September 28, 2023


A Home Grown Success

Parker: Mera Studio to designs signature show home in Grand Rapids

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Mera Studio is a Calgary boutique, full-service architecture and interior design firm, but founding principals Tara Marshall and Meghan Bannon have such confidence in their creative abilities that they pitched and won a job in Michigan that will give them great international exposure.

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After general studies at the University of Calgary, Bannon attended SAIT for her architectural technologies diploma, then moved on to Dalhousie to earn her master of architecture.

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Marshall earned her degree in architecture at the University of Calgary, and a bachelor of applied interior design at Mount Royal University.

They joined forces in 2018 as two of the founders of Fort Architecture but became sole partners in the newly formed Mera Studio in January, specializing in a diverse range of sectors including food and beverage, hospitality and residential architecture and interiors.

Several well-known city restaurants have benefited from their combined talents and their dedicated team, who are all passionate about creating thoughtful and inspiring spaces.

Fortuna’s Row, a contemporary Latin American brunch and supper club on Riverfront Avenue between Chinatown and East Village, is a fine example of Mera’s mission to create unforgettable spaces.

A project of Syndicate Hospitality Group — which also owns the elegantly casual Orchard Restaurant on 10th Avenue S.W. — with the help of Mera, a vacant industrial building has been transformed into 10,000 square feet of Mesoamerican space, taste and service.

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Bannon says it was an ideal project for Mera in that the huge area was vacant — nothing to knock down or alter in any way, but design from scratch.

The result — using the rough nature of exposed pipes, original brick and stone, and a mishmash of other materials — is a plush restaurant offering rich wood finishes and a posh 20-seat private dining room with direct access to the kitchen.

In a narrow cathedral-like corridor of the building off 3rd Street S.E. is Standing Room Only (SRO Bar), under a towering 24-foot ceiling where a cocktail can be enjoyed under custom-made chandeliers offering smooth amber lighting, surrounded by live plants.

The Borough Bar + Grill in University District is another restaurant that Mera is proud of. Its design created a fine contemporary establishment with a unique chef’s table, open kitchen and richly decorated 148-seat patio space, along with its barbecue patisserie that provides all of the restaurant’s breads and other baked goods.

Another charmer in the city is Noble Pie Pizza. Mera helped transition the pop-up inside Eighty Eighty Brewing into its bricks-and-mortar back-alley location, which is entered behind Metrovino’s 11th Avenue wine store.

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High Country Inn along Banff Avenue commissioned Mera to do an external renovation of the property, and for Creative Restaurants it redesigned the inn’s dining establishment into the Ticino Swiss-Italian Restaurant.

Busy with custom-designed residences, Mera currently is working on three large homes in Springbank, two in the Britannia community and a 10,000-square-foot house in Priddis, and recently completed the Maple Leaf residence in Brentwood.

Shaped like a maple leaf viewed from above, its classical design includes fun features such as a dumb waiter and a true Canadian rumpus room.

Sarah Sherman Samuel is a celebrity U.S. designer of interiors, textiles, decor, wallpaper, lighting and furniture, with offices in both Los Angeles and Grand Rapids, Mich.

When Marshall and Bannon heard that she was building a unique show home in her hometown, they dropped her a note to offer their design services.

They were somewhat surprised with a response that saw them head to Grand Rapids, and after a couple of days of discussion are now collaborating with Sherman Samuel on the design of the house.


Two leading farmer-directed organizations, Alberta Barley and the Alberta Wheat Commission, have announced Alberta Grains as the name of their newly merged commission. Alberta Grains will build on the strengths of both organizations to create a unified voice for the province’s 18,000 wheat and barley farmers, with a focus on economic sustainability, innovation and growth.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]

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