The Home Trust International (HTI): What first compelled you to enter design and then coaching?
Melissa Galt (MG): I had a peripatetic upbringing, moving at least eight times before college. And it included stints in Australia, New Mexico, Hawaii, New York, California, and Connecticut. In California we started out in Belair, moved to Barrington, then Westwood, then Brentwood, I never knew why we were moving.
My mother always had our rooms designed, we had limited input. The moment I got to college I had the freedom and burning desire to do my own place. I loved how interior design informed and influenced the people interacting with it. I wanted to produce that kind of creative impact.
HTI: Who has been the strongest influence on your career and why?
MG: My mother, the late actress and Oscar Winner, Anne Baxter. She was married to her career first and foremost, so I learned early on to have a passionate pursuit. I didn’t have the clarity and confidence until a bit later to go after my dream with single-minded focus.
HTI: If you could have told your 20-year-old self one thing, what would it have been?
MG: Do what you love, and the money will follow; believe in yourself and follow your bliss. I was thirty years wise (in my world, there is no age) before I gave myself permission to truly follow my design dreams. And now that’s morphed into coaching designers in their firms to greater satisfaction and impact.
HTI: What is the best advice you have received and who was it from?
MG: It was less advice, than a quote from my great grandfather, the iconic architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. We never had a chance to meet, I was born after he passed, but his philosophy of living captivated me. He said, “give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.” It also informs how I have designed and how I design the business success of my clients today.
HTI: Is there a common thread that runs through all great products?
MG: Absolutely, great design and exceptional craftsmanship is the common thread. Whether it’s a bespoke rug from Patterson, Flynn, Martin; a hand-made, artisanal bold, sleek table by Hellman-Chang; an original commissioned oil on canvas by Stuart Yankell; or a collectible Chanel handbag, all of these represent the best of design and craftsmanship inside and out.
HTI: Do you prefer the country or the city?
MG: I actually like both. Love the city for fine dining, original theatre productions, art galleries, and cultural events. I enjoy the mountains, not simply the country, for the calm and quiet, cool breezes on warm days, babbling brooks, and breathtaking views.
HTI: What recent project or transaction are you most proud of?
MG: The release of my book “Marketing Luxury Design” because more designers and architects deserve and need to know how to truly serve luxury clients and deliver original interiors that positively impact their clients on every level imaginable.
HTI: In what ways has interior design changed over the years?
MG: Interior design has changed dramatically. There has been a democratization and discounting of the value of design at all levels of the market. It has been facilitated by internet access and HGTV. The frustration is that it yields a false sense of expertise to consumers who are empowered, but not educated. Designers must counter this with their own education of today’s consumer and continue to share what they didn’t know existed and now can’t live without.
HTI: The one thing I’ve had forever is:
MG: A pair of gold and silver modern earrings with inset opals. They are one-of-a-kind from a jeweler in Atlanta who I routinely collect. Opal is my birthstone and brings me good luck, and they go with nearly everything I wear.
HTI: What do you miss the most?
MG: Seeing people, as I write this, we are nearly a year into the pandemic. Social isolation has proved incredibly challenging both personally and professionally. I miss literally seeing people’s faces and connecting over a coffee, a cocktail, a meal, or an idea.
HTI: What is your favorite object that reflects extraordinary design and why?
MG: It is an award won by my late godmother and legendary costume designer, Edith Head. It’s the only time I’ve ever walked the red carpet because this win was posthumous, and I was tapped to receive it. It’s a bronze sculpture by the late Mexican-American artist Robert Graham. It’s both a wonderful reminder of Aunt Edie, and a reminder of a once in a lifetime experience in art and design.
HTI: What makes a room sing?
MG: Sometimes you want a room to sing; sometimes hum and sometimes just a murmur. For me it’s the interplay of light and shadow that makes room feel alive and the collage of textures make it feel welcoming.
HTI: What place most inspires you?
MG: Nature, it was great grandfather’s muse and it’s mine as well. There is no greater inspiration for color, materials, patterns, constructions, and collaboration than Nature (yes, the capital is necessary!)
