far, I've pushed that purchase off a good six months.  

In other instances, I procrastinate even doing the little things - like hanging artwork - because it isn't exactly what I want up on my walls.  The 60" square painting I want by Amy Kirchner that would finish the wall brilliantly will have to wait, and in the meantime I guess I'd rather live with blank walls.

Examples of Amy Kirchner's work from her Instagram account.

I did feel remarkably improved once I purchased my sofa in cream with clean lines and soft, perfectly lounge-able cushions, and the 80" long by 30" deep dining table I had made to gather around with clients or family.  I was able to sell or pitch the random pieces I had been using for these items before.  Now I could invite people over without feeling self-conscious to the point that I couldn't relax and enjoy the company.  Still, I would feel even better if I could rip out my fireplace and start from scratch there.  Or - my ultimate desire - widen the doorway to my kitchen and gut that thing completely.  

So how do I cope?  I try very, very hard to be nice to myself.  Gentle and supporting.  Because no one is as hard on me as me.   High standards and expectations are as much a part of me as my sarcasm and work ethic.  I remind myself that even if I could afford to do all of the things I desire, my family and friends wouldn't change their opinions of me.  I don't have meetings in the dining room yet as I plan to, but living in the simple and simply beautiful home I have created is a pleasure I have waited years to experience.  I try to find solace in my simplicity by adopting not a minimalist lifestyle - which I admire, but realize I am not 100% able to commit to without the budget to make it beautiful (vanity in minimalism.  Hmm...) - but by living in hygge.  

Meridian Abbey Interiors - Indianapolis Interior Designer, Kitchen and Bath Designer

Pronounced “HUE-gah”

So far, the best description I have come across for this word is this: "A fundamental quality of Danish culture, [it] cannot be translated using a single word.  Rather, it includes many of the pleasures we associate with everyday living - relaxing with friends, enjoying good food, and creating a cozy evening by lighting a candle or two."  Thank you Skagen, a Danish website, for the description!

It isn't going to keep me from dreaming of my lavish master bath or extended deck and lush gardens, but it does help me to recognize the beauty in simplicity.

And that is what I will hold onto until the time that my home is covering the pages of House Beautiful! ;)

Now - PLEASE - share your design dilemma with me and how you overcome it.  Or tell me to shut up and take this post down as soon as I am able.  I know you have an opinion, and I really want to hear it!  Thanks :)


Have a great weekend,

Meridian Abbey Interiors - Indianapolis, IN Interior Designer, Kitchen and Bath Designer


Warning: Hygge has hit the states and I predict it is going to be trendy as hell.  Remember - its a quality of living - not a style.  Don't buy something because its marketed as "hygge".  That is literally the opposite of the whole dang thing!

 A great blog by the adorable Alex Beauchamp you may want to check out is HyggeHouse.  She is Danish and shares of her perfect hygge house and the joys she has found in it.


"Would You Drink Chattanooga Whiskey?"

Meridian Abbey Interiors - Kitchen and Bath Designer - Indianapolis, IN

Photo Credit

So?  Would you drink Chattanooga whiskey?  Enough Chattanoogans said they would, that in 2011, the owners of a company that didn't even exist yet decided to change a nearly 100 year old law that prohibited the production of whiskey in the southeastern corner of the state.  Eventually they won (obviously! Woohoo!) and the result is a great selection of whiskey for Noogans to sip whenever they want!  There is a great history of that process and the company at  No sense in re-writing their already detailed and entertaining account.  I just want to share pics from my visit. :)


Right off the bat, the branding was the most visually pleasing thing.  Way to go @ChattWhiskey for developing great, eye catching graphics in addition to amazing whiskey!  They have a variety of swag you can walk out with, including clothing, bar accouterments, cocktail mixers, stickers, and wood barrel staves to make your very own tasting trays... 


The tour took us down into the aging space.  I'm sure there is an official term for the basement cellar, but I'm not sure what it is.  Again, the branding looked great, even on the wine barrel they were borrowing to age a special small batch of whiskey. 


They used old wood staves all over the place including this wall divider between the entryway of the stillhouse and the rest of the building.  The bar was covered in them resulting in a wall that resembled an over-sized basket.  They used both sides of the staves, and left a lot of the authentic details in place, including the steel strap marks and the random bung hole.  The warmth and rustic feel of it added personality to the already very cool, old factory building.


