Being in love with beautiful things
Melloney van Leeuwen, owner of Africhic focuses mainly on interior and furniture design.
“I love beautiful things, sometimes even more than other women do,” she jests. Since she was young she has always surrounded herself with beautiful furniture, exceptional architecture and gorgeous accessories.
While still at school, Melloney decided to go and study fashion design, but circumstances did not quite work out in her favour and she had to go and work full time for the first few years after school. “Only later in life I got the opportunity to study and instead of fashion design, I decided to give interior design a try.” She explains that the two industries are interrelated. “The seasonal colours first appear on the walkway and thereafter siphons through to interior. If you find flowers in season in fashion, it doesn’t take long for interior designers to incorporate the idea.”
Melloney did her course in interior design at the Cornerstone Institute (Dorothy van’t Riet Design Academy). “It was just logic – if Dorothy van’t Riet is presenting the online course, I wanted to take this. She is after all an internationally famed designer and interior decorator. I wanted to learn everthing she knows.”
She decided on the online course since it is easier to work from home in your own time, although it had its challenges. “It was difficult to keep up with deadlines and run a business at the same time.” Other challenges included teaching herself from the course material. “This is something students take for granted when they sit in classes.”
Melloney feels that some people think that a personal flair for interior design would be enough, “but there are rules too, and you have to take those into account for successful design.”
When it comes to interior styles, Melloney is honest about her obsession with French style interiors.
“I think it has something to do with fairy tales from my youth, you know? Castles and magnificent beds and decorative armours.” It is definitely obvious in her personal design style but also the basis for her furniture design business.
“My brand is based on imported French style chair frames which are covered in exciting and colourful animal print motives. The client’s own choice of fabric and colour makes every product unique.”
Where do you start when you see an interior client? “Design style is the first thing to consider. Thereafter we look at a colour scheme and this serves as the launching block for what we are going to create!”