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Dining Room Drama and The Domino Effect

I’m sure it’s happened to all of us. You make a decision. You set a course. Then you change one thing… and it changes EVERYTHING. That’s the story of my dining room. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

For the most part my dining room had remained untouched since we moved into the house about a year ago. I had all the essentials… dining table, chairs, buffet… but nothing that really spoke of my style. I decided to do something dramatic. Being the lover of a good graphic punch, I mocked up this mood board in Photoshop.
dining room mood board That wall is not for the faint of heart, right? For the most part this design used thing I already owned. I would need to have some chairs reupholstered and buy a couple cans of paint. Not bad. And the “Wearstler Wall” was going to be amazing if I had anything to do with it. I wanted to use a blush color for the stripes and an even lighter blush color for the ceiling. I even found some sheers at IKEA in a beige-y blush color that worked perfectly for the windows. At $5 per panel I was able to load up the windows with lots of full fabric. I got to work and ended up with this.
wearstler-wall Not exactly like the mood board, but hey, I was working with what I had. You can see that I have no seat cushions here because all my seats and side chairs were being reupholstered. They came back looking spectacular!
striped-louis-chair For the most part the dining room was done. Ahhh…. don’t you just love the feeling of a room that’s done? Yeah, me too! But no sooner than I had completed this room, these fabulous designer drapes walked into my life and turned it upside down.
drapes The mother lode of designer fabrics in my book… Schumacher’s Chinois Palais designed by the ever-stylish Mary McDonald. I was offered the opportunity to purchase these drapes at the end of a show house event for a fraction of retail cost. I’ll have to admit, I thought of every reason in the book that I should get them even though I didn’t really need them. Things like “they go perfectly with my ceiling color” and “they’re already the exact length I need for the dining room” ran through my head, along with “I really should have a more grown-up design for my dining room.” That last one was a kicker. Being in my early 40s has really taken a toll on my design taste. I’m finally admitting to myself that I need to decorate my age. Ugh.

So I agreed to purchase them and the domino effect ensued. The drapes were way too formal to go with the “Wearstler Wall”, and I’d always felt the room was a bit flat. I love the look of grasscloth so I decided to try it on the main wall.
grasscloth I also switched out the mirror with my Chinese Chippendale Pagoda Mirror that was previously in my foyer. Might as well go full-on chinoiserie, right? I loved all the texture from the grasscloth, but the new lamps were really clunking. This is when I decided that the dining room was just going to have to be “pretty.” I gave up the idea of trying to inject modern elements because they just didn’t work. Another thing that didn’t work was the striped Louis side chairs. So I resurrected the Phyllis Morris chairs with an Ebay score of some Mary McDonald Firenze fabric in a blush colorway.
firenze-fabric LOVE this fabric! It’s pretty but it still has a strong graphic feel to it, which is one of the things I like so much about it. And of course it works perfectly with the drapes I’d be getting from the show house. Ebay can be an amazing source for designer fabrics. You can find remnants and end-of-roll quantities at deep discounts. My little bamboo chairs came back from the upholsterer looking ah-mazing!
chair At this point I started to get excited. I finally picked up my drapes at the close of the show house and hung them. After finding the perfect pair of Uttermost buffet lamps, the room was finally done!
dining-room Whew! Was that not the longest dining room story ever? I finished it just in time for the holidays and have been enjoying it ever since. One dinner party and Thanksgiving meal down, and hopefully many more to go.

So has the domino effect ever sent your decorating into a tailspin? I’d love to hear your stories!

2014 In Full Swing

Rather than begin this post with many apologies for being MIA for a few weeks, I’m going to just bombard you with a bunch of stuff that’s happened around the Julian Home since the beginning of the year. How’s that for sweeping it under the rug? We’ve had some good stuff and some sad stuff, but today I’m going to keep it all on the bright side.

I Started Design School!

