Tell us about yourself.
Warmest greetings from the Midwest. My name is Melissa and I am a vintage-obsessed designer and a small town girl with big ideas. I like to believe life doesn’t need to be too complex and find much of my inspiration in the everyday. I live in a wonderful community near Grand Rapids, MI with my husband and charming little girl, Sophie. I’m also the curator behind AMradio where I feature an eclectic mix of vintage wares. Prior to this endeavor, I was an interiors project manager and CAD designer for thirteen years. I typically find myself scheming both personal and professional plans for the future. I’m always on the search for a great fictional book and I love my family beyond words could ever express.
Apart from collecting and curating, what do you do?
I enjoy photography, gardening, and spending as much time as possible at the lake. We find any excuse for an antiquing road trip and will inevitably seek out eateries and brewpubs along the way (my husband is an avid homebrewer). Whenever the time allows, I am quite passionate about sewing from my own custom patterns.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
Can a book be titled “What if?”? Let’s run with it. Like many, I yearn for a simpler life and do my best to live one. But curiosity and the “what if” side of me has a way of keeping things interesting and ever-changing. I like to attribute this personality conflict to being a Gemini. Life seems to be a continual experiment and I have to remind myself to never regret one decision to the next.
Do you have any personal collections? How did they start?
Some may find it peculiar, but I collect snowflakes. Well, I better clarify, not the real ones but those in wood, metal and crystal form which mimic the pattern of a real snowflake. My fascination started when I would head out with my dad into the cold Northern Michigan mornings after a snowstorm. I remember them floating down from the sky and landing on my coat, asking to be admired. Looking close enough I could see each detail repeat itself around the entire flake. To this day I wonder why something so perfect and beautiful doesn’t last forever.
What decade or style inspires you?
Scandinavian decor always has a way of sparking my fancy. It’s clean, simple and natural to a point of calming. I also like to see a contrast of rustic industrial pieces and traditional architectural elements introduced together all maintained in a neutral palette.
What are the challenges of finding great vintage?
It may be more of a self-imposed obstacle, but I like to believe each vintage item could be more than just visual decor. I typically contemplate a piece prior to putting it in the shop to see if there is a way it can be repurposed into something useful too.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Beyond vintage, I have a love for paper used in a sculptural form. One artisan who has captured my admiration is Anna-Wili Highfield. If I could have just one day to see her at work in the studio — scratch that, how about one year serving as an assistant?
Was there an object that was particularly hard for you to give up? If so, why?
The longer an object is with me, the more I realize I am ready to part with it. Although, there was a library card file which was difficult to sell. It had hand crafted copper labels, adorned with a patina only time and use could create. But in the end I felt comforted because it went to another who showed just as much appreciation for its beauty.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I would love to say it never happens but alas there are those days when I walk into the studio with my camera thinking my creative drive is just not there. This is when I rely on my passion for the process to get me through the first few photos. Next thing I know my camera memory card is telling me it’s full.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
Still seeking out vintage treasures, loving my husband more than I do now, watching my little girl grow into a lady, and possibly building a cottage tucked neatly away by the waters edge.