One of the benefits of technology is that it makes this world a much smaller place, bringing together kindred spirits both near and far. When I met Melea Markell on Instagram, I immediately became enchanted with her exquisite line of home furnishings which celebrates a renaissance of French living through the reinterpretation of antiques, merging the Old World with the new. Melea’s passion for antiques was inherited from her mother who instilled the value of enjoying the present by honoring the past.
A Winston Salem, NC native and now Williamsburg, VA resident, Melea grew up in a household with a longstanding appreciation for fine arts, which set the foundation for her love affair with art and design. After receiving a degree in interior design and fine art, Melea worked as a visual merchandiser for Baker and Thomasville. She then imparted her decades-long knowledge and appreciation for antiques into a collaboration with Bradburn Home, an Atlanta, GA-based lighting and accent furniture company, where she sought to create “something familiar but yet new to the eye.”
Today I am delighted to welcome Melea Markell for a Style Profile Q&A and a tour of her beautiful Virginia home. Welcome, Melea!
Q: Please tell me about your exquisite line of furniture and home goods. Where do you find your inspiration?
A: The Melea Markell Collection for Bradburn Home represents a renaissance French living: feminine and elegant, but set in modern silhouettes to embody an eclectic, yet enchanting look. Known for my feminine interpretation of French antiquities, my collection exudes a soft and romantic spirit that encapsulates the charm of these neoclassical Parisian designs.
With a predominantly pastel color makeup, I do incorporate select saturated colors every so often to keep the overall collection fresh and unexpected. Each antique inspired lamp, accessory or piece of furniture contains a signature Melea element. Hand painted florals, gilded accents, to lend a sense of romance. From each of my travels to antique shops in Paris and throughout France, I’ve realized the real beauty in antiques lies in the details…which I wanted to carry over in my collection for Bradburn Home. Each flourish, gold leaf appliqué, carved detail…they uphold the Old World artistry and attention to detail.
Q: Do you have a background in Interior Design? Your home is lovely.
A: My appreciation for antiques and fine arts is a passion that started during my childhood, paved for me by my mother. She instilled values of enjoying the present by honoring the past. I was raised in a home where I was taught gracious living; to sincerely appreciate the beauty in fine art. My mother would always say, ‘the things we love truly, make us who we are’. With a degree in Interior Design and Fine Art, I started my career in the retail design industry as a merchandiser and buyer. After relocating to Cincinnati, I began my business as a furniture and accessory designer, leading to residential design.
Q: Do you have a favorite piece in your collection?
A: My Antoinette Lamp, one of my first designs. Neoclassical Louis XIV style…swags and form, in a pale pink glaze, with gilt accents. I am particular about shading, as is Bradburn, and this lamp has a lovely shade with mini pleats and trim. Very Marie Antoinette, hence the name.
Q: Who are your favorite designers, past and present?
A: Mario Buatta, for obvious reasons. Nicky Haslam, Carolyn Roehm, Ann Getty.
Q: Do you have anything in particular you enjoy collecting?
A: I am drawn towards antiques, and collect speciality china and crystal…especially that of Limoges. I also adore my Mottahedeh china, Chinoise Blue and Blue Lace patterns. Blue and white is beautifully classic and will never go out of style. I love small-scale French oil and watercolor paintings; each piece tells a story…whether it be the piece itself or a special moment in the discovery that touches you personally. I also collect antique boudoir lamps. I have definitely collected more lamps than I have places for, however, they provide inspiration for my designs.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I enjoy spending time with my husband, Tom and our Cavapoo, Maisie. We travel as often as we can and Maisie joins us wherever we go. As relatively new residents of Williamsburg, we try to allow time to enjoy the history, architecture and surroundings of such a beautiful, and sometimes forgotten, small town.
Q: How can I purchase items from your collection?