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Getting Personal With Dan Meiners

24 Nov

Part II:  Dan Meiners @ Home

When I approached Dan Meiners in early October about doing a blog series focused on him, his response was, “Of course!”  Uh, did I hear him right?!  I almost fell out of the office chair I was sitting in when he agreed to my request.  Having just partnered with my good friend Courtney to get this baby blog off the ground, bagging an actual blog series with the Dan Meiners was just about more than we could take.  We were pretty pleased with ourselves, truth be told.

But before you go giving me credit for coming up with some slick sales pitch to close the deal, let me present one thing for you to consider.  Could it be that his response says more about the kind of person he is than it does about my personal power of persuasion?  Most assuredly, yes.

In Part I of this blog series, I described Dan as “accessible”.  In Part II he stays true to that description, opening up with us to reveal what he does with that personal time he is so very protective of, and what he enjoys doing when he is away from the Studio.  Relaxed, and very much at home.

CC:  What is the first thing you do when you walk in the door at the end of a long day?

DM: The first thing I do when I walk in the door is go right to the fridge and grab a snack and a drink.  I am always hungry after work because I forget to eat.  Then I say “hey” to the cats and my husband and sit down for a bit.  If it is nice I walk the yard and the rose garden to see what is blooming and then get ready for what is going on later that night.

CC:  What is your favorite way to spend an evening, or time, at home?

DM: Dave and I love watching movies and some of the super-bad  Housewives shows.  We always spend Sunday night together eating Thai food and watching our shows.

CC:  Is there one item or object in your home that holds the most value (sentimental or otherwise) and/or that gives you the most comfort?  If so, what is it and why?

DM: Objects in the house are not that important to me however much I love them and love to look at them.  I do keep photo albums from all over the world, and I always buy the album in the country .  I really love a hard copy pic since everyone has them on their computers.

CC:  Do you prefer to host holiday meals/get togethers or have someone else play host?  Why?

DM: I love to host the meals but it is hard due to schedules.  I really love to get out all the china, silver and trimmings and love to make people feel at home.  Plus, I love to cook.

CC:  Holiday decorating in your own home.  Simple or over-the-top?

DM:  It is in between since I really like a classic clean look for Christmas.  We love all of our ornaments even if some are just junk.  We did go a bit overboard on some of our outside trees with 22,000 lights that took special breakers just to run.

CC:  What is it about you that you think your parents would say makes them the proudest?

DM:  I would say they love that I really live my life, and that they really gave us kids the confidence to do what we like.

CC:  When was the last time you got embarrassed?  What were the circumstances?

DM:  I really do not remember.  I need to think about that one.

CC:  When you think about the current state of our country, are you discouraged or hopeful?  Both?  Why?

DM:  I feel we are spending more than we have, especially the country.  I am included in that, but I feel some of the label stuff is getting less important to me.  I also think that people think about other people’s business way too much.  It is not my place or anyone else’s to tell someone what to do or how to live their life and with all the divisive politics right now, it is just getting worse.

CC:  Of all the issues facing our nation today, what concerns you the most and why?

DM:  Washington not working together and the greed that fuels it.

CC:  What has been the best thing that’s happened for or to you so far in 2010? What has been the worst?

DM:  Getting into my new building and doing it with my partner.  But the worst is having to bring work home and talk about it with my partner.  It is a fine line we are learning to deal with.  Also my partner had open heart surgery and the best thing that happened is that he is better than ever.  He is the best.

Author’s Note: Watch for part III, Dan Meiners @ Play, to be up on the site in mid-December.  Something tells me I’m in for the party of my life.  Also, if you haven’t had a chance yet to meet Dan Meiners, stop by his new Studio at 2500 W. Pennway and say “hello”.

Photo courtesy of Dan Meiners.


Time In Your Hands

3 Nov

I ran across the sweetest 2011 calendar by Hong Kong based artist Furze Chan and had to share it with you. It has the sweetest little illustrations and is available on Litttle Paper Planes for $15. What a great stocking stuffer!

{images via Little Paper Planes}

Door Candy

1 Nov

Well, we blinked and now it is November.  Can you believe it?!  Happy November everyone!

So now that Halloween has come and gone and we have stuffed ourselves full of candy, it is time to change our door candy – time to remove the Halloween-inspired wreath or whatever door decor we have hanging and replace it with something that represents the bounty and beautiful colors of the season.  If you pull out the same tired old wreath you’ve hung in years past and find yourself longing for something fresh and new, we’ve got a little inspiration for you.  We are loving these wonderfully lush and colorful wreaths from Williams-Sonoma.

photo credits:  Williams-Sonoma

DAN MEINERS of Studio Dan Meiners

26 Oct


If you look closely, you will find a ribbon of artistic ability, a natural creativity, woven within each and every one of us.  Within some, that ribbon remains hidden.  In others, it is displayed more prominently but requires regular maintenance; food by way of inspiration, training to sharpen the skill.  Still, there are those very few individuals within whom it is so prominent, so pervasive, that it is who they are.  Purposeful.  Unthinking.  Reflexive.  And whatever it is, it eludes many of us, fascinates us, leaving us to wonder how and what and why.

