Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Four ways....

I don't know about you but I am looking forward to Spring in a big way! I've always found when you've got the blues, winter or not, it is important to focus on the positive! I know some peeps might find this concept annoying, especially when it feels like everything is going wrong in your life...But it was (and is) what truly got me through the tough times. When I was living alone, as a newly single mother with a new born baby and three year old in a big old house I would repeat: "Focus on the good, Julie"... As my life changes, I still repeat this mantra when I am feeling overwhelmed.

To combat my winter blahs this year I am going to think about what I can do to my home and yard to update it! Today I've included "4" ways to update your home on a budget.
1. Painting your front door a fresh color is a quick and inexpensive way to brighten your home. This winter warm aqua doors have been catching my eye. I love this shade (aptly named): Happy Dance - 31C-2 by Clark+Kensington paints
2. Switching out or purchasing new pillows is a great way to enhance your home. Furbish Studio is taking 15% off all of their pillows right now! Jamie has a great selection on her site. **Designer Trick: fill your pillow with an insert one size larger than the pillow dimension. This will make for perfectly plump pillows!**

3. I love this kitchen revamp by Sarah Sherman Samuel of Smitten Studios. Changing your hardware will give your kitchen cabinets an instant update. I'm loving this brass pull Sarah used - find here.

4. Matty and I did quite a bit of yard work at my home last year but I still have lots to finish up. It's always a good idea to devise a plan before you make your purchases. A simple sketch or water color painting is a great way to organize your ideas. BHG has a link to a number of images and free design plans. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cottage Love #22

I took a quick business trip to Chicago last Friday for my Ace Hardware design expert gig! We filmed a short studio segment. It was fun! I always take the opportunity to catch up on some magazine reading while I am traveling.. Like you, I'm tiring of the frozen tundra that I call home!  I rely on a bit of escapism to lift my spirits.

I was thrilled to see in the March issue of HGTV Magazine, an article featuring home owner Natalie Lea's colorful Houston ranch. Natalie worked closely with designer Bailey McCarthy on the project. The overall inspiration of Natalie's home pays tribute to her mother, who passed away of cancer. Natalie's abode brightened my day. I hope it does the same for you. Just look at all the beautiful design details! Natalie's interior designer, Bailey McCarthy, is also the creator of Biscuit Home. - be sure to check her great shop and bedding line out! xx

This front door and wall paper are fabulous. I need a front door with so many glass windows. It's a great way to add more light to your home.
After seeing this, I am so happy I ordered brass pulls to my kitchen design!!

Photographs by: David A, Land

Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 Oscar Awards Red Carpet

Happy Monday! Did you have a chance to catch the Oscar's last night? I watched the first half but couldn't stay awake for the ending. Here are my thoughts on the red carpet fashion.  Nothing blew me away but there were of course a number of beautiful moments. Neutral gowns were a top choice. Some I loved, some not so much.

Here are my picks!


Lupita Nyong'o custom made pearl dress by Calvin Klein was a sophisticated stunner! Not many women could pull this look off. Lupita was radiant in this beauty, it was created using 6,000 pearls. Lupita is quickly becoming one of Hollywood's fashion icons. I adore her style.

Sienna Miller is gorgeous!! She would look smashing in a paper bag but I also loved the Oscar de la Renta dress she wore. Again, the intricate cut out details did not compete with her hair or jewelry.
Rosamund Pike's Givenchy dress was a wonderful choice for her. I am usually not a "red person" but her minimal hair and jewelry selections were the right ones. The fit and intricate details are so flattering.
I am not loving Jennifer Lopez's eye make up but she looks stunning in this ultra feminine beaded Ellie Saab creation. (Ellie Saab is one of my favorite designers.)
I've read some mixed opinions on Gwyneth's dress but I think she looks beautiful in this pale pink silk Ralph + Russo Couture dress. The lines only enhance her statuesque figure and her hair, makeup and earrings compliment the look beautifully.
P.S. the flower doesn't bother me at all, I love the dimension it adds to the look.

Meryl Streep is hands down one of my favorite actresses. She made the right choice with this very flattering Lanvin skirt suit.
Chiwetel Ejiofor's classic black tux was the perfect choice in my book. I am partial to a man in a black tux!

Jennifer Aniston has worn some of my favorite looks over the years. She did not disappoint this year in a sexy, beaded, nude Versace dress. The more I see this dress the more I like it!
Cate is a classic Classic Beauty and honestly doesn't seem to age! The Tiffany and Co. turquoise necklace was the perfect addition to this chic, understated dress.  Designer: Maison Margiela

LEAST FAVORITE: I know most design is subjective but here are my least favorite designs.

Lady Gaga's dress was not my favorite. I think maybe the exposed tattoos and red gloves put the look over the top. She did however sound amazing singing the Sound of Music Tribute!

Again, why? Blanca Blanco's dress was just not a good look! 

Chloe Moretz is adorable and only eighteen. I just thought this dress had too much material! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Shelter Loves

Here is this week's round up. We are in need of some serious pretty and color up in here!! The snow, don't get me started on the snow!! The 100+" (no joke) of white stuff we have around here is starting to get to everyone. I've been trying to keep a very positive attitude this winter. In fact, I've been beginning my day with a few daily affirmations. They actually seem to be helping. With that said, I could STILL use a little color and warmth in my life right about now! How about you??

