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Meet the Creative Matthew Mead

Hello everyone! I want to quickly stop in to say hello. I’ve arrived safely in Germany and I’m currently unpacking and shopping for goodies to furnish our place here. We hit IKEA so my apartment is filled with boxes that were delivered a few moments ago — thankfully we have friends joining us in about an hour to start putting things together. How are you doing? I hope that you are all well and enjoying the many guest bloggers I’ve lined up to keep you informed and entertained until I’m ‘officially’ back on August 28 (though I’m blogging over at Real Simple still on M/W/F and over on my more personal blog called Haus Maus. So if you miss me I’m never too far. :) Ha! I’m sure you have a life and missing me is definitely not a concern but just in case…

Back to my guest blogger round up. They all bring something special to decor8 so sit back and relax because you can expect beautiful things to appear from some of your favorite bloggers and designers over the next few weeks. It may seem like a long time, but I have a lot to do in my new apartment so I need every second I can get to arrange things here and settle in. And… I have an exciting business trip to Hamburg next week to meet with a big publishing company here. They’ve booked us at a gorgeous hotel and after our meeting we’re having dinner and then the next day I will visit 20 of the best design shops in the city with one of their lovely managers who has a list of places for me to check out. So fun! I’m liking Germany already. :)

Today I thought I’d visit to introduce you to Matthew Mead who, like me, is also based in New Hampshire, USA about an hour north of where I live over there. I’m on the Massachusetts border and Matthew lives in the center of the state. (Of course, I also live in Germany now (5 months each year) so I don’t want to confuse anyone but America is still my home base.)

Who is Matthew Mead you ask? He is a man who has an impeccable eye for color and style that some of us can only hope to have… I’ve been following his work for about three years now through the pages of Country Home magazine where he is the contributing editor. But he has big plans to grow his brand which is what you are about to learn more about in our chat today. Would you like to meet him? Of course you would!

decor8: Hi Matthew! Thanks for joining us today on decor8. Tell readers where exactly are you based and what do you like about it?
MM: I live in Concord, New Hampshire which is an excellent locale for enjoying all four seasons. We are one hour from Boston, the ocean, the mountains and about 5 hours from downtown Manhattan.

decor8: What do you do for a living again?

MM: I am a stylist/producer for the magazine and advertising industry. I’m also a contributing editor to Country Home magazine for eleven years… Author, Photographer and Art Director.

decor8: How did you get started?
MM: I admired lots of the original lifestyle icons from the 1980’s, so I wrote letters, made contacts and developed a portfolio to show what I could do. I met Mary Emmerling in the early 90’s. She was doing her own magazine then and hired me as a contributor. It all blossomed from there.

decor8: What are some of your current projects?
MM: This is a big year for me… The culmination of 15 years of building my brand and looking for opportunities to promote my style and ideas. My website has been redesigned to not only keep the technology up to date, but also to provide more fresh content to our readers and to connect in new ways with superior lifestyle information.

decor8:
And I heard a rumor about a magazine?
MM: Yes, it’s true… Our new Halloween magazine with Time Inc. premieres on news stands September 8th. It is filled with a really fresh take on the subject and is one more way of building our publishing profile and extending our style into the seasonal holiday arena. And of course you know about my new book Entertaining Simple. It is a way of re-positioning my brand as an authority in the entertaining genre with the easiest and best ways to entertain with consideration to all of the products, foods and techniques available in the market place. That releases on November 4th. We also have set another goal, the main goal, to add merchandise to the mix. Kits, accessories, useful and decorative items that inspire our readers to implement our ideas into their lives.

decor8: That’s all? (laughing) Sounds like you are a busy man. So tell me, where do you find inspiration in New Hampshire?
MM: Everywhere! I am a huge collector of vintage things and New Hampshire has a plethora of junk and antiques shops filled with a lifetime of inspiration. I also love the seasons and nature so the landscape really provides lots of ideas for me.

decor8: In addition to scenic New Hampshire, where else do you draw inspiration?
MM: In colors, shapes, graphic designs that I find in old books. I love the grocery store or any store for that matter and I love to corral objects together in a shopping cart, basket or stacked on a table. it allows me to see how textures and designs work together. I do a lot of stacking of objects and materials for personal study.

decor8: What’s your favorite local shop?
MM: The one I love the most is a top secret because I get so much stuff there, but my favorite “filtered” shop (where the hard work has all been done by the shop keeper in the way of picking and displaying) is Red Chair Antiques in Peterborough, NH. Jocie, the owner is so talented and the hand picked antiques are fresh and beautiful. I hear this is your favorite NH shop as well, Holly?

