Melanie Holden, LEED AP of Holden Design Group
Q. What made you realize that you wanted to be an interior designer?
A. I always knew that whatever career path I took in life I wanted to thoroughly enjoy it. Too many people dread the daily grind, and I wanted to do something that I could look forward to and would provide a variety of experiences from day to day. Growing up, I always loved to assist my parents with our various home remodeling projects. I frequently rearranged the furniture not only in my own bedroom, but throughout the entire house. Not to mention that my dollhouse was in a constant state of remodel. Trips to the furniture or paint stores were always a highlight, and I could spend hours at the fabric shops, fawning over the endless assortment of fabrics with their colors and textures. Interior design was a natural choice!
Q. What sets you apart from other design professionals?
A. I understand that my clients are the ones living and working within the spaces I design, not me. No matter how creative the vision, if it is not practical or appealing to my clients, they will not be happy living with it. I never force a design solution on anyone if they are not comfortable with it. I strive to view each project from my clients’ perspectives, gain a comprehensive understanding of their lifestyles, and then design around their daily rituals, adjusting my design focus to enhance their personal styles.
Q. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A. Everything around me. Inspiration lives in nature, a sunrise, my friends, my pets, my niece’s and nephew’s artwork, the open road, the built environment, the Internet, fashion, and books, just to name a few sources. Of all those inspirational elements, I especially favor the fluid, renewing inspiration that nature provides. I hike and scuba dive, and I often incorporate the colors and textures I see while on those adventures into my work.
Q. What do you love about your own home?
A. I love my home’s character and the connection with the past. It was built in 1904, and new houses are just not constructed with the craftsmanship and attention to detail like that anymore – unless you have an amazing budget to pay for it, that is. The original wood flooring and trim are absolutely stunning. The iron door hinges on the solid five-panel doors are ornately carved with sweet floral patterns. The clawfoot tub is a haven from the bustle of the outside world, and a plethora of windows invite natural light into every room. A home should nurture its occupants, and I feel a sense of its nurturing environment each and every time I walk through the door. I adore historic architecture and don’t think I could ever live in a new home!
Q. Do you have a signature piece that you like to incorporate into your designs?
My signature is the incorporation of texture and color in every space that I design. Every room needs lots of it, whether subtle or bold. Fabrics, wall treatments, lighting, and flooring are all excellent sources for textural and colorful elements. Layers of texture and color, combined with good lighting allow a space to come alive.
Q. What is your favorite item to help clients select?
A. This is a difficult one to narrow down because I thoroughly enjoy pulling everything together as a whole. Generally, a room is inspired by one particular feature, whether a piece of art from the client’s existing collection, an amazing piece of furniture, or a unique light fixture. I love building upon that single element and creating a unified space. If I absolutely must pick a single favorite item to select, it would have to be fabric – again, because of the texture and color…
Q. Favorite piece of advice to give your clients?
A. Don’t skimp on quality. It is preferrable to have fewer, but better things that can be kept forever and passed down through the generations.
Q. What’s the first thing you notice when walking into a new space?
The atmosphere created by the lighting and colors within the space.
Thank you Melanie for all your great insight! You can see more of Melanie’s work here.