Some of my close friends know that I started interior design school back in January. I’ve been in some form of the design industry for nearly 20 years of my life, so this seemed like a natural move to make. I’m a Gemini and I tend to like change more frequently than most, but I have to admit that this experience has completely turned my life upside down. I’m learning to draft by hand and have spent many hours at my desk breaking my back to get homework done. I’m also learning all about the history of art and architecture, which I find fascinating. But believe it or not, my best class by far I think is Spanish. Go figure! After this semester I think I’ll be taking on classes in smaller chunks (since I’m in no big hurry) so I can enjoy and absorb everything and still be able to work and make a living. Letting go of a steady paying job has been the biggest adjustment–one that does not suit my personality type well at all. So after this semester I’ll be going back to work in some sort of design job, just not sure what kind. Only time will tell!

The Fireplace Wall

We’ve added a few things to spruce the place up around here, and also have completed a couple major projects that had been on the list since we moved in. First up is our fireplace wall. We finally ordered the stacked quartz veneers from NorstoneUSA and had them installed. It was a small change that made a HUGE difference in the room.
stacked-quartz-fireplace If you recall from earlier posts, this wall was never straight to begin with, so during installation my tile setter tore it down to the studs and straightened things up a bit before applying the cement board. Now that it’s done we could not be more pleased! The living room was full of hard, flat surfaces, but now the rough quartz has added some much needed visual texture to the room. The difference in the feel of the room is like night and day. So much better now!

The Walken

Next up is a little art project. Every year I give Michael something Christopher Walken related for Christmas. It’s a little tradition we started several years ago and it’s become sort of a joke, but we truly do love all things Christopher Walken. (Side note: Michael was an extra in the movie At Close Range starring Christopher Walken and Sean Penn. Anyone remember that movie?) This year I decided to do something a bit more personal, so I created this WPAP (Wedha Pop Art Portrait) of CW.
the-walken (It was created in Adobe Illustrator, and if you’re a graphic designer interested in creating WPAP for yourself, there’s a great tutorial here.) I had an oversized giclée printed (36×36) and then framed it with a bold chrome frame. We placed it where the Elvis painting used to be because it fit that space a lot better. We have since nicknamed this piece as simply “The Walken” and we absolutely love it. Our home has a long hallway from the front door that extends down to the living room, so if you open the door it’s the first thing you see staring back at you from the back of the house. Creepy? Maybe. Awesome? YES!

Faux Bamboo Chairs Are Done!

Remember the poor little Phyllis Morris faux bamboo chairs I rescued from the old Spence Manor Hotel? Well they got a sandblasting, a new powder coat and freshly upholstered seats. Look at these babies now!
phyllis-morris-green-bamboo-chairs They are so cute now! The spring green is just so bright and fresh, and the watercolor Katmandu Multi fabric adds the perfect pop of color these chairs needed. They are currently being used as extra seating in the dining room, and the third one is still being rehabbed. I’ll post again on that one as soon as it’s finished.

Barclay the Greyhound

I’m a huge fan of Brandy Adam’s vintage finds, so when I spied this vintage greyhound statue in her Make + Model store last month, I knew I had to have it.

barclay Barclay (yes, we named it!) had a little bit of damage but had been repaired nicely. As you can see, Michael likes to use him as a resting place for the lead at the front door. There were two of these in the shop, and I do believe the other one (which is in excellent condition) is still available. I’m a rescuer of hounds, so of course I had to rescue the one that had the roughest life. :)

Lastly, on the topic of vintage finds, Make + Model is having a Pop-Up Shoppe event here in Nashville this Sunday! If you’re in the area and want to see the best curated vintage finds all in one place, don’t miss it! Details below.
M+M-Lady-Square Hope everyone has a great week! I’ll do my very best to post more frequently. Promise!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving here at the Julian home today! We’re so stuffed and thankful for the opportunity to host this holiday in our new home. It was a true testament to how well this house works for us and the way we live.

The combination kitchen/living room/dining room is awesome. We had a total of ten people for “linner” (lunch and dinner – it’s best to combine them when you’re eating that much!) and although our table technically seats eight, we managed to scoot up a couple extra chairs and got all ten of us around the table. It was cozy, yet comfortable.

