Melissa Louise Lawrence: Dreaming Up Beautiful And Functional Spaces

Updated: Nov 5, 2018

Photograph by Mimi Chuan

Interior Designer and founder of Studio Melissa Louise.

Industry: Lifestyle

Home Base: Cape Town

What is your passion?

I have a passion for people. I am naturally empathetic and love building relationships with my clients, suppliers and the online supporters of my business.

What lead you to this point in your life?

A sequence of events. No one thing has lead me to this point, it has been a journey of successes and sorrows, confusion and ambition.

2017 was an incredibly challenging year for me both personally and professionally, it forced me to take stock of my life and move in a new direction – one I didn’t necessarily choose for myself, it chose me.

As tough as it can be to face challenges, they can often be more impactful and thought provoking than the highlights of life. I have learnt to embrace it all and allow these lessons to direct me to fulfilling my life’s’ purpose.

Photos by Fiona Joy Photography

What did you study?

After graduating at BHC school of design with a Higher National Diploma in Interior Design, I went on to complete my Btech in Interior Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I have also completed a series of short courses in social media marketing and photography.

Photo by Fiona Joy Photography

What did you sacrifice to follow your dreams?

I have always had to work really hard to get what I want – straight after high school I waitressed for 6 years, all while I was studying, freelancing as an interior designer and babysitting. For the last year of the 6 I was working my first full time job, I did this to pay off my student loan.

I am sure that along the way I unknowingly sacrificed a few small things through the years but nothing compares to the self-fulfilment and pride I have for building my career from the ground up.

What do you love about what you do?

I love that the spaces I design impact people; my days are filled with dreaming up beautiful but functional spaces for clients – What’s not to love about that!

Photo by Fiona Joy Photography

What advice do you have for girls trying to follow their dreams?

Be consistent, start small and don’t be so hard on yourself…

What is the most important thing you have learnt?

Things take time.

I often find myself rushing around making quick hasty decisions, these are the ones that have cost me in the long run.

With experience I can now confidently say that things will not fall apart if you take the time to answer emails more thoroughly, take an extra month or 3 to design packaging for a product or take a moment to go for a walk before completing that really stressful presentation.

What do you think being a Girlboss means?

Empowering, sharing and lifting others while we evolve.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I am really enjoying my running at the moment.

Running allows me to clear my head, push my physical boundaries and to be outdoors.

As I run through the city I am inspired by the organised chaos of the world and when running through the forest I find myself admiring how plants instinctively know how to grow, they don’t question it, they just do! 

What is the best thing about your day?

Flexibility. Every day is different, this keeps things exciting and although this can sometimes be stressful I have learnt to embrace it.

Photos by Fiona Joy Photography

What is your support system?

Over time I have built up a network of wonderful suppliers, contractors, photographers etc – a dynamic group of like-minded people who are passionate about what they do.

The projects I complete are very much a team effort and I am so grateful to have this support system.

What is your 'recipe for success'?


I try to ensure that each day is filled with the right amount of self-care, fitness, productive work hours and connecting with others.

Photographs by Fiona Joy Photography

Photograph by Fiona Joy Photography

What’s next for you?

I have recently launched an online design service, which is keeping me busy. This virtual design service allows you to design your space from anywhere in the world! I currently have clients in Germany, England, Pretoria and Cape Town and I can’t wait to share the before and afters with you all over on my blog… Apart from that I am working on a few exciting collaborations with local magazines and artisans. Follow along on Instagram to see these projects come to life.


Facebook page:

Instagram Business - @studiomelissalouise

Instagram Personal - @melissalouisesa