1. Loving Tory's latest spring bag collection. Look at all that color!! These would pair well add the perfect pop of color with a neutral outfit..
2. This yellow trench from J. Crew is adorable! Yellow is a hot color this Spring. You'll be seeing lots of it.
3. PEACE - we all need a bit more of it...
4. I am going to a fund raising gala next Saturday night and am going to wear my hair up. I want to incorporate a braid into the look. I feel younger in braids. :)
5. Kelly Klien's Palm Beach house is gorgeous and yes peaceful.
6. My skin can't get enough moisture this winter. I wash my face and moisturize every night...I thought I'd give this Dior cream a try! I tweak my routine every six months or so. It has great reviews!!
7. How about this watch? The tortoise is pretty cool!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

French Dressing...The twenty four essentials - Part Une

To piggy back on my Parisian post last week, I thought I would share my love of french fashion a bit more. French women don't own hoards of clothing, they make very wise, selective choices when building their wardrobe. I've been refining my closet since I moved and I too have been trying to do the same. I absolutely believe, when you buy the right pieces they can be mixed and matched to make a number of different looks. This saves money, space, meaningless clutter and future aggravation.

Here I have shared twelve essentials that all most french women own. There are a few more items I would add to this list like: little booties, a leather jacket, a white and denim button down, a cozy, slouchy sweater, a perfect black dress and a pencil skirt..There are a few other "essentials" I'll be sharing but I'll save those for Part Deux , stay tuned......

Emmanuelle Alt and Ines de la Fressange are two of my favorite french fashion icons! Just look at their fabulous style.

BOTTOMS: The white jean, the skinny jean.
TOPS: Breton T, A little white t, A black blazer, grey tank
SHOES: Ballet flats
ACCESSORIES: Earrings, Sunglasses, Scarf, Classic Bag

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy heart day!!

I look at Valentine's Day as less of a "lovers" holiday and more of a day to take an opportunity to tell those near and dear to you how much you love and appreciate them! It's a "spread the love" kind of weekend. Enjoy and thank you all for your continued support and visits to my blog! xoxo, Julie

I have posted about Kerri Rosenthal and her art in the past. I'm loving her drippy series of hearts! Find more here. I love the large scale of these pieces.

I also adore this print and need it for my daughter's room. Does anyone know the source?? The room is by Amber of Amber Interiors.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Hola! Happy Thursday! I thought I'd share with you what is going on around here at Shelter. I'm working on a few great design projects and wrapping some others up as well! You might as well focus on the interior of your home when the exterior is covered in snow......

I've been working with one client for over a year! They are wonderful people and I can't wait to share their beautiful home photos with you when the project is completed! Here is a peek at their foyer design and a malachite console I had custom made for them. I work with some fabulous work rooms and the sky is the limit to what they will fabricate for me. I simply provide the drawings + inspiration sketches and viola! Perfection....Photography: Sarah Winchester


I used Ace Hardware's Clark+Kensington paint for these two projects in the following color: Walls: Abstract Gray N-C26

FINISHED UP this bright and cheery kitchen for another client.......Photography by: Ann-Marie Rollo

Paint colors: Cabinets: Designer White - 1066
Walls: White Moon 35A-1


My assistant, Meg and I are going to begin to set up our new office space. We will be co-sharing the space with Matty, so he would like to set up his area (understandable ;) ) "The girls" area will be inspired by these images. We just need to wait for the 6' of snow to melt a bit before moving in but I suppose we can begin to paint. Stay tuned for the before and afters of the space this Spring!! I'll be sharing an office design board soon.

The office is going to mix clean white, smokey pinks/greys and brass. I want it as open and bright as possible. I will have a work area and a central round table. I already own most of the items I want to use, which is a good thing!

I prefer to work on a large flat surface such as a table as opposed to a small desk. So I'll be heading to Ikea for two white tables/desks.

The space will combine these elements...
This is Kelly Wearstler's office...I mean don't get me wrong, my office could fit on that table top but I'm liking the mix of smokey colors..

I also LOVE these colors

I love a clean white desk and organized work space. Image via

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Shelter Loves....

I've been inspired by pretty little things lately, I'm doing anything to get through this winter. My assistant Meg and I were just talking about how all the snow hype is sorta making the time go faster!?! Or maybe we are just optimists!! Here are the beautiful moments that caught my eye this week.

1. Pretty "smallish" pieces of jewelry. As much as I wear chunky jewelry I do like the simplicity of wearing a few delicate pieces together. With Valentine's Day approaching I can't think of a better time to add one to your wish list. Here are the links for the ones pictured: from top to bottom: Swallow cuff, heart ring, love bracelet.

2. This sophisticated, clean living room.
3. I'm making Valentine's Day dinner for Matty and the kids this weekend. I might bake sugar cookies for dessert. I thought these were so lovely!
4. True dat!
5. Ohhh Blake, you are my girl crush. She is so beautiful..

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dreaming of far away places...

 Okay, so I won't even begin to complain about the additional two feet of snow we are getting today. It doesn't help that it is piling on top of the 40" we already have. I am house-bound and starting to go stir crazy!!  I can't help but dream of Spring and far away places this morning. The only reason my post is this late is because Matty and I were outside shoveling.......

I've been to Europe and France a number of times but never to Paris. It, along with Capri are on the top of my wish list of places to visit....I love the architecture, refined designs and classically chic women of France. Here's a bit of Parisian inspiration and prettiness. Hope it brightens your day....Enjoy!

Ralph's in Paris - I could design an entire Patio inspired by this image.

Parisian interiors....

French women believe in purchasing wearable flattering staples in classic, neutral colors. Their closets tend to be paired down but their choices are refined...they mix and match almost all their clothing. French women purchase investments and stay away from seasonal trends. 

“You should dress to feel good, not show off,” Inès de la Fressange says. “It takes life to learn that.”
If you are looking for french fashion inspiration Ines de la Frssange is the perfect place to start..she is absolutely one of my fashion icons.


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