Melanie Loser Décor Intern at ELLE Decoration
Melanie's adores any room with a fireplace. | Fireplace image ©

DECO couldn’t be without our interns, from research projects, chasing up design samples, assisting on shoots and keeping our social media channels buzzing. We chat to our latest recruit Melanie Loser, to find out what it takes.

Joining us as a Décor Intern this month, Mel was thrown in head first to our Fashion Issue, assisting on sourcing looks for one of our biggest shoots of the year. Unfazed, the architecture student managed to find some time to answer our 20 questions to reveal what life is really like for the DECO interns…

1) What projects are you working on at DECO at the moment?

My first week coincided with the sourcing and shooting of the major feature for the upcoming issue. So I was thrown in head first. This entailed walking the streets and finding amazing pieces from antique bits and bobs to the most expensive carpet I have ever seen… All in all it was go, go go, handling pieces that any design freak would melt to touch! It was amazing; so much opulence in one room that even a queen would have gone bananas. It’s been busy, but a whole lot of fun!

2) How do you spend your time when you’re not running around for the DECO team?

In my spare time, which I dare say has depleted somewhat, I like to just zone out. For me this can involve drawing, volunteering at the SPCA of Good Hope, baking (Ina Parma’s Premixes of course) and watching movies. Spending time with my family is also hugely important to me.

3) Why did you want to join the DECO team madness?

I studied Architecture at UCT. Architecture is a huge part of me, including the design and interior aspect of it. I always noticed in class that I was very zoned in to the smaller details of design. I always wanted to position and pick the perfect couch for the lounge I designed and found myself deciding on a colour palate for the room… This, when designing an Opera House in a month, became extremely problematic as my work then doubled on my own accord. So I decided to explore this crazed passion of mine and where better to do so than the best deco magazine in the world.

4) What are you most looking forward to about the experience?

Getting professional experience from some extraordinary people. Learning how to select the best, which only the best deco magazine can do, so that one day I can create the best. I also I hope to figure out if a full time business in the magazine and editorial life is for me.

Learning how to select the best, which only the best décor magazine can do, so that one day I can create the best.

Melanie Loser's artwork
Melanie Loser’s awe-inspiring artwork.
5) Where is home for you and what conjures up the feeling of home?

Home for me is a small town called Empangeni in KZN. It is right next to Umfolozi, which is home to many great game reserves including my little patch of heaven on earth, Bonamanzi Game Reserve. So anything bush or nature-related takes me home, or rather makes me miss it so much. That campfire smell is a real homesickness trigger.

6) Tell us your favourite things about winter?

Lighting a fire indoors; the only time you can without looking weird. Coming from a place with an extreme tropical climate, I am always the girl that is cold.

7) What would your ideal weekend entail?

Getting out of town. Being in a very remote setting in a little wooden cabin. As long as there is a very comfy bed, a huge fire and a chalice of good wine, I am as happy as can be!

Bonamanzi Game Reserve.
Melanie Loser’s home-from-home and escape from reality, Bonamanzi Game Reserve.
8) What would you eat for your last supper?

I am a Swiss girl with South African and Swiss passports, so my last supper will definitely be a fondue. Best option: a fondue feast – cheese fondue start, meat fondue main, and of course a chocolate fondue to finish.

9) Favourite room in the house and why?

The room with the fireplace is my favourite room. I cannot stress enough how much I love fires. Apart from this I love bathing; the bigger the better, when it comes to a good tub! Hopefully one day I will have a bathroom with a massive bath next to a fireplace, and that will be my favourite room.

10) Best shop for décor, locally and abroad?

Locally I have two, as one is for realistic terms and the other for dreams and the future. My go-to local décor store would be @Home, as it produces some great gems that are still really well-made yet affordable, so I really love them for it. But one day when I have my own money to spend, Créma Design will be my go-to shop. They have it all, from the super crazy and indulgent to the more calm and sophisticated. But there are so many amazing stores; Cape Town really rocks when it comes to anything design.

Abroad would have to be Bloomingville, which started in Denmark, but is now all over Europe. I was first introduced to it in Switzerland. They have some very unique, exquisite items.

11) What are you reading right now?

In between two books at the moment Inferno by Dan Brown and Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith.

12) …listening to?

Anything from/featuring Ellie Goulding. Her voice is just too sexy for words.

13) … downloading?

Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory. I’m constantly downloading them new and old. Just having them on in the background in my apartment keeps me happy.

14) What are your favourite websites for inspiration?| It’s packed with inspiration, holding such a variety of design elements, as well as zoning in to specifics, like taps that are in fashion or colour palates that work together. I can spend entire days on the site. It blows my mind. | I go to this one to get my crazy architecture and furniture design fix.  | A well known goodie. Love it when I want to theme up my apartment for a holiday!

Melanie loves the upcycling of this holiday home by architect Thomas Kroeger.
Melanie loves the upcycling of this holiday home by architect Thomas Kroeger. | Image ©
15) What app could you not live without?

WhatsApp, by far. Receiving and sending multiple hilarious and adorable cat images, videos and captions, just could not be achieved so efficiently without WhatsApp…

16) Top 5 people to follow on Instagram?

I just got Instagram so will have to keep you posted on this one. But right now in my very naïve Instagram position, my best would have to be:

@natgeo | The images they have are spectacular, and I am a huge animal and nature fan.
@kaylaitness | She can make you do 20 squats just by posting a pic of her legs
@crazyjewishmom | Responsible for many of my daily laughs. It is a very different way of instagramming!
@lorraineloots | Please can someone tell me how those tiny artworks have so much detail?

17) Favourite quote?

In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars are laughing, when you look at the sky at night.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

18) Best advice you ever received?

From my dad: Never, EVER give up. And from life – Just because your surname says it, doesn’t mean you are it!

19) What advice would you give to others looking to intern at DECO?

No matter what it is, do it to your best ability. Anything done half-heartedly may as well not have been done at all. Even if it seems futile, put your heart into it and who knows what might come from it. Opportunities come to you with intentions. Matilda says it best…

Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go whole hog. Make sure you do it so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…

Matilda by Roald Dahl


20) What do you think you’ll be doing 5 years from now?

Good golly… Five years from now I am hoping to have my full architectural degree and to be working in any facet of design that gets me excited, and working on something that gets me placed in a magazine like this one.


Keep your eyes on for more of Melanie’s guest posts and follow Melanie on Instagram @mellie_belle.

Also: If you like what you read and feel inspired, take a look at what our other interns, Lauren Wilson and Tharwah Ishmail, are up to.