M+M Interior Design is a Chicago-based design firm started by sisters Leslie Martin and Kim Meardon. As mothers to 9 children between the two of them, Leslie and Kim are known for their functional and approachable designs that families can enjoy. Follow along to learn more about this sister duo and see how Leslie styled some of our latest prints from the Wildflower Waltz collection!
First off, tell us a little bit about yourself and M+M Interior Design!
I am Leslie Martin, one of the “M’s” in M + M Interior Design. The other M belongs to my sister and business partner Kim Meardon. We are a design firm based outside of Chicago but I recently opened our second office in Southern California. I have 5 kids ages 5-11 and they keep my head spinning so I use design as my therapy.
How would you describe your style? Where do you find inspiration?
Our design style at M + M is traditional but welcoming. We think every room needs a few antiques but we love mixing those with a current color palette or pattern mix. We’re always prioritizing function and livability, as moms-to-many we can’t escape our obsession with durability.
What does your home say about you?
My current home says I am ready to simplify! We pulled a Covid move and decided rather abruptly to relocate from Illinois to a warmer climate. In doing so we moved into a home about a quarter of the size of our last home. It’s also very different style wise from our last home. The new house is a true beach cottage and I am loving keeping it bright and simple. I can’t resist loading it up with pattern and quirky furniture but this home has a much more relaxed style than my homes of past.
Walk us through how you styled our Marina Lemon and Daphne Canary pillows! How did you choose which patterns and piping to use?
My daughter was the lead on this one. This is the first time I’ve let her design her own space and she requested yellow walls. How do you make a yellow room not require sunglasses? You tone it done with softer pastel so the soft blue in the Marina Lemon was perfect, it also had just the right scale to work with the small scale wallpaper. The complementary colors in the Daphne Canary pulled the two colors together. Adding Petal piping was a great way to not only juxtapose the blue and yellow but it allowed us to play with a third color which we introduced to her desk chair and bedding monograms.
What tips do you have for designing a space that your child won’t outgrow?
Avoid themes! Also be flexible with their color selections. If the request is hot pink, or in this case yellow, you don’t have to paint it floor to ceiling, use their favorite colors as an accent in fabric or find a subtle small scale paper that uses that color. Or if you do allow them to pick their own wall paint ask your local paint store to mix in some white, it will tone down the color but still give them what their dreaming of.
Do you stick to any design "rules" when mixing and matching patterns?
No rules per say it just has to feel right. When I am stuck I often fall back on this combination: A stripe, a floral and a solid. Typically once you have three patterns that work together the palette opens itself up to a few more patterns, maybe a small geometric or Ikat. But starting with those three is a great way to begin.
What are a few ways to refresh your space that don't require a full renovation or splurging on new furniture?
Paint and lighting. Paint is the fastest and least expensive way to immediately change the feeling of any space. Changing your lighting can make a huge difference, introducing sconces and art lights (plug in if you can’t hardwire) into any space where it makes sense. Try swapping out an old lampshade with a patterned one for an instant statement.
What's your favorite project you’ve worked on?
One of my earliest projects was for a family in the city who lived in pre-war apartment with killer lake views. She’s a fashion stylist and completely brave when it comes to her personal style. She really pushed me out of my comfort zone and was always up for going bigger and bolder. The spaces ended up being so full of personality and it’s the project that always reminds me that with great risk comes great reward.
Favorite design book?
Too many to list but if I have to I am currently devouring “Visions of Home” by Andrew Cogar.
Current color crush?
Green, in all it’s glorious shades.
Wallpaper or paint?