I am very family oriented, its everything to me, says Sydney-based interior designer Melissa Marshall who has a two-year-old daughter Romy and is pregnant with her second child, due in September. My mother is one of eight children and my father one of three and we are all very close for a family that is so large. I grew up with almost 40 first cousins, so being part of a big family is all I know.
Melissa wears Aje top and skirt
Marshall spent six years working for Thomas Hamel & Associates before launching her own business after her daughter arrived. She now works around her daughters schedule. “After going on maternity leave and having Romy I wanted to spend more time at home with her as I found I was in the office almost all week and coming home too tired and stressed,” she says. I love my job and the time I now have with Romy. I am expecting my second baby soon and have four private jobs on at the moment that will take me up until then. Its an exciting time.” We spent the morning with the stylish mother and her adorable daughter to talk interiors, travel and motherhood
I would describe myself as a nurturer and I love to travel
My husband and I promised each other it was something we would continue to do once we had children and it really has been a wonderful experience as a family. Romy now loves getting on a plane so we feel very lucky. I would describe myself as a patient and organised person. I love to read and I am a big follower of the arts. I am passionate about interior design and architecture.
Motherhood has taught me a lot about myself
I am reading a book at the moment called The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary, its about how not to see our children as a reflection of ourselves, and how they are actually the ones who teach us to be patient and kind and to love deeper than you ever thought was imaginable. Motherhood has also taught me a lot about my own mother, I have an enormous respect for her and what she has done throughout her life.
My mother is an incredible woman
She is very strong and family is her absolute priority. She taught me to be patient and appreciate all of the small and wonderful things that motherhood brings. I appreciate my mother and understand her much more now that I have a child of my own.
I grew up on the Northern Beaches when I was very young
I remember spending a lot of time at Balmoral Beach with my mother. She also plays the guitar and piano and I remember her playing them a lot when I was young, or there was always music on. We also spent a lot of time with my many cousins at my mums sisters houses. My mother was a very present, strong and compassionate mother, she was always with us and I am appreciative of the time she spent with my brothers and I, and still am.
Romys room is her own little creative space
It has a tipi and big baskets of toys. Its calm and is the quietest room in the house. It has a slightly Scandinavian feel, all white with soft blue linen curtains.
Keep childrens rooms simple as they tend to come with a lot of clutter
No matter how minimal you attempt at keeping it, you wont be able to resist purchasing the toys they want and they will continue to accrue numerous items; books, dolls, wooden toys and rocking horses I am continuously cleaning out Romys room to keep it calm. Invest in storage spaces, baskets and shelving to keep everything organised.
My weeks are very structured and have to be
I still believe when youre organised, the more you have on, the more you achieve. I really feel like the months are flying past though and have to make sure I stop and look around every once in a while and appreciate how incredible my life is. I feel very fortunate. We are all healthy and happy. Its hectic at times and I feel as though we are unpacking and packing most weekends, but life is an adventure. I truly believe the most value should be placed on learning and having experiences, much more than material things or possessions you may own.
My work/life balance can be a weekly challenge
I often find myself working late at night and also while Romy sleeps, so I can spend quality time with her during the day. I dont want to miss out on any of her growing up, even though my work is very important to me. Having my own business allows me to choose the hours I work. I usually dont work on weekends unless something is very pressing and this time of year, we spend a lot of weekends in the country, which forces me to slow down. Other than that I spend my selfish time swimming or reading. I read a lot of books and magazines for work on architecture and interiors in my down time.
My style has only changed slightly
I still wear a dress and heels at night or to go out to lunch however other than that I would say during the day Im fairly casual. White jeans or a skirt and a T-shirt or jumper at the moment. As I am pregnant I am living in my maternity J Brand Jeans and Isabel Marant shirts. If Im working I usually wear a blazer or trench coat. I love my Meandher brogues and my Valentino loafers, I wear them daily as they are great for at home they are so comfortable and also suitable to go to meetings.
I am a Cancerian and a nester at heart
I love nothing more than cooking a big lunch or dinner with all my closest friends and having everyone sitting around my dining table or in my breakfast room, laughing and deep in conversation. My love for interiors came from a very young age, my grandfather was an accomplished architect and artist and I remember watching him drawing and designing when I was very young. I also have always loved to engage with people and have people in my home, I am very interested in the way people live and wanting to create that wonderful environment for them.
Mecox Gardens in LA is my favourite homewares store
I also love Manyara Home, Parterre Gardens and Country Trader.
My favourite time of the day is the morning
When Romy comes into bed with us. Its usually followed by all of us together in the breakfast room having boiled eggs and smoothies. I am an early riser so make the most of my mornings together as a family.
Every day Romy changes and learns and grows
I love hearing her little voice and talking to her about what shes thinking about or getting her opinion on something, its so raw and special. I took Romy to Montessori school when she was young and to be involved in her development and see how much she changed every week through play was a fantastic experience. She is a lot older now and has grown up so rapidly. She understands French now and speaks it whens she shes in the mood which I find incredible, their little brains are so eager to obtain knowledge, I catch her repeating words I have said to her over and over and then she uses them later on. I always wanted to be a mother and its everything I thought it would be and so much more.
Wearing so many hats is hard
Wife, mother, career woman, its a lot to take on and comes with constant challenges, although many rewards. There are so many expectations on women today to do it all. I write my goals down every year no matter how far fetched some may seem it is incredible when you look back at how many you achieve. It is so important to have your own expectations of yourself and what you want to achieve in your life as an individual.
Melissas little list of loves:
Swimming in the ocean. I am currently pregnant and quite sick and it makes me feel refreshed. Romy is a water baby she has loved swimming from the very beginning and I love swimming with her.
Coffee and Milkshakes with my mum and Romy at the Balmoral Boatshed.
Watching Romys face light from the horses at my husbands family farm.
Meditation. I am just an amateur however it has been rewarding so far.
Our annual ski trip.
Lighting the fire in the early evening.
Cooking with a book I received as a gift, Plenty More by Yotam Ottotenghi.
My Coen Young Mirror study artwork. Its silver nitrate marble dust on paper. I received it from my husband for Christmas this year and the young artist has just won the Redland Konika Minolta Art prize for 2015, so we were very excited.
My cobalt blue Celine sunglasses.
Morning walks with my husband and Romy and our vizsla dog Winnie. The weather has just started to cool down and its beautiful first thing.
Drawing and painting with my Romy.