It was a perfect storm and a checkered past that brought things into focus for interior designer Scot Meacham Wood and led him to create a eponymous line of home goods and launch a new office in the heart of San Francisco's design district. It began with his business being evicted from a South of Market studio he'd leased for more than a decade (after the owner sold the building). That was followed by the death of his mother, a woman who had had a strong influence on his aesthetic. Throw into the mix several visits to a traditional Scottish tartan mill, and you have the genesis of two new beginnings: Scot Meacham Wood Home and Scot Meacham Wood Design.
To understand Wood's new office and offerings, you have to know about his "checkered" past. Wood is the son of a stylish mother of Scottish descent. That, and the fact that he had a transformative viewing of PBS's Brideshead Revisited at age 16, gave him a strong affinity for all things baronial manor and plaid—ancestral tartans, to be precise. Fast forward several years, and Wood was working in creative services at Ralph Lauren. He was responsible for the look of the stores, events, and (significantly) the store windows.
He ended up working as an interior designer in San Francisco, which brings us to the moment of his perfect storm. Searching out the right plaid fabric had led him to visit a Scottish tartan mill several times. "I was not finding what I was looking for, but I did find incredible craftsmanship," he says. The idea of inventing his own plaid prints—textiles with brighter hues and more vibrant color combinations than the traditional tartans—had been something he'd been mulling over for years. When his mother died, using part of her estate to make that idea a reality seemed like a great way to honor her memory.
The loss of his long-time studio was also a sad, but transformative event. "At first, I was really worried," he says. "But I found this space inside the San Francisco Galleria, and it's been wonderful. It's inspiring and energizing to be in the heart of the design district."
You could say that all of this was being in the right place at the right time. Plaid is having a moment (and with articles such as Traditional Home's look at Wood's personal home this month, you could say the same of the interior designer). "I've always loved tartan, that's nothing new," says Wood. "But launching a line of fresh plaid textiles and home goods at a time when the print is really popular was just lucky."
As for the office, his past definitely comes into play. Wood erected walls in the space to create a display window at the front and more private design offices in the back. Wood makes use of it to show off his new offerings (which, besides the textiles, include pillows, throws, dog beds, and antiques). In a recent blog about his holiday windows, Wood writes: "After many years at Ralph Lauren, I truly missed being able to design and install windows for the Christmas season. I've been plotting this window from practically the first day we moved in."
Wood is a designer who is adept at mixing multiple patterns and strong colors without making it seem like too much. Entering the new studio, you walk past the display window space—currently done in a traditional Christmas theme against the backdrop of Schumaker's Nanjing wallpaper, an antique secretary, and a framed print depicting tartans of the Scottish clans. The accessories are all products of SMW Home, and many are crafted in patterns of his own invention.
Several of the modern plaids in his collection carry an homage to his mother in their name. For example, Meacham Plaid bears his maternal grandmother's maiden name and Mary Ann Damask is named for his mother.
Inside, a hallway painted in a fiery red is adorned with portraits of all stripes—from prints of upper crust nobility to playful modern portraits.
The hall leads to Wood's own office that is, somewhat surprisingly, mostly gray. "To create, I needed a more quiet environment," he explains.
Losing his workspace was a sobering experience, and the loss of a loved one was, of course, even worse. Wood was able to go through both and make something more positive on the other side. "While I adore designing homes for clients across the United States, nothing compares to creating a space of your own," he says. "I love having a unique office with a window display where I can play with color, texture, and showcase my latest SMW Home fabric or accessory. It's like my own personal Bergdorf's."
· Scot Meacham Wood Home [Official Site]
· Scot Meacham Wood Design [Official Site]
· Holiday Decorating Tips from Designer Scot Meacham Wood [Traditional Home]