Dec 15

A Letter from CEO Catherine Connolly

As we head towards 2016 I thought I would take a moment to share some highlights from our past year and our ideas for the year ahead.  For us, 2015 was focused on expressing our design point of view through our Fall River design-manufacturing lens.  Our team introduced two new collections, Crosspoint and Tissage, that combined innovative weaving constructions and unique hand-finishing techniques with heritage looms. The market response to both of these collections has been remarkable. The other major highlight of our year has been the opening of our new boutique showroom space within Harbinger by Hand in the La Cienega Design Quarter in LA.  We have long admired Joe Lucas for his talent, generosity of spirit and vision with Harbinger, and are thrilled to partner with him. We launched the Merida boutique at Harbinger in October.

In 2016 we plan to build on the work we have been doing to hone our craftsmanship and design expertise by focusing intently on our relationships.  We realize that a huge part of our ability to succeed as a textile manufacturer in Massachusetts depends on the depth of our relationships from our partners to our clients.  We know that deep connections yield substantive value for all involved.  This value creation in turn elevates the work that all of us do in the design industry. You will see us really focusing our energy on these key relationships in the year ahead.

We have a stunning line-up of new products in the works that our Creative Director Roxanne Hanna and her team have been working on for more than 18 months, including two designer capsule collections and two new collections from our Fall River mill.  We can’t wait to introduce all of these collections to the design community.

The most important message I would like to convey to you is gratitude.  We all feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such extraordinarily talented designers.  We watch in awe as you gracefully juggle the demands of running a business and creating incredible projects.  The world is definitely a more beautiful place due to the work you do and we are grateful to be a part of this important work.

I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year and sharing a conversation, a meal, a glass of wine or hopefully all of the above.

Warmest wishes for a year filled with good health, great joy and tremendous success.


Dec 15

Merida and Joe Lucas Host a Private Dinner in NYC

Following the opening of our new boutique showroom space inside Harbinger by Hand in LA, we — alongside Joe Lucas — took the celebration to the East Coast with dinner, drinks, and friends at a private residence on Broome Street in NYC. Over 50 of our clients joined us for the festivities, as well as Fromental and Lance Wovens — two of our neighbors at Harbinger by Hand.

Harbinger by Hand is an expansion of Joe Lucas’ already well-curated showroom, Harbinger, focusing on companies who are dedicated to craftsmanship and innovative design. We wanted to bring our celebration to the east coast and round up a diverse yet like-minded group in the spirit of partnership.

The catering by The Cleaver Co. was casual and elegant, just right for a charming dinner party among friends. The Cleaver Co.’s mission is to support the regional food and farm economy, sourcing nearly everything from local farmers and producers. Their focus on quality and the details behind creation of the final product resonated with us.

Merida’s East Coast Business Development Director, Siobhan Kelley, reflected on the party’s lively atmosphere: “Being at a private residence created an intimacy you don’t always find in the city. Everyone was really able to come away inspired by new connections and insightful conversation.”

Joe Lucas of Harbinger with Catherine Connolley, Siobhan Kelley, Roxanne Hanna, and Zairo Cheibub of Merida.

Roxanne with Alex Gaston and Mark Cunningham of Mark Cunningham Inc., and Ariel Ashe of Ashe + Leandro.

Celerie Kemble, Catherine, and Malcolm James Kutner.

Becky Birdwell of RH Birdwell, Lee Ann Thornton of Lee Ann Thornton Interiors, and Melissa Mittag of Fromental.

Shawn Henderson, Katrina Hernandez of Hernandez Greene, and Andrew Law

Nicki Clendening of Scout Designs NYC and Anne Maxwell Foster of Tilton Fenwick.

Matt McKay of Sawyer Berson, Sydney Maag, and Zak Profera of ZAK + FOX.

Lindsey Coral Harper of Lindsey Coral Harper Interiors.

View more photos in our event Facebook album >

Read more about the opening of Harbinger by Hand >

Nov 15

Hutker Architects’ Inventive Approach to Luxury

Real luxury frees you to live the life you want. From making bold creative choices, celebrating natural and historical beauty, to simply spending time with loved ones, Mark Hutker’s architectural and interior design philosophy fosters this luxurious freedom. With a focus on craftsmanship and inventive details, Hutker’s houses at once enhance and adapt to the coastal landscapes of Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod. We caught up with Hutker about how the Cape and Islands have remained his environment of choice for three decades, and why quality and unique design decisions matter.

Photo: Brian Vanden Brink

What brought you to Martha’s Vineyard, and what keeps you there?

I came for the residential architecture—the opportunity to create personal spaces for people in an area that is deeply connected to history, community, and nature.

Photo: Brian Vanden Brink

Explain the balance between honoring the local architectural traditions and making daring or inventive decisions when designing houses on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

Great question! First, we have a firm grasp on the history and architectural DNA of the region. Next, we balance that foundation with two important influences: the ever-changing sociology of the family, and the ever-evolving nature of technologies at our disposal.

Photo: Hutker Architects. Featuring a Catalyst rug in Blue Stone.

We’d be regressive to continue with the exact same materials and space making concepts in use a century ago. It used to be that a protected parlor sharing a center fireplace was the heart of the home. Now it’s open concept, eat-in kitchens combining with living areas and entertainment sources. Now, both visually and experiencially, we tend to want to invite the outside in. You can accomplish these goals while speaking to the local and historical vernacular.

Photo: Eric Roth

What is the role of restraint in the design of your homes?

