The Style Files: Tori Mellott


{Photography by Brian Boulos}


Tori Mellott first came across my radar nearly ten years ago when she worked at the original Domino. Two of her tiny, but super chic apartments were featured in the magazine and I remember not only featuring them on my blog, but also pinning tear sheets from the magazine onto my inspiration board prior to Pinterest coming onto the scene. In the years since, Tori has gone on to work as the Design Editor at Traditional Home. I first met her in person five years ago when I was Director of Marketing for Visual Comfort and I would give her and her editorial team tours of the showroom. Now, we often run into each other at industry events such as High Point or the Southern Style Now Showhouse which took place in New Orleans this past May. It’s always fun to see what new products have caught Tori’s eye in each month’s issue of Traditional Home and I also enjoy keeping up with her and her darling twin daughters on Instagram! Enjoy!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Tori Mellott: Harmoniously conflicting? I like so many different styles, eras, periods, and movements that it’s nearly impossible to label my style – if one can even call it a style. How does one verbally reconcile a humble Indian block print, a heavy-handed piece of Biedermeier furniture,a delicate and very lady-like Haviland china pattern, a tongue-in-cheek Fornasetti pieces, abstract art, too many Parson’s tables for my own good, loads of sickeningly preppy monograms, Louis the XVI seating, and a penchant for Georgian architecture? My point exactly.


{Tori’s Former Apartment as featured in Domino}

PC: Has living in New York influenced your aesthetic in any way?

TM: My aesthetic has been influenced only in that I’ve been exposed to so much more than I ever would have had I not come to live in NYC 18 years ago. Otherwise, I think my general proclivities have remained constant. Maybe NYC has expanded, finessed, and refined them? Yes, that’s probably a fair assessment.


{Tori’s Former Apartment as featured in Domino}

PC: What does your home say about you?

TM: Currently, my home says I live with two little girls who love Hello Kitty, Frozen, and the color pink. If you can see past the sea of itty bitty plastic toys, I think my home says I love to read, I love to be comfortable, I love to entertain, I love storage containers, and I love to monogram just about anything! In fact, the more random the item, the better!


PC: What was your goal in making over your terrace in partnership with ATG Stores?

TM: Sadly, I was not burdened with a trust fund or an extremely wealthy husband (she says in jest), so I have to make do on a budget. In other words, I don’t have the nicest, chicest, or sexiest apartment but I need to work with what I have. I’ve tried to make my modest apartment look as elegant and feel as personal as possible. I am very fortunate in that I actually have an outdoor space in NYC (that is NOT very common amongst the commoners!) and so my goal was to transform what was a very ordinary and generally unappealing outdoor space into something that feels warm, welcoming, and manicured. And outdoor spaced that actually looks like someone cares about it. Mission accomplished. With the help of my outdoor space looks much more posh than it should but also very welcoming and comfortable. It makes me wish I lived in LA so I could spend time outside all year round.


{Tori’s Newly Revamped Terrace}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

TM: The list is endless! Everything! My mind for starters. But I also rely on books, magazines, pinterest, instagram, street style, and weirdly music – music and art make my mind race with ideas.   I’m typically looking at architecture and antiques but there are so many contemporary interior designers that inspire me. Alberto Pinto, Jacques Grange, Frederic Mechiche, Nicky Haslam, Daniel Romualdez, Nancy Braithwaite, and, of course, the late Albert Hadley, the late Keith Irvine, and the late Billy Baldwin.


{Alberto Pinto via Architectural Digest}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

TM: As far as fashion goes, these women have style I greatly admire; Olivia Palermo, Alison Sarofim, Jenna Lyons, Elizabeth Mayhew, Carolina Irving, Miroslava Duma, Kate Lanphear, Elizabeth Blitzer, Mieke ten Have, Beth Dempsey, Barrie Benson, Christina Juarez, Laura Vinroot, Mary McDonald, Kelly Wearstler, Lily Pulitzer, Tinsley Mortimer (I know she’s super unpopular at the moment, but I really like her style. She’s unapologetically girlie and I can relate to that – I’ve never met a bow I didn’t like.).


PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

TM: It used to be cigarettes, but I quit; so nowadays it’s probably donuts or super spicy potato chips.


PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

TM: That’s so difficult to answer. Every person I have worked for has touched my life in some way; has opened my mind to something new. I am an amalgam of every person I’ve ever come in contact with. But I would say Marian McEvoy probably had the most profound effect on my personal style. She’s a true original. Completely creative. Nothing about Marian is derivative. She’s the real deal. And of course my experience helping to launch Domino magazine is indescribable and invaluable. I had the best mentors in Dara Caponigro and Sara Ruffin Costello, and then there was the whole business about getting to go to work with all of my very closest friends. That experience is paradoxical. On the one hand, my experience at Domino opened so many doors for me and so many remarkable opportunities just landed at my feet, and yet it also ruined me because now “work” will never be as much fun!


{Tori’s Terrace}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

TM: Living the sweet life means finding the right work/life balance, it means being able to travel, it means making loved ones and friends a priority. It means taking ones time; not rushing. Being able to enjoy and relish things in real-time rather than Instagram-time. In other words, relying on my actual memory to recount events rather than looking at my Instagram feed to recall or document something. Savoring every experience and forcing oneself to see the bright side of everything.


{Tori’s Darling Twin Daughters via Instagram}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

TM: I’m trying to complete the interior of my Brooklyn apartment. I used to decorate and re-decorate apartments with lighting speed, but kids make decorating challenging. We’re also doing so much more at Traditional Home, which I’m thrilled about! Look for more online content as well as changes in the print magazine!


{Lunch on the Terrace | Photos of Tori’s Terrace by Brittany Ambridge}



Go-To Outfit: White jeans and anything. White jeans are like oxygen to me. You can wear anything with white jeans– tennis shoes, heels, a button down, lacy blouse, fur, sequins, some ridiculous burlap hippie blouse– anything! They are the best invention since blue jeans.

Style Mantra: Don’t try too hard.

Scent: Currently Hermes Voyage d’Hermes

Piece of Jewelry: Gold heart charms I wear around my neck. I have Franny & Lucy’s name hand-engraved on each.

Color I Never Tire Of: Pink

Flower: Hydrangea

Indispensable Design Element: an awning stripe

Era for Design: High 80’s (I love floral chintz and bullion fringe!)

Dream Project: Starting a design firm and getting myself as the first client with an unlimited budget!

Fabric/Textile: Brunschwig & Fils Le Touches

Hostess Gift: Monogrammed tea towels or fresh flowers

Meal: Fried Chicken Sandwich, Truffle Fries, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, and Bananas Foster

Drink: Chardonnay or Gin & Tonic

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Go on a Pinterest bender

3 Things I Love About My City: the anonymity (nobody even cares about famous people, let alone regular people like me!), the architecture, the competitive energy and spirit.


Weekend Destination: Hamptons in the summer, LA in the winter

Hotel: Favorite go-to – Sunset Tower   All-time Favorite – Samode Haveli

City: NYC or Pittsburgh

Museum: The Louvre

Artist: always Rene Magritte (such an awesome weirdo!)

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “West End Girls” Pet Shop Boys

Actor: Christopher Guest

Prized Possession: My great-grandmother’s Bible. She made notes, pressed leaves and flowers, and marked important dates on it’s pages. It’s so touchingly personal. Also, a beautifully engraved bracelet my grandmother was given when she turned 16. I hope to give it to my girls when they turn 16 (although they are going to have to share it!)

Risk Worth Taking: I’m very risk-averse these days, so the biggest risk I’m willing to take is ordering white sateen bedding with a monogram in a really weird color. Oh, and put your silver in the dishwasher for Pete’s sake. Spend your time with your kids or family instead of the silver polish.

Greatest Extravagance: In a past life, a Birkin that has long been auctioned off to some lucky soul and I hope they are enjoying it as much as I did! In my current life, fancy hand-smocked dresses for my daughters from Bella Bliss and Spring Flowers.

Go-To Color Palette: pink, red, and purple.

Rule to Break: If you are in design or like design, you are NOT REQUIRED TO HAVE A GALLERY WALL! Seriously, I’m calling for a moratorium on the gallery wall.

Movie Set Design: The Danish Girl

I can never have too many… Gold bracelets and black tights (I always seem to need black tights!)


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  1. so fun and you so completely captured the darling, talented, incomparable Tori!!!!….loved that she considered me her personal style I always tell you Tori the closets are always open… xxxGreat job Paloma !!!