During lockdown it was impossible to avoid all the home tours that seemed to proliferate YouTube. As additive as they became there was only a few that stood out notably Homeworthy which offered a more fun, insightful and personal home tours with a variety of creative owners. A few weeks ago we watched their latest video featuring Interior Designer Scot Meacham Wood who showed off his new Harlem apartment. His creative passion was infectious and his pride for his Scottish heritage was on full display but what made Scot's home so unique was its boldness, beauty and the unapologetic personal touches that made this a home special.
Hi Scot thanks for talking to The New Current. Did you have any apprehensions about opening your home in this way?
I’ve had several of our apartments photographed and published - so clearly there’s no apprehension on this end. The move from San Francisco in 2020 was so hectic - I wanted to really celebrate our new lives here!
What has the experience for you and Drew moving to East Harlem?
In November of 2019 - Drew had a great opportunity for a new, exciting job in NY - and we took about a total of 43 seconds to decide to pack up and move here! The worst part of the move - aside from editing everything as we packed - was the Herculean task of unpacking - lol. My goal was always 5/10 boxes a day, everyday, until it started to become liveable.
I loved what you said about your new apartment being like a ‘Grindr date’, was it instant love or did it take you some time walking through the apartment for you to fall in love with your new home?
On my drive from San Francisco to New York, I would spend my evenings ‘space planning’ the new apartment. I didn’t have floor plans, but I had tons of pictures and a good designer’s eye for laying out the space. All in all, I was about 90% correct and we were able to give the movers a floor plan to work from for all the big furniture pieces.
You have some great pieces from your time at Ralph Lauren and the Abercrombie & Finch Owls are precious, do you ever found it hard to resist temptation when you go into a shop or showroom and see a piece you like and want to take home?
I can resist most things now because we’re a little full here at the house. Even now, if I get a new sweater - it means I have to get rid on one. I have VOWED that I will never get an offsite storage unit again - so we are living within our square-footage.
What would you say your home says about you?
We are both collectors - and I love that our house looks (and IS) very layered with items from our entire lives. I love the bright sunshine pouring through the south-facing windows across the front of our place. The noise from the neighbourhood is amazing. There’s a school across the street from our building and I love to listen to the kids playing on the playground during the afternoon.
How did a small boy from Mississippi get interested in design?
I watch far too much Brideshead Revisited as a young man - and became fascinated with British country houses. And the 14 years as a stylist for Ralph Lauren only made it more pronounced. When I left Polo in 2001, I just opened my own interior design firm - and some of my Ralph Lauren customers were my first clients!
What inspires designs like your Cordelia Park Toile print?
It’s a re-interpretation of a textile pattern that my mother had. She and I bought it together at an open-air market when we lived in South Korea. Mother was fascinated with chinoiserie style and spent almost every weekend while we lived in South Korea and Japan shopping like madmen.
What was the experience for you moving from Mississippi to bigger cities of design and culture?
My Father was in the military service, so I lived somewhat internationally until I was around 11 years old. When he retired from service we moved back to our ‘family land’ in Mississippi. I moved away about 36 hours after my college graduation - lol.
As you started to develop your design aesthetic how important was it for you to draw inspiration from you Scottish heritage?
I LOVE my Scottish heritage. Our family is from the north-east coast near the town of Aberdeen. I found a marvelous mill in the Scottish highlands who could produce custom patterns of my own design - and away we went!
I know this is hard do you have a favourite piece you’ve collected over the years?
I found a Chippendale-inspired china hutch at an antique shop on Florida online - and it was my Christmas present to myself several years back. At the moment, it’s full of books!
What was your first trip to Scotland like, did it feel like something of a homecoming?
The short answer - I cried. At the Edinburg train station after the trip from London. Sat on a bench and just wept.
What has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from all of the experiences you had in your career?
Remain calm. Angry client - remain calm. Missing shipment - remain calm. And know that there is nothing you cannot get done.
"You can always sketch the idea out on paper - or if you’re nervous - lay it out on the floor and play with placement until you love it!"
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get involved in design?
Study business. Most designers spend about 20% of our time designing - the rest is project management and tracking product shipments. And solving problems! Be very honest with yourself about where your shortcomings might be - and staff your office to keep yourself happy and productive.
Are there any tips you can offer anyone struggling to create their own gallery wall?
Get a good anchor piece to begin with. Maybe hang it kinda low so that you could get something above it. Then as you begin to build out from there - stagger where the framing either above of below the previous pieces. You can always sketch the idea out on paper - or if you’re nervous - lay it out on the floor and play with placement until you love it!
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your work?
I love creating homes - both for myself and my design clients. With our new SMW Home textiles and wallpapers - it’s so satisfying to see my own work incorporated into the design schemes of others and in other homes.