Coastal chic design is more in style than ever and no one knows this better than Megan Molten. The Charleston-based interior designer has made waves in recent years with her airy modern and coastal designs and has clients both local and in a variety of coastal locations including Kiawah Island, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Daniel Island and Mount Pleasant. Molten’s beautiful aesthetics are popular on Instagram, where the designer has garnered a fan following of more than 80,000.
Molten’s work has been featured in a variety of top-tier media outlets including Elle Decor and Charleston Home + Design. Interestingly, Molten didn’t set out to become an interior designer. I recently spoke with the designer to learn her story as well as more about her innovative approach to coastal looks.
When did you realize you wanted to become an interior designer?
After I purchased my first home in 2017, I began designing it and posting my work on social media. The support I received from the community was beyond my expectations for something I was just doing for fun. Once someone actually paid me for my services, I realized I could do this for a living.
How did you get your start?
I was just doing what I loved and it was getting a lot of attention. Soon my friends, then friends of friends, then eventually clients, started hiring me. It only took six months until I was ready to start my own business. Megan Molten was born on January 1st, 2018. I said goodbye to corporate America forever and never looked back!
How would you describe your style?
Modern Coastal—light, bright and airy is what I’m known for. I love soft coastal colors and often incorporate blue, green, blush, and neutrals.
What’s your secret design sauce?
My team. When you hire me, you hire the dream team. I could not do it without them. I think that’s what sets us apart: Setting upfront, clear expectations and communicating really well with our clients. That is the secret that most miss and it is 80% of what we do. The other 20% is the pretty stuff everyone sees.
What’s the first thing you do when you start working with a new client?
I ask for photos. Many new clients will tell me they love modern coastal style, but I don’t know what that means to them unless I see a photo of it. It may mean something totally different to me. Photos are really telling when it comes to a client and what they are drawn to. I never take my client’s inspiration photos literally, but rather as a guide to what their eyes like such as colors, pattern, texture, and overall style. It’s so helpful and an important part of our process.
What interior design trends or aesthetics are your favorites?
Bright whites, coastal accessories, and soft pops of color mixed with funky patterns.
I always say we do Modern Coastal design without being “in-your-face dolphins and pelicans.” For example, I may mix in a really funky geometric pattern on a chair with a throw pillow that has hand-painted palmetto leaves on it done by a local artist. It’s always about adding in those special unique elements that make each project different and makes my job so fun!
What trends or looks are your least favorite?
Grandma Chic. It’s just not for me, but I see it in other people’s homes and think it looks beautiful!
What’s an area of the home most people overlook regarding design?
Laundry rooms, mud rooms, butler’s pantries, and powder rooms. It’s the smaller spaces that can give the biggest impact! I find that clients will also take a little more risks in these spaces, which is fun for us! Wallpaper has become pretty popular in these areas, which is always our favorite, as there are so many prints and patterns to choose from that give walls and ceilings such a wow factor.
What have been some of your biggest design challenges?
Things being out of our control like lead times with supply chain issues. We are so thorough in our process, but unfortunately, things happen that are out of our control and we don’t get to blame the truck driver or the manufacturer for not doing their jobs well.
We have to take the blame. It’s really hard to swallow your pride, but I’ve found that just being upfront and honest is always the best policy, and clients respect it.
What’s a project you’ve worked on that you’re incredibly proud of?
Village Revival was a house built in 1860, and that had the pleasure of renovating alongside Village Restoration to bring in lots of modern elements through finish and furnishings selections for the interior and exterior. We had so much fun on this project because our clients really gave us complete creative control. They let us do whatever we wanted (basically) within a certain budget, and it’s probably been the best result we have ever gotten from a project because of that.
How do you curate your online shop?
I always think about it from a standpoint of what we would use for design projects. That’s how it started— I was storing accessories in my storage unit to use for install and photoshoot days of design projects early on and decided to put them up on a Shopify site. Sure enough, to my surprise, people started buying them. So, I have continued to buy for the design client so our shop customers can “shop our spaces” and get that similar Megan Molten design look at home. I would say I probably have a strong theme when it comes to our accessories. Everything is white, glass, wood, or brass and there is lots of greenery. The more greenery, the better!
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