Shot by Willy Somma
Creative siblings Heidi and Britt Merrick fashion the perfect surfboard collaboration
“Having spent so much time as a kid in a surf shop, a board’s silhouette is burned in my mind,” says fashion designer Heidi Merrick, the daughter of Channel Islands Surfboards’ legendary founder and shaper, Al Merrick. So when Heidi envisioned the interiors for her own flagship, H. Merrick of California, in Downtown Los Angeles, she knew the emblem of her family’s business (and her home state) would be a part of it. She approached her brother, Britt Merrick, now the lead shaper and designer for their parents’ global brand, with the idea to execute the elegant forms she had in mind—infused with the technical legitimacy that only he could engineer.
To complement the palette of Heidi’s fall collection, they created five glossy, rideable works of art in varied lengths, dubbing the series “California Winter” as a nod to the gun-style surfboard (shaped with longer curves to harness the season’s bigger, more powerful waves). “Heidi was adamant that they be world-class surfboards that live up to our standards—not just things to hang on a wall,” says Britt. Heidi adds: “I wanted to show the craft of our legacy.”
It’s a story that only a Californian family could tell: In 1969, Heidi and Britt’s parents opened a surf shop in Santa Barbara with just enough money to allow Al to make boards, one at a time, in the back, while his wife, Terry, designed and sewed clothes up front. Channel Islands Surfboards has since become the largest company of its kind in the world, with fans including Kelly Slater, Rob Machado and Dane Reynolds.
Britt grew up mesmerized by watching his father’s expert hands sculpt foam for surfing greats such as Tom Curren. Influenced as much by her parents’ artistry as the product-to-person business model they adhered to, Heidi’s take on ready-to-wear comprises modern, minimal styles that are hand-cut and sewn in L.A. “I make clothes not for what people imagine to be Californian, but for the lifestyle that is actually lived here,” she explains. “If you look at her dresses, they have these beautiful lines,” says Britt. “And that’s where I’m at too—my joy is taking a raw piece of foam and creating contours out of it. So it was a perfect collaboration—she was speaking my language.” Prices upon request. Available exclusively at H. Merrick of California, 115 W. 9th St., L.A., 310-424-5520.
Written by GILLIAN KOENIG.
Photography by DIANA KOENIGSBERG.
Just a few words about Heidi, whom I met this summer and absolutely love (her, and her family John, Hiver and Alfie).
1. She’s the absolute coolest.
2. She surfs whenever she can.
3. She has a brand I can’t seem to stop wearing.
4. She has the loudest and warmest laugh around.
5. She lives her life on her own terms, makes fashion on her own terms.
6. This is her city house, but they also bought a piece of land in Ojai where they glamp like it’s Out Of Africa.
7. She’s the Heidi I went to the spa with.
8. She has the house everyone dreams of having in LA, a Spanish style house.
9. Also, she decorated it perfectly, without it being too perfect. You know?
10. And even though she has and does all that, she’s not for one second annoying.
And that’s what I can say for now. Meet Heidi!
Can you tell us a little bit about your home? How did you find it and how long have you been here?
It’s in the hills of Silverlake, we followed my childhood friends there almost 10 years ago. My husband found the house, he does real estate, and wasn’t sure I’d like it. But when I stepped on the front porch saw the view and the giant bird of paradise, I knew we needed to do everything in our power to buy it. We’ve never looked back, I’m so happy here.
How would you describe the overall aesthetic of your home? Was this your goal?
My friend, Raan, said it was a salty Chateau Marmont, I cracked up and was very complimented! My goal is always trying to tame and clean, I could fill a castle and make it weird. Editing, that’s my only goal in decor.
What is the most important thing in making a house feel like a home?
For me it’s not letting anything be precious, except the people, obviously. The people are precious! Maybe knowing that and making it beautiful for the people in it, making it a happy place to be. For example, letting my daughter have ugly piggy banks or weird rock collections.
Your furniture is so interesting and amazing – where do you find it and do you have a method when it comes to shopping / buying for the home?
Thank you! I have no method at all. If I see something I love and I’m out shopping, I buy it! Then I bring it home and let it melt in. I don’t believe in planning everything in your house, I believe in loving everything in your house. I’ve been known to go without things like couches or beds for years until something strikes me. I also gladly except hand-me-downs, it keeps the history and realness in a family.
Can you tell me about all the old books?
My grandmother (on my mom’s side) was a painter and had a beautiful art book collection that I now have. Also, buying loads of art and fashion books is one of my main indulgences. My husband is bookie and he’s collected a load of first edition classics. I have some of my grandmother (on my dad’s side) old books, her tiny bible, some Robert Louis Stevenson… A book collection becomes a family history of hobbies and devotion, I love the presence of them.
What about the books on the floor, why put them there versus on a shelf somewhere?
I don’t have enough book shelves is the simple answer. I’m a book hoarder. I love books.
What’s your favorite thing about your home?
The people in it! But the less ethereal answer would be the light. It has magical light at all different times of the day. When people are over, I love to move the party around to follow the light.
The wood platform bed is amazing…is there a story behind it?
Yes! My friend Bernard Brucha is the designer, and he and his girlfriend (my best friend, Jenny Murray) gave it to me for my 40th birthday. An extravagant and luxurious gift, maybe the best present I’ve ever gotten. Aside from the wooden surfboard my dad made me, maybe those two are tied for best.
When you entertain at your home, what’s one thing you hope people experience, feel, leave with, etc?
I want people be uplifted and relaxed and feel like life is good and the world will survive. I want them to remember that friends and family and food all the things right in front of you are worthy of your attention and love. I want them to escape the world of their phone and live and laugh a bit with my family.
What’s the best thing about living in Los Angeles?
You can live the way you want to. You can be in the hills or at the beach, you can be fancy, or skateboard barefoot- you can be yourself. Los Angeles is not the city of conformity, it’s the city of dreamers who want to live as beautifully as they create.
Come meet me this weekend at Alchemy Works Harbor House from 2-5pm–It’s going to be incredible!
3408 Via Oporto, Newport Beach, CA 92663