Anyone who’s a fan of interior design most likely has dozens of Melanie Turner projects on her Pinterest board or (going old school) torn out of a magazine. Since starting Melanie Turner Interiors in 2010, the Atlanta-based interior designer has been named Southeastern Designer of the Year twice, as well as a Top 10 Designer by Traditional Home. She also designed a space that was named “Kitchen of the Year” by Architectural Digest. She’s regularly featured in every design magazine, local and national, and the designers in her 10-person firm are all ASID-accredited and have won almost 20 ASID awards as a company.

Melanie Turner’s love for fashion shows up in her detail-oriented designs. Image: emilyfollowill.com

Melanie Turner’s love for fashion shows up in her detail-oriented designs. Image: Emily Followill

With Melanie, it’s ALL about the mix. Her artful interiors can’t be defined as traditional or modern or any other distinct style, because they cleverly combine periods, cultures, colors and styles. She’s an avid world traveler, but her own background also inspired this global view. “My heritage is Welsh, but I was raised in Florida (in the ’70s) by a Pucci-wearing fashionista mom and a renaissance dad who took me to antique stores, graveyards and old houses,” says Melanie. “These qualities made me a lover of beauty and nice things, but comfortable in my own shoes with the love of all design. I have an appreciation for both antiques and modern design.”

We decided to find out more behind Melanie’s style, as well as get some good tips from this decorating diva. Enjoy the photos of some of her “greatest hits” as we welcome this month’s Interior Designer Crush, Melanie Turner.

What is your earliest design memory?

I was always in a tree! It felt like my own space to create whatever I wanted to. I would build tree houses and use my savings to buy wall coverings to make them look better. I also spent a lot of time in old, deserted houses and antique stores with my dad.

When did you realize you should be an interior designer, and how did you get to this point?

I’ve always known. First it was art, then it was fashion, then interior design, all by the time I was 18. I never considered any other degree when applying to college.

This Melanie-designed bedroom is ultra-feminine, with a French and Asian flair and beautiful Chinoiserie fabric by Schumacher. Image: emilyfollowill.com

This Melanie-designed bedroom is ultra-feminine, with a French and Asian flair and beautiful Chinoiserie fabric by Schumacher. Image: Emily Followill

“This high-rise felt like you are in the clouds, so we wanted the condo to feel like a pretty jewel box,” says Melanie. Image: Emily followill

“This high-rise felt like you are in the clouds, so we wanted the condo to feel like a pretty jewel box,” says Melanie. Image: Emily Followill

This striking foyer with 28-foot ceilings gets a light color palette from Melanie, punctuated by pops of blue and a large-scale painting by Atlanta artist Sally King Benedict. Image: Mali Azima

This striking foyer with 28-foot ceilings gets a light color palette from Melanie, punctuated by pops of blue and a large-scale painting by Atlanta artist Sally King Benedict. Image: Mali Azima

What do you call your design aesthetic?

Sensibility with a fresh approach. I am inspired to create a modern life with a classically edited fresh style — a blend of clean lines, found objects, antiques and functional livability. I always start the design process with the furniture or the art (same with where I get my pattern). These pieces work as the bones for the design. As I add on to the design with colors, patterns and textures, that is where the modern aspects come in. A few tips:

  • Edited and layered is the best kind of room. By doing this, we create spaces that feel collected, beautiful and fresh. Not too much to distract, but just enough to create conversation.
  • Scale is very important to design. Large-scale accessories give you a cleaner look.
  • I like to design rooms to have a masculine and feminine feel so that both sexes feel comfortable. As an example, I incorporate light versus dark, curvy versus straight.

What one thing is in every Melanie Turner project?

A great piece of art! Regardless of price, single-handedly it’s the most unique possession in your home that will set it apart and make it very personal.

Although the house is new, Melanie designed the kitchen to feel like an old house, with a bit of an urban French style. Image: Erica George Dines

Although the house is new, Melanie designed the kitchen to feel like an old house, with a bit of an urban French style. Image: Erica George Dines

Melanie played with light and dark, old and new in this chic dining room, with its distinctive see-through fireplace into the adjacent library. Image: Emily Followill

Melanie played with light and dark, old and new in this chic dining room, with its distinctive see-through fireplace into the adjacent library. Image: Emily Followill

This bedroom invokes a worldly, well-traveled owner. It also shows masculine and feminine elements mixed together for a collected and layered look. Image: Emily Followill

This bedroom invokes a worldly, well-traveled owner. It also shows masculine and feminine elements mixed together for a collected and layered look. Image: Emily Followill

This Rosemary Beach bathroom has a Grecian vibe … mostly white and calm to complement its surroundings. Image: Mali Azima

This Rosemary Beach bathroom has a Grecian vibe … mostly white and calm to complement its surroundings. Image: Mali Azima

What’s been your most fun project? Most challenging?

Probably working on second homes at the beach or in Montana. These homes tend to represent the real person and how they live instead of having everyone else’s expectations on how we are supposed to live.

Where are some of your sources in Atlanta — or beyond — that people should know about? What are some of your best “finds”?

For retail stores, I love South of Market. Amazing, unique and fresh. Townhouse is classically modern, masculine with great accessories. And Bungalow Classic for stylish, sophisticated and unique furniture with great lamps. The best finds are at Scott Antique Market. The vendors and pickers have become friends. Great art, antiques and one-of-a-kind objects.

“We wanted to showcase the owners’ treasures in this living room,” says Melanie. We drew inspiration from up high, adding splashes of color to bring the sky into this high-rise home.” Image: Emily Followill

“We wanted to showcase the owners’ treasures in this living room,” says Melanie. “We drew inspiration from up high, adding splashes of color to bring the sky into this high-rise home.” Image: Emily Followill

For this show house bedroom, Melanie tackled the design with a “what’s old is new approach.” “We began with the blue willowesque wall covering that had graced the room for 25 years,” she says. “Some would find it an obstacle, but I found the wallpaper to be an opportunity and a nice starting point.” Image: Emily Followill

For this show house bedroom, Melanie tackled the design with a “what’s old is new approach.” “We began with the blue willowesque wall covering that had graced the room for 25 years,” she says. “Some would find it an obstacle, but I found the wallpaper to be an opportunity and a nice starting point.” Image: Emily Followill

At this Lake Oconee living room, Melanie created a functional — yet pretty — sitting area. Accessories were kept to a minimum to allow the lake view to be the star. She incorporated plenty of washable slipcovers to keep furniture pet-friendly. Image: Emily Followill

At this Lake Oconee living room, Melanie created a functional — yet pretty — sitting area. Accessories were kept to a minimum to allow the lake view to be the star. She incorporated plenty of washable slipcovers to keep the furniture pet-friendly. Image: Emily Followill

What design trend do you wish would go away?

Cheap-looking regency furniture with too much gold.

What are some things that make you happy to see?

Large tables in living rooms or dining rooms … and peonies.

See more of Melanie Turner’s work, current projects and more on her website, melanieturnerinteriors.com.

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