I believe there is a trend of “anti-mcmansionism” going on right now. People are right-sizing a home, as opposed to designing for every possible contingency use. It allows us to build less square footage and concentrate more on quality and craft.

I often encourage clients to consider the goals for their homes with that in mind. There is a precedent in nature, which right-sizes everything by necessity. Aristotle put it best: “Nature does nothing in vain.”

Photo: Eric Roth

The ethic that comes out of that is one of settling in gracefully versus standing out. It’s a handshake to the community and the neighborhood instead of saying, “Hey, look at me!”

What’s your biggest learning after three decades designing homes on the Cape and the islands?

My biggest learning is one that feels counterintuitive. The more “custom” you make a home, the more valuable it becomes, not just for one family but for future real estate appeal.

Photo: Brian Vanden Brink

Photo: Eric Roth

Most people think they have to check certain realtor’s boxes and are afraid of custom details and design gestures that may be important to them but could deter some unnamed potential buyer down the road. Ultimately though, custom elements are differentiators when done well. They set a house apart from a sea of others, inspire trends, and communicate the quality of craftsmanship and thought that went into the design.

Photo: Hutker Architects. Featuring a Links sisal rug.

It takes a lot of courage, as a client, to trust that some more “out of the box” thinking will both add personal value and have universal advantages. We are fortunate that our clients lead out – they are experimenting with ideas that will be the next decade’s modus operandi.

Was there a particular home that you felt was especially enjoyable to create?


Photo: Brian Vanden Brink

Photo: Brian Vanden Brink

Duin Huis was one of the most restricted and regulated proproperties we have ever worked on. It was also the smallest and perhaps among the most rewarding homes we ever designed. The owners allowed us to limit the material palette to four textures, concrete, driftwood, bronze and glass, inside and out. Without exceeding the height and square footage limits of a defined footprint, we were able to create a highly functioning space – one that lives bigger than its size would suggest – by responding carefully to these challenging parameters. The limitations were the inspiration, and the result was a more creative, open, connected series of spaces than many larger homes.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Photo: Nic Lehoux

Architect Peter Bohlin’s work always inspires me. But right now I’m also drawn to work being created by some regional furniture makers like O&G studio in Rhode Island and new designs by Adam Rogers for Thos. Moser in Maine. There is something about the way they are making traditonal American craft fresh that resonates with me.

I also look to outdoor space makers. Landscape architects are working with an ever-changing set of circumstances. Growing, moving, living plants and hardscapes must endure and appeal across changes in season and weather. An architect’s spaces could be seen as static by comparison. However, I have come to see a corollary in the way we design for change of a different kind. The best homes have flexibility to accommodate changes in the lives and behaviors of their inhabitants. The ones that endure change foster long term enjoyment, generational gathering, and aging in place vs. having to trade-up or trade-out.

Photo: Eric Roth

What is one thing you cannot live without?

Honestly? My wife, Carla. Best critic, sounding board, and all around pal.

I was recently asked to define luxury. For me, real luxury is about having time to spend with loved ones. In that sense, I can’t live without luxury. When designing houses, you have to step back and remember the function for the forms. It usually has to do with coming together.

Visit Hutker Architects >
Explore Catalyst and our other rugs woven in Fall River >

Oct 15

Ken Gemes in the CTC&G Showhouse on the Green with a custom colored Diamant

Ken Gemes created a beautiful and visually striking retreat in the Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Showhouse on the Green, which was featured prominently on the cover of October’s CTC&G Magazine. A Diamant wool rug from our Crosspoint collection anchored the room. Gemes customized the rug with Midnight and Deep Turquoise yarn colors from our Personal Showroom palette to compliment the cool blues and greens of his design. An electric color combination accompanied by more subdued artwork produced an energetic yet cozy sitting room. We asked Gemes—a long time client and friend of Merida—about his color scheme, inspirations, and the social aspects of the space.

What is the role of color in this space? How does the red/orange color interact with the blue tones?

The color play in this room centered on the ink blue and jade green printed on the natural linen sofa upholstery.  These soothing colors from the sea played into the art above the sofa as well as the beautiful porcelain lamps beside it.  The bright coral was introduced to punch up the color story and add a strong and unexpected element that would appear in small doses throughout the space.


How did Diamant fit the bill for this space? What lead you to choose the Midnight and Deep Turquoise yarn colors?

The colors are the same value, so the combination is subtle but manages to make a statement in the space. The tonal blues and jade greens are found in the novelty linen upholstery fabric and pair beautifully in the Diamant rug to anchor the room.


Does this room have a social function, or is it more of a personal retreat?

This room was created as a cozy study on the second floor, providing the perfect place for coffee and the paper in the morning, or a glass of wine with houseguests at the end of the day.


What kind of person could you see living here?

This is a stylish room, but has a very clean and pleasing feel to it.  Nothing is overdone and yet the attention to detail shines through and draws you in to spend time and unwind.  The house is old and charming, so I would see someone with a sense of style as well as an appreciation for preserving the past living in these rooms.


Who or what is inspiring you right now?

The art world is influencing interiors with oversized art and photography, in black and white or strong color combinations. I embraced the trend in this room with larger works, red-orange prints, and black and white photos that don’t overpower the space. I’m also responding to stronger color for room schemes, whether used as accents back to neutrals, or as the focal point for the room.


Twill colorways from the Tissage collection.

If you were to choose a Merida rug for your home, which would you choose?

In addition to Diamant, I love the Tissage collection – both the Twill and the Arabesque designs, which feature more movement and a softer look.


A close-up of Arabesque in Mauve

Visit Ken Gemes >

Explore Tissage>

View Diamant colorways>