Merry Powell helps her clients live well and flourish. She strongly believes in creating a connection: to food, our earth, and our companions in life, and brings this consideration to each project. Native Trails connects with Merry on design inspiration, kitchen décor, and historic renovation.
NT: Do you have a particular source of creative inspiration?
MP: I find inspiration everywhere. I see color palettes in the natural landscape, at the farmers’ market or even in a bowl of mixed nuts! The texture is also important in interior design. I prefer natural textures such as stone, wood, and metal. Add the softness of silks and linens to the mix and you get something really special that doesn’t ever feel dated.
NT: Do you have a favorite accessory for the kitchen?
MP: Most of my clients’ kitchens are hardworking spaces. There is not a lot of room for fussy extras. I like to use food as an accessory in the kitchen. Fruit or winter squash in a wooden bowl, a basket of onions…that sort of thing. This not only looks beautiful, but it adds to the storage space and it gets used! Then the “accessories” change with the next trip to the produce stand. At Braehead, we put butternut squash in the Maestro Bajo copper sink when we decorated for an autumn open house. It was beautiful.
NT: That’s your recently completed renovation of the historic Braehead Mansion in Fredericksburg, VA. Tell us more about the project.
MP: The nineteenth-century house was over 6,000 square feet, and in an extremely sad state of disrepair. Because it played a significant role in the War Between the States and is a registered landmark, every decision had to be approved by the owners, builder, architect and the VA Department of Historic Resources. It was a laborious and sometimes frustrating process. We all had the preservation of Braehead at heart, but my job was also to make the house comfortable for a young, energetic family to live in. The clients were adventurous and open to my ideas, and the project was immensely enjoyable.
NT: You mentioned using Native Trails sinks in the Braehead kitchen – what factors led you to select copper, and more specifically, Native Trails?
MP: I was shopping with my client for her plumbing fixtures, and was not quite pleased with the choices we found. Stainless steel didn’t have the warmth we both wanted for her kitchen. We stumbled upon a display of copper vessel sinks and both gasped when we saw the Bajo. It was love at first sight! The hammered texture and warm, worn color were exactly what we had been missing. Bajo was the choice for her island sink and that led to the copper Farmhouse for the main sink. The greatest compliment we get on the kitchen is when someone asks if it is original to the house – and this has happened more than once.
NT: Any key advice for a remodel?
MP: Find something you LOVE and start there. This could be a rug, a piece of art, a dish or even a piece of clothing. Don’t start with a paint color! When you find that thing that makes your heart sing, we can build a room from it that gives you the same feeling. THEN pick your paint color.