If you know me, you know I like bright candy colors. And in my opinion, decorating for Thanksgiving is no reason to go all brown/rust/burgundy in here. I dressed my table with simple colorful napkins from Target, my gold flatware from West Elm, and a row of single roses in white and gold metal votive holders down the center of the table.


centerpieces I am in love with the rainbow of colors on this table! The votive holders are from ZGallerie. I picked them up on their 20% off sale yesterday and I think they made the perfect vessels for a simple centerpiece. I just plopped a single rose and a few leaves in each one and voila, instant tablescape! I have a fairly substantial chandelier overhead, so I prefer to keep my centerpieces low and stretch them the length of the table so they don’t compete with what’s overhead.

To spread the color around the house I also whipped up this quick little arrangement of hot pink roses for my coffee table. I am by no means a pro at floral arranging, but I gave it my best shot anyway.

tray-roses This is the first floral arrangement I’ve ever attempted for my house, and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. I gridded the top of the vase with floral tape, cut all my stems to the same length, and then just started filling the holes in the grid starting from the outside and working my way to the center. Not hard at all!


Did you guys notice the new tray? Yeah, I think I officially have a tray obsession. It may be unhealthy. But that’s a post for another day.

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!

All Over the Place

The theme of this year is change. Nothing but change. All change, all the time. This post is really going to be all over the place, so I’ll do my best to break down what’s been happening the past few weeks into chunkalized bits.

Job Change

Last week I left my design and dev peeps in downtown Nashville to take on a 1.5 month contract gig with a local healthcare company close to home. Leaving my colleagues was bittersweet. Here’s me with Carrie and Mike, my design teammates:


This was one of the best places I’ve ever worked. Cool people, fun environment, tons of amenities (including an entire room and fridge devoted to free snacks), and most importantly, no egos. Most everyone was very understanding of my need to work closer to home, but some didn’t take the news so well.


What can you do, right?

Alton Brown LIVE!


One of the highlights of this month was meeting my cooking-mad scientist-motorcyclist idol Alton Brown. We scored VIP tickets and saw his Edible Inevitable show from the 3rd row (aka “the poncho zone”). As expected, the show was awesome and Alton did not disappoint. I’m a total Alton fan and I can’t believe I didn’t know he was an avid guitarist. Who knew? If you have a chance to catch him on tour I highly recommend it. Fun for the whole family!

A Fireplace Overhaul

Remember this lovely warped wall?

crooked-fireplace-small Well it’s still a bit warped, but that’s about to change. I’ve had plans to clad this wall in a stacked quartz veneer since before we built the house, so I wasn’t too worried about it. I’ve ordered a couple palettes of white quartz veneers from Norstone and am waiting for them to arrive. The wall will be taken down to the studs where we can hopefully straighten things up and then wrap it with heavy duty cement board that will support the weight of the stone. Before the end of the year the fireplace wall will look something like this (but with a tv mounted on it, of course):

Jennifer Brouwer Design

Nice, right? I’m in love with clean white and it gives off a slight MCM vibe that will play well with the other furnishings in the room. At the moment my great room is lacking texture, and although it’s still a hard surface it will still give some much needed visual texture to the room. We’ll be keeping the crown moulding at the top, but other than that, this is pretty much what we’re going for.

The Big Blank Wall

After my last post I actually did drag out all the artwork I had been hoarding and attempted to concoct a gallery wall. And after hours of arranging, rearranging, and then doing it some more, I gave up. Some of my art was just not meant to be clumped with other pieces. It’s like everything was screaming “Look at me!” and it totally clunked. So I scratched the idea and went a totally different route. I needed a big honkin’ piece of art, so I found a Hermès scarf I really liked on eBay and proceeded to go in for the kill.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This scarf is titled “Petite Main” and was designed by Caty Latham in 1987. Latham designed hundreds of scarves for Hermès and they are all such works of art. You can view a catalog of Latham’s designs here.

Of course the reason why I like this one so much is because it’s bright and bold (and pink, turquoise, green, gold, etc.). But At 35″ square, the framing costs more than the scarf. OUCH. Surely I am in the wrong business.

framing-hermes-scarf The frame shop said it will be 3-4 weeks. So I wait. And stare at my big blank wall. Ugh.