decor8: Yes, it is. I have to visit at least once every few months. So tell us, what’s on your wish list?
MM: I love early American hand blown glass compotes, jars, domes, etc… But this stuff is hard to find. My new passion is Syroco which is molded wood in great shapes from the 40’s to the 60’s made in Syracuse, New York. There are some really interesting shapes made of this early plastic and I think it is a collectible trend for the future.



decor8: Syroco is great. I have 3 birds that I picked up two years ago at the Hollis flea market for $1 that look like these found on eBay. The beauty of Syroco is that it’s so easy to paint. My birds are now bright yellow. What’s your favorite bargain find or product?
MM: I find great things at Target on sale. Some of their designs have great modern shapes and I can shop there for photo shoot “filler”. I am a born shopper, so wherever I go, be it a junk shop or retail store I am always able to walk away with something great.

decor8: Can you describe your work space?
MM: I have a daylight studio. Its a small brick building that looks like a schoolhouse and was built as a furniture store in the 1920’s and has been everything from a laundromat to a pizza place, to a dry goods store. It has beautiful light and it’s been a very good place for me over the last 11 years. It’s also become quite full due to a parade of ever changing work and clients. I’ve often thought of it as a type of portal. Thousands of images created so easily there in such a small place… I feel as though there is some external force that makes it such a special and creative space. And the daylight is a DREAM.

Mead’s studio space before setting up.

decor8: How do you use your studio when it comes to setting up for client work?
MM: My studio is a chameleon type space that is constantly changing to suite the needs of my clients. I have a large kitchen in the back half of the space which mostly serves as a place to prepare and style food for our entertaining stories and store my collection of vessels to present different dishes. The front part of my space has four large windows and a staircase. The walls are typically painted to suite my needs and then furniture and accessories are layered into the design to create authentic interiors. Check out the studio on my website for shots of how the studio can look totally different for multiple shots.

Mead’s studio space after… Fully styled and ready to go!

decor8: Who do you admire and why?
MM: Thomas O’Brien for the way he has translated high end style into great products available to everyone. Trish Foley whose work always reminds me that simple shades of white and classic shapes make the best and most relaxing style. Mary Emmerling because what you see is real and not staged. Her interiors are really her lifestyle and that is still refreshing and fun.

decor8: What’s the last great book you read?
MM: Madam Bovery

decor8: What’s your favorite film?
MM: This is very, very hard because there are so many… But I’ll go with Moulin Rouge for its amazing beauty and creativity.

decor8: If you could have any job in the world, what would you do?
MM: Film Director/Producer — I would love to create beautiful movies.

decor8: Name three places that you’d love to travel to…
MM: Prague, Cotswolds, Greek Islands

decor8: Who would you like to have dinner with?
MM: 1) Holly from decor8 2) My literary agent (she has only ever been a lovely voice over the phone), AND ALWAYS, my wife at just the right bistro with the perfect atmosphere, delicious food and a long, lingering dining experience… Probably in one of those hidden walkway bistros in Paris.

decor8: What is your favorite food?
MM: I very much love Sunday dinner… The traditions, the flavors, the aroma and anticipation of something slow roasted all day with a formal presentation and of course, mashed potatoes.

decor8: What is your most treasured belonging?
MM: I have so many collections which all speak to me like long lost friends and with friends its always hard to pick the most treasured. I have a mercury glass lamp in an odd bubble/grenade shape that I am extremely fond of… There are also a couple of cake stands that are at the top of the list.

decor8: Best advice out there?
MM: HAVE FUN! And I take that to heart amongst all the pressures and fiery hoops I have to jump through. The advice I give to everyone, however, is that no matter what you have to do to survive, take all of your extra time and craft your passion, mold it and live it… It comes in useful when you have the opportunity to add it to your life full-time.

decor8: What are some of your goals in the next 5 years?
MM: My own magazine of great lifestyle ideas and images that provoke thought through beauty. Product… Merchandise and licensing of ideas to perpetuate my brand. A television show that combines food and lifestyle so it isn’t just a bunch of recipes, but a whole approach to living. Easy food product line that allows all the great flavors in life without having to do every daunting detail… I want people to enjoy, experience, build traditions.

Thank you so much Matthew for taking the time to talk to us today. Ive enjoyed your words of wisdom so much and I’m sure readers have as well. All the best to you and your future!

Readers: If you have questions for Matthew use this opportunity to get in front of someone in the business — ask as many q’s as you’d like. That’s the beauty of blogs, we have a chance to talk with some of the movers and shakers out there in magazine land that we normally cannot reach otherwise. Go for it!

(images from matthew mead)

Posted by decor8 in interviews on August 13, 2008

Your comments...

