Tuesday, January 26

Profile: Melissa Rufty

Like most talent in life, natural ability plays a leading role. Whether it’s drawing, dancing or designing. You've either got it or you don't. Well, New Orleans based interior designer Melissa Rufty has it, and with plenty to spare! I have been a big fan of Melissa’s colorful and sophisticated design aesthetic for the better part of two years. It was from Courtney Barnes that I first learned of Melissa. I think my heart actually skipped a beat the first time that I laid eyes on her work. Layer, texture, color, refinement and personality were all in attendance.

Thanks to our friends Michael and Quinn, Melissa and I finally had a chance to meet in person last summer. The Southern raised, Tulane educated Melissa is as affable and interesting as the interiors she fashions. Drawing inspiration from the bewitching city that is New Orleans, Melissa imbues the same alluring style in all that she creates.

How would you describe your style?
Ever changing but always rooted. I am easily and often inspired, but somehow all of my rooms end up with beautiful antique wood and an oil painting or two. Someone recently described my design style as - southern elegance with a modern edge. It really resonated with me, so I will hang my hat there for now!

What is your most prized possession
The fabulous antique chandelier that hangs in my dining room. My parents purchased it fourteen years ago from Gerrie Bremermann's shop in New Orleans. It was a 30th birthday present.

My father suddenly passed away just three weeks before my birthday. My mom, who never lets a birthday go unnoticed, regardless the circumstance, surprised me with a tiny wrapped box. Inside was a miniature crystal chandelier and a note that read, “He would want you to sparkle always.” Bottom line, things are simply just that—things! It is the sentiment that accompanies most things that makes them priceless.

Who has most influenced your direction in life?
Without a doubt my parents. My mother is the epitome of southern style. She is old fashion in her values and ahead of her time in fashion and entertaining. And did I mention that she is always right (I mean ALWAYS). We have a funny expression in our office…”What would Beulah say?” My father was a creative genius. He is legendary for his elaborate parties, practical jokes and surprises. I’d like to think I got her taste and his imagination!

What virtue would you most like to possess?

Who are your style icons
Sienna miller. You just never know what she’s going to put together, and yet it always works and seems effortless. And of course Aerin Lauder, she has so much of her famous grandmother’s timeless grace. She looks as wonderful in a ball gown as she does a pair of jeans.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
I really adore the design work of Amelia Handegan from Charleston. She is a color savant! Her low country, effortless approach to design is unmatched.

What is your idea of earthly happiness
The smell of salty seaside air, my children, belly laughs and my sweet husband pouring me a great glass of wine (while fanning me of course)!

Who do you most admire?
Kay Thompson’s Eloise. She lives at the Plaza, she has a never ending imagination, an unbreakable spirit and an unmonitored charge account—a girl after my own heart!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Raising three wonderful daughters. However, I’m not done, so I guess the verdict is still out.

Profile by Ronda Carman


style chronicle said...

Love her work. So inspiring!!!

Gwen Driscoll said...


I love Melissa. She is a good friend. So glad you featured her. Can't wait until her house comes out in House Beautiful. What are they waiting on? Hope you have a great week.

ALL THE BEST said...

Right?!? She is soooo sweet and talented!

pve design said...

I like that her style has a "grown-up" flair to it.
I have always felt akin to those who admire Eloise and
old souls. I think Eloise would feel right at home in one of Melissa's interiors.

Unknown said...

melissa has that unusual combination of grace, style and humility that makes for a satisfying professional experience. great curtains in those shots........thanks

Janell @ House of Fifty said...

Thanks for the introduction. Her work is very inspiring...I'm off to look at more. Janell

Karena said...

Ronda, great interview, very poignant. Love Melissa's design work. Those blue high gloss walls are fabulous!!

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Her work always makes me take a second look, a unique character in each room and she is fabulous with colour. I admire her style greatly.

Kelly Green said...

Great interview - she sounds so nice as well as being so clever! I love here work so it is good to see what inspires her. thanks KG

Laurie Blaswich said...

Love your fabric selections!Your blog is fun and carefree! I am new to blogging, please stop by and visit sometime. I appreciate your support !!

Fondly Laurie

Amanda said...

All of those color combinations are terrific. What great inspiration. Being a designer, I get so inspired by peoples ability to combine colors. Bravo! Great post!


!!! WOW !!! What BEAUTIFUL spaces!
and a beautiful blog as well...

:D Lynda

The Buzz Blog said...

Gorgeous sense of color and textures! Who wouldn't love those glazed blue walls... Thank you for introducing Melissa to us!
- The Buzz -

Amanda Stone Talley said...

Amazing post. Melissa has got it in spades! I'm in agreement that House Beautiful needs to go ahead and publish her new Orleans home. I've seen it and it should be on the cover...like yesterday..! Melissa is kind, talented, and (sorry Melissa) but way cooler than Sienna Miller could ever dream of being!!

Treesa55 said...

could see where she was going with the colors and is a great designer to watch. loved the bedrooms especially!

red ticking said...

melissa is gorgeous, talented and i adore her sense of humor...
brilliant post ronda... xx pam

Belle on Heels said...

i have had that lovely orange-and-pink toile bedroom image saved for ages and never knew who designed it. thank you, thank you, thank you!

Unknown said...

What an inspiring story and lovely interview! Thanks a million!


P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

Her work is indeed beautiful-luxurious and honest. Lots of tooth here, the complexity of patterns and apparent ease she gives is especially pleasing. Yes-to see her work front page would be an absolute breath of fresh air with some serious design expertise at work for a change.

Southern Aspirations said...

This was a great interview- thank you so much! Melissa sounds like such a fabulous woman. Have seen her work- but now feel like I have a much bigger appreciation of it.

mary said...

Breath-taking style. So French, yet American. Her mix of color and patterns is amazing.

Chic Coles said...

We love her work! Thank you so much for such a great interview. Looking forward to seeing her house in HB!

Cristin // Simplified Bee said...

Great interview. I really like her design style. It's layered, mixed and complex... very nice.

Terrific post!


katiedid said...

Such a talent! Thanks again Ronda!

Cashon&Co said...

Every single one of these rooms are STUNNING. I love the bright colour and the mix of pattern. Great post, thank you for sharing this incredible designer!