The word antique often gets thrown around as a descriptor for one’s style preference but for designer Melea Markell, antiques represent a lifestyle.
Known for her feminine interpretation of French antiquities, Melea often travels to Paris to find originals, especially pieces from the Louis XVI and régence periods. In addition to her favorite areas and markets in Paris – Les Puces de Saint Ouen, Village Suisse, Marché Biron, Marché Paul Bert – she frequents various botanical gardens such as Bois De Boulogne and flower markets on Place Louis Lépine to draw on inspiration for product development. “Antiques represent living art—when you bring one into your home, you continue that era’s legacy and breathe new life into an otherwise forgotten piece.”
A passion that started during her childhood, the appreciation for antiques was paved for Markell by her mother, who instilled values of enjoying the present by honoring the past. “I grew up in a home where my mother taught me gracious living: to sincerely appreciate beauty in fine art. She always said, ‘The things we love, truly make us who we are.’” A Winston Salem, NC native and now Williamsburg, VA resident, Markell grew up in a household with a longstanding appreciation for fine arts, which set the foundation for the designer’s love affair with art and design. Having worked as a visual merchandiser for design heavyweights like Baker and Thomasville and with a degree in interior design and fine art, Markell imparted her decades-long knowledge and appreciation for antiques into a collaboration with Bradburn Home, an Atlanta, GA-based lighting and accent furniture company, where she sought to create “something familiar but yet new to the eye.”
Melea Markell’s aesthetic represents a renaissance of French living through the incorporation of that era’s antiques. By merging The Old World with the new, Markell creates a hybrid that both encapsulates the charm of 15th-century Versailles and exudes modern femininity to appeal to broader tastes. “My intention is not to replicate antiques, but to educate the end user on their versatility and timelessness through capturing key elements from my favorite French era into an updated form.”