First Blog Post of 2018

IMG_3603Hi Followers and fellow Designers! It has been a while since I have posted on my blog. The last few months of 2017 were busy but very effective. Today I just wanted to share some of my goals with you for the new year, specifically related to interior design and my work for this blog. 2017 was a great year for me, I felt the most fulfilled in my work that I ever had and worked so hard. It was a lot of fun and it feels so good to look back and see all my hard work in various projects. It’s always interesting looking back at the year behind you. It’s not often that we take the time to truly reflect, to take a step back and reevaluate before moving forward. We’re always thinking so much about the future that it’s nice to take a moment and think back on your year.

So, without further ado, here are my 2018 goals for my design career and personal life:


This is a big one. It’s easy to define success by your income or professional accomplishments. But it also drives me crazzzyyyyyy. I’m never satisfied with my success when I define it this way. I am always pushing myself to the limit when it comes to my hustle (currently working four jobs and taking on 16 credit hours for my LAST semester of design school! #GIRLBOSS). Remember, success is never owned, its rented. And the rent is due everyday. I’m always reaching for more and forgetting about all the other important things in my life. So, first of all, I plan to celebrate more of my “small” successes throughout the year, whether that be in business or my personal life, and to truly appreciate them. I also hope to redefine my definition of the word “success” so that I can truly think of other things besides my career when I hear the words “success” or “successful”!


2017 was definitely defined by all the traveling that I did. I met so many amazing people on my trips and networked with people that I would have never guessed I would simply because I decided to go on road trips and weekend getaways to some of my travel wish list spots. Jetting out to Beverly Hills and walking down Rodeo DR., staying at the iconic Beverly Hilton, wandering historic Downtown Knoxville and viewing all the fine detail, and sitting on Carolina beaches while envisioning coastal designs REALLY gave me a lot of inspiration for my design concepts during 2017.  I’d really love to plan a trip to Texas or Colorado. There is something that is pulling me there and I would love to see what all the hype is about. That’s one trip that I definitely want to plan for late summer or late fall. I will say it once and I will say it again, traveling is the best way to expand your style and design(s).  I also have my eyes on Chicago for Neocon!

This year will already include a ton of traveling because I need to decide where I want to spend the next 4-6 years to finish my Interior Design/ Architecture degree and establish my designs. January through March will be spotted with quick trips to some of my favorite places across the East coast. I am excited for the chance to pick my new location. Wish me luck because I’m horrible at making timely decisions.


Man, oh man. I can already tell you, 2018 is going to be busy. 2018 will be a year filled with: new branding, new jobs and projects, graduation and degree, healthier lifestyle, new school and enrollment, and most importantly, new opportunities. I didn’t realize just how fast two years of school goes by. The past two years while in Design school have been challenging and critical for my growth, especially 2017. I started my last semester of Design school last Monday and I have to say, its already going by super fast. This Spring 2018 semester, I am employed at two internships which include Showroom Design at Asian Loft in High Point Market Square Suites (come see me at Spring 2018 High Point Furniture Market y’all!) along with commercial furniture and interior design at Carolina Furnishing and Designs. They are wonderful networking opportunities that I am excited to be apart of.  As the days grow shorter, I am closer to graduating and moving forward with my degree. I will be enrolling at a new university (Applications are being filled out and submitted to my top University choices. Wonder where I’ll end up?) and complete my degree. Reflecting back on the last year, I never saw myself where I am now. I have gained so much knowledge, independence, recognition, and strength. I am rolling with the punches and smiling at whatever life may throw at me in 2018 versus 2017. Words can’t express how impatient I am to continue my education at a fresh, new school with inspiring inspirations surrounding me! 2018 will be my selfish year. Focusing solely on myself, for myself. A year dedicated to personal growth. How to be the best daughter, friend, designer, sister, employee, student, fur-mama, and companion all in one. When I can support myself and be kind to myself, I notice a world of difference. It’s easier to make decisions, to listen to that inner voice inside, and to create the life that I want. In the end, you really only have yourself to lean on, so why not be a cheerleader instead of a critic? So, I promise in 2018 to make an effort to improve my compassion for myself.


Things that I plan on implementing more in 2018 that will help me reach these goals: listening to more podcast, more gym time (preferably yoga), no more weekend work, more time with friends and family, and more walks with my goldendoodle.

