Cheri Messerli

APIECE APART WOMAN
Cheri Messerli’s pursuit of a creative life has led her across the West and East Coasts, as well as to Paris, to live and work in nearly every facet of the design world. After initially starting her career in fashion—working as a designer, photographer, stylist, and consultant—it was by chance and conversation that she ended up where she is now as co-owner of Weekends, a design company with a focus on interiors she runs with her husband. Started while the couple was living in Paris but now operated from their current home in Los Angeles, Weekends maintains a decidedly French sensibility: Cheri is focused and articulate about approaching projects —and life — with a combination of cultivated style and a sense of place and purpose. We visited her at home in East Los Angeles for a conversation about living, working, and (most important of all) the space between.

Cheri wears PAPER FLOWER MARIA DRESS 

Now that you’ve had some distance from your time in Paris, can you share a bit about how the experience influenced your work?
Moving to Paris has left an immeasurable mark on myself, my work, how I view culture, design, and the way I live. For me it was easier to distance myself from trends in a city that is so rooted in the past and relatively unaffected by popular culture. This was a refreshing change, a way to look at a subject matter without worrying about what else is going on so much. In this way it allowed a more cultivated focus for me. I was also taken in by the simplicity of the style in Paris, which is ultimately rooted in necessity. This relates so well to design and how just the bare necessities can make something so beautiful.
 
"I was also taken in by the simplicity of the style in Paris, which is ultimately rooted in necessity. This relates so well to design and how just the bare necessities can make something so beautiful."
 
What about how it affected the pace and style in which you live your life?
Moving to Paris was a way to find a pace of life between New York and Los Angeles for my husband and I. Living in Paris taught us the value of our time more than anything. Paris moves at a determined slow pace, but offers a lot of culture and community at the same time. If you know where to look. It's definitely a tough city to break into, but once you do, it all changes. I learned to notice the beautiful details in things, coming across things by chance, learning to notice the beauty of small things when they happen, and how that makes up a beautiful daily life when you learn to appreciate what's happening around you. It's important to live and not just work all the time. When I worked full-time there I started with five weeks of paid vacation, which is a standard and is something people there take seriously.

 

How has being a mother has changed the way you approach your work?
Since having a child I have become much more focused during the time I get to work. I still value projects in the same way, and my approach has not changed, but my time is more limited and therefore even more valuable to me. With Weekends projects we have always only taken on projects with clients that we feel good about working with, projects we are excited to bring into existence with people we like.
 
What objects have been most significant to you lately?
Leaving Paris was really hard, so things that I have acquired living there like dishes and linen bedding have become more significant to me. Everything has memories attached to it, but things like my French calendar sketchbooks and my hat from a market in Amsterdam take on an extra significance knowing they came with me from so far away, and they are things I use daily. They became a reminder that I'm here now, not just back home visiting.
 
Please describe your last month in a word.
Contemplative.
 
What do you make for a dinner party? Can you share the menu?
I love having friends over for dinner. We often make a huge pot of Algerian-style couscous to share. It's something we came to love in Paris and would often meet up with friends to have. That along with natural wine and a banana cake for dessert.

 

What do you make for dinner alone? Can you share a recipe?
I do a bit of cooking when it's only for me, but more often I make my favorite sandwich. Open faced avocado broodjes (Dutch sandwiches): Toast two pieces of bread, put a generous amount of cottage cheese, avocado, and black pepper on each, in that order, and add a few drops of olive oil.
 
Do you have a mentor?
No, as with most things I've done, I just go for it and wing it till I get the hang of it. I've always been one for figuring things out on my own.
 
How do you remember to be intentional?
I do 20 minutes of yoga here and there online, and for me it's a great way to reset and reminds me to keep my focus on what's important. Having a child also keeps you in check a lot, I try to be intentional not only for myself but for my family, keeping your cool in stressful situations is beneficial for everyone.
 
"Having a child also keeps you in check a lot, I try to be intentional not only for myself but for my family, keeping your cool in stressful situations is beneficial for everyone."

 

Cheri wears STRIPED SECOND SKIN

A great artist gets inspiration from anywhere — what are some of the most unusual sources of inspiration for you?
I get a lot inspiration from stationary and art supply shops, hardware stores, old specialized shops that rarely exist anymore, and from long walks.
 
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve recently discovered?
Good freshly baked organic bread!
 
What are you serious about?
Ecology, both of our environment and within ourselves.
 
What things will you never take seriously?
Pretense, celebrities, and snobbery

Cheri wears STRIPED SECOND SKIN and STEFANIA SAIL PANT

 

Photography by LAURE JOLIET | Interview by LEIGH PATTERSON