Interior design blogger Meg Fielding is not an interior designer, just a creative woman a little obsessed about houses–like a lot of us. Her Pigtown Design blog features musings on local, national and international design trends from antiques and architecture to textiles and entertaining. It’s not her day job (she works full-time as a development director) but it is her passion.
Whether she’s cruising local second-hand shops for great finds–she has appeared on “The Nate Berkus Show” for her keen eye for finding just-the-right-thing–making a favorite recipe for a dinner party or showing guests Baltimore’s best architectural nooks and crannies, it’s all chronicled on the website.
In the last month, readers have eagerly followed her move from Pigtown to Hickory Heights, a North Baltimore neighborhood closer to Roland Park, where she grew up. She wittily regales her devoted audience–she draws about 1,000 visits a day–with the thrill (wood floors beneath the carpet!) and agony (boxes!) of home ownership and keeps everyone up to date on how her beloved yellow lab Connor is adjusting to it all.
“It’s like having coffee every day with a good friend,” says one faithful reader, “but you can do it in your pajamas.”
What inspired you to start your blog?
I’d just moved back from the UK and was working in a soul-sucking job! I needed something creative in my life, and wanted to keep my writing and photography skills up to date, and had just discovered blogging. So I started one of my own, with no real concept of where it would lead.
Pigtown Design has been more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. I’ve met some of the most incredible people, here in Baltimore, and in New York, DC and London. I’ve had opportunities like being a guest on “The Nate Berkus Show” twice. It’s so humbling to know that people like Pigtown Design enough to take time out of their busy lives to read what I have to say.
Tell us about the Pigtown Design name.
I’d rented a little rowhouse in Pigtown (near Ravens Stadium) when I moved back to the states. I thought about a lot of different ideas for names for the blog, but realized that Pigtown Design was an eye-catching name, and for people who are from Baltimore, it was sort of an inside joke.
Where did you pick up your interest in interior design?
Initially I thought I’d like to be an architect, but realized that I didn’t have the chops to do it. I have always loved looking at buildings, and didn’t know about interior design (this was ages ago). My family’s house was classically decorated and very timeless, and my parents taught us about furniture, painting, silver, china and other things. I also visited a lot of historic houses when I was growing up, I guess I picked it up then.
How would you describe your design style?
You’re assuming I have a style!
I think that my style would be “rough luxe.” I have a lot of very nice things, like my Royal Copenhagen china and William Yeoward stemware, but then I have some industrial pieces like a commercial steel kitchen counter which I use as my desk, and two old doctors’ cabinets which are for storage. I have some old Oriental rugs and kilims that are pretty battered by age and incredible eiderdowns, Welsh blankets and French Ivory-handled silverware that I got in England and Wales when I lived there.
I learned to sew during the blizzard two winters ago, so have been making curtains and pillows for my new house and I even made a stuffed pig for my dog.
Where is the best place to get great, cheap finds?
I love to poke around because you never know what you’ll find and where you’ll find it. I’ve picked up gorgeous silver pieces at the Goodwill or Value Village, or at yard sales. But two people could go into the same store at the exact time, and one person would find the treasure and the other would not even see it. It’s more about educating your eye to find great cheap things than going to any specific location.
Also, I love going to yard sales, thrift shops at churches and hospitals and old junk shops. I’ve even been known to stop an old pick-up truck piled with junk to get a piece that I spot! In England, I loved going to “car boot” sales, where people lined up in fields selling junk from the trunk or boot of their cars!
Where to you shop for inexpensive antiques? Expensive antiques?
Local auction houses like Opfer, Coopers or Woodwards are great places to pick up some inexpensive pieces. Brown wood furniture isn’t selling well these days, so you can pick up a nice dresser for about ten dollars. And because it’s so inexpensive, you won’t have any qualms about painting it! At auctions, you can get up close and personal with a piece before you bid on it. You can heft it, examine it, pull open the drawers, turn it upside-down and even sit on it!
I love Gore-Dean for expensive antiques. They have a great selection of stunning pieces, and their new location in Cross Keys is beautiful. Even if you can’t afford expensive antiques, visit places where they’re sold, so you learn what’s good, what’s better and what’s best.
What is your favorite shelter store in Baltimore?
Hands down, it’s Halcyon House in the Greenspring Valley. I could just move right in there. There’s nothing in the shop that I wouldn’t love in my house. The owners, Stiles Colwill and Jonathan Gargiulo, have an unerring vision for what they want in the shop. From John Robshaw prints and pillows to extraordinary Maryland silver, everything’s amazing. I always take out of town design/decorator friends there!
I also adore David Wiesand’s little shop and atelier, McLain-Wiesand, in Mount Vernon. He collects and sells beautiful things, as well as making custom furniture and lighting. He’s such a huge talent.
Who are your favorite national decorators?
Some of the well known ones like Bunny Williams and Alexa Hampton are favorites. Their rooms feel like they’re personal and warm. I like Rita Konig, who is Nina Campbell’s daughter, and who writes for The Wall Street Journal’s “Off Duty” section. She has a fun design sensibility, mixing pieces from her London and New York sources and making it look effortless. Grant Gibson in San Francisco does beautiful work and is getting a lot of national recognition from the shelter magazines.
Who are your favorite local decorators?
That’s a funny question to me… I really am not involved in the local design community. I know some decorators personally, but haven’t seen enough of their work to comment. Of course, Stiles Colwill and Patrick Sutton are two of the very best, and they both do exceptional projects. More along the lines of mere mortals like me are Stephanie who owns The House Downtown in Belvedere Square, and Christopher Howarth who just has private clients.
Which design blogs do you read?
From the very beginning, I’ve read Style Court and the Peak of Chic. They got me started on blogging and were a big inspiration. I love Mrs. Blandings who is an amazing writer. I love Little Green Notebook because she not only decorates, she makes things. There are a few guy blogs that I love to read, like Maxminimus out of Alexandria. He’s hilarious. House of Beauty & Culture out of London has a totally different viewpoint on design and décor and always has something that I’ve never seen.
I love finding new blogs because it makes me realize that there are so many talented people out there.
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