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All images are copyright Michael J. Lee Photography


Linda Merrill is an award winning interior decorator based in Massachusetts who offers clients luxury level interior services in New England, she is the principal designer and owner of Linda Merrill – Decorative Surroundings. I have long been a huge fan of Linda’s work, and have followed her blog, listened to the podcast series about all things design “The Skirted Roundtable” {which she produced}, and read her articles about design in numerous publications. A published author {her book is available on Amazon-link to follow}, there truly is no end to Linda’s talents.  I know you will truly enjoy reading about the design chat Linda and I had recently on the phone, and become a fan too!

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m from an old New England family (my ancestor Nathaniel Merrill came over from England to Massachusetts in 1633) and though I was born in upstate New York, I’ve spent most of my life living in Massachusetts. I think because of this, I’ve inherited a very Yankee sensibility that furniture should be inheritable and definitely not “throw-away”. I was always very involved in the arts and majored in music performance on the flute in college. I thought I would pursue a career as a professional musician but realized that I didn’t have the single-minded drive necessary to make that a reality.  I worked in business management positions in a music store, opera company and eventually landed at WGBH/Boston, the nation’s flagship PBS station.


While I had a good job, I was definitely missing something professionally. In my mid-30’s I sat myself down and assessed what I wanted to be doing, what I was good at and where I saw myself over the next several decades and realized that a career in interior design really fit the bill. I’d always been interested in having a beautiful home – I’d even made custom window treatments for my first college apartment. I’d done set decorating in high school and college as well – so it was a long standing interest that finally gelled into something I wanted to pursue.

LMERRILLGardenHome Linda’s Design Project recently published in Home Remodeling Magazine.

2. How would you describe your design style?

“Comfortable luxury” is one of my catch phrases. I don’t like interiors that feel hands (or feet) off, but I do think that people should invest in quality that lasts. This means durable construction, fabric finishes that work for the specific household and styles that are timeless. Interiors should be beautiful, but also functional and comfortable.

3. What inspires you?

I think I’m very “New England” in that I love a sense of history about places and things. I love when someone has a great collection of things handed down through their family. Of course, it’s easier to decorate if they are beautiful things, but even every day items that have meaning can be beautiful. I love beautiful architecture and classic design, old brick and wide-pine floors. The idea that “if the walls could talk” is very inspiring to me. I also love the proximity to the ocean. While I don’t personally like to sit at the beach on a hot day, I can’t imagine being too far away from one either!



4. What designer do you most admire and why?

Lauren Liess, she brings such incredible energy to her design work. Her use of organic, natural lines and colors bring a fresh, contemporary feel to her rooms.

5. If your interior spaces had a message, what would you like them to say?

“Come in, sit down and stay awhile – aren’t I pretty?!”




6. What’s your favorite antique find, and where did you use it?

I have a little antique drop-leaf desk that my Dad found for me when I was young. He painted it to match my bedroom set and it’s one of my treasured possessions to this day.

7. How do you incorporate antiques and vintage pieces into your designs for clients?

I think that antique and vintage pieces have a place in any design scheme whether traditional or modern. In a modern space, a vintage piece or two lends a little gravitas and patina which warms up the otherwise sleek finishes. If clients have their own antiques, I encourage them to use them in a different way than they have been in order to breathe new life into an old piece. For instance, a cabinet can be used in one room to store books or collectibles or in a bathroom for linens and soaps. Furniture can be reupholstered and new cushions can be added to old chairs. Keeping things fresh is always so important. I do wish that younger clients, or those new to design, would be more open to using antiques and vintage pieces in their projects – it sometimes seems like a battle to open their minds to this possibility which doesn’t need to break the bank.



Loves and Inspirations: 

1. My favorite colors are:

Green. I love nearly any shade of green and have done for my entire life. I also love pink and in my new cottage I’ve really embraced my love for this girly combination.



2. If I could have one wish, I would wish for:

World understanding, leading to world peace {of course}. But if not that, unlimited travel funds.

3. Right now I’m reading:

I’m just starting a couple of bios on Jane Fonda – am looking to her for inspiration on looking and being a fabulous “woman of a certain age”. I figure if I start now, maybe I’ll get there…

4. My favorite place is:

I love New England, but for travel, there’s no place like France. There’s so much history and variety across that country. You will see colors, patterns, and architecture that you might not have seen before. It’s so important to keep one’s eyes open and take notes {or photos} of particularly interesting things, they may be the inspiration for a color palette or texture in your home.


5. I can’t live without:

My friends. I only have my two brothers and sisters-in-law and two nieces and some cousins whom I really only “see” on Facebook.  There are no parents, aunts or uncles left. So, my friends are my family. And my dachshund RoyRoy who is my little love. {Lidy: “How could anyone NOT love RoyRoy?”}

6. A French Garden House antique I adore:  

I love this calling card case! It would certainly make a statement in today’s world to pull business cards out of a gorgeous piece as this!

Thank you so much Linda, for taking the time to tell us about your life, your business, and the things that matter most to you!  If you are interested in doing a design project with Linda, please email her at

Love Linda’s style? Be sure to visit Linda’s WEBSITE, her BLOG, her beautiful magazine SURROUNDINGS, and follow her on Twitter and FaceBook.

You can purchase her book HERE.


Design your own well-collected and personal interiors with antiques and decor from FrenchGardenHouse.

storyLM1. 19th Century French Majolica Plate. 2. Antique Jaccard Pitcher. 3. Antique Flemish Horses. 4. Vintage Aynsley Tea Cup. 5. 19th Century French Toleware Tray. 6. Antique French Confit Pot. 7. Royal Tichelaar Makkum Fruit Strainer.

Do you have a favorite room that Linda designed? Share which one it is below…we all want to know which is your favorite!
Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours. Visit our shop