Any interior designer worth their salt will tell you that accenting spaces around the home with beautifully bold statement pieces is an essential.
And so it is for Notting Hill designer Melina Blaxland-Horne of Melodi Horne whose divine lamp shades create the perfect ambience in any home; giving their owners both a truly covetable piece and conversation starter. A lover of combining colours, textures, fabrics and prints to create different moods Melina has been making lamp shades and cushions in London for the past seven years.
We are very excited to announce a limited range Melina and Verity have designed exclusively for the Rascal & Roses Edit for a limited time only. With the trademark Melodi Horne coloured linen linings in four stunning combinations, these beautiful shades will work individually or as a set.
We sat down with Melodi for a cup of tea to find out more…
Tell us about your brand name, why did you choose the name Melodi over Melina?
It is a declaration of love for my husband; ME – Melina, LO – loves, DI – Dimitri. It was my late sister who played godmother to the name, over 20 years ago, long before I had started my business. We were altogether and she affectionately declared, “you two are MELODI!” I just loved the sound and the meaning of this name and something in me knew that one day, this would be my brand name, although at the time I had no idea what the brand would be or what it would be about.
Where did your passion for lampshades start?
My thing is all about colour, choice and versatility. Traditional lampshades used to be something you put on your lamp base without giving them much thought and were almost always either soft white or cream with matching silk lining. I decided to use linen to line my lampshades instead of silk because I love the composition of this fabric and how the light becomes textured and escapes through every direction. And by using a coloured linen for the lining I further discovered I could control the mood of the room; a dark blue lining to make a room very boudoir, pale pink to make it soft and amorous whilst orange magically throws a sunset into a beige room. I challenged the norm and we were the first ones to offer 55 linen colours specifically to mix, match or clash the shade and the lining.
How old were you when you first knew this was your passion?
I only found out, after starting my business, that one of my very first words was light. Around 18 months old my parents said I would look up at the ceiling light and point excitedly, calling out ‘light ‘…maybe a first glimpse into my future! By the time I was about 5/6, I had become very creative and very much into colours and shapes, I used to make things, paint and draw all of the time. We grew up in a neo classical house full of beautiful antique objects so I was surrounded by lines, colours, intricate cornicing, marquetry flooring, curves that I found completely magical and would study their forms.
I cannot remember a point in my life when I wasn’t fascinated with colour and textures.
Tell us about the first piece you ever created?
When I was learning how to hand sew lampshades my teacher one day suggested I choose the fabric instead of using her offcuts. I had a lovely IKAT and some blue linen and I was curious to see if the combination would work as a lampshade even though my teacher advised against using linen as a lining as it wouldn’t have enough stretch and ‘wasn’t really the done thing’. I was determined however and brought in the linen for the lining and as my shade took shape I fell completely in love, it felt right to me. I had never seen this effect before, my mind exploded and began to race with possibilities “what if I used a pink or orange lining etc…?” As it tuns out, linen is a very good, natural fireproof fabric (as is silk) because of its texture, heat escapes easily.
What’s your favourite piece in your new collection?
My new wall lights. Just for starters, to try this new concept out, I have created a very basic square brass design. They have a diffuser at the back so you can’t see the light bulb but you can change the central panel as often as you like using fabric, card, wallpaper, tweed, hessian, etc. The light comes through the panel and the effect is beautiful.
My products are always about change and versatility and this really is the whole ethos of my brand. With these lights you can paint the frame any colour you want using anything from super gloss to super matt and then you can change the panels. In a dining room for example your De Gournay wallpaper can continue through the wall light accentuated by a strong, contrasting colour on the frame picked out from a colour on the wallpaper.
You have many high-profile clients, is there one that still gives you goose bumps to think; “My goodness, my work is in XXXX’s living room!”?
I feel this way with every single one of my clients. The fact they have made the effort to either pick up the phone or walk through our studio doors, that they are curious and want to be involved in the creation makes every single client of mine high profile.
There’s a beautiful vibrancy to many of your colour ways, are you often inspired by places you visit travelling?
Absolutely, particularly if I am in a souk or an old market where there is a creative ‘unstructured’ structure. The colour combination of for instance, cinnamon and turmeric within a vibrant spice section can set something off in me or objects of art and hanging clothes in another section of the marketplace. It’s the child from within and it comes from putting things together in a very, dare I say, simplistic way. You sit down, you take your fabric swatches and you place and mix together against objects and the story begins. It’s a childish enthusiasm, every piece is a new adventure.
What’s your favourite part of the design process?
For me, it’s visualising and dreaming about the end product. With my first ever lampshade I remember stitching every pleat, trying to keep it straight and not wonky (which is hard when it’s a straight empire!) and wondering if it will look as good as I imagined – it did. With everything I design, I always see the end product in my mind before I start making and it feels terribly exciting to be a part of that creation.
When you’re designing a piece, do you work closely with your clients?
It depends. Some clients send photos of the room we are designing for and want me to suggest an idea or a colour scheme, whereas others want to be really involved and will bring swatches of their colours/surroundings and will know what they want. Mostly my clients like to be involved. I like to know about the room, a favourite piece in the room or something that makes you feel happy. When I work with interior designers I tend to go on site where we discuss things and we will work together. It’s such a collaborative world – everyone respects the other person for what they do.
What do your clients get with a handmade bespoke piece that they’ll never find in mass produced homewares?
A statement piece that has been produced with a lot of love and attention to detail. They have a chance to co create, to talk about the colour schemes, what mood they want to create. It’s basically a collaboration that allows our clients to bring out their own personality and preferences. It’s a very personal exchange which I treasure.
You learnt much of your sewing prowess from your grandmother, why do you think it’s so important to keep handing down these skills from generation to generation?
I was taught how to hand sew in its very basic form from my maternal grandmother who was incredibly creative and traditional – something I treasure. I think it’s important to hand down these skills as I dread the day when everything moves to machinery. How magical is it to receive a hand-written letter with the curves of the writer, the personalisation, It’s like any hand created skill. In London for instance, you can see the skill and craftsmanship that went into the beautiful old Victorian and Georgian buildings/furniture, even down to the hand carved stone and railings. Modern buildings even though beautiful are often so straight and plain in comparison. Machines are taking over stone masonry, carpentry, even lampshade making! It’s all very fast food. Today, things need to be done yesterday and it’s a pity because skills are left behind…
Where do you get your fabrics from?
The silk trail….
Who is the Melodi Horne customer?
A free spirit. Somebody who has travelled, who is eclectic and aesthetic. They want the unique piece in their house, they love attention to detail, colour and they are looking for a story. Our customer is bold, sophisticated, expressive and adventurous. Classical but with a twist.
Tell us about your perfect day in Notting Hill?
It always begins with sunshine as everything looks better.
Is it important to you to make all of your products in the UK?
Extremely important. We support the cottage industry and small businesses with the most exquisite makers and artisans who are not only our colleagues but our friends.
And finally, The Fast Five. Please describe yourself in five words…
Visualiser, giggly, communicative, determined and hard working.