We may be a UK company, but here at Distinctive Chesterfields we’re as much interested in US interiors trends as we are in British style and design. So we were thrilled to connect with Melanie Langford of the site All About Interiors via Twitter recently.
Melanie’s an interior designer who began designing spaces the day she was old enough to play with her doll house and move furniture from room to room. Today, much like back then, she has the same passion for design and an enthusiasm for mixing styles, colours and textures, and believes successful design isn’t just about ‘making something beautiful’; she says it’s as much about helping people build an experience they and their families will love day to day, and never want to leave.
Today on our blog, Melanie’s taken time out of her busy schedule to chat to us about her passion for transforming homes and lives via great design. Read on…
Distinctive Chesterfields (DC): Hi Melanie. So, how’s February treating you so far?
Melanie: February in New England has been cold and snowy so far, I’m impatiently awaiting spring’s arrival.
DC: Any exciting projects for the month ahead?
Melanie: I have several kitchen renovation projects that I’m super excited about diving into. I just signed with a new client for the entire first floor of custom window treatments for a rather large home. Also, very recently, All About Interiors completed selecting all the finishes, features and furnishings for a 5500sf new construction home. As recently as today, the installation of custom window treatments for a master bedroom suite and on suite. The homeowners were elated!
DC: Tell us a little about All About Interiors… How did the site come about? And how has it evolved since it began?
Melanie: All About Interiors started in 2000, I hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since. My website was created approximately eight years ago when modern technology dictated that a website was a must. The website was created to specifically showcase AAI’s work, client reviews and my design philosophy. From there, social media has evolved at warp speed and as a result, I’ve added a weekly interior design blog www.allaboutinteriors.org/blog/ that contains decorating tips, design inspiration and current projects.
A bathroom, designed by Melanie
DC: In your opinion, what makes a great home?
Melanie: A great home feels warm, inviting, reflects the personalities of the people who live there and just makes good decorating sense.
DC: And what do you hate to see in people’s homes? Which, if any, current trends are really not doing it for you?
Melanie: I really hate to see a lot of clutter. A disorganized home just creates needless stress, chaos and wasted time looking for items.
DC: You say on your site that ‘interior design is calculated and intentional’. Do you believe, however, that sometimes people can go to follow a certain set of design rules, say? And lose sight of what they set out to do initially?
Melanie: Certainly that can happen, and probably does more often than not, I’m afraid. Especially if a person doesn’t really take their time, think about the function of the room. I suggest living with the space for a while and slowly collect pieces that are perfect for each individual space.
Interior design is extremely calculated and intentional. For example, anyone can find a sofa they absolutely adore in the store, quickly snatch it up and get it home to find that it just looks out of place, too large or completely wrong for the feel of the room.
Each purchase should be completely thought out, planned and absolutely loved. If someone were to see something they like but aren’t in LOVE, don’t buy it just because it’s “good enough” for now. Be patient, take your time and find that perfect piece that fits the style, function and looks like it was made for the space.
Kitchen, as featured on Melanie’s website
DC: Do you believe ‘having an eye for great design’ can be taught? Or do you think we either have that creativity within us, or we don’t?
Melanie: That is a difficult question to answer. Yes, good design can be taught, there are many universities that offer degrees in interior design for those who desire to enter the field. However, if you have a difficult time envisioning how things will look or work in a space or worse, lack creativity, it could be a struggle to create the perfect space. Just because you may like to play baseball, doesn’t necessarily mean you will be a great baseball player. Does that make sense?
DC: What’s the one way someone whose budget is tight can spruce up their living room for less?
Melanie: I will provide you three easy and inexpensive ways to spruce up their living space on a tight budget are 1) New paint color 2) New accessories such as pillows, artwork or mirrors and area rug 3) swap out handles or knobs and update light fixtures.
DC: You say you can help clients save time and money. How do you go about this?
Melanie: An interior designer can prevent clients from making costly mistakes by purchasing items that are a perfect fit for the space and the client’s lifestyle. Also, a good designer will inform the client where the best return on their investment should be spent and make suggestions on how to save them money.
In addition, a designer can save their client a ton of time by doing all the project management for them, from designing and budgeting, to the behind the scenes purchasing, coordinating contractors, billing as well as shopping and researching products. This assures the client will not only save money because the project is done correctly and on budget, but also they will save the client time by allowing them to concentrate on what is important to them, business, family and life.
DC: What are your thoughts on the big design and interiors trends for 2014? And have you managed to feature any of them into your own home?
Melanie: Some trends, are good and can be integrated into classic design. The color grey, for example, is a usable neutral color that can be applied in just about every room and look great! Currently, I am renovating my own powder room and using grey for the walls. Other recent trends, such as cattle skull heads as a wall accessory, to me are just a tad disturbing and leave me scratching my head wondering just who came up with that one?
DC: Tell us a little about the services you offer; how can you improve someone’s life through great interior design?
Melanie: I truly believe that having a beautifully decorated, well organized, environment will make a person feel better and live a happier life. Similarly, to putting on an outfit you know you look great in. It makes you feel more confident and more beautiful when wearing it.
A well-designed home is a place that a person would want to come home to. It is a place of comfort and warmth that welcomes upon entering. All About Interiors offers a variety of services from simple consultations that offer our clients ideas, suggestions and information on color, space planning or choosing fixtures, finishes and furnishings.
We also offer complete full service interior design and project management, handling every last detail for our clients so that they can get on with their lives.
“A well-designed home is a place that a person would want to come home to. It is a place of comfort and warmth that welcomes upon entering. “
DC: What’s your top tip for success in the interiors industry?
Melanie: Listen to the client and design based on their lifestyle, style and personality after all, it’s their home, not mine.
DC: If you weren’t an interior designer, what career do you think might have taken your fancy instead?
Melanie: Although interior design is my passion, I could perhaps see myself as a wedding planner, which ironically also has a lot of decorating aspects to that career.
DC: Finally, where would you like to see yourself and your business in five years’ time?
Melanie: I get great pleasure in seeing the smiles on my client’s faces upon the reveal of their newly decorated home. Therefore, I guess I’d have to answer, making Connecticut more beautiful one room at a time and to continue to enjoy the journey that each new project brings.
Thanks very much to Melanie for finding time to answer our questions. Want to see more pieces like this? Let us know by commenting on this blog post below.