An Innner Glow an Outer Light: Melodi Horne

Have you seen Melodi Horne’s lamp shades? ‘shades’ feel an entirely inappropriate name for her vibrant creations, which reverberate in rainbow hues often through exotic fabrics redolent of the silk road and Scheherazade’s charm.
melody horne shades

The first time I saw Melodi Horne, her jewel box stand stopped my decorative heart, so it felt no surprise that  Cecil Beaton’s Be daring, be different, be impractical; be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-savers… had been given talismanic status in boldest pink alongside  her colourful creations…

Melodi Horne at DecorexMarc Chagall, All colours are friends with their neighbours and lovers of their opposites.

I share her love affair with colour (and Beaton)  whilst the ikat is also one my favourite fabrics. The ikats origins mist in time, it’s an ancient global phenomenon  emerging  as a decorative textile throughout indigenous cultures as diverse as South America, India, the Silk Road and Indonesia. The colour is tie-dyed into the yarn before weaving the fabric and it takes great skill to make the pattern, the prized ‘blurred’ edges reflecting the difficulty in lining up the coloured threads on the loom, each colour added in, further complicating an already highly skilled weaving process.IMG_7389Melina Horne playing with her array of ikat samples

Ikats  have become timeless, a design classic which can be layered into any scheme or decorative style, first appearing in European production during the 17 th century where like Chinoiserie the exotic originals were highly prized and difficult to obtain, the design has continually been adapted by  creative local craftsmen ever since continuing to inspire designers today.

P1000643.JPGMe  ikat-clad …probably playing with my i phone. hmm.

I met designer Melina  (founder of Melodi Horne) for coffee with her husband Dimitri, it turns out her collection is named after their marriage: Me-lo-di. Melina loves Dimitri. So I felt rather lucky to meet them both, Dimitri cultured and colourful in burnt orange tweed, Melina with an inner glow and outer charm.

IMG_7396We met in Notting Hill, the increasing international but still – London village – at their (naturally) chic local  ‘202’ which (of course) stocks their lamps and shades.  Coffee in hand we began to talk…

JOC: I always like to start at the beginning… What’s your cultural heritage?  which houses or family members, stand out from your roots?

MH: I am Greek, but I am English, my early childhood was filled with flamboyant female characters, I remember our home as wonderfully colourful and my mother leading me around the Wallace, the V and A and then weekends hunting for vintage treasures at Angel  or Bermondsey.  By the age of four I could walk around our sitting room pointing out: Lalique, Sévres, Rococo. Truly. It was inculcated.

My mother embraced colour, she mixed it, matched, clashed it. Her interiors and fashion created energy through colour.  She loved art, antiques, and always, colour.

We moved to Greece when I was 6, but I returned as a teenager, my parents were complete anglophiles.  I feel English, but I embrace Greece, we have a magical island home. 

Melina and Dimitri  have a house in Patmos, the most beautiful of Greek islands, beloved for its light and artistic connections, an arcadian retreat in the clear Agean seas.  IMG_7379A corner of Melina and Dimitri’s London home.

Melina’s inherited sense of colour allowed her to really work with it, master it.  I challenge colour, sometimes I match, but often I clash it, and fight with it to chart a new personal colour journey, I constantly shift my colour comfort zone. 

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 13.09.33  Melina’s journey through the rainbow has made her a colour expert.  She’s done the work for you, her shades and bases sing together. I love how the classical shapes from antiquity, alongside the most ancient of fabrics, feel timeless and modern in her hands.  All this from a beginners ‘lampshade course’taken the moment her daughter started school, opening a door into a whole new world of interiors.

Starting with a scrap of ikat fabric and a kitchen table she has built up a network of artisan suppliers, weavers in Uzbekistan supply her with an ever-changing selection of colours (there’s a maximum of 5 shades in each colour).  Then interiors are lined in finest irish linen, which is the most difficult part to perfect, the linen creating a finely textured light.  Melina is a perfectionist and Melodi Horne is personal, her vision is artistic, not commercial. These are the couture shades of the lighting world.Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 17.43.48This makes expansion difficult, but here Dimitri’s connections in the North of England have sprung into action, craftsmen in former mill and mining communities now make Melina’s shades to her exacting standards. Melina calls it collaboration stressing their value and skill within the production.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 17.00.14

A lamp shade in Pentreath and Hall.

Fans include the high priest of Brit interiors Nicky Haslam and of course the Pentreath crew, her pop up shop at Pentreath and Hall has placed her firmly in their fold, these new arbiters and champions of a confident English charm in interiors.Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 17.00.44opening night at Pentreath and Hall when Haslam made the trip to WC1.

I think there’s plenty of doors ahead on this journey Melina has embarked on and I wondered … as you/I do ? Whats continually inspiring? and what’s exciting now?  

melodi horne shades

MH: The 70’s, that orange curtain in my trade show stand,  it’s a 70’s ‘thing, a fantasy jib-curtain into that era.  I wish I had been 18 in the 70’s, not a child of the 70’s, I love the Victoriana and quite suddenly I am totally into brown.  We are developing coffee tables and consoles, they are totally inspired by this era, a 70’s luxe, very English and definitely quirky.

So now I am totally excited, and stop note taking, and just CHAT… as my latest colour obsession is brown, and my bedside reading is a 70’s decorative arts book. And then we pop into their apartment… and enjoy all the vignettes created, and rococo-victoriana collected.

Which just proves meeting up is a great thing to do, it’s inspiring and open doors into other worlds. Melina and Demitri’s emphasis on creativity, integrity and artisan production promises longevity and  their refined bohemian elegance chics-up any space.   Cult status is assured as The World of Interiors is featuring their Patmos retreat (April 2016)  and then the conegnscenti’s  secret will be truly out.

So I am getting mine now! It’s just a question of which one(s) to choose at 202…


Please see my board ‘Melodi Horne‘ on pinterest

Melodi Horne on Instagram

Homemade London can’t guarantee that you will be able to make lampshades like Melina, put take one of their courses and you never know what doors may open…

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