"More is more, less is a bore." Nobody distills an aesthetic point of view down to a six-word credo like designer and lifestyle guru Danielle Rollins. This particular decorating doctrine is how Rollins describes her approach to designing the Palm Beach home of lifestyle and interiors photographer Nick Mele, his wife Molly, and their two sons, Johnny (9) and Archer (6).

A self-professed Brunschwig et Fils devotee, the designer leaned heavily on the textile house's latest collection, La Menagerie, to outfit the Mele house in a wild mix of elaborate and whimsical patterns suitable for both their lifestyle and their unique aesthetic.

Nick and Molly "live a real a non-pretentious way," says Rollins, who has known Nick's family (he is the grandson of Marion "Oatsie" Charles, a longtime fixture on the Washington, D.C. and Newport social scenes) since she was in college. "There is a 100% chance books will be read on sofas, card games will be played laying on the floor, pizza will be served on the Chinese export porcelain, tents will be made out of tablecloths and a lemur will show up for cocktails."

Mele has made a name for himself with his highly stylized approached to interiors and lifestyle photography, often playing with traditional imagery of East Coast domestic leisure by infusing them with irreverent conceits that border on absurd. It's as if he is gently (or not so?) satirizing the world from which he descends with Slim Aarons-like eye for composition and access to society and a Wes Anderson-esque sensibility and sense of humor.


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It's not often that a designer will rely so heavily on a single collection of fabrics and wallpapers to design a home, but Rollins insists these fabrics work particularly well together thanks to their coordination of pattern and scale and consistent intensity of color. To wit, the collection, largely based on archival designs in new colorations including several iconic reintroductions of patterns from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, is an emphatic statement that the brand believes maximalism not cooling off any time soon.

For his part, Mele confirms he is a maximalist at heart. "I can’t stand a white wall. I love pattern on pattern and bold color choices. I like chinoiserie, chintz and needlepoint pillows with pithy sayings on them. I come from a family full of Southern charm and Yankee thrift, and I appreciate homes with history and décor with a story. To me, the genius is in the details," he says.

Given his appreciation for maximalist design as well as his distinctly playful approach to life, Mele found Brunschwig's La Menagerie collection a perfect foundation for his own home.

The textiles "feel both traditional and fresh at the same time. I also love how playful they are. There is a whimsy that fits our general aesthetic very well," says Nick. "On top of that, layering them all together lets us hide all our many imperfections."

In a certain way, the layering of pattern and color is a manifestation of the Mele family personality. "I love it when a home is an extension of its owners and their personality bleeds through the design. I try to give my photographs a very distinctive style and feeling," Mele says. "If you don’t stand out, you’ll blend in. I wanted our house to stand out. I wanted it to be both memorable and markedly us and I think we succeeded."

Read on for more details on how Rollins brought to life the mantra of "more is more, less is a bore" inside the Mele home.


The kitchen's crisp apple green palette was inspired by Les Touches Reversed in Leaf, a classic Brunschwig & Fils pattern the textile house has reintroduced with the La Menagerie collection in seven new colorways with colored grounds and neutral stylized spots (the reverse of its original incarnation, which launched in 1965).

Rollins clad the kitchen walls in the pattern, whose throwback references updated in a vibrant shade are a perfect fit for the Meles' aesthetic and lifestyle. Les Touches is "the ultimate classic and the perfect scale to mix into just about any and every scheme. It’s a neutral with out being a nothing," says Rollins.

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Breakfast Room

Apple green in the kitchen and breakfast room helped inform the palette for the rest of the house. "There’s always that puzzle for a designer trying to balance color, scale, pattern and texture when rooms intersect with each other," says Rollins. "I needed this space to have a color thread to the rest of the rooms but not to compete with or dominate the other patterns. Plus I think the best kitchen color choices are always the colors of food!"

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Living Room

Rollins' mastery of mixing patterns really shines in the living room, where she paired Brunschwig et Fil's new Riviere print (blue), a large-scale, hand-painted pattern inspired by an archival hand-blocked L'Indienne textile, with Shalimar wallpaper (red/blue), a print depicting elaborate scenes of Indian maharajas and their courtiers first introduced by the textile house in 1970s. Balancing the grand scale of the upholstery and curtains with the intricate details of the wallcovering is a small-scale leopard patterned carpet underfoot from Stanton (Felix in True Leopard).

The key to layering pattern on pattern is to vary the scale within one color family, says Rollins. "This collection offers a vast range of patterns and mix of scale, but there’s a consistent color saturation and tones, which made things very easy for me," she says.

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Dining Room

The Mele's dining room beautifully reflects their inclination towards nostalgia, albeit through a contemporary lens. For example, Rollins furnished the room largely with antiques and vintage pieces, including a faux bamboo chandelier from Show Pony in West Palm Beach and a dining table and chairs from Molly's childhood home.

For a contemporary update to the heirloom dining set, Rollins draped the dining table in a custom skirt made from Brunschwig et Fil's Kanchou, a print based on an antique Chinese wallpaper panel featuring cockatoos, flowering vines, and dogwood branches and first introduced over 20 years ago. She also upholstered the Queen Anne chairs in Les Touches Reverse in Leaf, picking up the green pattern from the adjoining kitchen.

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Family Room

In the family room, Rollins leaned into the idea of creating a fantastical escape with global design references for the Meles and their two children—starting with Brunschwig et Fil's Beauport Promenade wallcovering in Garden. Based on a wallpaper that hangs in the historic Strawberry Hill Room of the Sleeper-McCann house in Gloucester, MA, the print depicts an exotic parade of Asian elephants, noblemen and their attendants and is a reintroduction of a design first launched by Brunschwig in the 1985.

The collection's worldly influences, says Rollins, laid the foundation for rooms that will inspire "inquisitive daydreaming" for Johnny and Archer as they "mull over the textile patterns imagining what stories they tell," she says. "I strongly believe that rooms should always keep unfolding their treasures the more time you spend in them, and that children should have exposure to beautiful things but be taught to live with in them. If you wait to decorate or use the good stuff until children are older, how will they ever learn to behave in those spaces or to value and appreciate them?"

The patterns have a surprisingly practical side too: "As a mother, I can tell you that solids are not your friend. Patterns can hide an entire world of mishaps, mistakes, tumbles and spills," says Rollins.

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