Tell me about your design background.
I've been an interior designer for 13 years. I worked in Dallas several years, then in Vail. When I moved to Chicago, I worked as a designer for Nate Berkus Associates. I've been on my own [in Chicago] for four and a half years.
What distinguishes your designs from the work of others in the business?
I really love to design an eclectic interior, using unexpected pieces. I like to work in vintage houses, but to bring in modern pieces of furniture and accessories as well as antiques.
I also love bringing spaces to life with textiles-great mixtures of textures, colors, and patterns. My personal favorite is neutral backgrounds with punches of color.
What do clients seem to like most about your approach?
People tend to gravitate toward my color palettes.
But I also think they like the fact that it's really important to me to listen to their needs and then facilitate that into something beautiful and elegant.
Given carte blanche, would you design an entire interior in '40s vintage pieces?
Everybody's hopping on the green bandwagon. Have you?
I would never do a whole room in it. But I would use a '40s table and other '40s pieces as accents.
There are some great-looking textiles on the market now that are eco-friendly. More and more companies are offering good selections-especially of great wovens and textures, which are supposed to have longer durability than other fabrics. I'm investigating those options as I design. I also use paint that is noted for being environmentally friendly.
Melanie Elston Interiors