  1. Orange Pattern commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 8:51am

    Great interview, thanks… Hooray for New Hampshire!

    Orange Patterns last blog post: Today’s trifecta

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  2. Sarah commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 9:00am

    Matthew- Quick question about a product in one of the images featured with the interview- on a white sofa there is what appears to be a gray pillow with either a doily or a stitched design on it. Would you mind providing me with a link as to where I can purchase these beautiful, amazing pillows? Thanks! Sarah

    Sarahs last blog post: Recycled Home

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  3. Fiona commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 9:47am

    Are you kidding me? Who is Matthew Mead?
    I love this guy. He has inspired me in many ways over the last few years – we should be so lucky to have him on decor8 this morning! Hi Matthew!

    Fionas last blog post:

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  4. please sir commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 9:54am

    Holly – thank you for this wonderful interview. My question for Matthew is – have you always lived in New Hampshire? I feel like to be in this business there is pressure to be in a larger city like New York. How were you able to stay were you are and still be able to work for a magazine and clients?

    Also, are you hiring? As a textile designer and aspiring photographer/stylist I would love to work with you someday. Thanks again for the amazing questions, answers and photos!

    please sirs last blog post: The New Strain

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  5. LayersofMeaning commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 10:06am

    Glad to hear the you made it safe & sound!
    Have a great time settling in!

    LayersofMeanings last blog post: Check it out : Norma Kamali Wellness

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  6. cindy k commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 10:19am

    i’ve admired matthew’s work for years and this interview was really interesting. thanks!

    cindy ks last blog post: design*sponge + us!

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  7. visualingual commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 10:46am

    Wow, what an immensely inspiring interview! Thanks so much for sharing; I love reading about people who carve out their own career paths!

    visualinguals last blog post: Ohio River Coasters in Polka Blobs

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  8. Alex - J.Covington*Design commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 11:04am

    Great interview Holly. And ditto the hooray for NH – we’re a happening state. Matthew, I’d love to see those secret resources and hats off on the studio shots…your stock supply must be fantastic and worthy of another article.

    A question for Matthew: If you may hint, what can we expect for style content in next summers Country Home? Any colors or specific flavors we can look forward to…?

    Lastly, if you’re ever in downtown Portsmouth I’d be honored if you stopped by my store.

    All the best,

    Alex

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  9. Lisa commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 11:06am

    Hello Holly, thanks for interviewing one of my secret boyfriends..I am glad you had a safe trip~! cannot wait to hear about Germany..

    Matthew, you are AWESOME!!!! I think that you are one of the most inspiring people I know in the decorating arena. I am going to get to your site and sign up for that magazine, I am excited to say the least.
    Kudos, I know its been a long time coming and you must be delighted!
    a big fan,
    Lisa
    coastal nest

    Lisas last blog post: "Hey, Lisa whats new at Grand Heron?" …you ask

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  10. Christina commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 12:38pm

    I really enjoyed the interview! Thanks Holly and Matthew.

    Matthew, I have a quick question-
    I live in MA but sometimes make trips up to NH to go antiquing. I usually just hit up “Antique Alley” on Rt.4, but I’m looking for some new places to explore. I’m a college student, so I’m all about the good prices. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

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  11. decor8 commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 12:40pm

    Hi all- I emailed Matthew to let him know his interview is up and so I’m sure he’ll drop by when he is able to answer your questions.

    Please sir — I’m sure you want Matthew to answer your question but from someone else who resides in NH (me!) I can say that most of us find a way to do our jobs with distance to major hubs not at all coming in the way. In fact, a few I’ve worked with tell me it’s refreshing to work with freelancers NOT in NYC for once for a different perspective. I’m not sure I agree with that as I personally do not think distance is such a big deal these days — we are all so mobile anyway. Plus for me I’m 4 hours to Manhattan if I really must go there I can easily hop on the train, bus, or drive in. I try to avoid going into NYC though if I can do something remotely that is always my first choice.

    Holly

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  12. decor8 commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 12:47pm

    Christina – I live in Hollis on the MA border. Try 101A (Amherst). Lots of shops there. Also hit the Hollis Flea Market on Sundays. It’s open until October this year, every Sunday rain or shine. There is also this shop called Treasures that I like in Amherst off of 101A, I visit there often.

    http://treasuresantiques.tripod.com/

    Holly

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  13. Melissa de la Fuente commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 1:42pm

    What a lovely interview! Matthew seems like such a nice person, real and down to earth. Thank you for sharing and I am off to see more of his beautiful interiors.
    xo
    Melissa

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  14. Erin commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 1:50pm

    Thanks for the wonderful interview, Holly!