There were a TON of people that went through the tour when we did, so I wasn't able to take as many photos as I would have liked, but this place is definitely unique and absolutely worth a visit!  I really recommend taking a look at The Bitter Southerner's post about Chattanooga Whiskey Co.  You can see a lot more photos of the space and that deserves attention as much as the whiskey does!

Have a great weekend,

Abigail Reames - Meridian Abbey Interiors - Interior Designer - Indianapolis, IN

Chattanooga: Remarkable Design in a Beautiful City

Beautiful Chattanooga - Meridian Abbey

Chattanooga is a city with remarkable design.  To say I was impressed would be an understatement.  I would pack up and move there tomorrow.  This was a family trip over Thanksgiving - my folks, myself, and him. Every drive was hazardous for me - I rubber necked the entire time.  Lucky I didn’t give myself whiplash.  At one point we came to an intersection and I just couldn’t get over how amazing those doors were in front of us!  I was sitting in the back seat and couldn’t see exactly what it was that I was in love with - every corner looked more amazing than the next and my heart was overwhelmed.  He glanced at me from the front with a smirk.  It turned out to be a Marriott or a Days Inn or some other run-of-the-mill hotel chain. I laughed at myself.  But it looked incredible! 


We stayed near the UT Chattanooga campus in what we guessed was a professor's place.  Air BnB hooked us up with Cowabungalo and we were not disappointed (we highly recommend Amber's quirky place!).  The house above IS NOT Cowabungalo, but it is within walking distance.  There is street after street of stunning homes to drool over while you're walking off dinner.


I hang with a bunch of foodies.  We ate and ate and ate endlessly.  'Twas the season of overindulgence, but we would have done it, regardless.  I think one could easily dedicate two full weeks of a feasting vacation to Chattanooga.  There are SO MANY great restaurants!   I really wish I had taken more pictures - of The Social's large plates menu, for instance - but I was already flirting with living the trip through a camera lens.  To me, that's not worth it.  Anyway, The Social had a really interesting design, great food, killer cocktails, and it is accessible from the most visually captivating and unique mall ever - Warehouse Row.  


A warehouse never had it so good.

A lounge entrance near the elevator.  Pretty nice, no?


It doesn't hurt that a seriously impressive interior design firm is located in Warehouse Row.  Revival Interiors has their offices and a storefront in one wing of the warehouse.  They provided a lot (if not all) of the furnishings throughout, and likely determined the general design of the mall's interior.  Photography isn't permitted in the store or believe me, I would have inundated you with the perfection of this place.  It was nauseatingly perfect.  The men were waiting and hungry (??) so I grudgingly exited feeling simultaneously inspired and dangerously covetous.  He and I are visiting Nashville in a few months and I will be taking a day trip to Warehouse Row just to pop back into this gem of a store.  I'm already excited!


On Friday, we had to stop by the Post Office, which was just fine with me since this is the Post Office...


Chattanooga Post Office and Courthouse


Across the street was this shiny little number...


And down in the bottom left hand corner is a brick building with a sign that caught my attention.  Chattanooga's Dwell Hotel has to be the chicest boutique hotel in town.  Terra Mae is the in-house restaurant and is equally captivating.  I ran in quickly to take photos and drool on their pink polyester vintage sectional.


On yet another corner there stands a relic of the First Methodist Episcopal Church.  The last remaining structure of the "Stone Church" from the mid 1800's...  Certainly random, but I am grateful they preserved what they could of the massive steeple.  It was an accidental find, but contributes to the city's character and charm.


We hit the Chattanooga Whiskey Distillery for a tour and tastings.  I will have to post those photos later.  My phone had died so I took those on my mother's cell.  Apparently I have yet to get them from her.  This was another pleasant place to go, and not just for the decor.  The whiskey warmed us all up and is pretty darn tasty!  I'll try to get those up next week.  

The photos I can share in one tiny post limit the depth and breadth of how thoroughly well-designed Chattanooga is.  It is truly a remarkable destination!  

If you have suggestions for me on where I should go when I visit in April, please share below!  Happy accidents are great, but I don't have time to waste.  Also, if there are design destinations (or restaurants) I need to check out in Nashville, TN, I'd love to hear those, as well

      Have a great weekend!

Abigail Reames - Interior Designer - Indianapolis, IN