Mel Sherwell is a Melbourne based interior designer, stylist, Zen addict and the creator of Soul Shapes. She designs from a biophilic perspective with a goal to create spaces that visually and energetically help her clients feel a sense of wholeness and a connection to ourselves as natural beings.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I run a busy studio in the Melbourne hills (The Dandenong Ranges). My day is a juggle between managing my furniture store and then of course my design projects. It always starts with lighting my favourite incense, a five minute meditation then off I go! I usually spend the morning tending to the store, ensuring everything is running nicely for the day, schedule deliveries etc.
My day really is a lot of assessing, assessing timelines and prioritising tasks. Knowing what can wait and what is a NOW task. I have an online store also, so in between the store and my design projects I will jump on and process any online orders. My daughter helps a lot with the online store which is great experience for her. Mondays and Tuesdays I close the studio to allow for consults/site/showroom visits.
What has been the most memorable project you’ve work on and why?
To date, it would be a Port Melbourne residential project which both Australian Interiors and Interiors Addict actually featured. I really loved the combined living dining space we pulled together. I think there are few really impactful design elements that I’m really proud of. When I first saw the shots of the dining space, I got the goosies which is always a good sign! I have just been hired to furnish and style a build designed by Hecker Guthrie which I’m over the moon excited about!!
What do you wish the public knew about design?
I wish the public knew just how many areas of expertise a designer has to be proficient in. When training to become an Interior Designer, there are so many aspects we learn in order to effectively apply the principles of ‘good design’. In addition to learning the expected fundamentals of design styles/architectural history etc. We are also trained experts in so many different industries.
From the huge variety of finishes available, fabric composition + application, colour foundation, complicated computer programs, construction methodology, spatial layout, functionality, ergonomics, drafting, contact admin, marketing, communication and client relationships. This is really just a few of the many areas we have developed our skillset in and it’s extremely frustrating that our industry is not effectively regulated and thus diminished by the influx of creatives using the title, without the formal training. It’s hard to see our extremely talented, hard working designers feel diminished by those who unintentionally think we just fluff cushions and play with colour swatches all day. I really wish they new just how hard our job is and how hard we have all worked to become experts in the industry we love so much!
What is the most challenging thing about being a designer?
When a client starts to second guess the design, they look unsure and you have to really back your self, your initial vision. But still make sure it’s on par with what the client wants.
Who inspires you?
I love Greg Natale for his unpredictable, always fresh, yet signature style. I love how he uses contrast and innovative colour palettes to create lots of dramatic wow moments! Although very different in styles, I am really inspired by love Hecker Guthrie for much the same reasons. In my eyes they are pioneers for Australian Interiors.