Italians never cease to amaze me – from their music, to fashion, wine, food, interior design… It’s all really quite impressive, isn’t it? I recently came across the Fluttua bed from Lago Studios, a suspended bed that is supported by a single foot beneath. No need for delicate balance or sleeping only in the middle, the foot is installed into the wall so the sleeping platform is secure. Gives the illusion that one is floating off to sleep, don’t you think?
The Fluttua, although certainly a beauty, may not be a bed I’d purchase though, most walls in apartments and homes I’ve lived in are 4″ of drywall, stuffed with insulation, hardly sturdy enough to support the weight of a bed without the entire wall falling down. Here in Germany, and I assume in Italy and most other Euro flats, I see this as no problem, most walls are extremely sturdy. In our building, the walls are a combination of concrete and stone.
Somewhat more practical for me are these 36E8 storage systems, offered in an array of colors, styles, and materials, so you are allowed to be as creative as you wish to conceal your clutter. I’m really crushing on the 36E8 collection, I like all of the options for installation, and the glossy cabinets are very attractive. I think the wood grain is my favorite, though.
One last bit before I leave you alone with Lago, your new love. Here’s a photo of their studios in Italy, a nice space to create, don’t you think? I love peeking into the workspace of others. Link here to read Design Conversations (their blog), too. Simply click on the British flag to translate it into English.
The Fluttua and 36E8 aren’t the only beauties from Lago Studios, don’t miss their broad range of practical, innovative, and very contemporary pieces, all so stunning, you’ll want to fill your home with lots of Lago love.
Yesterday was one of the best days we’ve had here in Hannover because we spent some time window shopping and then, enjoying time with our family since it was a holiday here and things were quiet. Relaxing around the table, enjoying wine, telling stories, digging out old photos, chatting excitedly about current events from politics to religion and beyond. The conversation switched from German to English constantly, flowing like a wild river, a river I couldn’t quite tame despite how hard I tried.
Most of the time, I feel like I am starting over again, like a child in grade school, anxious to learn vocabulary and sentence structure. It can be frustrating, but a very positive experience because I continue to deepen bonds with my family and friends because I relay on them for so much help with the language. Needing something from others who genuinely want to share helps to solidify friendships by creating a sense of closeness. I can tell that people here really enjoy working with me on my German, and the young people especially love it when I speak English. The little ones show me their animal books and point to each animal, identifying them in German and then I point to the same animal teaching them the English word. Children love to teach adults, something I never really realized until I had to learn a new language. When I studied Spanish in school and Russian in college, I studied with peers and older ones. I never realized that some of the best foreign language instructors are children! Are you in the process of learning a new language, too?
When with family here, I’m especially fond of my mother-in-law, who studied classical music and has such fine taste in music. Each time I visit her, I anticipate what she will introduce me to next. Yesterday, it was Eleni Karaindrou and Kim Kashkashian’s “Ulysses Gaze”, and two CD’s from Keith Jarrett, “Vienna Concert” and another with whom he collaborated with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, “Standards of Norway”. I’m not familiar with these artists yet, but I enjoy expanding my tastes to include music that I wouldn’t usually gravitate towards if left to myself in a music store.
I always play music in the home, especially when reading or cooking, I think it enhances the environment, adding warmth, and depending on the music, either energy, peace, reflection, or a festive atmosphere.
So, those are my thoughts for today. We’re heading to the hospital this afternoon to visit with my brother-in-law, although he is still in a coma, I’m certain he can hear us and is aware of his surroundings. Just the other day, I held his hand and as I started to caress it, his thumb began to move back and forth. This was very touching. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for writing in with such caring thoughts, I share your emails with my husband who is encouraged to know that so many are praying for his brother right now. I haven’t had time to respond to your emails, I’ve very sorry for this, but please know that I really appreciate your concern. :)
I’ll be back in a moment with some goodies for the day before I head out. Back soon!