HTI: Please tell us about your taste in music and books.
MG: My favorite music is contemporary jazz from Boney James to Euge Groove, Chris Standring to Mindy Abair. Lyrics give me busy brain; I find them distracting. I like something that delivers an instant mood or emotion without the word. Authors are widespread, mostly personal, and professional development, from Malcolm Gladwell to Paulo Coelho. My current favorite is “Giftology” by John Ruhlin, it takes my strategies of first-class client care to the next level.
HTI: Do you have a favorite museum or place to be?
MG: I have two favorite museums, The Met for The Costume Institute and the Copper Hewitt for how things are made. (I’m a bit nerdy on that level and love to see how things work.) My first love was fashion and I nearly took that path. Costumes captivate and tell fascinating stories about the lives of those who wore them and the time they lived in. Unfortunately, I don’t get to Manhattan often enough, my preference would be quarterly for a museum and theatre junket.
HTI: What is your favorite brand and why?
MG: That is a nearly impossible question and if you ask me tomorrow, I’ll have a different answer! In this moment, my favorite is Missoni for their luscious color, their wit and whimsy, their undeniable creativity, and their fun and flirtatious patterns. On the flip side I could have said Barbara Barry and her home furnishings that are so perfectly scaled for humans (she understands where to be generous in surface area) with an unwavering attention to detail and soothing elegance.
HTI: When you’re not working where are you most likely to be found?
MG: At an art festival, an architecture or home tour, or an art gallery in conversation with artists, architects, and creatives. I still remember being taken to Alexander Calder’s studio as a little girl and being mesmerized by his mobiles, delicate in their movement, yet sturdy in their making.
HTI: What makes a great organization?
MG: Leadership and culture are the hallmarks of a great organization as exemplified by fashion legend Anna Wintour in her own leadership of Vogue, and the culture of creative growth and experimentation that she has fostered.
HTI: Why The Home Trust?
MG: There is no other repository of world-class luxury goods and services for today’s discerning homeowner. It’s the best and only resource of its kind uniting all the finest providers and purveyors of luxury lifestyle creation and delivery in one place.
HTI: If you could be granted one wish. What would it be?
MG: It would be to speak all the languages of the world, so I could always understand someone’s truth without the aid of a translator.
HTI: If you weren’t in your current field, what would you be doing?
MG: Ahhh, I don’t believe in unfulfilled dreams, so I will be speaking and writing on a globally recognized basis in the next 5 years. Beyond that, I’d truly like to have a fashion line that allows the wearer to create a new look each time they wear it. Fashion as art, curated by the wearer.
HTI: How do you see luxury and design evolving over the next several years?
MG: Luxury design is changing it is as much about the experience and the journey of a project as it is about the expert curation of each piece and product included. I think that some of the brands we’ve known as luxury have become too accessible and less credible as luxury. There will be a rise in “new” luxury brands with a return to scarcity, limited editions, and one-of-a-kind production.
HTI: Do you have any parting words?
MG: Of course, give me 24 hours 😊
Long time industry insider, designer and consultant, Melissa Galt, CEO of 360 Degrees of Connection, provides one-of-a-kind experiential workshops that show home furnishing brands how to capitalize on sales to the design trade. Some say design is in Melissa’s genes; her great grandfather is iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright,
When home furnishing brand leaders, including Mohawk Industries, Universal Furniture, and Wood-Mode, want to increase sales to designers, Melissa is their go to expert. She brings over 20 years of consulting to the trade and intimate knowledge of what designers want most to her high impact presentations.
A business graduate of Cornell University, Melissa has a proprietary approach proven to take sales pros from transaction focused deals to relationship driven results that deliver an immediate and sustainable boost to sales.
When not increasing sales or consulting with the trade, one of Melissa’s bucket list goals is to visit 150+ Frank Lloyd Wright projects within the USA including his 8 UNESCO recognized sites. So far, she’s made it to 25 including family homes.
480.770.3798 / firstname.lastname@example.org