I can honestly say that after two years of design I am loving it more than ever … maybe even a lot more than ever. I believe that the secret to our staying power is continuing to change and evolve each year while following our passion and goals.

Make sure to follow your passion this New Year.

Until Next Time, 

Maelee Arnold Designs

Interior Design Student 

What Is Adaptive Reuse?

Adaptive reuse can be simply understood as giving a new purpose to an old building. In many cities, structures originally home to manufacturing plants and small storefronts were abandoned as people moved out of town in search of both jobs and suburban living. Repurposing these original structures has caused a resurgence in urban living. Old mills have become retail and event space, industrial styled lofts or condos and small storefronts have become chic art galleries and boutique restaurants. Sustainability and a desire to limit an individual’s economic footprint are a few factors driving the movement toward adaptive reuse. Altering the function of an underutilized space, rather than demolish it allows us a glimpse into the history of a place and an appreciation for the past.

It is important to clarify that adaptive reuse and historical preservation are different things, although closely related. Historic preservation with regard to the built environment seeks to uphold or recreate the original space and for its originally intended purpose. While this is important to our history as a whole, it can be an expensive endeavor given the regulation and specific nature of locating resources and materials from the past. Adaptive reuse is not necessarily cheap, but it is both good for the environment and offers a return on investment for building owners or stakeholders, as the building has been given a new purpose.




Denver’s historic Airedale building, once home to a brothel, peep shows and an adult book store, now houses chef Justin Cucci’s restaurant and music venue, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. Cucci used the building’s colorful history as the springboard for the concept. Photos by Adam Larkey

Featured here are three examples of spaces that have been reclaimed in the state of North Carolina. From a former brothel turned restaurant & music venue in Denver, to a mixed-use facility in Asheville, and an engineering shop building on the campus of NC State that is now combined classrooms and research space. Adaptive reuse projects breathe new life into old, vacant buildings, but they’re not for the faint of heart.

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox – Denver, NC

Chef Justin Cucci didn’t really have the time or money to do another restaurant. He already had two successful spots operating at full speed. But when a local designer purchased the historic building and approached Chef Cucci with the opportunity to help bring the abandoned, Victorian-era structure back to life, the offer was too tempting to pass up, and Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox emerged.


Ophelia’s was once a brothel. Photo by Oliver Nasralah

Although the building was in a state of decay, Cucci, whose first two restaurants reside in a former gas station, saw a chance to marry creative concept development with adaptive reuse in a way that would honor the building’s past. The fact that its past included a brothel, a peep-show venue and, most recently, a video store just added to the appeal. Working with architecture and design firm BASS Architecture, he created an eclectic, boudoir-inspired concept that boldly celebrates the building’s past lives.


Original brick walls were retained, where possible, including one in the main dining room that now carries an image of Ophelia, the concept’s namesake and muse.

Opened in April as a 225-seat “gastro-brothel” and live music venue on the main and lower levels of the three-story building, Chef Cucci illustrates the extreme highs and lows of adaptive reuse projects. Lengthy, costly, exhilarating at times and exasperating at others, it’s an example of adaptive reuse at its best, ultimately sustaining and preserving buildings that still have good bones while reinventing and reinvigorating them for new use.

Rice-White Building – Asheboro, NC


Original Row House

From 2006 to 2014, Rowhouse Architects and Heartwood Renovations, along with public interest groups undertook renovation of the historic Rice White Building, located in the heart of downtown Asheville. Originally built in the 1890’s by the Hilliard family, the building initially served as a mixed-use structure. The ground floor accommodated two retail spaces, and a medical practice operated by two generations of the Hilliard family. The second floor was home to an undertaker’s business, while the third floor served as a meeting space for two fraternal lodges. In the 1910’s the second floor was converted to the central labor union offices and the socialist reading room. Both the second and third floors were converted into a small downtown hotel in the 1930’s.


Adaptive Reuse: Row house

Another transition came in the 1950’s when a single furniture business, Rice-White Furniture took over the building, giving it the name it is now known for. The main floor housed a retail showroom, while additional items were warehoused on the second and third floors. Despite a large fire, much of the building’s initial character and woodwork survived despite a fire that ruined sections of the upper floors. The 2014 renovation returned the building to a mixed-use facility once again. An independent jewelery store and an art gallery facing Biltmore Avenue make up the first floor, along with smaller combined commercial and residential spaces in the rear. The upper floors of the building are now made up of eight residential units showcasing much of the building’s original architecture and views of downtown Asheville.   

