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Melissa Link sets the trends with Grand Forks-based Elle Interiors

This piece is part of the Grand Forks Herald's Women in Business section, which published in the April 30 edition.

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Melissa Link, right, owner of Elle Interiors in Grand Forks, checks out a design book with designer Jess Soli.
Adam Kurtz / Grand Forks Herald
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For Melissa Link, work as an interior designer is about setting the trends, not following them

Link is the owner of Grand Forks-based design company Elle Interiors, located along Gateway Drive. There, she works with her team of interior designers to help homeowners realize their dreams for their living space. That means keeping abreast of home design styles, but it also means looking beyond the local to set new ones.

“I don't think you stay ahead of (trends), you make them,” Link said. “Every year we come up with concept boards and ideas, and I feel like we tend to be ahead of everyone else on trends, especially in this area, because we follow what people are doing across the country, not just right here locally.”

Elle Interiors offers a whole-home approach to design, by working with clients to create a living space where lifelong memories are made. From adding finishing touches like window treatments and area rugs, to bedroom and bathroom remodels, designers at Elle Interiors offer their expertise to create a full-service experience.

And Link, who began her career professionally soon after finishing college, has a lot of experience. As a child, she used to arrange and rearrange the furniture in her parent’s home in Langdon, North Dakota. She followed that with classes in art, architecture and engineering, making her work as a designer an extension of her childhood.

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“I think I’ve always been doing it, it seems like,” she said.

Link has worked in Minnesota cities like Duluth and Brainerd, but she relocated to Grand Forks to be closer to family – “Kids make you come home sometimes, right?” she laughed. She and her team still get to those cities for work, and her company takes her to rural communities in North Dakota, as well.

She started out in a small space near her present business location, and she was busy right away. The challenge, she said, was trying to work in that smaller space while waiting for remodeling to be completed on the new location of Elle Interiors.

The onset of the pandemic didn’t slow business for Link and her team. Instead, it drove it through the roof, as homebound workers stared at their walls and re-imagined what their interior space could look like. That boom in business means contractors, who are also grappling with a workforce shortage, are busy. Link is telling homeowners to plan ahead when it comes to remodels.

A kitchen remodel needs to be planned out four months in advance, bathrooms about three months and flooring takes about two months, she said. The long lead times reflect contractors’ schedules, and the time it takes to get in the needed materials.

“You've got to plan things out a little bit sooner than you’ve ever had to,” she said.

In a positive way, the pandemic may have also influenced color schemes. Link said she previously designed with a lot of gray colors, but now warm colors are the emerging trend. Cooler colors are being played off a warmer aesthetic, to create a more joyful feeling in a home.

“It's amazing how color can play off of people's moods,” she said.

Related Topics: BUSINESS
Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at akurtz@gfherald.com, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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