Cochineal Design created this undulating headboard for a New York client.

Joshua McHugh for Cochineal Design

Tori Mellott Dives Into Her Lifelong Obsession With Scallops

A pure delight on the table and off.

December 19, 2022

The classic scallop motif entered my design memory at the tender age of three. My official introduction was through the full-length, white cotton-eyelet pinafores my mother had sewn for me and my sister to wear atop our Christmas dresses. We donned these fanciful smocks, with their scalloped ruffled trim, over our long red-and-green prairie dresses (as was the style in 1979). We looked like dolled-up, Edwardian scullery maids just begging for a ruched bonnet. Buzzing around the house that Christmas Eve night, the air would catch the underside of the hem and the flouncy scalloped edging would float around me like a cloud.

While I didn’t know the precise name until much later, the unique shape and pattern of the scallop crawled into my design vernacular embryo that very evening and that beautiful undulating soft curve, reminiscent of a delicate seashell, stuck with me forever. I still wear scallops, and now I get to decorate with them too. The scallops of today are more stylized and modern than my frothy pinafore but will forever harken back to the soft bends and arcs that meander around the edge of one of nature’s most exquisite creations—the seashell.

  • In what’s become his almost signature move, interior designer Pierre Yovanovitch treats blank walls with clever paint patterns and bursts of bright colors. This irregular scallop, framing the door like a burst of sunshine, is an unexpected and welcome contrast against the rustic terra cotta floor and spare furnishings peeking through the enfilade.

    Julien Oppenheim
  • I typically don’t like open shelving, but when it’s a potting room like this one by Salvesen Graham and the edge of the shelf is trimmed in a goldenrod-colored scallop, I say, the more shelves the merrier! The matching step-stool is next level coordination and I’m into it.

    Simon Upton for Salvesen Graham

This floating, built-in bed (with dainty scallop detail!) designed by Lauren Weiss, encased in a nasturtium-patterned wallpaper, is ultimately what good decorating is about -transporting a person to a better place. Mentally, I’m in my Victorian conservatory where my governess will give me French lessons after I’ve gone on a morning stroll around my family’s topiary garden.

Lauren Weiss

Shop the Look

  • There’s nothing I love more than contrast trim—be it a tape, fringe, welt, or applique. I’ll take it every day and twice on Sundays.  This pillow packs a double punch of style with scallop details AND a contrast tape!

    Lean on Me Pillow, $125, shoprhode.com

  • I own this mirror and I love it. My bathroom was fighting my entryway for it and the bathroom won the war! It comes in oodles of colors that pair perfectly with the hues of your favorite wallpaper.

    Flora Wall Mirror Small, £1,180, balineum.co

  • Not your boring, brass, standard-issue swing-arm light, that’s for sure! Fastened to the top of a bookcase or nestled next to a bed, these beauties add instant panache to any room.

    The Scalloped Arm Sconce, $1,575, coleenandcompany.com

  • I am desperate for these chairs. They’re a riff on 1940’s French furniture but not as outlandishly priced and certainly with no chipped paint! Just perfect for any breakfast nook that’s “how you say, super cool.”

    Wave Chair, $598, racheldonath.com

  • These beautiful scalloped placemat and napkin set will elevate even the most basic white plate. A fun, festive, and colorful way to add some pizazz to your table!

    Scalloped Linen Placemat and Napkin Set by Moda Domus, $225, modaoperandi.com


  • A ballerina flat with a twist. I’ve been buying these Chloe flats for years; they’re comfortable, practical, sans a logo, and come in a rainbow of colors. The perfect shoe for any outfit.

    Lauren Ballerina, $550, chloe.com


  • One of my favorite childhood memories is being allowed to buy a box of saltwater taffy on the last day of our annual beach vacation. You could see the beautiful color combinations peeking through the waxy wrapper and my mind went wild trying to figure out the flavors. I could barely resist not eating the entire box in one sitting! These glasses remind me of those magical, sweet-smelling taffies. And the little scallop lip of the glass looks like the edge of the candy wrapper!

    Berlingot Evo 2 glass, €110,00, lagunab.com

  • If you’re excited to show off your newly-toned abs without looking too come-hither, you’ll want to add this cool knit top to your wardrobe.  The sweet, scalloped edging tames the otherwise risqué hemline so you can humbly brag about your Jane Fonda workout results with ease. Or you can just wear it because you are 27 and hot and not thinking about the minutia.

    Scalloped Hem Fitted Cropped Jumper, $230, jwanderson.com

  • Since I am not married, I can be wedded to my favorite pattern: scallops. Over and over and over again.

    Ric Rac set of four sterling silver and enamel rings by Fry Powers, $630, net-a-porter.com

  • So chic on any table and even though it’s not listed I feel like that wavy handle is DEFINITELY ergonomic.  At least I’m going to tell myself that.

    Wave Pitcher, $225, mociun.com

  • I’m still not over flouncy, tiered dresses that hide every imaginable sin. I love how easy and versatile they are – I can wear them to buzz around the city, stop by a summer cocktail party, or pick up the kids at the pool.  Sign me up for multiple!

    Milos ric rac-trimmed gingham cotton-poplin maxi dress by Flora Sardalos, $607, net-a-porter.com

  • If you have white bistro chair fatigue but need a lightweight, versatile chair that goes with any kind of table, this is your answer.  This solid white ash wood frame comes in a variety of strong, moody colors like this burnt sienna.

    Frisée 250 Orange Chair by Cristina Celestino, $745, artemest.com

  • Fire screens always feel so dated to me. I feel like there are two looks: 1630 or the Reagan-era 80’s.  There seems to be no in between. Until now.  This screen is relatively plain and simple until your eye travels to the rhythmic curves that are reminiscent of a sine wave. Geometry class, anyone?

    The Wave Fire Screen, $560, racheldonath.com

  • If I were to ever wear a bathing suit in public this would be the one! Bikinis often look way too sexy for this 46-year-old mom, but somehow this little scalloped border makes the suit the perfect combo of sassy and sophisticated.

    Santa Barbara one-shoulder scalloped seersucker bikini top and briefs by Marysia, $114 sold separately, net-a-porter.com

  • One of my favorite parenting mantras is “Start ‘em young.”  While they don’t need hand-engraved stationery (yet), buying your kiddos personalized stationery will put them on the path to not only writing thank you notes but also appreciating the finer things in life.

    Scallop Trim Notecard Set, $31, papier.com



    Perfect for shades in a kids’ room or powder room. These tole metal lampshades by Stray Dog Designs come in eye-popping colors and have the cutest scalloped skirt.

    Petal Chandelier Shade, $76, straydogdesigns.com