    Matt, as a creatively-inclined person stuck in a non-creative field, your position as a contributing editor for a style/home magazine sounds like a dream! Do you have any advice for breaking into that sort of position (especially for someone who doesn’t have any specific design experience)? Do you think a design degree would help? Is it simply about who you know and that’s the end of it?

    Thank you!
    Erin

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  15. Megan commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 2:06pm

    Great interview!!! As a fellow northern New Englander it is nice to hear about a local design “mover and shaker.” I keep meaning to go to Red Chair Antiques and that’s the final push I need!

    Megans last blog post: Paper Crave

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  16. brand-eye commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 2:26pm

    i really enjoyed this interview. i am very excited to hear that matthew has a magazine coming out and just in time for halloween! exciting indeed.

    brand-eyes last blog post: cutest painting ever

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  17. please sir commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 2:39pm

    Holly – thanks so much for your input on my question! I’m currently in N.C., so I’m pretty far from major cities like NY. But, I really enjoy N.C. – there is so much inspiration here too. I’m glad to hear businesses are venturing out looking for freelancers all around the nation. You are right – we are all so mobile now, which makes it easier to telecommute and spread ideas via the Internet. Thanks again!

    please sirs last blog post: The New Strain

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  18. Olly commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 2:58pm

    Great interview! I really enjoyed it!

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  19. Ez commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 4:33pm

    What a wonderful interview… and of such an incredibly talented and warm person!
    Thank you for sharing so much about yourself and your creative process Matthew. I aspire to be like you some day! : )
    Thank you for the inspiration!

    xox
    Ez

    Ezs last blog post: 3 Things

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  20. Grace @ Poetic Home commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 5:36pm

    This is such a lovely, unique interview Holly! Thank you for taking the time to share the amazing Matthew Mead with us.

    I don’t think America knows just how much Matthew’s work influences so many magazines and then countless homes…from how products are presented to consumers to how we style our homes…and even how we sit down at the table and enjoy meals with loved ones.

    I hope you are enjoying your second new home in Germany! (From a long-time reader, shy, first-time commenter…)

    Grace @ Poetic Homes last blog post: Turn your vintage treasures into planters!

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  21. Nancy commented
    August 13th, 2008 at 9:57pm

    I am so glad that you interviewed Matthew Mead! I absolutely love his new website! Its beautiful.
    My question for Matthew: What kind of background/experience did you have before you started your career as a stylist/producer?

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  22. Gizel commented
    August 14th, 2008 at 4:46am

    I know sometimes it looks difficult but try to enjoy the process. I moved countries 3 times and I know it can be overwhelming but for decor junkies like me it’s also fun ;)
    It’s a great excuse to change some stuff, buy others …
    Enjoy your new/second home and pls share with us all the good stuff you buy and make.

    Gizels last blog post: new old crafts

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  23. Matthew Mead commented
    August 14th, 2008 at 6:25am

    Holly and all…
    Thanks for the interview… you are the best and I am so excited for you and your new Berlin abode. I am on location shooting holiday ideas for Wegman’s. I am anxious to answer all of your great questions and will read and respond to all over the next few evenings. Best to all, Matthew Mead

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  24. Debbie commented
    August 14th, 2008 at 8:45am

    What a great interview! I’m in RI but have a good friend in NH and we go to Red Chair whenever I visit! love that store! and Michaels work too.
    If either of you are ever in RI, I’ld love to show you some of my favorite ‘spots’ here.

    Debbies last blog post: Aspens- daily painting, Colorado

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  25. liz demos commented
    August 15th, 2008 at 10:34am

    Holly,
    I have followed Matthew Mead’s career since the early days. He is without a doubt one of the most inspiring stylists and producers in the publishing world. So much so that when I was working on a photo shoot with photographer Reed Davis I said that I was “channelling my inner Matthew” and he asked if I knew M.M. My reply? Yes and no. I know him intimately because his work makes up the bulk of my inspiration binders, but not personally. I half joked that I was a bit like a style stalker. Is there such a thing, I wonder?

    Matthew if you read this comment… I want you know that you have silently been my mentor and that I hope one day to meet you and tell you in person what an impact you have had on me creatively.

    All the best,
    Liz Demos
    @home
    vintage general

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  26. Linda Jackson commented
    August 16th, 2008 at 12:59am

    I thoroughly enjoyed your interview and I have to tell you that I think your pictures are absolutely awesome! Thanks for a good experience!

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  27. Kristy Zajac commented
    August 16th, 2008 at 10:09am

    Can not tell you how much I enjoy your blog. You really do an awesome job!! Love it! Great inspiration…attempting to start my own….someday….anyway keep up the good work!!

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