It is this fascination, coupled with natural curiosity that led me to attend the autumn open house at Studio Dan Meiners in late September.  There to check out the new retail/event/studio space, rub elbows with other creative folk, and get some much-needed design inspiration, I wandered through and around the space taking in all of the displays and everything contained within each one.  I walked slowly so that I would not miss even the slightest of merchandising intricacies.  Soon I found myself deep in a conversation about blogging and social media with a new acquaintance when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder.  I turned around to see that it was my friend Alex who had brought none other than the man himself, Dan Meiners, over to meet me.  After being properly introduced I found myself being whisked off on a personal tour of the recently renovated, unveiled space, ending up in Dan’s personal office – impeccably styled and complete with well-placed art and picture books.  He was so warm, welcoming, and personable that I felt instantly like a trusted member of his family.  I walked away from that evening wondering how someone with such creative genius coursing through his body could be so – no offense – normal, down-to-earth, and accessible.  I left with a desire to know more.

So when I sat in his office two weeks later, having talked my way into a meeting with him, and we later agreed that I would write a three-part blog series about him, I never imagined that the assignment would also include a work-out and weight-loss program.  As I would soon find out, one long gazelle-like stride of Dan’s equals three of my own.  And that is how I spent much of one Saturday, desperately trying to keep up with the city’s top floral and event designer as he directed his team and transformed the Imperial ballroom of the downtown Marriott Muehlbach Tower for the annual BOTAR Ball.

I arrived at Dan’s studio and event space early in the morning on Saturday, October 16th to find a large team all in branded t-shirts working diligently.  They were loading several trucks with flowers and greenery and props, finishing centerpieces, building and hanging beautiful space dividers from long strands of crystal pieces, and putting together a chuppah, among other things.  With three events scheduled for that day – a wedding at Longview Mansion, a wedding and reception at the Studio Dan Meiners event space, and the BOTAR Ball – each team member had an important part to play in making sure that each event was carried off with precision.  Before I knew it, they had driven off in their loaded delivery trucks and I was alone at the studio with the small crew setting up the space for the wedding and reception that would take place later that day.

Meanwhile, Dan was sitting in his Jeep, inching slowly through re-directed traffic from the morning’s marathon race that wound through the Plaza.  Needless to say, when he arrived at the studio a half hour behind schedule he moved like a man on a very important mission.  I had been warned that he kept a quick pace, but I’m pretty sure “lightning speed” never came out of his mouth.  After a quick greeting, he went immediately about the day’s work, checking in with his team, constantly assessing, moving, asking, directing, adjusting, assuring, and directing some more.

Over the course of the day I heard him raise his voice only once, though he quickly cooled, and the only hint of insecurity I managed to find was when he was asked by the event photographer to pose for some photographs.  Heaping praise upon Dan as he snapped the staged shots, the photographer managed to knock him off-balance for just a moment.  I believe I even saw him blush a bit.  It is apparent that being the center of attention is unnatural and somewhat embarrassing for the man who grew up in the Kansas City area and in the business, and who many know and still refer to as “Danny”.

Upon finishing some prep work at the studio, we hopped into his Jeep for a very quick ride to the Muehlbach where he would focus the bulk of his time and attention.  Though the set-up in the ballroom was predictably fraught with minor issues – the color of a flower being somewhat “off” from what was anticipated, tables being moved once they had been detailed, and a lighting crew who tested the time frame for completing their part of the work – he remained the picture of calm, a trait he says has served him quite well in his business.  He worked tirelessly on nearly every piece of the elaborate design, from setting the centerpieces, showing the team of helpers how he wanted the napkins folded, detailing tables and even setting some of the accent lighting himself.

The BOTAR committee had come to him with their theme for the event and ideas for the space approximately six months prior.  And he, in true Dan Meiners fashion, imagined a space, every inch of which was covered in a very elaborate chinois style complete with a cluster of large, billowy umbrellas with gold tassels hanging over the dance floor, an elegant yet unexpected cherry blossom wallpaper lighting effect on the walls, and a hand-cut and painted Pagoda as the centerpiece of the stage.  I asked him to tell me what it is that inspires him, to which he simply stated that he travels, is a lover of history, and looks at a lot of pictures.  “I find beauty in everything, even the unexpected, like poverty,” he said.  “Even in the way the fishermen line up their fish in the market.”

