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.
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.
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.
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.
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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