What started as a quest to furnish her new home in Louisville, ended up as Merridian Home Furnishings — with locations in Louisville and Nashville. Merry Dougherty manages four kids and two stores, all while searching the world for furniture and accessories. She has a great eye for art and lighting, which is evident at both Merridian sites.
Tell us about how you and your husband started Merridian?
Patrick and I met on a blind date in Santa Fe, N.M. Once we were married and trying to furnish our first home in Louisville, I longed to shop at some of the places I had frequented in Santa Fe, because of their global and artistic influences. We wanted unique pieces that fit our eclectic style, while still remaining within our budget. It was then that we realized there might be a market for this type of furniture in Louisville, and we ran with it.
How has your store changed in the 17 years you have owned it?
We have changed a lot, in that we offer a broader selection of products than we did in the beginning. We have been to over 10 different countries in search of extraordinary furniture and interesting objets d’art. Interior design changes, just like fashion, and while we try to stay at the forefront of current trends, we have always stayed true to our goal of offering uniquely collectable, handcrafted furniture and accessories from different parts of the world.
Does your own house have that Merridian look? Do you love to decorate?
Our home does have the eclectic “collector” look for which Merridian has become known, but mostly it is just about what works for our family, while still satisfying Patrick’s and my artistic inclinations. It’s all about meeting the functional needs of how a space is used and then trying to achieve those goals in a beautiful and efficient way. And, yes, I enjoy helping other people find that same harmony in their homes.
What do you look for when buying furniture or home décor?
I am first drawn to the lines and details of a piece of furniture, as it has to have a certain design appeal to attract our attention, and then we consider the function and how it might be used today. Since many of our pieces are 50 to 100 years old, we often have to come up with a new use for an old piece. I love giving a new life to a well-worn piece of furniture from a different time and place.
You have four kids and stores in two cities (Louisville and Nashville). How do you balance your job and your personal life?
One day at a time!
I know you are a transplanted Mississippian who married a Louisville boy. What do you miss most about your hometown?
I love Southern culture, and Mississippians are good at living it every day. It’s all about food, friendship and faith.
What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?
Carpe Diem. We are only given so many days on this earth. I try to make them count.
Who is your mentor?
My parents were both excellent role models for me. My dad led me to appreciate business, sports and the out of doors, while my mom instilled in me a love of serving others, beautiful things and entertaining.
What is best advice you have received in business?
Bark less, wag more!
If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?
I enjoy making people laugh, so I would love to be Tina Fey. As I see it, her job is to be the best and funniest version of herself every day.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
During my senior year in high school, I won sixth place in the shot put at the state track meet. To differentiate myself from the other girls, I wore pink lipstick and lots of jewelry with my track uniform!
What is your favorite place to go eat?
211 Clover Lane because it reminds me of my favorite restaurant in Santa Fe.
Where do you like to shop?
I really don’t like to shop, so I love going anywhere where I am met with great salespeople to help me get it over with as quickly as possible.
What is a treat or a luxury you do for yourself?
The older I get, the more I treat myself to regular massages and yoga in order to extend the warranty on this body.
What is your weakness?
I’m a bit unorganized …
Three things you cannot live without (besides God, family and friends):
What are you reading right now?
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, by John Meacham.
What are three of your favorite things right now:
- Mystic Chai tea
- my art studio
- the books I am writing for my children recording their lives
It’s always a treat to visit Merridian, as you want to redecorate your house the minute you walk in there. Thanks to Merry Dougherty, there are many more items on our wish list now. Visit her site here: www.merridian.com
As always, much gratitude to my FACES photographer Adele Reding and her fantastic work. See her profile here: www.facebook.com