We’re back with a new guest tastemaker for some quick-fire questions and a mini-curation of some fab Chairish finds!
This week, we talked to Mel Bean, Tulsa-based interior designer and founder of her eponymous firm. Throughout her career, she’s made several stops at different Oklahoman design firms, consistently learning and honing her craft. Now, Mel specializes in luxury full service residential design as chief of her own studio. The cornerstone of her firm is creating homes perfectly suited for her clients. Practicing in a range of styles on a range of homes—spanning from historic Southern mansions to houses following the Danish concept of hygge—Mel has an extensive field of expertise.
Read on to hear about her views on working with clients, experience launching her very own company, and sentimental keepsakes from her travels around the world.
What would you say is the quintessential Oklahoman design aesthetic?
Is it a cheat to say there is no singular Oklahoma design aesthetic? The evidence is in our projects. They range from classic renovations of historic Tulsa homes, refined contemporary houses, colorful ranches, and timeless homes inspired by the Scandinavian hygge philosophy.
What is the most memorable career moment you’ve had so far?
My design career has been a series of phases of personal and professional growth alongside some truly incredible people. If forced to choose a specific moment, it would have to be the launch of Mel Bean Interiors. The risk, the adventure, the bravery, the vulnerability—it has shaped who I am today!
What is the most outstanding design element you’ve ever incorporated into a space?
My thoughts dance from a stunning custom carved stone fireplace anchoring a beautiful living room to one-of-a-kind antique rugs to art I’ve helped source for my clients. I’ve helped design a home theater with what the client referred to as “make out nooks” along the back wall! I find that it’s really the story and the experience that I remember more than any one item.
Do you collect anything? What sparked your interest in collecting that item?
I collect art from my travels. This started when I was a teenager on a visit to Savannah, Georgia. Instead of buying typical tourist items, I purchased an antique photograph to remind me of the getaway. Since then, I’ve added a massive painting from a trip to Cuba, earrings inspired by the Delos lions from a holiday my boys and I took to Greece, and more. Every time I glimpse at these pieces, I’m transported back to those memories!
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
Ideally, traveling with my family and spending time in nature. I’m usually at baseball games, football games, or band performances cheering on my sons. Outdoor sports could be considered spending time in nature, I suppose!
Lead image: Photo by Valerie Wei-Haas