Monthly Archives: May 2016

HGTV -Getting Real About “Reality” TV

Raise your hand if you love HGTV!

Chances are you’ve got 5 digits in the air, and you aren’t alone. It seems these days everyone is addicted to this design-centric network, and it’s hard not to get sucked in. I swear I tune in for one show, and then I come-to 3 hours and 6 programs later…

And why wouldn’t you love HGTV? It’s aspirational, motivational and Chip and Joanna? Can you say #relationshipgoals?

Chip and Joanna Gaines

Chip and Joanna Gains of Fixer Upper on HGTV

But truth be told, the good old Home and Garden network can sometimes be a touch “smoke and mirrors”.

Here’s why:

The “simple, fast and affordable” design packages that they present to viewers, are not necessarily a realistic portrayal of how the design process works. It’s just that; a process. It takes time, (sometimes a lot of time) to work through each phase of planning, drawing, furniture/fabric selections, labor etc. The shows however, have selective editing on their side, fitting an entire home re-design into 30-60 minutes of viewing.

Re-designing your space can also be a significant investment, often far off from what you see quoted in these programs. The reason? Many of these shows provide labor and materials that are either discounted or all together free (what a dream!). Meaning, all areas of the process are not always accounted for when they total up costs, and that can be a bit misleading to viewers.

That said, there are definitely some very interesting projects and renovations featured on HGTV, the bulk of which seem follow a pretty standard, uniform formula: One relatable (i.e adorable) family on a strict budget who want it all. Their dream home includes a full renovation, interior design and meticulous landscape work.

We sit, eager to watch the process unfold, and bite our nails wondering, “will they get the heated bathroom floors that they both have to have”? It seems like magic when 20 minutes later (typically after one or two scripted “unexpected bumps in the road”) they’re left with sparkling new countertops, shiny hardwood flooring and a tear in their eye as the big reveal is presented.

They’re happy, and boy are we happy that it all came together for them in the end – why were we even worried? It ALWAYS comes together in the end!

But the moral of this story is: “reality TV” is not always reality (except for the part where it all comes together in the end…that part is real!) :)

Don’t get me wrong, I am a self proclaimed HGTV addict myself (I still can’t decide which property brother I like best), but I’m also glad to know the differences between a reality tv project and, well…a reality project.


Property Brothers

Property Brothers – HGTV


OFFICE POLL: What’s Your Favorite HGTV Show?


If you are about to embark on a home design project, there are some things to know before starting up! Below are our tips for hiring a design professional. Happy Reading!

Tips for Hiring a Design Professional:

  • Educate yourself on the general market place before you begin, understanding what things cost and recognizing the scope and level of the project you are about to undertake.
  • Remember, no two designers are the same: Figure out what you value in the process, and where your budget lies, then interview around to find the right fit!
  • Talk Budget Up Front: A great designer will be very forth coming with what the process costs, (no one wants surprises in this area!) but do note, it’s pretty much impossible to give an exact figure.
  • Get all expectations set from the start: Share what is important to you in the process, and what you are aiming to get out of working together.
  • Articulate how you plan to use your space: Are you always entertaining? Do you have a bunch of pets? Do you have storage concerns? Sharing how you use your space in everyday life will help to create a design road map!
  • Be prepared to discuss appropriate work-around solutions as needed: The process is a marathon not a sprint. Along the way things will inevitably happen (fabrics will be discontinued, items will have delayed shipping timelines). It’s important to remember that there are multiple solutions to everything, not one perfect answer!
  • Have fun! This should be a creative and exciting process. Remember to take the time to stop and enjoy watching it all come together!
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To our lovely readers,

We apologize for the radio silence! Spring is here and boy, are we BUSY! So let’s play catch up on what you may have missed, and fill you in on what we have been up to!

Toward the end of 2015 we were thrilled to be featured in the October edition of Mainline Today! (Pg. 40 if you can get your hands on a hard copy). This article is a great read on one of our favorite projects. It also provides some fantastic visual inspiration if you are a lover of all things blue and white (pssst did you know you can pin images directly from the online article?!).

Mainline Today Cover

Speaking of Pinterest, we have given our account a total facelift and have lots of great new boards and pins for you to follow. You can also find all of our own work featured on the “Meadowbank Designs – Our Work” board. Follow along with us by clicking here and get ready to feel (P)inspired! Our Instagram account is another great way to stay connected as it’s full of sneak peaks and custom projects!

If the online world isn’t your thing, but you’re still searching of some serious design inspo, be sure to pick up the Decorating with Carpets coffee table book by Ashley Stark Kenner and Chad Stark. We are featured on pg. 152 (humble brag) but trust us, this entire book is jam packed with creative ideas, gorgeous vignettes, and serious design talent. It would make a perfect gift for your design school graduate or interior loving friend!

Stark Carpet Book Cover

If you’re a loyal reader of Philadelphia Style magazine like we are, you may have caught our very own Laura Buchner dishing on the top interior design trends of the season! We were super excited to have been selected to share our thoughts on this because there are so many great design trends happening right now – it’s hard to pick just one! We had to give it up to metallics though!

“This season we are loving metallic details. They’re showing up in wallpaper, trims, fabrics, and even carpet. Just a touch of shimmer is all you need to be up-to-date on this trend!” —Laura Buchner, principal partner of Meadowbank Designs

See the full feature here!

Meadowbank Designs - Bridle Lane

Metallics Done Right – Meadowbank Designs – Bridle Lane


With a great 2015 under our belts, 2016 had some big shoes to fill! Luckily it has yet to disappoint. We kicked off the year being recognized at the IDA awards for our work on the Buttonwood project (Fun Fact: This project was so intricate, it took about 10 years to complete! You can trust no detail was left untouched). The hard work sure paid off landing us 1st place in the Residential Single Family Residence category! We want to extend a big thank you to the IDA for the recognition – what a fun night!

K & L at the 2016 IDA awards

Meadowbank Principals: Laura Buchner (Left) & Kirsten McCoy (Right)


Have you all heard about Incollect? This is a great design resource to bookmark on your browser. You can search all of our projects here and can also shop for gorgeous, carefully curated pieces (think fine art, furniture, antiques etc). We had an awesome feature in their e-newsletter this past week. Read more about it here!

Things have been really rolling here, and we have expanded our team! You will be seeing (or hearing from) our newest member around the office, Elle Knighton, who is our new Marketing and Operations Manager. She is a native of our town who recently returned from living in Washington, DC after a stint at Living Social where she brought all kinds of “cool” to that brand. Maybe she can make us cool too?? We are thrilled to have her and the energy she brings to our company, not to mention she is just about the sweetest person around. Bonus!

Elle Headshot 1

Elle Knighton – Marketing and Operations Manager


All in all the past few months have been hard work coupled with tremendous fun. We are so thankful for all of our clients, vendors and supporters who keep us busy and doing what we love!  We hope you will continue to check back as we have lots of exciting projects and features coming up.

- The Meadowbank Team

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