The design world certainly isn’t short on talent, but it takes a true standout to hold multiple top editorial roles and a style directorship at one of the industry’s most renowned brands. Enter Tori Mellott, who has done just that, from her time at the original Domino to her seven memorable years as the senior design and market editor at Traditional Home, which brought her to Schumacher two years ago.
As style director, Tori works on the esteemed brand’s in-house Bulletin publication, along with a variety of other creative projects. We asked the editorial innovator about all things interiors, including her favorite design resources, her decorating tricks, and what it was like taking on a very different role at such a famous firm. And to get even more of a sense of her style, be sure to browse Tori’s curation of chic Chairish picks and see some beautiful interiors featuring Schumacher below.
How would you describe your personal design style?
My personal style is girly, preppy, traditional, and a tiny bit quirky!
Where do you turn when you’re in need of inspiration for a personal design project?
I turn to my Pinterest boards and all of my design books. I could look design images and interior photos for the rest of my life and never tire of them!
What book should every design lover have in their reference library?
I would say Horst P. Horst’s Houses, Gardens, and People is pretty much mandatory, as well as all of the Slim Aarons books. The houses and rooms he captured are incredible; his images are about living well and enjoying life.
What’s a favorite decorating trick that you picked up from your time as an editor?
Big mirrors can help anchor and elevate a room – use one or two and make sure they are scaled up!
For you, what are the common traits that all truly remarkable interiors share?
They are thoughtful! From the lighting, to the furniture layout, to the functionality — every detail is carefully considered.
What advice would you give young designers starting out today?
Make sure you’ve been trained properly. Work for an expert in the field and train under that person for a solid four to six years before you embark on your own. That, and don’t follow trends — your work will look dated inside of a decade.
What’s a typical day at the office like for you?
There is no typical day, but I will say Schumacher is not for the faint of heart! We work very hard and very fast. It’s incredibly rewarding and fulfilling but it’s probably the hardest job I’ve ever had. Our executives take things very seriously and like a good room, every detail is considered. A lot is expected but the proof is in the pudding – I am so proud of everything I’ve produced.
What’s been the most surprising thing about transitioning from editor to creative director?
There was a real separation between church and state in editorial — as an editor I didn’t think about the bottom line — that was for the advertising team to worry about. As a style director I’m forced to think about all of the business and financial implications of everything I do. There is a lot at stake and the pressure is on, but I love being part of a growing and thriving company – it’s thrilling!
Schumacher has been around since 1889, and is still thriving today. Why do you think the company has stood the test of time?
Schumacher has stood the test of time for a couple of reasons: 1. Our product is exceptional. 2. We have always had strong leaders at the helm, steering us through calm seas and rough waters. 3. How we partner with our customers – we aren’t just selling fabric and wallcovering; we work as an equal partner with designers to give them a wonderful experience so they can pass that on to their clients.
What’s something new, or currently in the works, at Schumacher that you’re especially excited about?
So many things! We launch new product every month so there is always something brewing. There is a new Scandinavian Modern collection that I’m just wild about! The patterns and colors are so fresh.
What do you like about shopping on Chairish? Any categories that it’s become your go-to for?
Chairish literally has EVERYTHING. I’m a thrill seeker and it’s the ultimate shopping thrill. First of all, every search produces hundreds of things I never knew I needed (and I NEED them all!) and it’s also a history lesson – I’m always learning about designers or periods or design techniques I never knew about. In addition to the shopping part, it’s a very good education.
Is there any particular product category where Chairish is your go-to?
Brown furniture. I LOVE brown furniture and Chairish has a huge selection and amazing deals. I’m never going to be able to afford museum quality brown furniture — and that’s ok. I don’t really want to worry about furniture getting dinged or scuffed so Chairish is a great resource for handsome, good-looking brown furniture that a person can actually live with.
What are your some favorite items on Chairish right now?
Some Design Favorites…
Favorite way to create a statement making moment in a room:
Play with scale and do everything to excess. Big, dramatic, show-stopping moments come from oversized accessories (mainly art and mirrors and occasionally a really great bar set-up) or things done to excess — like the same fabric on every surface and every piece of upholstery or a tented room or a beautifully and cleverly displayed collection.
Favorite iconic piece of vintage design:
It’s so overplayed, but the Tulip Table by Eero Saarinen. It’s so pure and beautiful— it’s like art! I’m a traditionalist at heart so I love that it’s the one vintage design that is quiet enough to mix with my penchant for antique pieces (namely Louis chairs). It’s overplayed for a reason — it’s kind of perfect!
Design element that works in almost any space:
Stripes. Stripes are so versatile — they can go formal and serious or playful and casual. They work in any room and with any aesthetic.
Favorite paint color:
Favorite type of wallpaper pattern:
Favorite color palette:
Pink and red FOREVER!
Designer from the past you most often turn to for inspiration:
Design book you most often turn to for inspiration:
It’s less a book – I mostly turn to my collection of The World of Interiors magazines.
Design destination every decor lover should visit at least once
That’s so hard! India for the colors, Monticello and Brighton Pavilion for the architecture.
Lead photo of Tori Mellott by Brian Boulos