For Melinda Headrick, President of Chatham Interiors and a fourth-generation Chatham resident, the word ‘Chatham’ embodies everything her business represents: quaint, elegant, and understated sophistication. Even the origin of the word ‘Chatham’ traces back to ‘homestead,’ a perfect symbol for her work so rooted in the idea of home. “This town has never changed. I could always come home here and it felt like childhood to me. It’s these things that I thought, ‘I’m going to tap back into the word Chatham and what it means to me,’” Headrick says. In 2007, Headrick incorporated her company as Chatham Interiors, a full-service interior design firm. Since then, the company has shifted spaces and evolved into four distinct businesses that synergize and offer her clientele everything they could ever need: Chatham Interiors, the full-service interior design firm, its sister company, a design resource center, The Chatham Design Center, and the two retail branches, Melinda and TA DA. Exploring these businesses is like being at an intersection with a wonderful destination down each road. Each are related and have a feeling of familiarity, yet harbor their own distinct flair.
When asked if she envisioned her business expanding into all of this, Headrick recalls a photo that ignited her inspiration throughout design school. “When I was in interior design school, I had a tiny picture of a retail showroom in England that I hung over my desk. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was one small window to a shop with big drapery and a beautiful chair. I think I always had a vision of retail along with interior design. I love what retail means: it’s immediate action and happiness. I love taking care of people and I think that’s why I am in design,” she shares.
As a child, Headrick grew up in the Navy and often moved to new homes. “I always loved my room and what space meant to me. My mom used to joke that my room would be set up before the moving trucks pulled away,” she laughs. While attending college at the University of Vermont, Headrick continued to design her own spaces to see how they would best function. It was later, in her first home with her husband and young children, that she realized design was a passion that had always been in her soul. “It’s the definition of space, how important your space is, and how you function in a space. For me, interior design goes far past the concept of it looking pretty. I get very much into the psychology of space, whether it be how the room functions or how you move around things,” Headrick says. Headrick and her family lived in Tennessee for 18 years, where she raised her four children. She began her career on the design team at Blackberry Farm, the number one luxury hotel in the country at the time. From there, she finished her design degree and began her own firm, originally named Melinda Headrick Interiors.
In 2007, she incorporated her company as Chatham Interiors, tapping into the well of inspiration available in the quintessential Cape town. In her full-service interior design firm, Headrick does everything from new builds to remodels, renovations and historic homes, offering a casual, yet sophisticated approach to design. The three foundations of her company weave their way into every project: aesthetics, durability, and sustainability. Across the board, it is about creating a completely tailored result for each client’s home. Their first Cape location was in West Chatham, where Chatham Interiors operated as a retail space and interior design firm.
Later, The Chatham Design Center, a separate sister company, evolved out of a desire Headrick saw from clients for more flexibility, whether they wanted just a few items or to do their designing themselves, yet have access to Headrick’s resources. Thus, in 2015, The Chatham Design Center opened next door to Chatham Interiors, and the two mirror each other seamlessly.
In the design center, customers can pick out their own items, work independently, or work with Kristin Doyle, the Showroom Manager. When clients enter the Chatham Design Center, they become a member and receive an online login, where they get hyperlinked to Headrick’s top-notch vendors. If they like an item in the design library, the team can order it, track it, and it is either received in the shop, or larger pieces are delivered right to clients’ homes. Their extensive design library offers furniture pieces and fabrics at any price point, whether clients would like just a few pieces or to design their entire home. “The conduit between the two is that someone could book me to sit at my table for an hour within the Chatham Design Center and I can share my wealth of knowledge and work with them to get them on the right track. They can virtually send in their plans, pictures of their home, and we sit right here and I assist them in designing their home,” Headrick says. This allows Headrick to guide customers through their own design process.
A completely innovative model grown out of a customer desire for flexibility, this concept has blossomed into an invaluable resource that fulfills clients’ dreams. “The Design Center is my design library open to homeowners. I would say our niche is the large variety of product and our quest to educate homeowners. I’ve opened my library for them to come in and do it themselves. Kristin does a fabulous job of facilitating the connection of the product and getting it in their hands,” Headrick says. Kristin Doyle came on last year as Showroom Manager and provides her own keen advice and assistance to clients daily. “I consider myself like a librarian. I can show you what you’re looking for and ask if there’s a certain style that you like. I lead people and offer advice about all of our resources that are available,” Doyle says.
In 2017, when a retail space opened up on Main Street in Chatham, Headrick decided to move the retail division of Chatham Interiors to town and establish it as its own brand, naming it TA DA. “My mom’s favorite word when I was young was ‘ta da!’ Her colors were tangerine, watermelon, and white, so that’s what we went with. People love it. It feels like a Caribbean vacation in the summer when you walk in there,” Headrick says. TA DA took on a life of its own as a seasonal retail store offering unique home accents. As Headrick describes, “TA DA is the younger, vibrant, and chic sister of the company.”
November of 2020 saw a larger transformation for Headrick’s business. After transitioning Chatham Interiors and The Chatham Design Center to 515 Main Street the year before, Headrick decided to open another new retail storefront, this time in the front of the Design Center Space. The new space, previously occupied by a portion of the Design Center, is home to distinct homeware and furniture curated by Headrick under the store name Melinda. “Melinda is the older sister who is more refined and mature,” Headrick says. With Chatham Interiors, The Chatham Design Center, and Melinda under one roof, and TA DA down the street coming alive in the warmer months, the businesses flow cohesively.
“The thing we want to say as a team is ‘we’ve got you.’ If you want to do retail, if you want full-service turnkey design, if you want to come in and order a few pieces, do your own house yourself, or if you want a little bit of help, we are here for you,” Headrick says. Her passion for design is evident in her every encounter, striving for each and every customer to design their homes in a way that is unique to them.
“We were trying to keep the businesses separate, but now we are embracing it and saying ‘here we are under one roof.’ It makes it simple,” Headrick says. “It’s funny the creation of what has happened here. I feel like I landed not only in my soul town, but in this place where everybody deeply cares about their home. People want to feel something when they’re here. Whether it’s completely relaxed or remembering their childhood memories and family history.”
Before the pandemic, Headrick offered a design lecture series to the public, inviting architects and builders to present their expertise in her showroom. When able in the future, the Chatham Interiors team would like to host more educational nights. The team also dreams of expanding the company to Boston someday. As proven time and time again, nothing is impossible for Headrick and her team. “I have the most incredible staff of women. They lift my dreams and visions up and run with me. This is not about Melinda Headrick anymore. This is about a group of people that are passionate about the same thing for the same cause.”
For more information, visit chathaminteriorsinc.com!