Catching Up With The McMullin Design Group - Haddonfield

Catching Up With The McMullin Design Group

Posted by Bridget McMullin on October 29, 2015

Welcome back….it’s been a long time since I blogged and I missed all of you!  As you can see, MDG got a fresh new look, logo and design!  After fifteen years in the design business I would like to say that we finally “made” it, but I am realizing as I have entered into my 40’s that “making it” and “made it” are always one in the same. There is never a finish line in business, just a continuing string of lights that are decorated with the staff and clients that come our way.  This Zen approach has been a long time in the making. I’ve been saying for years that this is not rocket science!  But this year, in particular, has been an amazing process of reflection and shedding all things that I do not need.

As many of my clients and friends know, I decided to radically downsize my life this year.  Not that I was living large before in my 1200 square foot house or my 224 square foot camper.  My passion for small spaces started long before I knew I would be a designer.   At twenty-two, I had an eight month love affair with a 350 square foot, two room studio above Pippen’s Bar in downtown Chicago.  Oprah lived two blocks away.  It had a large window that faced a brick wall and a green and black tiled shower that had no water pressure and 2 minutes of hot water.  But God, I LOVED that space!!!  It had a huge built-in closet where I could see everything I owned.  Everything had a place and I never felt like I needed more. Yes, there may have been a mouse or two, but I could entertain my friends in the bar below and enjoy the solitude of my cocooned space above.  For the life of me I do not remember why I left the space, but until this year I forgot how much I loved the feeling of freedom that apartment gave to me.  Nothing was too much- cleaning took 2 hours tops!  I was near any store I needed which made stocking up unnecessary, and my passion for travel (only partially realized due to 20-something cash flow issues) could still be managed with a quick camping get-away.

I’ve been joyful watching the Tiny House movement make its way across the airwaves and have watched as clients (finally) started to realize that bigger is not always better.  Sure, I love me a big home to design, but the truth is that most people do not realize the overall costs associated with managing that large, oversize, dare-I-say “McMansion”.  Not only does everything from lawn care to heating cost more, the possibilities of renovating or decorating the home in its entirety is almost always an exercise in shock.  The choice now is cheap or doing it the right way…..there is really no middle ground. And the right way doesn’t mean expensive, it just usually means that my client had no clue what things cost to begin with and I have to the bearer of the news.  Cheap these days means you are going have to do it again in another 5-7 years, the right way means the selections are going to last and give my client the best value for the money.  A good renovation should last a minimum of twenty years, period.  Designing for anything less is foolish.  The best part about living little is designing big!  All those things we love cost less, because less is needed.  When quality begins to override quantity, I believe life begins to hold more value.

So I purged my life down to a 350 square foot, two bedroom studio again.  I opted out of the suburban life and put myself back into the thrive of Philadelphia.  It’s changed so much since my last stint within its borders.  It’s young, vibrant, and inspirational.  I am not going to lie and say I got rid of it all, there is a small storage space with five plastic bins and a beautiful vanity that I cannot part with.  It’s a process people!  But one I have embraced wholeheartedly.  I have found great value in the free time I now have to myself- both actual and perceived.  I have begun to reconnect with friends as well as reconnect with myself.

I am looking forward to getting back to the writing part of my journey.  I hope to fill this blog with some real insights and thoughts that get my readers thinking more holistically about how they engage in their spaces- both at home but also in their workplace.

I know I am enjoying my Happy Home… how about you?

Many hellos and goodbyes this year! Alexa’s farewell dinner- the next day she drove off to California!