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Five Minutes with Vanessa Macdonald

21st April 2020

Melissa Wyndham is one of London’s most highly regarded interior design studios. Nurturing the studio’s ethos and the impeccable taste of the late Melissa Wyndham is Vanessa Macdonald.
We talk to Vanessa about her ideal interior’s combination – classic with a touch of contemporary, and how her lockdown life is currently reflecting this; a cocktail of classic novels and Netflix drama!

Vanessa Macdonald
Vanessa Macdonald

Melissa Wyndham Interior Design
Melissa Wyndham started 30 years ago by Melissa who was one of the most sought-after decorators of her generation.  She had impeccable taste and worked on many houses of the great and the good of English society.  I was lucky enough to work for Melissa for 14 years and learnt so much from her.

Mostly in London and the English Countryside and recently we have also done some ski chalets in the Alps and a fabulous Park Avenue apartment in New York.

Signature look
Classic with a modern twist.  Comfort is key and we love pattern.

Melissa Wyndham drawing room design
A Melissa Wyndham designed drawing room featuring a Collier Webb Ottoman Lamp
An elegant dining room design by Melissa Wyndham Ltd
The Melissa Wyndham signature look, "classic with a modern twist"

What inspired you to become an interior designer
I worked at Sotheby’s in New York and London, whilst I enjoyed working with paintings, furniture and the decorative arts I was more interested in putting them all together.

Advice for aspiring interior designers
Study the greats – John Fowler, David Hicks, John Stefanidis, Chester Jones, Veere Grenney.  Don’t cut corners and do things properly.

New project inspiration
The location and the architecture of the house provide the inspiration. For the design of a room, we always design the furniture layout first, that provides the main structure to the room.  From there we choose the curtain fabric and develop the overall scheme.

a dining room design by Melissa Wyndham design
an entrance hall design by Melissa Wyndham design studio with a Collier Webb lacquer Console table
A striking entrance hall featuring our Lacquer Console table in red

Favourite room to design
I love designing drawing rooms because there are so many layers involved in creating a room where everyone comes together.

Favourite room in your own home
My bedroom.  I love the furniture layout and the colours.  I had a Jamb fireplace installed a few years ago which provided a much needed focal point and that has made all the difference.

Favourite item in your home
The painting in our entrance hall by contemporary artist Paul Huxley.  It’s over an 18th C gilt wood marble top table and the juxtaposition of the modern and old really works in the space.

Home comfort during lockdown
Pelargoniums in terracotta pots, vases of home grown tulips, setting a lovely table and lots of good books to look through.

While away the hours
I have decided to read some classics during quarantine and am currently gripped by Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier).  I have also been planning and working on my cutting garden and “The Land Gardeners: Cut Flowers” has been my bible.  On Netflix I would recommend “Drive to Survive” and “The English Game” (I have boys!).

A Melissa Wyndham bedroom design featuring a Collier Webb Baratta table lamp
A calming bedroom design featuring a Collier Webb Baratta table lamp
A Melissa Wyndham bedroom design featuring
"Comfort is key and we love pattern."

Post lockdown
Eating out in a restaurant where I don’t have to cook or wash up!

Upcoming projects
We are working on a several houses in London, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire.

Favourite Collier Webb pieces
This is easy – the Ottoman lamp, the Shot light and the Normandie drinks trolley.

Find out more about Vanessa, her team and their projects at melissawyndham.com