Park Shops Building – NCSU – Raleigh, NC


After Adaptive Reuse

The Park Shops Building initially served as the shop for NC State’s Mechanical Engineering Department. Built in 1914, the renovation of some 48,000 existing square feet, is proof of the University’s commitment to sustainability and the pride they have in their campus’ history. The architecture and engineering firm of Clark Nexen were tested by having to reimagine a space that initially served one department, into a space that must serve multiple functions. Within the renovated Parks Shops Building, you’ll find classrooms, research and teaching labs for two departments, along with video-conferencing and televised classrooms, as well as a café and offices for student services and advising. In addition to renovating the existing square footage, a 3,000 square foot glass plaza creates a modern entry area and space for public gathering.

The design firm embraced the original brick exterior and industrial feel of the building, while incorporating modern technology and engineering. In doing so, they improved the acoustics and provided for the functionality required in contemporary learning environments, without losing the character of the building. Locating classrooms where they allow in maximum daylight allows for lower energy costs. The renovation completed in 2009 has won multiple awards for architecture and design, and it’s not hard to see why.

Until Next Time,

Maelee Arnold

Interior Design Student

Kurul, E. (2007). A qualitative approach to exploring adaptive re-use processes. Facilities, 25(13), 554-570. doi:

Dyson, K., Matthews, J., & Love, P. E. D. (2016). Critical success factors of adapting heritage buildings: An exploratory study. Built Environment Project and Asset Management, 6(1), 44-57. Retrieved from



Get To Know: Weatherspoon Art Museum



Source: Weatherspoon Art Gallery

Last week, my Commercial II Design class traveled to downtown Greensboro, North Carolina to view the Weatherspoon Art Museum. Weatherspoon Art Museum is a beautiful museum gallery within the campus of UNC-Greensboro in North Carolina. Although small, the artwork displayed is on a grand scale, with incredible architecture throughout, and unique college of art and design style works displayed in each room, on both floors.

The main purpose of this trip to Weatherspoon was to help generate creative ideas for our upcoming design project for the Bienenstock Furniture and Interior Design Competition. This years Bienenstock competition requires designing a old row house into a new art gallery and living quarter. One thing that I really liked from Weatherspoon was the track lighting system. I plan to implement this into my design, along with moveable track art post. Here is an example and a quick two minute generated sketch:

Doc Sep 13, 2017, 15_41

The museum is free to the public, and donations are accepted as you enter. They have self-guided tour maps available, with descriptions of the works of art by the contributing artists. The building is two stories, with several separate rooms on each floor housing various art pieces/collections. Everything is easily accessible, and very well displayed. My only wish is that they had more content available to view, but what is there is really spectacular. I’m always impressed by university’s that create a focus on former students from other university’s as well as their own.

You can stroll through this museum at your own pace, and then before or after, take a walk outside to view the exterior portion of the museum, which is also beautiful in it’s own architectural design.

Easily one of the best museums in Greensboro. Oh yes, and it’s free. Parking as well. Now if that’s not a big plus, what else is?

I spent a pleasant couple of hours strolling through each room and admiring the works (and sometimes scratching my head). I recommend a visit!

Until next time,

Maelee Arnold

Interior Design Student 

Get To Know: Vivid Interiors



 Source: Vivid Interiors Website


Last week my Commercial II design class took a trip to Greensboro, North Carolina to visit a full service design company called Vivid Interiors. Vivid Interiors website brands themselves as this:

We are a full service interior design firm located in Downtown Greensboro, North Carolina. Our storefront is a color explosion of local art, quality NC-made upholstery, and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. Our self-described aesthetic is a modern twist on southern style. Did we mention we love color?


Source: Vivid Interiors Website

The store front was amazing! The local North Carolina art work was explicit. Vivid Interiors is a fresh, fun interior design firm located in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina. They are an eclectic mix of polished prepster with a little bit of funky quirk. They offer a variety of residential, commercial and showroom design services from consultation to full service interior design. Full service is where they work with clients from conception to installation. Show room design is almost the same as Full-service Design but in a showroom setting. They bring their team to your showroom where they will then oversee the assembly of your product and set and style each vignette. They oversee construction, showroom painting, wallpaper installation, signage and audio visual components. They even help oversee the packing up and shipping things back to your home base! BINGO!!!