I was delighted to discover Julieann of Jace Interiors, a Boston-based designer, via Daily Candy. After reading through their editorial, I wanted to learn more about Julieann, so an interview was scheduled. With tips on how to start your next design project to decorating with your favorite color, I’m confident that you’ll enjoy meeting Julieann. If you have a question that you’d like to ask her, please post it below in the comments section. :)
decor8: Hi Julieann, we’re so happy that you’ve stopped by to chat with us about your interior design practice. Can you please tell us about Jace Interiors?
julieann: Yes of course, Holly! I am based in Cambridge, MA and live in one of the sweetest squares, I adore my apartment here. Jace started in 2002 when I kept hearing people talk about how intimidated they were by designers so I decided to start a company with the motto ?Your home, Your style, My assistance – Design With What You Have!? I wanted to make it accessible for everyone. Every home deserves to be beautiful. I offer services from assisting realtors in staging houses to helping the homeowner define their style and than make it become reality! Sometimes it involves just placing the furniture they have, hanging pictures and picking paint colors. I love designing with what people already own. It?s like a great puzzle to be put together!
decor8: Can you please tell us about your background?
julieann: Certainly! My background began in fashion and visual merchandising. I started creating windows on Newbury Street. Later I worked as a VM at Ethan Allen for years, amazing training! I had 35 rooms to do with as I pleased. Sometimes I would create traditional rooms, sometimes ultimate contemporary spaces. You had to speak to the customer without saying a word; it was a great compliment when someone would walk into a room and say “ohh this is so me!” I also worked in the Boston Design Center which was a fabulous experience. The fabric showrooms alone are a little slice of heaven!
decor8: Can you describe an initial design consultation?
julieann: Usually I take a tour of the house just to get a sense of their personality; I ask them to show me some of their favorite pieces and also to take a look at their closet. Clothing palette can tell a lot about someone. We talk about what they have now and what they envision. Discussing how the room will be used is huge, everyone is different and the more you talk the more people become focused.
decor8: On your second visit, do you bring your design boards or do you use another way to convey the end result to the client?
julieann: Most of what I do can be performed in a single day. Yes, really! I love to get in there and move things around because it gives the client confidence and instant gratification. If I am scouting for a client we make a second appointment to pull everything together and show them an idea folder. Sometimes they need to do things in stages and the folder is a great item to have to be inspired again after time has passed.
decor8: If this isn’t too forward, what are your rates? Do you ever travel outside of Boston for clients?
julieann: I usually travel within one hour of Boston but for special projects, I would consider going a bit further out. Every project is a bit different and so are the rates. Jace Interiors is all about ?affordable design? and starts at $75 per hour.
decor8: How do you promote your business?
julieann: Daily Candy helped! What a rush. Most of my business though is from referrals and by word of mouth. When I first started, I sent emails to friends and family with Jace updates and tips to help spread the word and to get people talking.
decor8: Let’s talk about a few things decor8 readers may need help with. For one, color. Most clients (I find) are quite scared when it comes to using their favorite colors. How can we best incorporate color into the home?
julieann: I am a huge fan of accents. Our favorite color changes sometimes with the season so using it on pillows or incorporating it into wall decor is key. Using one color with the fabrics being different textures and tones creates great interest. If they are committed to the color and have been for years than I say lets go, lets paint!
decor8: When did you know that you wanted to work in the design field?
julieann: When I was younger, everyone else was watching cartoons and I was the girl watching Style with Elsa Klensch on CNN, I was mesmerized by all the beauty! I think it was a natural progression from Fashion to Interiors but I have always been inspired by color and furniture and how it can change your mood and create a certain atmosphere. Also when I was walking into spaces?friends homes, restaurants, stores and changing things around in my head it was a good sign. I also have a hard time focusing until I look at everything in a space. It is a joke when I visit friends, they know I don?t settle in until I have looked at everything, I am always intrigued with how people live and the pieces they have. Visual excitement.
decor8: Can you describe your personal design style?
julieann: That is a loaded question. :) Part of the reason I like design is because I am all over the place, I always joke that I need to have a few houses, depending on my mood is the house I live in. Okay, back to reality… My personal style is clean, crisp with a bit of whimsy. Also comfortable and warm. I like a room to be able to breathe and not be overloaded with things. My office is a tiny space of 6×5 so everything has a place! My bulletin board from Ballard Designs is my life savor, every piece of inspiration or interest goes on there and it fills half the wall but I love it! My style is also to have modern pieces with something old or sentimental?I love pieces that have a good story. Unexpected features that get people talking are always a good thing. In my office there is a quote I had Wonderful Graffiti make for me ?in order to be irreplaceable one must be different? Coco Chanel. I saw it when I was 16 and have lived by it ever since. Most homeowners want to be ?safe? but they also want to be different than the neighbor.
decor8: What is the first thing you notice upon entering a space?
julieann: It is not a specific thing I see, it’s the overall feeling. How do I feel and does it reflect the people that live there? I?m drawn to pieces that make the room unique.
decor8: What are some common design issues that you face?
julieann: Art installed at the wrong height – this drives me mad! Too much furniture or the incorrect positioning of it. Having furniture that is too big for the space, big doesn?t always equal comfort. I say you need to let the room breathe.
