Designer Profile: Megan Winters

Known for her fearless use of color, playful touches of gilt, vintage finds mixed with modern pieces, and fresh pops of WOW, Megan Winters designs comfortable yet sophisticated homes that reflect her client’s daily lives and her easy, yet elegant, attitude towards design.

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What inspired this career path for you? I was inspired to make design my full-time job after I had a brush with “terminal” brain cancer in 2002. Obviously, I got extremely lucky and survived! I promised myself that if I beat the cancer, I would find a way to spend my life doing what made my heart sing – and that for sure was interior design! It took me almost eight years to transition from being CEO of a global packaging company to doing interior design and construction full time, but for the past four years, I have done exactly that. I work seven days a week, but it’s really not “work.” It’s sheer passion; I throw myself into all my projects 100%, am determined never to repeat myself, and take every challenge as an opportunity to make myself a better designer, and my clients’ spaces more spectacular. EVERYTHING CAN be a positive! I live by that motto.

What is your go-to source for inspiration? I am constantly being inspired by almost all things visual. It could be something I see on my morning walks or driving to a jobsite. Of course I adore perusing magazines (I love touching the pages) and am obsessed with books on art, fashion, architecture, design, gardening… anything visually beautiful can be mesmerizing to me.  Traveling, museums, art galleries, books, and magazines all prove wonderful sources of inspiration, but at least as often for me it’s seeing the “day-to-day” things in fresh ways that proves the most exciting sparks for new ideas.

Tell us about your creative process. Most of my projects are whole house projects, where I am hired to completely transform a new or existing residence for a client. Finding the best ways to make each space most appropriately, employing good design and classical architectural principles, while also resulting in accurate reflections of the client’s lifestyle and tastes is challenging. It takes a lot of thinking, pondering, and sketching. I find that spending lots of time physically in the spaces I am transforming makes my challenge much easier. I sort of get in “flow,” like with a long run. In the beginning it is very difficult, but once you fight through the initial tough part, it suddenly becomes sort of an out-of-body automatic experience. Once I get the “vibe” of my clients and the spaces, the rest just boils down to my sketches, going on fabric hunts, and finding wall coverings and paint samples so I can create boards and do final sketches and CAD drawings that translate what’s in my mind’s eye to pieces of paper I can present to my client.

Describe your style in 6 words or less: Happy, high-energy, chic, classic, personal

What’s a staple in your tool kit? My go-to staples include Schumacher fabrics and wall coverings, and Merida carpets. Schumacher is just spot-on with just about everything they do today. Their basics in fabrics and wall coverings are fabulous staples, and their designer collaborations and Schumacher archive revivals have made their range in prints, wovens, and wall coverings off-the-charts fantastic. I could not survive without them! They now brilliantly cover the range from classical to modern and everything in between. The company’s focus on quality, client service, and creating ongoing value is second to none. The same goes for Merida. Their product range and quality is spectacular, and desire for constant innovation and laser-focused client service is exceptional and essential to their corporate mission. No tool kit of mine would exist without these two companies.

Who do you look up to in the design world? There are so many talented designers out there who constantly inspire me – I don’t think I could even begin to name them all. I admire so many different designers and genres, everyone from established greats like Victoria Hagan and Timothy Corrigan to the legends of the early- to mid-twentieth century, like, from Elsie de Wolfe to Sister Parish and Albert Hadley. One thing that ties them all together is talent plus integrity… I look up to anyone with that combination of qualities.

If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be? I would love to have the opportunity to transform a country estate in France or England into a spectacular home for a young family. My ideal client would be someone who loves modern sensibilities, but also values classicism, livability, and original, custom-tailored high-style living. I am envisioning herringbone bleached floors, twelve-foot ceilings, walls filled with iron windows, and doors leading to boxwood parterre gardens, and light flooding in from every angle. The architectural bones of the house would take center stage, and my work would be in deference to the history, highlighting and updating the timeless beauty of the architecture by incorporating high energy, high style, comfortable, and ultimately chic interiors.

Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote. “A room without artwork is a canvas without paint.” OK, I am quoting myself, but I say this to every client. Artwork truly makes every space sing. No great space can exist without great art.

Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without? My favorite design blogs are Quintessence and Mark D. Sikes. Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence is such a wonderful writer, and always has the most amazing features and inside scoop! Mark Sikes is an incredibly talented designer whose blog never ceases to inspire me. My favorite magazine in general is Vogue. It still has the most spectacular photography, fashion, editing, and style of any fashion magazine out there, in ALL of its global iterations.

Share a little bit about the pieces you are consigning with Viyet. I love all of the pieces I am consigning with Viyet! All were picked or designed at some level by me personally. So many of the vintage pieces were lovingly schlepped back in containers from my travels to Paris. The pair of mirrored, black, sexy-legged, super-glam commodes came directly from my favorite Parisian shop. As did the gilded etageres and architectural elements, with some gilding added, states-side, for a more modern feel. The black and white upholstered high-back chairs with the signature “Megan Stripe” down the backs and seats… the black lacquer center hall table with bronze mounts and cross stretcher are classics and work in so many settings. The pair of hand-tufted plaid bolster-back benches was one of my first original furniture designs, done in my favorite Osborne & Little wool menswear plaid. Almost everything mixes a bit of the “unexpected” with the timelessness of “classic.” I think that’s what I love most about everything here: nothing is trendy, nor is anything too staid or boring!

What do you love about Viyet? I love everything about Viyet. First of all, the items are world class and second to none. The prices are amazing. The product range is ever-expanding and on-trend in the best sense of the word. The ease of use in transactions and price negotiability is exceptional. The product is consistently fresh, unique, and priced to sell. Viyet has become my go-to source for great finds from top names in design as well as vintage pieces with flair and room-making potential. The company is high energy, highly customer focused, and just what the design industry needed!

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