Source: Vivid Interiors Website

 Vivid also works with many vendors who supply a vast selection of items to their store.

Visiting this shop gave me some inspiration for my final year in deign school. Vivid designs can also give you some inspiration! Contact them for your design needs:

(336) 265-8628


Commercial Design II Class with Instructors Holly Barker and Addie Welch, along with Vivid Design owners Gina and Laura. 

Until next time,

Maelee Arnold

Interior Design Student 

Traditional Bohemian Residential Design

The Woodward Residence is located in a Historic part of High Point, North Carolina. The residence was built in 1931 and is a minimal traditional home in Emerywood. The couple has lived in the house for nine years and are now considering the options of an “aging in place” design. Along with making the residence a universal design the Woodward’s have also asked to change the style from traditional to bohemian traditional design style. Mark is inspired by the bohemian fabrics he sees when traveling for work so often. Holly has requested to add on rooms to the house and incorporate existing client furniture.  To accommodate the new request for accessibility along with their growing family Maelee Arnold Interiors has been hired to make the home accessible and to design additions to the Historic home.

Redndering of bathroom

Bathroom Perspective created in SketchUp and rendered in PhotoShop.

color render KITCHEN

Kitchen Perspective created in SKetchUp and rendered in Photoshop.

A home that is holistic, bohemian, and traditional is shown throughout the Woodward Residence. The Woodward Residence has principles of nature throughout the household and will be replicated in the design through sequencing, natural colors, and transitional rooms. The entrance of bohemian influence in the spaces will provide an interchanging look with visualized texturized surfaces. Designed with the Woodward’s in mind, the space will resonate with those who appreciate art and design, but also to those who share a home.

Until Next Time,

Maelee Arnold

Interior Design Student


Retail Project:

Late July my design class was presented a retail project. For this project in particular, we had to design for high-end fashion. Me, being the person I am choose, Tory Burch. I really enjoy Tory Burchs’ style and the way she represents her brand.

Tory Burch is an American lifestyle brand that embodies the personal style and sensibility of its Chairman, CEO and Designer, Tory Burch. Launched in February 2004, the collection includes ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, accessories, watches, home and beauty. – Tory Burch, Mission Statement

Tory Burch is an American Life Style Brand that embodies the personal style and sensibility of its Chairman, CEO and Designer, Tory Burch. Launched in February 2004, the collection includes ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, accessories, watches, home and beauty. Ms. Burch runs her company out of N.Y. but is wanting to open a retail store in Charlotte N.C.
The main purpose of the store is to provide a high rate of customers in the Carolina’s. Tory Burch takes great pride in the architectural projects that they finance for their brand. Tory Burch wants the projects to be of superior quality, setting new standards for high-end retail stores in the transitional city where Tory Burch, Charlotte is located. They are inspired by the high-end design that Ms. Burch sees in visits to luxury spas in Europe.
This particular project is called Tory Burch, Charlotte. It is a brick three story building from the 1990s, located in the city Charlotte, N.C. This is a transitional inner-city neighborhood; it has experienced resurgence in recent years, as some former industrial buildings are being converted to retail, and commercial uses.
The completed project will contain a retail Tory Burch store.E:Tory BurchRetail Floorplan-1 Layout1 (1)

Tory Burch floor plan created in AutoCad and Photoshop

perspective 2

Store Front perspective made from SketchUp, Podium, and Photoshop.

perspective 1

Front perspective made from SketchUp, Podium, and Photoshop.

Interiors have gold custom wallpaper, mirrored walls, classic lacquered Tory Burch orange shelving, traditional furniture with gold accents everywhere. A classic approach on Tory Burch.

An organic life style through Tory Burch is refined by an environment that is unified, holistic, and ordered. Tory Burch, a designer of both lifestyle branding and organic prints will take geometrical principles of nature and replicate them in the design through sequencing, brand colors, clean-line architectural, and many textures. The bright retail store is conveyed as a personal “Tory” state with its orange lacquered covered paneling, and dimly-lit overhead lighting, and sofas to evoke romance and allure. Designed with Tory Burch in mind, the space will resonate with those who appreciate art and design, but also to those who share a “TB” sense of pride. Like principles in design, the environment will be artistic, harmonious, and bring a unified spirit to the occupants through the space.

Until next time,

Maelee Arnold

Interior Design Student