It’s not often that we meet our blog guests in-person, but today’s designer is someone I had the honor of meeting a bit more than one year ago at the HAVEN Workshop. I’m extremely grateful to know Maegan of Blue Copper Design and to have been inspired by her story.
As entrepreneurs, we all have something that fuels the motivation and spark behind our businesses. It may be influential support in our lives, a strong desire to better the lives of others around us, or even a traumatic moment that we experienced. For Maegan, the inception of Blue Copper Design was driven by all of the above.
She’ll challenge you to think differently and more intentionally about home design—far beyond the task of a throw pillow combination or hardware selection. She also shares my love for a good margarita and has a wit and calmness about her that drew me in from day one. I know she’ll leave a powerful impression on you, too, after reading our interview below and experiencing her beautiful designs captured by Life Created.
Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a designer. How and when did Blue Copper Design come to life?
I have always had a passion for interior design and started my career after my journey with designing my first home. Being a wheelchair user I knew that any home I chose would require renovation so I took on the challenge to create a home that worked for me and reflected my aesthetic at the time. I fell in love with the whole process and really started thinking of interior design as a career and what good design techniques could bring to the disability community. I spent about a year researching interior design professions and what it meant to be a designer before I fully committed to pursuing this path. I enrolled in a 6-month interior design program, worked for a commercial design firm once I graduated but always knew I wanted to be a business owner. Two years ago, I started Blue Copper Design with the intention to elevate the world of accessible design.
Your firm has a specialty in adaptive and accessible design. Can you share how your life story has influenced your design philosophy?
When I was 17 I had a diving accident that left me with a spinal cord injury. Since then I have been a C8 quadriplegic meaning I have some level of paralysis in all four limbs. I have utilized a wheelchair since my accident and as anyone can imagine, using any kind of assistive devices brings a whole new perspective to life and how spaces are designed. As a wheelchair user, I instantly had to start thinking of spaces in ways I never had to before. Asking myself things like are there stairs? What is the bathroom situation like? How wide are the doorways? Is there an elevator? Things that may seem like luxuries to others were suddenly mandatory for me to be able to utilize a building. It got me thinking, we are only as limited as our spaces are.
We can create spaces that are accommodating to all persons as long as we keep an open mind and get creative. That is the philosophy I started Blue Copper Design with and that is what we bring to every one of our clients.
Can you share a look into your process when it comes to designing an accessible home?
Designing an accessible home has a similar process to designing any other home, it just applies a filter on us, the designers, to think of a space through the eyes of the user. We must start every project by listening to our clients, like really really listening to pick up on key phrases and ways they need or want to utilize their home. Then from what our clients express, we create a list of priorities and negotiable. For example, it is a must that our client has at least 1 roll-in shower with a 36″ door in the home. Once we have all those finalized we build the design plan from there.
If you had to describe your design style like a cocktail, what would it be?
A margarita! There are so many ways to make a good one, and they are always a good time.
What does your morning ritual look like? What are a few things you do to set the tone before you begin a busy day at Blue Copper Design?
Mornings are my favorite! I am an early bird so I am up around 6, take some time to get ready, feed my dogs and make some coffee. I like to get in some physical activity in the morning whether that is a band workout in my backyard or using my standing frame. Then I start every day with a good breakfast, tidy up my house a little bit, and start work around 9:30. I start my day by clearing out my emails and creating time blocks to work on projects.
I love your words, “Our homes greatly influence our lives. It is always our goal to provide our clients with a space that allows them to live better, be more productive, and always be excited to come home.” What does a well-lived home mean to you?
A well lived-in home means a place that is designed specifically for those living and visiting the home. We think of storage solutions so daily clutter is easily managed, and all items are easily accessible to those who need them. It also means having spaces that can grow and evolve with the family. We want to create spaces for those future wedding pictures and travel souvenirs. We want to leave a little room so when our clients are at a thrift shop and find a treasure, they have a perfect place to put it. We don’t like to think of a home to ever be “done”, we want to create a space for growth.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back and tell yourself in your first few months of business?
Get an accountant, get a lawyer. I waited almost a year to add those two people into my business because I thought I wouldn’t have enough business to justify their costs, but I wish I would have included them sooner.
We’re not a big fan of the term ‘trends’, but we can get behind an appreciation for beautifully enduring design moments. Are there any timeless design elements you’re looking forward to using in your upcoming projects?
Timeless and trends are terms that us designers always have a hard time with because some “trends” are fantastic and should stick around and are things ever really timeless in design, it is all so subjective. In my design philosophy, natural materials are as timeless as can be. I know this may be a shock, but I have yet to use real wood flooring in a design yet and that is something I am really looking forward to. Using materials like real wood, real stone, and mixing vintage and modern pieces are ways to balance a design and increase longevity.
Do you have any favorite podcasts/books/resources that you’ve discovered during these past few months of change in our world that you recommend?
I have been loving the Hot Young Designers Club podcast, so many great tips that I have implemented into my business. I have also purchased The Universal Design Tool Kit by Dr. Rosemarie Rossetti as well as The Accessible Home by Deborah Pierce for more knowledge on accessibility in design.
What changes have you experienced with running a business during this pandemic and how have you shifted your process to adapt to this new norm?
This year has been a rollercoaster, hasn’t it?! Surprisingly, I do not feel like I have had many changes in my business, it has been a big lesson in holding steady and riding the storm. The biggest shift we have made was with our virtual design services. We decreased the pricing of our virtual design packaging because we knew people are stuck in the house and want to refresh their space but it is also an uncertain time financially for most and we wanted our package to acknowledge that.
Can you share a few Instagram accounts right now that are fueling your creativity?
I have been loving on @melissamarieinteriors @wheelchichome @candidlydeena
The Haven Workshop is an intimate, community-driven learning experience for interior designers who are looking to up-level their business and build a successful brand.