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  • melmassey73

Working on DIY SOS has made me remember just how much good, considered design can enhance lives, especially lives compromised by illness, bereavement, disability or social exclusion. But obviously when your life is turned upside down and booted about a bit, design is definitely at the bottom of your priorities.

As someone who loves design passionately, the opportunity to help improve someone’s life beyond recognition through design is an amazing privilege. Lives can be transformed primarily by considering the function of the space but also through creating a warm, safe environment – a bubble, protected from the outside world.

So when I saw Studio Ilse's stunning pro-bono designs for Refettorio Felix, a newly refurbished community kitchen, dining hall and drop-in centre from St Cuthberts community centre, it was truly heart-warming. The wonderfully welcoming, calm and homely environment fosters community spirit and enables vulnerable and often marginalised people to come together with dignity. Proof that #communityiskey and #designforgood can triumph in these crazy times.

What an amazing footprint to start with! The large decorative windows let in the most incredible amount of natural light. The restorative green colour palette combined with natural woods creates a comfortable and welcoming environment when combined with the retro furnishings. The immensely high ceiling is celebrated using paper pendants which serves to reduce its cavernous dimensions and make the space feel cosier.

Credit: Simon Owen Red Photographic

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  • melmassey73

I'm obsessed with screen prints - cool phrases, graphics or photography - I just love them. I've been lusting over Print Club London's emails for years with their affordable, limited edition AMAZING portfolio - I just need more wall space! So when I saw that they were running a day's screen printing workshop a mile away from home for a mere £60 I was there - could I really screen print my own designs?

Yes! So by the end of the day, I could screen print one colour on paper. I'd become proficient (sort of!) in creating artwork in Photoshop, coating my screen with photo emulsion, flooding the stencil, using the jet hoses and loads more! It's also given me a new appreciation of the print process and made me consider exactly what the artist had to do to create the print.

And it has left me wanting more. Next up is the fabric screen printing workshop. My son's just started his own streetwear brand, munx and I fancy being able to help with a limited edition run! Another feather to my bow...

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  • melmassey73

My life is dominated by boys; two (almost) teenagers, a husband, even the dog, Frankie our Frenchie, is a boy. So when I get the chance to design for girls, it makes my heart flutter...just a smidge! But, designing for girls definitely does not mean that I go all Disney princess or pink-tastic either. The aim is always to create a space which reflects the personality of the person I'm designing for now (they have to love it) but also to future proof it too - you need the space to stay cool and relevant for as long as possible.

I recently had the pleasure of designing a bedroom for Ameira on DIY SOS's West Bromwich episode (if you missed it, you can watch it here) which was so special and exciting. Not only had she never had her own bedroom at Grandma Sandra's house but also her mum, Crystal, had sadly passed away when she was very young. I wanted to create a special place for her - her own space which was comforting, warm, inspiring and exciting. She asked me for a 'pink bedroom' so here's my version of pink...!

A multi-colour palette - Ameira's bedroom is pink but not only pink! The whitewashed walls create the perfect backdrop for the mint stripes and hot pink raindrops. I've mixed in vivid colours in her flower decals and bedding to create a clash of patterns - perfect for a bright young thing! We built in bespoke bed with mint frame. The wonderful pink metal cage style light is from Homary.

Just add a little sparkle - Think about adding extra lighting - neon, fairy and festoon lights add great atmosphere to a room, creating a little extra special magic. And what girl (big or little) girl doesn't love a unicorn...

Mix up shapes and patterns! I wanted to create a happy vibe for this house with this black and white spotty wallpaper on the stairs and landing. By mixing the spots, mint stripes and pink raindrops with the triangle teepee, I have tried to create a fun, contrasting and engaging world for the family to live in.

Vertical play space. I absolutely love Washi tape for kids' bedrooms - it's so easy to put up and remove, keeping the space fresh and exciting. In Ameira's room, she lacked floor space, so we created this vertical play space on the wall. Using multi-coloured washi tape to create the house and hand-painted Ikea picture frames, we created a new world for her small toys.

3D art. I was inspired by Chloe Fleury's 3D wallhangings.

I love combining 3D art with pom-poms and bunting, as

mixing textures and materials really makes the space come alive.

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