Though he worked at break-neck speed to finish on time – an element of his business reputation that is extremely important to him and one for which he is very proud – I was able to glue myself to him long enough to glean what I believe are some of the secrets to his well-deserved success.

1.)        A mad attention to details and a strict adherence to high standards.

2.)        A very talented and hungry team.

3.)        A fierce protection of his personal time which keeps him fresh and grounded.

4.)        Very good planning, whether it is business planning or time management.

5.)        The elusive “X” factor.

It is the last one that is so difficult to explain in any kind of detail, even for Dan himself, and I can report that there is no magic pixie dust involved (at least not that he let me in on).  When I asked him about his personal style, he turned to me as he continued to work and with a smile replied, “I just know what I like.  That’s how it works right?”

Author’s Note:  Follow along as we break down Kansas City’s top floral and event designer, Dan Meiners.  Watch for Part II:  Dan Meiners @ Home to be up on the Style Studio site November 23rd.

Photo credits:  Michael Coyazo of MAC Photo.  For a gallery of all images taken that day and to view more of Michael’s work, click here.

This And That

22 Oct

We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t leave you with a little something to inspire and get you through the weekend.  So, here goes.

1.)  Banyan Tree Samui, a luxury villa resort set into a hillside overlooking Lamai Bay in Thailand.  Check out this beauty and other equally-fabulous luxury resorts on sale at some amazing prices on Jetsetter.

2.)  I always make it a point to log on (and log on early) to browse the weekend Tastemaker Tag Sales on One King’s Lane for great buys on home decor items.  You’ll find antique/vintage/gently used, one-of-a-kind pieces hand-selected by leading interior designers at 70% off retail.  This weekend’s sales feature Suzanne Tucker and Hillary Thomas and start tomorrow at 10 a.m.  Ready, set…..

3.)  I’ve been turned on to this Russian artist, Yulia Brodskaya, who does some pretty amazingly beautiful things with paper.  You can see more of her work here.

4.)  Are you ready to turn that pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern?  For some inspired designs that will make even you glow, click here.

5.)  I was thrilled to see the Crate & Barrel holiday catalog in my mail today and I must say that it is absolutely stunning.  You can bet I’ll be dog-earing pages in this one.  If you haven’t received your copy yet, don’t fret.  You can view it on-line here.

6.)  We will be baking and decorating some cookies for Halloween this weekend with some friends.  I love these vampire cookies from Dean & Deluca.  Take a peek at some of the other Halloween goodies they have, but don’t blame me for the weight gain!We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Fall All Over

15 Sep

Bring on Fall with its football, bonfires, wonderfully colorful foliage, and cool(er) temps!  We are SO ready for you!

If you are like most of us do-it-yourself designers, your home decor scheme is similar to everyone else out there – a neutral canvas (generally some shade of white, brown, or gray) with pops of color.  Some choose blue, some choose red, some choose yellow or green, and so on and so on.  In my home, the color scheme (at least in the “finished” rooms) is a light gray, creamy white, and chocolate-brown with accents of light blue.  I’ve always loved brown and gray together, but it feels a little like a “safe bet” to me.  Though the colors go very well together, there isn’t anything that just says “WOW!”.

So to get that “WOW!” factor I’m really wanting, I’m going to add in some gold as I change my home decor over and prepare for fall.  Here are a couple of items that will probably find their way into my shopping cart (e- or otherwise) in a few short weeks.

If you are starting with a neutral landscape, changing your home decor to create that cozy, fall feeling is pretty simple with the addition of a few seasonal accessories.  Textiles like rugs, pillows, and throws as well as candle holders and botanicals are all you need to weave in a ribbon of autumn to your existing home decor.  Courtney and I have put together some color collections that will hopefully inspire you as you take on this task.  Happy Fall!

Plum Lamp: Jonathan Adler, Pillow, Throw: Crate & Barrel, Mirror: Target

Gold Lamp: Crate & Barrel, Pillow, Throw: Target, Mirror: Jonathan Adler

Spice Rug, Lamp: Design Within Reach, Botanicals: Traditions Furniture, Chair: Jonathan Adler

Anthology: a new design magazine!

14 Sep

A great big thank you to Anh-Minh Le and Meg Mateo Ilasco for bringing us a brand new PRINT magazine due out this October.

Anthology is a new quarterly shelter and lifestyle magazine that takes a narrative approach to its coverage of home décor, travel, design, entertaining, and culture. I can’t wait to get my hands on that first issue!

Check out this great stop-motion video!

Images: design*sponge and Anthology

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