Featured Artist: Brian Tull

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, wasn’t 2013 the craziest year ever? The Julians went through a whole year of constant change, and it seems many of my friends did as well. While I’m happy that 2013 is done and over, I will say that I will always be grateful for the change (sometimes forced upon us) that will transform our lives for the better.

One of my new year resolutions is to take time to finish unfinished business, and that starts right now with a post I promised weeks ago. Do you remember the glimpse I gave you of my Chanel painting? Here’s a better view.

My friend, artist Brian Tull, painted this for me. Brian and I go way back, and in fact he was the first person I ever hired off the street to work for me at the publishing company. His full name is Brian Lee Tull, and I affectionately call him BLT.

Brian has been painting professionally for many years and is now represented by Tinney Contemporary Gallery here in Nashville, TN. His preferred painting style is photorealism, although he has been known to create the occasional abstract piece. The scenes he creates are often from the 50s and are cropped in ways that create tension, leaving the viewer wondering what is just beyond the edges.

for-we-walk-by-faith For We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight | oil on panel | 60″ x 36″
1635_miles 1,635 Miles | oil and acrylic on panel | 40″ x 40″
we-talked-about-love We Talked About Love | oil on unprimed birch panel | 42″ x 25″

Aren’t his works amazing? I swear I could just reach out and dial that old rotary phone. I love his compositions and I’m a sucker for photorealism. It’s no wonder his paintings sell before he can even hang them in a gallery.

I have always wanted an original BLT, so when we signed on the dotted line to build this house, I asked him if he would consider doing a special painting for the new place. A majority of my career has been in advertising and I’ve always loved the iconic Chanel ads, especially the line of Warhol prints. I did a search and found the poster I remembered hanging in the ad agency where I worked years ago, tweaked the colors to my color palette, and handed it over to Brian.

I was so excited to see the progress that he sent me regular progress photos. He’s such a good friend!
changel-stage-2 And here’s Brian, all smiles as usual.
brian-tull I have a pair of jeans that look just like that. Don’t we all?

I picked up my Chanel the week we moved into the new house and found the perfect place for it.

I just love the bright colors, the faceted bottle and the iconic brand of Chanel. And I’m so grateful that I have a piece of art from a close personal friend that means so much to me.

So do you guys have any cool art you love? Was it a gallery purchase, a thrifted find, or something you painted yourself? I’d love to hear your stories!

Phyllis Morris Faux Bamboo Chairs

Well guys, I seem to have an addiction to craigslist. I’ve denied it long enough, but now I’m just going to admit it. But what can a girl do when you find stuff as good as this?


These are Phyllis Morris faux bamboo Chinese Chippendale chairs that were found in what used to be the Spence Manor Hotel downtown on Music Row. They were neglected, piled in a corner and taking up space. The man who sold them to me was Bobby John Henry, who used to manage the hotel many years ago and had since become a bread baker operating out of the old hotel kitchen. Bobby was kind enough to tell me that the likes of Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin had sat in these chairs over the years. I love having a great story to go along with my finds.

Now if you know a little about faux bamboo, you know that it’s typically quite expensive and it never goes out of style. Ever. Open up almost any shelter magazine and I’ll bet money you find a Chinese Chippendale chair in its pages. And if you look on 1st Dibs, you’ll find this:

1stdibschair-white 1st Dibs – Set of six chairs – $7,250

Yep, you read that right. Over seven thousand dollars! While I only have three of them, I’m still pretty happy. They are made of aluminum and are not in the best of shape so I’ve sent them out to be sandblasted and powder coated with a bright new finish. I’m painting two of them a fresh spring green like this:

spring-green-chair Via 1st Dibs

And the other I’m painting a Tiffany Blue color (sorry, no photo for that one). The green chairs will flank my buffet in the dining room and will be used as extra seating when we have more than six around the table. The blue chair will be my new office chair. I’m so excited!

I have a couple different fabrics in mind for the seats, one of which is a watercolor print by Home Accents called Katmandu Multi.

katmandu-multi It’s bright and bold, but there wouldn’t be much of it in the room so I think it would be a perfect fabric for the green chairs. For the blue chair I’m considering this one:

charcoal dots - domesticate Charcoal Dots – Domesticate

Yes, I’m crazy for spots now. I love the fuzziness of these and since the color is neutral I can use the chair almost anywhere in the house.

