Melissa Davis is an accomplished interior designer with close to two decades of experience in the industry. She has owned her own design firm for almost 10 years, offering design services for residential, commercial and retail clients, and she recently partnered with a construction group to offer full design-build services. Her design projects maximize comfortability while increasing value, and the spaces she creates are stylishly classic and realize Melissa's intention of evoking personality and injecting a positive feeling for its inhabitants. If Melissa looks familiar, you probably recognize her as the designer on HGTV's Income Property, having worked alongside host Scott McGillivray for 8 seasons. I'm incredibly passionate about interior design and I admire Melissa's work, so it was a pleasure to have the chance to speak with her and get to know her better so that I can share a part of her story here with you.
Melissa was introduced to the possibility of a career in design at the young age of 15, when her aunt casually suggested she become an interior designer because it involves math and science, subjects that Melissa gravitated towards more so than the arts (even though she excelled at fine arts, too). Most people who enter the interior design industry are often initially motivated by artistic and creative desires, but Melissa's aunt, a financial consultant who had a secret passion for design, appealed to Melissa's logical side. Looking back, it was obviously the perfect suggestion – a career that would satisfy the creative “right-brain” side of her while allowing her to exercise her analytical “left-brain” skills.
I was curious to know how Melissa's career in interior design was shaped and asked her who her mentors were. I was most intrigued when she shared that it is not a particular person or persons, but rather an approach, a thought process that has influenced her, and it is an approach she shares with Swedish mega-retailer IKEA. IKEA is founded on the principle of democratic design, that everyone should have access to furniture, which mirrors Melissa's design philosophy – simply put, she wants everyone to have the ability to live with good design. She can relate to IKEA's ongoing quest for innovation, recounting the example of their commitment to increase their use of cork after the cork industry found themselves with an excess of the material due to the wine industry's decreased demand for it. It is this kind of innovation that inspires Melissa, and her decision to work on Income Property stems from this approach – her design goals on the television show were to determine how to make a property more valuable and to ensure that it gave something back to the owners. Thanks to the show, Melissa has had opportunities to make it possible for families to save up for college tuitions for their children, and, in a touching story, one family would use the money earned from their income property to build an orphanage.
Looking forward at what we might expect to see more of in interior design this year, Melissa's views are an extension of how she feels about what has influenced her – that there is a movement forming towards having an approach to design rather than targeting specific objects or colours as the latest fad. For example, while designing with mixed metals is still a popular trend, Melissa sees this as a small part of a bigger design mentality of throwing out the rules and where anything goes. We will see people taking more risks, mixing eras and expressing individuality. Home designing has also evolved into “fashion for the home” and the approach to fashionably adorning the home is also here to stay.
What's next for Melissa? Look out for her on a new HGTV show, Backyard Builds, airing this spring. The makeovers you'll see on this show are not the typical deck-building or landscaping type of work – rather, the show will tackle big projects that aim to create the dream version of the homeowner's backyard, like building an elaborate treehouse, or creating a backyard home office using a shipping container. Looking forward to seeing the fun ideas she comes up with!
Want more? Let's hear from Melissa – here's what We Want To Know:
I can't start my morning without...coffee with cream and cinnamon and a hot bath. Every day.
I have a weakness for...Good news. I’m the eternal optimist. I love hearing about little wins, from someone beating the traffic lights, to finding the shoes they wanted on sale. I pepper people for tales of good news. I also eat french fries like it’s my job. French fries make me weak.
Most people don't know that I...grew up in a tiny farm town, 350ppl, and moved out on my own at 16. It wasn’t the typical tale of teenage rebellion, I actually applied to a better school without my parents knowing and then announced I was moving to the village where it was. I worked 2 jobs to pay the rent on my apartment above the bank, while finishing my last 2 years of high school. I’ve always been a bit headstrong!
Currently reading...I’m re-reading one of my favourites: The Sweetness of a Simple Life by Diana Beresford-Kroeger. She’s a botanist and biochemist and a bit of a renegade. This book offers simple nuggets of advice for everything from brain foods, to managing depression and sleep.
I want...to like running. I’ve made a new year’s resolution to be more proactive in my physical fitness and I desperately want to enjoy running! A side effect of my work is that I also want to redo my counters and floors at home. I’m in mad love with Kentwood Flooring, the wide plank more matte finish is earthy and gorgeous. Quartex Surfaces have stunning composite counters that now having seen them, I must have them. They look like beautiful white marble but don’t stain!
Thank you Melissa, for participating in #WeWantToKnow!