I know this is one interview you've all been waiting for with excitement. Linda Merrill is one of the first to enter this "world of blog" we all love and find so fascinating. She has built her blog, Surroundings, into a powerhouse that has been recognized by Elle Decor, Washington Post, Boston Globe as well as many others. She has been interviewed on Martha Stewart Radio and has had a long public television career as a business executive at WGBH-Channel 2, Boston's flagship PBS station. Linda received her interior design education at the Boston Architectural College and holds a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in flute performance. And, if that isn't enough, she is a concert flutist.
Her most recent slam dunk success is the The Skirted Roundtable, a podcast hosted weekly by Linda and her partners, Megan Arquette of Beach Bungalow 8 and Joni Webb of Cote de Texas. She continues to land interviews with some of the best and brightest in the design field including Stephen Drucker of House Beautiful, Margaret Russell of Elle Decor, Vicente Wolf, Suzanne Kasler and the list goes on and on.
Most of all, Linda is thoughtful, kind and a really special person. You can tell from reading her blog daily she has great passion for the design field and giving it the credibility it deserves. Linda was kind enough to take time out of her busy day last week to answer my questions. So, I'm more than pleased and honored to introduce you to, Linda Merrill.
Question 1: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
My family moved a lot when I was young. We're originally from Massachusetts, but I was born in upstate New York. When I was six we moved to New Jersey and then when I was thirteen we moved back to Duxbury, MA where I attended high school. My parents moved yet again right after I graduated from college. I've lived in and around Boston and now I'm back in Duxbury because so many of my closest and oldest friends had all moved back. Duxbury is a small historic coastal town just north of Plymouth.
Question 2: What is your profession?
I'm an interior designer, a freelance writer/blogger. I'm also a musician and play and teach the flute.
Question 3: Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog sort of as electronic file cabinet to keep track of resources and products that interested me. I also thought it would be a good vehicle for my decorating business.
Question 4: What do you like most about blogging?
Ah, the $64,000 question. I think I like the educational aspect of it the best. I've learned so much more about design history, trends and products than I've ever learned in design school or from a magazine. And I think the cumulative knowledge of so many designers and design enthusiasts and writers has created an amazing mass of information and creativity. It's a thrill to be a part of that.
Question 5: What is the most valuable thing you've gained from blogging?
I would say the relationships I've forged. I'm not the most outgoing person in person and if I'm at a party or networking event, I'm likely to be in the corner chatting with one or two people I already know well. I'm also not a very strategic relationship person. In other words, I don't attend an event to meet a certain number of people or have a number of business cards I want to give out or go with any kind of set "agenda". Blogging has helped me break down some of my own walls and often gives me a reason to go up to someone and start talking to them, "Hey, can I take your picture for my blog?"
Question 6: How long have you been blogging?
I started Surroundings in 2005 (yikes!) with a handful of posts. Actually, between 2005 and 2006 I only wrote 100 posts. I really started with gusto in 2007. I started a spin-off blog called ::Silver Screen Surroundings:: in 2008 for just my movie decorating posts and in 2009 I started The Skirted Roundtable for recorded podcasts I do with Megan Arquette of Beach Bungalow 8 and Joni Webb of Cote de Texas.
Question 7: How many new friends do you have because of blogging?
Oy, well, who knows, lots!
I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Linda's background. Go visit Surroundings for your daily dose of interior design quips and tips and The Skirted Roundtable is the best. It's kind of like The Charlie Rose Show design blog-style: friendly conversation, lots of fascinating information and no commercial breaks. Love it!
We'll talk soon.
BTW, I'm updating our FDO list and will post it Friday. We've got some good additions and a great way to start off the weekend.