Photos courtesy of Melissa Oholendt
Designer Melissa Oholendt loves renovating homes—her own and her clients’! But she’s in the process of defining her own aesthetic, which she calls “heritage classic.” (Scroll through her Instagram and you’ll see what we mean.) “I have a deep love for antiques and vintage things,” she explains, “but I don’t want to live in a house that feels like I sourced off Facebook Marketplace.”
She mixes “vintage with traditional and contemporary pieces to make things feel interesting,” she adds. “It’s eclectic, to be sure. I love bringing together opposites to create something new and fresh that feels good to live in.”
Oholendt’s former home in Maplewood is an excellent example. When she and her husband purchased the one-level, 1920s-era home, it had been gutted, filled with featureless finishes, and flipped. “All the charm had been taken out of the house,” she says.
The couple focused on architectural adjustments that didn’t require structural changes, including adding built-ins and furniture with curves and clean lines. Clean and light, the house had a Scandinavian feel and featured several gallery walls. “I do love a gallery wall, a lot!” Oholendt says, laughing. “It’s consistent in my work.”
The large master bedroom was south-facing and often smothered in natural light, so to make it cozier, Oholendt added large furniture, color, and fabrics with lots of depth—like velvet and dark gray walls. The farmhouse kitchen, with its Shaker-style cabinets, was largely OK—the couple just switched out light fixtures and hardware.
The guest room was “where I started to feel into my style,” she says. There, the curved headboard and gallery wall added drama. The vintage nautical flag, selected from an Etsy shop as Oholendt’s family loves the boat life, “brings soul to the space.”
Oholendt and her husband sold that house and are now working on a fixer upper in Delano. “We gutted 75 percent of the house over the winter, then this spring the contractor got it to the point of livability,” she says. “Now, we’re slowly finishing it. It’s a 1940s Colonial farmhouse that needed lots of love.” (See her Instagram for a sneak peek!)