Melinda Brownstone was born in Los Angeles, California. Her parents made the move from East to West shortly before she was born.
Her mother was a fine artist, of Hamlin-LaTourette Studios. Her father is a skilled musician, craftsman and mathematician. Being surrounded by the arts from an early age, she naturally developed a high affinity for the creative.
She worked as a landscape designer in the early 90’s and progressed into home design over a decade ago. She was formally trained in landscape artistry, as well as working in a nursery for several years under the tutelage of an Italian landscape designer.
As a designer, whether for a home, garden or event, her goal is to help the client realize his or her goal of comfort and beauty. She believes in working with the client’s creative sensibilities, not overpowering them.
What is your view of design?
“My personal viewpoint of design is that there are few rules. Some designers insist on conformity with or adherence to strict rules of design, and I believe that restrains creativity more than it helps. Making sure that colors conform with the original integrity of the house or adhering strictly to a theme are rules that were made to be broken. The only ‘rule’ I have is that each space has a wavelength of aesthetics—find it, follow it, and you’ve hit your mark. Ultimately, it’s the client who has to live in the space. My goal is to make the space as much a part of the client as the client is a part of it.
“I don’t believe that, ‘People don’t know what they want.’ On the contrary, I believe people know EXACTLY what they want—they just have a difficult time illustrating it and that’s where I come in!”
What do you feel is your best asset?
“I have an ability to listen to a client and extrapolate the exact idea the person has for the environment. I have a talent for getting the picture the client has and making it a reality through design. I’m sort of an aesthetics mind-reader, so to speak.
Any favorite type of design?
“Although it’s not my personal preference to have a Modern house, I love the cleanliness and airiness of Modern design. But I don’t like a sterile or stark look; I like to feel cozy. I love when Modern design commingles with rich antique tones and pieces to create a space that’s both clean and inviting. My personal favorite is Mediterranean/ Spanish—I find its warmth, richness and depth incredibly welcoming.”
Least favorite type of design?
“No design. And I don’t mean there isn’t anything I don’t like; I mean when I walk into a house and there is a mish-mash of pieces that have no continuity, when there is no cohesion to the space and it feels disjointed. Yuck!”
Any favorite words about design you’ve coined to describe the indescribable?
“’Life Style Designer’ It means one who can help create a world for the client, from organization to event planning, to interior to landscape. That is what I do, the whole spectrum.