Meraki House Collective

So we did a thing.

Our consultancy has been based out of my basement for the last six years. Yeah, I know, sounds half rate but the reality is in this modern age we can work from anywhere, and there was really no need for the overhead of a leased office space. I work with a close group of designers and other consultants, spread out across America. Technology allowed us to share files and video conference.

But the reality is, especially in a creative field, there is a lot of value in having people physically near by to be able to bounce ideas off of each other, or ask opinions of. There is a whole aspect of a rewarding work environment missing if you work solo, no matter how nice your office is. Also home offices carry a lot of inherent distractions that are less work related, and more cat or grocery shopping related.

In late summer of this year I texted a friend and collaborator of mine and basically said “I gotta get out of here”. We had been knocking around the idea of getting a co-working space for some time and the time had finally arrived to make it happen.

So, fast-forward to October 1st and four (not just two) of us have moved into Meraki House Collective (M House for short). We each maintain our individual businesses but by working together in the same engaging and purposeful location we get so much more benefit than even if we had just rented a basic co-working space or joined some pre-arranged flex office space. We shoot to spend about seventy percent of our time on our core business and thirty percent on collaboration, development and exploration. While it has only been two and a half months, the space and our collective is exceeding expectations.

Highlights:

Flexible, purposeful spaces: There are a variety of work environments at M House that are conducive to doing great work. Two former offices have been turned into a library and a conference room. A generous main space allows for larger collaboration and ideation. There’s dedicated work space for traditional work in the loft area. In the warmer months, a large deck beckons outdoor conversation and gatherings. There are spaces and places to be quiet, and others for when you need to make a little noise. No matter the need or mood, M House has the answer when it comes to spaces to connect or work.

Delightful experiences: We got most of the furniture from Facebook Marketplace, or from home and some of it we made ourselves. The landlord did a fantastic job painting all the walls and refitting the kitchen and bathroom. Yes, there are traditional things like computers, a conference table and printer, but there are also crayons, whiteboards and a cork lined trend wall. So far, most of the art on the walls, we made ourselves. Plants help clean the air and soften the spaces. It’s a space for people to come together for fun, creative collaboration.

Guest friendly: Visitors are one of the best things about M House. People are excited to see us here, and they love being in this space. We take pride in what we are building and it shows. We are very purposeful in the space, it’s fittings, and beyond the physical space. We want M House to be a safe place to imagine, ideate and create. There is good energy here and it is shared with guests via the space, and our positive approach to having meaningful conversation. This is a place to feel renewed, productive, and it is a place to solve problems.

I’ll post more in the future about our businesses and how we are collaborating, but for now below is a visual tour of our space.

-Chris


Chris Weigand is president of Chris Weigand Design, LLC, a boutique retail design consultancy located in the (Peninsula) Richfield, Ohio area, halfway between Cleveland and Akron. He has over 23 years experience designing engaging retail experiences that delight guests and help communicate wonderful brands every day at retail. Contact Chris at 330.858.8926 to find out more and discuss your design needs.

Railroad Dining Car Interior Project

We just completed a pretty neat project for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) here in northeast Ohio. The railroad refurbished the interior of a multipurpose car and they asked us to help out with the interior design. The 80’+ long car was stripped bare on the inside by CVSR volunteers and lovingly put back together. As a multipurpose car it will primarily be used for dining, but with moveable chairs and tables, the car may be configured for various other events such as wine & painting excursions, and holiday parties.

Our design team initially proposed three material concepts: “Nature”, “Eclectic” and “Tailored”. Each was inspired by a different set of images, materials and concepts.

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The Railroad selected the Eclectic theme which was focused on earthy spice tones. The foundation of the design is a wild botanical pattern carpet from Milliken. From there we built off of the carpet by selecting Sherwin Williams Resort Tan (SW 7550) for the walls and accents. This is a versatile color that can fit in a variety of situations. It’s an earthy mushroom tone that changes color depending on how the light hits it. And it allows for a broad range of complementary colors to set any mood. The monochromatic scheme inside the multipurpose car provides a warm inviting space, perfect for romantic dinner train rides.Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 11.29.11 AM.png

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The painted car, ready for carpet. Note the ceiling is actually existing carpet that we didn’t replace. Up closed it is a variety of blue and red, but looks blackish brown from far away.

Simple dining chairs with a dark brown fabric and satin black powder-coat were selected for their durability and ability to hide stains, as people of all ages will be using the car for a variety of activities, not just dining. Existing tables were reused to keep the budget in check, and they can be outfitted in any number of ways depending on need and mood.

Light tan colored curtains from Carnegie help to lighten and soften the interior a bit. There was much debate on how they should attach and what their final form should be. The team went back and looked at historical photos for reference and landed on two single curtains per widow, with a gap between one curtain and then the next on subsequent windows.

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For a final touch, the Railroad sourced vintage luggage for the luggage racks. This adds a nice historic touch without a doubt, but the luggage also provides a means to hide speakers and wiring. Check out the photos below, clicking on them to zoom in.

This was our first foray into rail car design, and we learned quite a bit on this exciting project. Trains are amazing attractions, and fun for the whole family. Every car is unique and has a history all its own. We look forward to the opportunity to work on more of these cars in the future. Visit the CVSR website www.CVSR.com to view all of their upcoming excursions, and you can see the car firsthand.

-Chris


Chris Weigand is president of Chris Weigand Design, LLC. Our boutique firm specializes in unique retail and interior experiences, both fixed and rolling along the rails. We are a small network of experts with decades of experience providing world class industrial, interior, graphic and user experience design. We’ve worked on projects for over 250+ different brands, organizations and retailers. Contact us today to discuss your design needs, we are happy and excited to work with you.

330-858-8926 or Chris@ChrisWeigandDesign.com