ASID Real World Design Week

This was probably the absolute best thing that’s happened so far in my quest to become an interior designer. I’m a student ASID member and I signed up to participate in the ASID RWDW (Real World Design Week). This is a week where students get paired up with seasoned ASID mentors to shadow them for a day and see what the real business of interior design is all about. I received a request from Jennifer Markanich of Timeless Interiors to shadow her for a day, and I accepted right away.

I had one day to spare in between my job change and luckily Jennifer was available to let me shadow her. It was such an eye opener, I can’t even tell you! We went on two client appointments in an affluent area of town. One was a renovation/addition to add a media/gathering room to a home, and the other was a complete kitchen renovation. Jennifer specializes in kitchens and baths so I was particularly interested in the second meeting that day. We helped the client select cabinet colors and countertops:

selecting-finishes (the poor photography on this post is astounding, I know)

Jennifer also showed me the business side as well, including her project management software and how she keeps up with the seven or eight clients she is currently juggling right now. We talked about different types of clients, trade pricing, taxes, sourcing and shared so many stories of our own experiences with designing and renovation.

The most important bit of advice that Jennifer left me with was this – You are ALWAYS selling yourself and your product. That is the primary business of interior design. You are a sales person first, designer second. That sure does put a whole new paint job on things, doesn’t it?

Well that’s all I have to post for now, but there’s more stuff coming down the pike very soon and I can’t wait to post about more changes!

Painting, taping and more painting

Guess what I’ve been doing lately? Ah, yes, one of my favorite pastimes! I truly do love painting, whether it’s painting a wall a solid color or painting fine art on a canvas. I just zone out with my headphones on and go to town. I painted the living room in our last house at least six times in the ten years we lived there. Michael said that when the paint is as thick as our fireplace mantle I’d have to stop because we were losing square footage. :)

Last week I painted a little canvas art. Nothing complicated, just a simple chevron pattern with an array of various colors. We haven’t gotten the bonus room (aka – my art studio) or the front office cleared out yet from the move, so I broke out the yard sale table and pretty soon the walkway in my great room looked like this:
painting-in-progress Fun stuff if you ask me. This wasn’t a quick paint job because it had lots of colors that I had to hand mix to get just right, but in the end I’m happy with the result. I painted the edges gold and will probably try to clear coat this in an epoxy resin so it will be thick, glossy and shiny (remember my Obsessive-Compulsive-Oooh-Shiny-Object! disorder?). Here’s the finished canvas:

If I had to do this project again I would definitely mix up all my paints first. It would’ve taken half the time had I just buckled down and pre-mixed my paint, but sometimes the fun is in the journey, right?

Next up was the hallway. You may remember that I had plans to do this:

Striped Foyer Well that project is now underway. I know it doesn’t look like a lot, but this uses quite a bit of tape. I used Scotch Blue Edgelock tape for this, but then switched to the regular kind because the Edgelock started tearing the drywall when I peeled it off. Sometimes a product can work too well, I guess.
The first couple of stripes I measured and taped up with my mom’s help. After she left I got the swing of things and finished taping another stripe or two. It’s a tedious job and, if I’m completely honest, took WAY longer than I anticipated based on past striping projects. Or maybe my brain just blocked the taping part from memory after a few years? Who knows. This morning the hallway now looks like this:
I’m pretty happy with the results so far, but I have a lot more stripes to paint in this area. Truth be told, I think it’s going to look awesome when it’s done, but I’m concerned that the color scheme won’t connect with the back of the house very well. The center of the house is just one long hallway and you can see the great room from the front door. So I think what I’ll do is move forward with the color scheme as planned (because I really do love it), and then add some of these colors to the great room to visually tie things together.

Or I could just say screw it and be one of those artsy / eclectic / I-meant-to-do-that people that doesn’t care if things don’t “go together.” Hmmmm… we shall see.

Have any of you striped a wall or room in your house? How long did it take and were you pleased with the results?