Designer Crush: MY Studio ID


After earning her bachelor degree in fine art, Melissa Young took a grassroots approach to building her hospitality design firm. Fifteen years later, MY Studio ID has successfully completed nearly two-hundred domestic and international projects. Most recently, the company has taken on the hotel and travel space, where Young employs unique materials and composition. Learn more in our Q+A below.

Madero’s / Photo Credit: Haley Hill Photography

How did you get your start in design?

My love of design and architecture began as a child watching my aunt design beautiful Parisian hotels. After visiting her showroom filled with bold textiles and vintage furniture, I felt drawn to be an interior designer. This realization was cemented in my young adult years after a stint as a sales rep in the corporate world. I realized that if I was going to be analyzing spread sheets, those spread sheets had better include furnishings and finishes from creative, fulfilling design projects. I immediately enrolled in design school and got my feet wet working for local design firms designing multi-family homes. Soon I was asked to design a side project by a local restaurant owner. Accepting the challenge, I launched my hospitality design career thus fulfilling my child-hood dreams and having a ton of fun along the way.

Madero’s / Photo Credit: Haley Hill Photography

What is the origin story of MY Studio ID and what kind of work does the firm do?

After graduating with a BFA, I was working for a design firm when I was approached to design the prototype for a new fast-casual restaurant concept, Burger Lounge. I accepted the challenge working on the restaurant design nights and weekends. It was hard work balancing my day job and the restaurant project but I loved the creative freedom this new project afforded me. It became clear that this side project needed more of my time when the owners signed a lease on a second location before the first was one was built. They specifically told me they needed me more than nights and weekends.  I took a leap of faith, quit the design firm and started my own company with humble beginnings, my living room was my office. That was 10 years ago and since then my 15-person team and I have moved to a beautiful studio and completed over 250 hospitality projects, including 25 Burger Lounges. While most of our experience has been designing restaurants, we are excited to be branching into the hotel sector with our first boutique hotel opening in Manhattan Beach Fall 2020.

Tell us about the lifestyle boutique you’re opening in Manhattan Beach.

The design of the Willow & Water journeys back in time to the bather days of the roaring 20’s with the interior’s embracing the era’s simple, refined yet carefree lifestyle with a note of rebellion. The use of white and navy is juxtaposed against geometric and floral patterns, muted colors and vibrant textiles representing the golden age of the beach cities. The hotel has a sophisticated, bohemian beach vibe woven throughout the spaces representing quintessential Manhattan Beach. 

Madero’s / Photo Credit: Haley Hill Photography
Madero’s / Photo Credit: Haley Hill Photography
Madero’s / Photo Credit: Haley Hill Photography

Describe one particularly memorable project and what made it so rewarding/challenging.

Most of our clients come to us for branding and identity through interior design for multiple locations and a solid growth strategy. I am most proud of our first project, Burger Lounge, not only because it launched a fulfilling career in the hospitality design industry but also because it provided me creative freedom from the first to the 25th location. Another rewarding project opening next year in downtown San Diego is a chic mid-century modern hostel called Stay Classy. Marketed towards millennials, this 3-story space combines a bold color pallet, sophisticated furniture and dynamic lighting with just a hint of the tongue-in-cheek elements you might expect from the hostel’s name.  We are also very excited about Black Rail, a high-end 1940’s New York social club-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar in Carlsbad CA. The restaurant features 18’ ceilings for which we designed a custom light feature comprised of manzanita branches and drop lights evoking a feeling of nature in the otherwise up-scale, 1940’s Manhattan social club-vibe of the restaurant.  

Who is your biggest professional role model and why?

Julia Morgan, a cultural revolutionary and the first full time female architect has been my professional inspiration for many years. Julia shattered the glass ceiling in 1904 and went on to design nearly 750 structures during her 42 years of active practice, far more than any major American architect, including Frank Lloyd Wright. She was among a handful of architects in the Bay Area who introduced the concept of environmentally sensitive architecture now known as “green design”. I can relate to being a hard-working, successful woman in a predominately male-driven industry, but in it must have been really something in the early 1900’s before women could even vote.

The Coyote / Photo Credit: Haley Hill Photography
The Coyote / Photo Credit: Haley Hill Photography

The Coyote / Photo Credit: Haley Hill Photography

Describe your perfect Sunday from a.m. to p.m.

Sundays are the one day that I take to relax, re-charge and prepare for the upcoming hectic week. It starts with my husband bringing me a cup of tea in bed while I watch the CBS Sunday Morning Show. If we are spending the weekend at our desert home then we will take out our Meyers Manx buggy out on the trails or go for a leisurely hike  If we are staying in San Diego then we will take the sailboat out for a sail or we will take the paddleboards out for a spin. We love to prepare a traditional Sunday supper from scratch and then crawl into bed early and watch Netflix. 

Favorite pizza topping?

Garlic, olive oil and whichever veggies from my garden are in season, tomatoes, basil, zucchini.

Most quotable movie or TV show?

The Office. “If it requires fake smiling, I probably won’t show up.”

First concert?

I was fortunate to attend the first Lollapalooza in 1991 with Jane’s Addiction, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, and Ice-T.

Current celebrity crush?

Lenny Kravitz. Not only is he’s super humble and talented, he has some serious style and is easy on the eyes.

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