Creating Unforgettable Modern Living Spaces With Melissa Collison
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Creating Unforgettable Modern Living Spaces With Melissa Collison

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A dash of glamor, an inspiring choice in rugs, colors lighting up the atmosphere – this is how I can describe Melissa Collison‘s portfolio of unique interiors. Mixing different decorative and functional items from all over the world into an unforgettable cluster of spaces, the Sydney-based interior designer creates luxurious modern spaces where her clients feel safe, comfortable and inspired. In order to tend to every customer’s needs and wishes, she also designs bespoke furniture pieces and decor pieces that meld the wonderful selection of carefully chosen materials, textures and shapes. See how colors, forms and patterns intertwine to form exquisite living spaces and find out how she does it all – enjoy!

Tell us a bit about yourself – how did your personal experiences influence the choice of becoming an interior designer?

  • My mother was an artist who painted in oils, one who played the piano, who was a fantastic cook and a wonderful hostess  and who was lucky enough to also be blessed with beautiful movie star looks. My mother always had our home ‘just right’ with flowers from the garden and when we had a party, tape over the light switches so they could not be turned on so the room was just right with mellow lamps and mood lighting and Shirley Bassey or Barbara Streisand on the record player… How times have changed! And for me, I have a memory that takes a visual snapshot – even when I don’t want it to. I remember every detail. It becomes an imprint on my mind. A stamp. And so, I can recall all things visual.

How does Sydney – the city you live and work in – inspire you professionally?

  • I am embarrassingly loyal to Sydney. It makes my heart beat very fast every time I fly back in and over Sydney, it is such a beautiful sight. We have a very fresh and clean lifestyle.  There is, in a sense, a naivety about us. We still believe that dreams can come true.  We have a vast cultural mix and we love to travel. Our city is clean, our weather is warm and we are excited about possibilities. When I design, I can at times be naive and design with reckless abandon. I still dream and design with possibility.
You have a particular style combining raw inspirational elements (both found and made) into a bespoke set of spaces – what is the most important thing you learned designing and creating just the right rug or mirror or sofa?
  • The most important thing I have learned is most likely abstract.  It is most important that I am empathic to my client, to their history and their life.  For me, it is important to weave items my client already has into their new environment and take the new design beyond their expectations. That is why my work looks diverse. I respect my clients enough to take them and build around them.  And, I love change so I don’t just do one look. However, the simple answer is…men want a sofa they can lay on that is comfy and snug and a BIG TV.  Women want cushions, cute huh! Make a sofa real. Make is something you can use. With rugs, they anchor a room and are the final touch.  They are a must have.  I can relate it to a new dress and no shoes…you need the shoes too..

What was the most challenging bespoke piece of furniture you designed and created to complete an interior project you were working on?

  • There you have it, the old gold colored semi circular sofa. Getting the radius just right, the plinths right, the weights to anchor it right… then there are two pieces, each piece took 5 men to carry and the upholstery was velvet so we didn’t want it bruised… At the widest point is it 5 meters wide.  I have great clients who believe in me… fingers crossed!

How do you find the pieces of furniture and décor accessories you use to beautify a space?

  • I make my fingers bleed on the internet… I source from antique and art dealers globally. I like glamour. But I like it to be uncluttered. Thing is, I have a high expectation for an instant response and that can be difficult when I am emailing New York first thing Monday morning Sydney time and it is Sunday in New York.
What is the color you think can compose a spectacular atmosphere in any space?
  • I like fringe dwellers on the color spectrum exactly for that purpose. For that I select orange, purple and emerald green.
How much of your work is research and how much intuition?
  • It’s mostly intuition. I feel it. I get a feeling from my client and their personality. Then I RUN with it. I don’t follow trends as such however I am inspired by some very clever designers of the past.
How do you introduce color schemes into each room when the client leaves it all up to you?
  • It’s never completely up to me. Without an intentional direction from them, they tell me their story just by sitting and chatting with me. It can be a anecdote about their life, a travel adventure, stories about their children, their passion. The rest just follows.

Your blog is filled with inspiration and finds – how much time do you spend online?

  • I don’t spend a lot of time on line, apart from my Pinterest board which I have called ‘Chin Candy’, men with beards… It’s a light hearted way for me to escape and dream about gorgeous men with beards… Apart from that, I spend about half a day a week on my blog and I just write away and Nena, who I call TheGirlWonder, double checks it for me and does any complicated IT stuff for me. My blog is simply a way of me to express to my clients and or readers about what inspires me. It’s a look into a designers mind. I have to say that even though I don’t spend a lot of time, the time I do spend is in absolute AWE of how many clever, inspired and talented people there are out there. WOW, amazing. Makes me feel humble. Oh, and I love to cook but I have bitten off more than I can chew keeping up with my own cooking posts.  The heat of the kitchen and the camera is all a bit too much.

In one of your blog posts, you speak about renovations as seen from the designer’s point of view. How do you deal with clients who exceed their budget?

  • We always try, to the best of our ability, to keep them in check. I am very upfront and direct with my clients and keep them realistic and informed along the way so that they can make the final decision. Nothing is a surprise, so we are not over budget.

You have a descriptive portfolio showing your love for color and form. What are your plans for 2013?

  • 2013 and beyond will be developing a bespoke range of furniture and decor pieces.  I’m working with sensational blacksmiths and I also am in love with rugs so I am developing a range of rugs. In terms of colour, I wrote this on my blog several months ago, it’s all colours with a dash of milk.  I call them Milkshake colours – so, my advise to everyone, is go for it. Color your world and fill your senses with colour.

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  • Selborne Chambers, Sydney

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