Ten with Tom: Melissa Ritchie
We caught up with interior expert, and home content creator Melissa Ritchie, of @littleterracedhouse to find out how she’s refreshed her dining space to align with her family’s changing needs, and how she has been turning her hand to plenty of new skills. Mel recently transformed her dining room, featuring our Arame Pendant, adding a bold focal point to her interior. Let’s find out more about Mel’s design journey…
TR: Can you describe your interior style in three words?
MR: “Traditional meets contemporary”.
TR: Where do you begin when designing a room?
MR: “I start by considering size, space, and which direction the room faces. From there, I will be able to think up a general layout and colour scheme. Ensuring I am able to add sufficient storage to the space is really important when considering the layout”.
TR: What has been your favourite room to renovate in your home and why?
MR: “My favourite room is the dining room because we have taken care to restore the original features including the cornice, ceiling rose and floorboards - we also have a large original fireplace in this room. It’s been a pleasure to peel back the layers – literally – to reveal the craftsmanship beneath. The dining room is the space where we come together for meals with loved ones, so there’s lots of happy memories there”.
TR: Why did you choose Tom Raffield lighting for your space (and why the Arame Pendant)?
MR: “I am a huge fan of Tom Raffield. I love the craftsmanship and commitment to sustainability, and the use of natural materials lends to my interest in biophilic design. We decided to suspend the Arame Pendant over the dining table as it’s a real feature piece. I love how the shape of the Arame Pendant mirrors the oval table beneath, which creates cohesion in the room. When the light is on, it creates the most beautiful pattern on the ceiling. It really is a work of art”.
TR: What tips can you give people who are thinking about refreshing their dining space?
MR: “I always think about storage first. A cluttered space is not usually a relaxing space – I gravitate toward minimalism over maximalism. Also, consider how colours and materials make you feel in the space. You need to go with what makes you feel good, not just the latest trend. I am fascinated by colour psychology and having a read around this area first will really help work out the right colour scheme for you”.
TR: How can you get your home to reflect your personality?
MR: “Your home should make you feel happy and relaxed. I like to include treasured gifts and souvenirs we have collected as they are happy reminders of times past. It’s great to have a go at putting together a mood board before getting started to help choose the things you really want to showcase within the scheme. There’s no problem with following trends, as long as it’s because you really love it, and can be achieved sustainably. Remember to add character and colour that makes you feel happy. If you aren’t sure what colours to choose, your favourite outfits in the wardrobe will often give you a good idea of where to start. You can get all sorts of bespoke art and trinkets from local artists which can include sentiments that are special to you”.
TR: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome in your project?
MR: “Money! We didn’t really understand just how expensive renovating, or even redecorating, actually is. We made some expensive mistakes along the way, mainly by paying too much for work we didn’t need, or not enough for work we did. I think you need to be quite forgiving on yourself though when you’re creating a space to live in. If you make a mistake, and it isn’t right, just try again”.
TR: How much of the renovating work do you do yourself?
MR: “I love turning my hand at DIY and do a lot of the decorating in our home. I also enjoy creating things myself, so I’ll try any kind of craft or woodworking. When it comes to the actual renovating, we have tried all sorts - from restoring the plasterwork to sanding back floors. My general rule is, if I hate doing it, or risk damaging it, I would rather pay an expert to do it. There are also some things like electrics and plumbing that I will always leave to the professionals”.
TR: What advice can you give our customers when it comes to sustainable home styling?
MR: “Work your space around hero pieces that will last a lifetime, like I do with my Tom Raffield pendants. I also enjoy a good upcycling session. Our dining table was inherited from a shared house my partner and I lived in in our 20s. It’s been sanded and painted different colours over its lifetime with the next plan to use reclaimed parquet to give the top a new look. Where possible, working with what you already own, rather than buying new, can be a great place to start. The old adage of ‘buy well, buy once’ really is true. Investing in a timeless, special heirloom is well worth it. I also try to use natural materials like wood, linen, and wool, as I think these are timeless materials that can suit any interior. I’m also a huge fan of houseplants and will often choose an easy-to-care-for real one over plastic. Considering where the raw materials have come from is also important to help reduce your carbon footprint”.
TR: What’s up next in the home renovation?
MR: “The next big project will be the loft, which is full of awkward angles which will need to serve as both a guest room and an office space, so it’ll be an interesting one to plan. I’m hoping to make the most of all the small nooks and crannies for that all-important storage and would like to build a desk area into an alcove to create a compact office space”.