decor8: How do you stay on top of trends in the industry?
julieann: I’m not a person that usually follows trends – I think they are good for accessories, but not the big pieces. I am constantly talking to other designers whether it is fashion, graphic or interiors. It is all related. I keep a close eye on the fashion world, the fabrics and patterns will ultimately end up on interior fabric and pieces. In the spring 2007 line Carolina Herrara used some gorgeous patterned fabrics; I can?t wait to see those patterns translate to bedding, panels and other pieces! FUN! I am also a HUGE magazine addict and I try to make trips down to North Carolina and to NYC, for some people it is visual overload but for me it is a playground, I am so inspired when I come home.
decor8: Let’s say someone is looking to pull together a new look for their home. With so much at hand, how do you suggest one get started?
julieann: Take inventory of what you have and what you want to give away. Next work on getting the basics if you don?t have them already?sofa, bed, kitchen table. Then define your style and how you want the space to be used. Paint would be next if you?re on a budget as it is instant gratification and gives the entire space direction.
decor8: What advice do you have for those looking to spruce things up on a budget?
julieann: Set a plan and prioritize your needs, I always say things are done in stages, this is also a good way not to get overwhelmed. Pulling items together makes a big difference, clear out the clutter and focus on the bones of the room and how you will use it. For instance, if you love to read in your bedroom, maybe the comfy chair you never use in the living room should be used in the bedroom to make a nice quiet reading corner. I also believe that you should have your favorite pieces where you can enjoy them. If your favorite picture from London is hanging in the dining room where you never see it, put it in a place you are everyday. Maybe the kitchen or the living room. Just because you have had a piece in a certain room for years doesn?t mean you can?t move it to give it new life. Also invest in a good area rug because it makes a strong statement and can group the few things you have together.
decor8: Let’s address renters for a moment. Most cannot make structural or cosmetic changes to the space itself (cabinets, tile, flooring, paint, etc.). Where do you suggest they start given these limitations?
julieann: Accents! If you have a big wall and want to add color, purchase a large piece of canvas from the art store and add paint for instant color. You can also visit your local copy store with your favorite photo, they can blow it up for you for your wall, another inexpensive piece of wall decor with a pop of color. FLOR is a great company and can add amazing interest to your areas with little investment. You can also take it with you when you leave.
decor8: Where do you find inspiration?
julieann: I can find inspiration anywhere. Sometimes during a walk around the city, simply admiring the outfit of a passerby – their color combination, for instance. Even something as abstract as a billboard inspires me. The Tate Gallery in London is one of my absolute favorite places because it is so calming and beautiful. I am so lucky to live in Boston because of the great architecture and natural color. I am drawn to a great window or store display, too. I love Anthropologie and all the store windows in the South End and on Newbury Street.
decor8: Who are some of your favorite designers and why?
julieann: Most of my favorite designers are from the fashion world: Carolina Herrera, Tom Ford, Zac Posen. I am drawn to clean lines and being able to see whats going on whether in a garment or in a room. I also love David Netto, everything he does is wonderfully pulled together and creates such interest with comfort, I love it! I have been following Angela Adams for years and continue to love her rugs they are the perfect punch of color. Susan Sargent also creates interesting pillows.
decor8: And finally, what are ten things that you can’t live without?
julieann: Fashion and design magazines, Kiehl’s leave-in conditioner and lip balm, my morning tea, collection of vintage tablecloths, my ultra warm chocolate double chenille throw, digital camera, Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg, Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn books, my idea/scouting book (which goes with me everywhere), city life, and warm olives at the Oleana restaurant here in Cambridge, YUM!
Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Julieann. Such a pleasure!
Readers: If you live in the Boston area and seek affordable design assistance, please consider contacting Julieann of Jace Interiors. She can be reached at: 617.435.2240 or jaceinteriors.com
(images from jace interiors)
Can anyone help decor8 reader Helen from Seattle, Washington?
She writes, “Hi Holly, I am a marketing professional looking to go back to school and change my career path. I live in Seattle and I’m looking into evening interior design programs. So far I have talked to Seattle Art Institute and I will be talking to International Academy of Design. Since you are in the field, I would like to get your opinion and perspective on the above schools. Do they have a good reputation? Will companies hire based on the above name recognition or lack there of? Anything you could provide or suggest would be greatly appreciated. Since I do work full time, I am somewhat limited to just evening programs in the Seattle area.”
Sorry Helen, I’m not too savvy when it comes to design schools on the west coast, can anyone provide Helen with some direction?
Thanks Helen for writing in!