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Daily Inspiration: Meet Melanie Thomas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melanie Thomas.

Hi Melanie, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I started as most interior stylists do — as a VO talent representative! And as a native Los Angeleno, working with actors seemed like a natural and fun career. However, I was always itching to get more creative and experience some of the joy my actors had when they booked a role or big commercial campaign.

You see, I have been a creative type all my life and love to surround myself with similar people. When I was a little tot, I constantly redecorated my room and begged my parents to paint my room all sorts of colors. I think my first design theme was “rainforest”. As a family, we traveled quite a bit and I had an inclination for collecting interesting little travel mementos and displaying them on my wall. I was definitely going for a vibe and loved the feeling and immersive qualities of great design (although I didn’t know it at the time). My grandmother was also a big influence. She was the one who gave me my first issue of Domino magazine. Even at 70, she knew what was cool. She even cut out little pages with me and showed me how to create a mood board. It’s quite a vivid memory and I even recall some of the images we “oohed” and “awed” over together. I still have that image on my computer desktop!

To make a long story short, my husband and I bought our first house together in 2013 and it was soooo cool. It was a little bungalow in Beverly Hills Post Office and it was perfect blank slate. Now I actually had some money to spend on creating a home and decided to run with it! I caught the bug again and started decorating again. Small things here and there — pillows, rugs, sofas, lighting. Then when we sold that house and bought another not too far away. Unlike the first house, this new house needed a ton of work.

This is where my design mojo really took off! The kitchen and bathrooms were complete gut jobs. I got to work designing an entirely new kitchen layout, new flooring, new cabinets, and countertops. At that time, the modern farmhouse was all the rage. So as you can imagine, it was a lot of black and white and greys. Everyone LOVED my designs and they came out just like HGTV. Even though it came out beautifully, I felt there was something missing. Whenever I picked out a tile or a wallpaper, I felt it necessary to default to a very mild color palette. But my artwork was something else entirely. Whenever I had the chance, I would grab portraits and paintings in hot pink, green, blue, magenta, yellow, every color in the rainbow. And even my wardrobe was far more colorful — I was more colorful.

Then the pandemic hit. I feel like there should be a “Before the pandemic” and “After the pandemic” turn in every story, and mine is no different. Many people I knew died from the virus, including my father. And when something like that happens — when one witnesses death firsthand and has to go on living — it ignites a spark. We sold off the beautiful grey house and moved into another. A light-filled two-story tract home filled with possibilities. My father had just passed when we moved in and I had planned on doing the same old grey color palette. But something told me to try something new. Something more “me”. It was actually a wallpaper that did it. A very garish and fun hot pink and orange graffiti-type wallpaper. HGTV would not approve. But I loved it and it made me happy.

That’s the thing with the color — once one learns to accept that all color is beautiful, then the mind opens up to all the possibilities. It’s not “ugly” — it’s just a different choice and a different choice can always be made right by accompanying it with other complementary choices. If a color is too jarring, pair it with a complementary color. Like orange with muted olive or mustard yellow with dark greyish blue. I used to hate green, red, yellow and purple when it came to interiors but now I jump at the chance to use them in my own designs and discover the possibilities. It is possibly the most eye-opening experience I’ve had and has helped me really grow.

And with all this discovery, I quickly found this is what I want to do with my life. As of right now, I am designing my house, blogging about it and sharing my thoughts with the world. I am at the very, very beginning of my design journey and taking clients who also want to get a little in their life. It is a beautiful world out there — I hope to help people have a little bit of it for themselves in their homes.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The only obstacle I have faced so far is my seemingly endless desire in interior design. I live and breathe it every day and that can get in the way of life and my other job as I transition. I can’t wait until the end of the day when I can finally focus my attention on my true passion.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am an interior stylist who specializes in color, wallpaper, vintage furniture finds and art. I love to find that special one-of-a-kind art piece that makes the room “sing”! The question I am asked the most is “Where on earth did you find that?!” and the answer is usually “At the flea market” or “Somewhere on Etsy”. My favorite piece by far is my gargantuan neon “Popular” sign that lives on the tallest part of my living room wall. I found it by chance on one of my rabbit hole Etsy searches. I did not intend to buy an 8-foot wide, 500 lb sign but here we are. I love to play with scale and go with bold colors. My favorite room is my Farrow and Ball Incarnadine dining room. It is so unexpected and yet so immediately perfect. It is my hero piece as they say. I am not afraid to take chances by mixing patterns, unusual colors and lots of soul and eccentricity. If you want to go weird but cool and classy, I’m your gal.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Prospective clients can reach me via my website: www.melaniethomasdesign.com or Instagram @melaniethomasinteriors. I am taking on clients in the Southern California region and mainly focus on residential design. You may also fill out this form: https://forms.wix.com/caaccfa4-97e8-45b1-b055-c4e7dc102c58:2ffa5cc5-42b6-49cf-93fa-70227a968a11

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