Student Spotlight: Melissa Ritchie

Once upon a time there was a little terraced house, and inside that little house was a big brain practicing law. But that big brain had another big dream. Her dream was to find her inner interior designer and see where the magic would take her. So, she worked really hard, and her dream came true.


Image credits: Melissa Richie

Melissa Richie's Inspiring Journey

Melissa Richie has always had a creative urge. Raised by an art teacher mother, a ceramicist father, and later a stepfather in model making, it is somewhat surprising that she became a solicitor. But like all creative people, sooner or later, that urge comes bubbling to the surface and the artist within must be released.  

Today Melissa is pursuing a degree in the British Academy of Interior Design and her @LittleTerracedHouse has 105,000 followers.  

It all began in an old Victorian house that was built circa 1901. Over a hundred years later, Melissa moved in and immediately found herself changing things. She was pulling up floors and stripping down walls. There was a lot to be done and between costs, and a passion for rolling up her sleeves, Melissa took on much of the handiwork herself. In the beginning she was simply recording a diary of the remodeling and refurbishing of the house. She would film small DIY tasks and post them on Instagram. Then during lockdown when everyone was stuck at home contemplating the cracks in the walls of their own homes, people began paying attention. Over time, Melissa put more and more energy into her account until finally she realized that this could be a lucrative, not to mention a very enjoyable career change. 

Image credits: Melissa Richie

The Creative Evolution of Melissa Richie

As a self-taught DIY master, Melissa has a strong insight into the workings of interior design ideas. She knows that a corner shelf for example, will require a particular type of saw, materials, and skill. She also knows that there are some jobs best left to the professionals like plumbing and electrics, but her DIY escapades on Instagram have resulted in many stunning finishes.  As her love for interiors was evolving, so too was her huge following on Instagram, and that’s when Melissa got serious about her interior design ambitions.  This led her to enrol in the British Academy of Interior Design. Now that she is a student of Interior Design, she is seeing how it is so much more than simply decorating or even just aesthetics. She has a new perspective on her little terraced house. Now armed with a newly evolving interior design knowledge, she remodeled a bathroom which, to her delight, is now her most proud and indeed favourite room of the house.  

Image credits: Melissa Richie

From Remodeling Rooms to Redefining Careers

Melissa is no longer practicing law, her full-time job is an interiors influencer, and she loves it. But she is also eventually going to run out of rooms to remodel and will need to set her sights outside. The little terraced house account is packed full of beautiful pics, videos, reels and stories. She has useful tips for DIY jobs and a keen eye for stylish interiors. You would be forgiven for thinking Melissa has a team of people around her, but she makes all of her content herself, on her iPhone. She has learned to polish her images with the right filters and editing tools, but overall, it is a truly organic account. It was organically grown and is organically managed. Besides the joy Melissa gleans from the time she gets to spend working on interiors, she also values the huge networking opportunities that have come with her influencer status. She gets VIP tickets for events like Decorex and various PR events as well as an insider scoop on trend forecasts.  She has also worked with some of her favourite brands and designers including Tom Raffield, London Basin Company, Little Greene and Heal’s and House of Hackney. For Melissa, her new career has not only provided an income but has proved to be an incredibly powerful way to build connections in the industry. She also has some clever tricks to keep people engaged, including household bugbears that really speak to people’s needs. Some of her “hero content” includes a solution for unsightly bins in the garden. The bins post received so many likes and shares that she became a self-proclaimed Binfluencer.   

Image credits: Melissa Richie

The Art of DIY and Interior Design

As much as Melissa is a motivated self-starter, she chose the classroom-based option in the academy because she feels she responds well to a classroom setting. It has been a wonderful experience for her so far with a “brilliant” tutor and a “lovely bunch” of fellow students. As a devoted practitioner in the art of getting her hands dirty, Melissa enjoys the hands-on model making and tactile aspect of being in the classroom. And there is of course the flexibility of setting your own deadlines and managing your own coursework.   

When Melissa graduates and moves into the realm of taking on interior design clients, she will be starting with an incredible portfolio and a massive database of potential clients, but she also knows she still has a lot to learn.  

So - watch this space – before she fills it with epoxy or a shelving unit! 

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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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