The powder coating will take approximately two weeks and in the meantime I’m going to have the seats professionally upholstered so they’ll have a self-welt (piping around the edge) and will maintain their box shape. Only the best for these little beauties!

Lookout for another post in a couple weeks when these chip chairs make their debut!

Buh-bye Stripes!

About a month or so ago I was hard at work striping the foyer. While it was good in theory, when it came right down to it I just couldn’t finish it. The color was all wrong for the rest of the house and it didn’t have the vibe I was going for. I got no further than this:

foyer-almost-done I know I said I was going to finish it but I COULD NOT bring myself to do it. I knew something was wrong so I put a halt to the project and lived with it like this for about a month (yes, with the blue tape, too!). For whatever reason the stripes were a hit on Halloween as all the little trick-or-treaters and their mommies gazed into the foyer in amazement and said “I love your walls!” The realtor in the model home told me that no one else in the neighborhood decorates with vibrant color, let alone graphic stripes, so I guess it was somewhat of a spectacle for them.

Well if that was a spectacle, get a load of this!
foyer-from-hall Bet ya didn’t see that coming! I’ve seen tons of chic rooms dressed with Thibaut Tanzania wallpaper, but at $115+ per single roll, those spots are just a little too rich for my blood. I decided to tackle it DIY style, similar to what Kristin did with her curtains, but with a lot more crying and fist pounding. Here’s how it went down…

I knew I wanted to do spots of some sort but most pre-made stencils had more rounded, dalmatian spots. I really like the random and somewhat jagged look of the Tanzania spots, so I drew out some spots in Adobe Illustrator and made my own template using Danika’s repeating pattern tutorial.

I went to my local sign shop and they recommended a thin vinyl product that already had a low-tack adhesive backing. Awesome, I thought. Now I won’t need to buy spray adhesive. The stencil was cut on their big fancy vinyl cutter.

cutting-stencil And I came home with a shiny new stencil!

finished-stencil The first application to the wall was a breeze. I carefully lifted the stencil, placed it on the wall and smoothed that sucker out. The vinyl was thin so I figured rolling on paint with a foam roller would be best. This was too easy, I thought to myself. It was all going so well…


Until I lifted the stencil from this second application and it stuck to itself. AAARRRGGGHH! You know what happens when low-tack meets low-tack? It becomes high-freakin-tack! As I tried to pry the stencil from itself it started to tear. (Cue the crying and fist pounding)

I have no photos of this part as I was too consumed with trying to get it back to a usable state. I had to walk away for a while and let my very patient husband work on it. When he was tired of trying to save it I went back to it and managed to get it all flattened out again after about an hour. It was torn to bits in some areas so I Scotch taped that shit back together. I mean, what the heck, it’s spots, right?

I got back to work and managed to get two more sections painted when disaster struck again. There was a lot of static and a breeze caught it and…I was DONE. There was no way the stencil would be salvageable. I spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out how to get this wall done. It was Sunday, so having another stencil cut that night was not an option. It was also not an option that I was going to spend good money to have another one cut only to have it stick to itself again.

Later that night I had the bright idea to have another stencil cut the next morning, but this time spray some talcum powder on the back to reduce the tackiness. And wouldn’t you know, it worked like a charm. Whew!

foyer-from-front-door I FINALLY got to hang my Chinese Chippendale pagoda mirror that I scored on craigslist months ago. We hung it on the wall and I sighed a huge sigh of relief. And the Chippendale console table is one that was left over from our estate sale this summer. It got a little makeover with my friend Molly’s spray gun in Sherwin Williams Eros Pink. The little rug is a handmade Persian Kerman that I picked up at a yard sale and for now it will stay in the entry, but will eventually be replaced with a long runner. I’m still working on that. For the most part (at least for right now), this foyer is finished.



As I type the words “this foyer is finished” I can’t help but ask, should I stencil all the walls in the foyer? Would it be way too much? Or maybe just paint the other walls in the darker gray color of the spots? I’m on the fence about it. I think I’ll live with this for a while and take my time contemplating my next move. That seems to work best for me. :)

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!