Melissa Lindsay acquired the established, New Canaan, Connecticut-based design store, Pimlico Interiors, in 2006 with partner Jill Saunders, based on the pair’s shared sense of luxurious yet approachable design. The co-owners’ flexible eye for design works in traditional, rustic and modern interiors alike. Melissa describes the Pimlico design mission this way: “I help shape and define my clients’ vision while creatively pushing them just enough to create a home that is optimally functional, beautiful and better than what they expected.”
Shop Melissa and Jill’s consigned pieces, exclusively on Sotheby’s Home.
How did you discover your passion for design?
When I was a young girl, I would beg my mom to take me to the local home fabric store. I would pull fabrics and put together schemes to “re-decorate” all the rooms in our home. Of course, my childhood schemes never actually came to fruition! I remember just having to have a toile fabric in my bedroom and was obsessed with getting my bedroom floors pickled white. I have no doubt that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing!
What is your favorite decorative object at home?
I love my collection of vintage art books that belonged to my grandmother, who was a painter, and a vintage burlwood box that a dear friend brought back to me from Paris. It used to hold a man’s watch. It’s tiny, but I love it!
Is design an art or a science?
I strongly believe so much of design comes from intuition. What feels right in the space for the client and the architecture of the home. Often, I can’t explain what gives me an idea to create in a space…it just comes to me! Rules can be broken in our industry, but having proper training is a must. We are such a detail-oriented business, and this is more the “science” part. In our world, an inch can make a difference.
Do you have any go-to color or pattern combinations?
I love creating spaces that feel anything but formulaic. Each design is unique to the client and the house. I never use a fabric twice! I do, however, love to mix metals. Brass and silver tones read to me as neutrals, and when they’re balanced together, it keeps the room from feeling too warm or too cool in color. I always find ways to incorporate them together.
When do you consider a completed project a success?
For us, an easy sign of how successful a project has been is when it’s nearing completion and neither the client nor I want it to end! If we’re lamenting that there isn’t just one more room to design or one more half bath to wallpaper, then we know everything fell into place, the kismet, the energy, the design, it was all just right!
Share your biggest design secret.
Don’t be afraid to mix metals! The right balance of brass and silver tones in a room creates visual interest and keeps the room from feeling all the same note.
What is the most common design mistake you see?
Some clients come to us after they’ve already made a few design mistakes, and usually it’s because they haven’t considered the room as a whole. They haven’t thought through all the pieces that will live together in the space. Many people’s first instinct is to think: let’s just buy the sofa and worry about the rest of the room later — we need a place to sit. But maybe the room would flow better with a sectional or a pair of sofas, or the sofa they purchased is too big or too small. Layout is very important, how the furniture in the space works together is important. Of course, mistakes can always be fixed, but why spend more money on a solution when a designer would have created harmony on the first try?!
How do you balance style, comfort and functionality?
Many of the major fabric lines have come up with soft, textural fabrics that are also spill-resistant, stain-proof and all around indestructible. This makes it easy for us to give our clients who have young children high style without sacrificing the comfort and functionality they crave in their everyday home life.
Is there a specific item you typically use as a starting point? (ex: rug, artwork, statement piece, furniture)
Inspiration filters in from all over. The room may have double-height ceilings and be calling out for a massive mirror as a focal point, so I’ll start from there. Or I’ll be on the hunt for a chandelier for a dining room but spot an incredible vintage sideboard, and the design of the space starts to take shape organically.
Can you pick your 3 favorite items you are consigning and tell a little bit about what makes them special?
The vintage Hollywood Regency-style console table is a favorite of mine. The acanthus detailing makes it a special piece, and the three tiers give an easy flexibility to display a favorite collection.
The Cubo de Marco lantern from Solaria is just calling out for the perfect powder room. I love the silver leaf trim, and each panel has a sheet of mica behind the glass, giving it the most wonderful glow!
I’m also partial to the pair of custom velvet ottomans. They are perfectly neutral. The pattern brings interest along with a subtle sophistication. These are a great way to bring in another layer of texture to your space.
What do you think about Sotheby’s Home?
For me, the Sotheby’s name has always conjured up thoughts of luxury, sophistication and items of impeccable quality. I love that they’ve expanded their offerings!