Designing Woman: Hamilton interior designer Susan Meldrun
December 09, 2010
By Dave Reese/Photo by Laira Fonner
Susan Meldrum remembers growing up in California, where at a very young age she was working with her grandmother, a spirited and beautiful interior designer. “She was my hero,” Meldrum recalls, gazing at a silver-framed photo of her late grandmother.
Although she learned a lot from her grandmother, Meldrum, who is an interior designer based in Hamilton, didn’t find her true passion until she moved to Idaho 25 years ago. “I was always a tomboy,” she said. “All I wanted to do was fish and hike and ski and explore the mountains. That was my life.”
Meldrum studied at Boise State University but eventually found her way to Sun Valley, where she was able to do more of what she really wanted to do. She became a passionate fly fisher and spent a lot of time on rivers, rafting and eventually guiding. She taught fly fishing and spent a summer living in a tipi on the river. She rafted with Bruce Willis and Demi Moore and taught Willis’ brother, Robert, how to fly fish.
Meldrum now owns Elements, a design and home furnishings store in downtown Hamilton. She named the shop ‘Elements’ to describe all the elements of design, from decorating and building homes of distinction to the process of creating organic, earthy, beautiful interiors. Since her move to the Bitterroot, Meldrum said her career has taken even more exciting turns and she has even done some work as a developer. She developed seven log homes near the private Stock Farm, a private enclave and golf course on an historical section of Marcus Daly’s original estate. As a developer, she was challenged anew and was able to tackle new terrain. She learned to hand-pick logs for their character, she learned to lay rock and how to chink logs. She was able to make decisions on all aspects of construction, but the interior design work was the icing on the cake. In 2006, two of her homes were featured in the Parade of Homes. She is continuing to build and develop with her husband, Robert Meldrum.
She loves the Bitterroot and feels that there are many people who embrace the sense of style she is striving to promote in her shop. She describes it as “Old world charm meets new world glamour.”
Meldrum has been designing her own furniture and some of her tables are on display at Elements. She features pottery and fine ceramics from all over the world, such as rustic Italian pieces to Austrian and French pottery. She travels to Europe, favoring Switzerland, in search of pieces to feature in the shop that meet her criteria. She also features paintings and sculptures from Montana artists. “This store is my garden,” she says.