Tastemaker Tuesday – Tori Mellott

This month we’re shaking things up a bit here on the blog for steve mckenzie’s by featuring a design editor as our Tastemaker, and it’s not just any editor we’re lucky enough to share with you… It’s Design Editor for Traditional Home magazine, Tori Mellott!

Not only does Tori have class and style to spare (hence her profession), she’s also one of the nicest people we’ve had the opportunity to work with! Steve first met Tori during his time with Larson-Juhl, where art and framing were the hot topic. Since then, we’ve been fortunate enough to expand our discussions to design as a whole, among other things…

Tori has darling twin girls, Franny and Lucy, and it’s been so fun seeing her tackle motherhood just as enthusiastically as she’s conquered the world of home shelter pubs! We think you’ll love Tori just as much as we do, especially after learning more about her in this Tastemaker Tuesday feature:

Tori Mellott
Tori Mellott

1. What are three words that describe your style?

I would describe my style as preppy, tailored, and girlie.


2. Would you please share a little about a favorite space of yours?

Really, my favorite space in the entire world is the house I grew up in located in a sub-suburban neighborhood 20 miles north of Pittsburgh. I was raised by my grandparents and my grandmother really loved pastels.  One bathroom was entirely salmon pink and I mean ENTIRELY.  The sink, the tub, the toilet, the floor tiles. And the bathroom I shared with my sister was entirely mint green and again, I mean ENTIRELY.  The sink, the tub, the toilet, the floor tiles.  I just loved those bathrooms!


And my grandmother was a huge wallpaper lover.  We must have changed the wallpaper in our hallway every 3 to 5 years.  When I was very young it was this wild, white, green, and silver foil paper that had bamboo trees printed on the ground.  Then it changed to this adorable navy blue floral – it was very elegant.  Then one year it was a red “Tree of Life” pattern. It was always changing – my poor Grandfather!  He was the one who had to paper the walls!


One year my grandmother allowed my sister and I to decorate the entire upstairs portion of the house.  A play area, two bedrooms, and a bathroom.  It was so much fun.  I choose a pink and white stripe for my bedroom (which still remains there today) and a small, dense, floral pattern that is reminiscent of a Liberty print for the bathroom.


3. What’s the source(s) of your inspiration?

So many things inspire me.  Especially the past.  I’m such a romantic – I love decaying, rotten, nearly-forgotten ideas, structures, and gardens.


There is such a powerful sense of mystery and loss when you see a crumbling ruin or a path in the forest that is nearly grown over.


I’m especially inspired by classic architecture and I’m a sucker for any Victorian building as well and recently I’ve been on an Art Deco kick.


As for my sense of color, I’m inspired by flowers – the blooms, the variegated patterns, and the intense hues.


4. Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…

–       Chris Rock (because he is the funniest human alive or dead)

–       Idina Menzel (because I am hoping she will burst out into song)

–       Julia Child (because I don’t cook and I would want the food to be good)

5. What’s a piece of/type of furniture you couldn’t live without?

I could not live without a comfortable sofa.  Uncomfortable sofas, even if they are the most beautiful-looking sofa in the world, are useless and pointless.  If design isn’t comfortable, then it’s really not design, it’s art and I don’t want to get cozy on a piece of art.


6. Do you recommend people follow a particular set of rules when mixing textures, finishes, etc.?

I wouldn’t say there are hard and fast “rules” but I definitely think a mix of textures is necessary in designing a cozy space.  If everything has the same texture, it might look boring, or too fancy, or too casual.  I think a good mix of textures lends charm to a room.

7. Trending… What is something you are currently “into” and something you are “over?”

I’m really into floral chintz and animal prints!  I cannot get enough.  I want to swath every surface of my apartment in head-to-toe chintz.



I want every room tented, and every wall upholstered. It would be incredibly impractical, considering I have 2 year old twins, but I daydream about it all the time.


I’m so, so, so over gallery walls.  I think they look messy and cluttered.  One large piece of art will do.

8. How does artwork typically work within your favorite spaces/any advice on incorporating art into a room?

Artwork is critically important. It adds personality to a room and visual interest.


9. What would be the one thing you would have if you were stranded on a deserted island?

That is so easy. Pizza.

10. Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to someone looking to break into the interior design industry.

Be nice to everyone and try not to copy other people’s work.  While other’s designs can serve as an inspiration, and even a jumping off point, try to maintain an original point-of-view.

A huge THANK YOU to Tori for allowing us to feature her as a steve mckenzie’s Tastemaker – you’re always a joy and charm to be with, and we know our readers will experience that same sense of warmth as they enjoy this segment.

Happy Tastemaker Tuesday everyone!

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