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Julea Joseph

Julea Joseph
Hello - I'm Julea


A stylish home shouldn't be out of your reach or cost you a fortune. From entertaining to decorating, home should be celebrated and your special place in this busy world. Join me on my adventures to enhance, celebrate and appreciate all things home.


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Merry Christmas

My Christmas Tree 2012

Wrapped Gifts

Wrap gifts in left over wall paper, craft paper - 
Tie with twine or burlap 
for a monochromatic look.

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Stress Free Christmas Home Decorating Ideas

Well it’s that time of year again, we head to our attics, basements or garages and haul out oodles of bins and boxes filled to the brim with holiday décor and trimming.  We unpack and reveal years, if not decades of the stuff - Super excited to begin the annual ritual of decking the halls.  As an Interior Stylist, it’s my job to give my clients fresh new ideas on how to use their old stuff, shop wisely and celebrate their home in style.  Here are some tips and techniques to shake up your view of how to make your home festive for the Holidays. This is the year be a stress free decorator!

1.)    Inventory what you have before your start any decorating. To get a fresh perspective of your goods, you need to take a step back and look at what you have. 
a.      Can it be re-purposed, reinvented, spray painted or need to go?
b.      Sort your product into category, rather than room.
Cylinder Vase 
2.)    Shop your home for “Good Bone" accessory basics that you already have.  I love these standard décor pieces because they can be used in so many ways, can be reused in ever season and most of us already have them.
a.      Tall Hurricane, cylinder or apothecary vases. These can hold a host of holiday décor and too can be used to set a buffet or service food.
b.      Cake Stands.  A great anchors or bases for a wonderful display – Perfect to elevate florals, décor, showcase candles or create height.
c.      Silver.  From silver trays, coffee pots to champagne buckets – Silver makes everything more festive and rich.
3.)    Showcase family heirlooms.  Although I’m sure we all have treasured holiday items, don’t overlook what’s already in our cabinets and closets. From Grandma’s China, to your own old ice skates to family photos of loved ones passed – Celebrating our family and what we love is the heart of celebrating this season.  Think of ways to infuse these things into your decorating.  They’ll create conversation and be a gentle reminder of special memories.
Old Ice Skate Floral Arrangement

4.)    Create a theme for your décor. It could be as simple as a color, or inspired by a place. Whatever it is, this is the building block of your decorating.  This theme will be carried from décor to entertaining.
a.      Resist the urge to different theme each room in your home - instead keep a common thread throughout the home.
b.      Spread the decorating to every room of your home.
c.      Set your holiday table in style using the same common theme.
Carry your theme in each room of your home. 

5.)    Move your Furniture.  Holidays bring hoards of people into your home and are meant for great visiting, eating and celebrating.  Remove, shift, move your furnishings so they are conducive to conversations, not TV watching, be aware of traffic patterns so people move freely through your home.
Arrange your furniture for Christmas.

6.)    Entertain in style.  From setting the foyer as the bar or dessert and coffee area, to setting a show stopping buffet, make use of what you already have, making sure your whole home is enjoyed and most of all being a stress free will make your holidays happy.
Set your holiday bar serving area in foyer.

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Holiday Home Selling and Staging Rules

BHG Photo
A simple container garden can showcase the season

With a wonderful up swing in home prices, many people are ready to get those homes staged, marketed and sold! Selling your home in the fall/winter months have a few rules to be privy to, especially when it comes to decorating during the holidays. Here in Chicago, fall kicks off an open invitation to blanket a home with themed decor. Those darn retail stores, catalogs and show-off neighbors put pressure on us to adorn our homes both inside and out with piles of trimmings. Doing that is fabulous when you aren't selling your home... but if selling - restraint is the urge. Beyond the holiday decor, weather too can be a problem when lookers come knocking. Leaves, snow and wet can be a hindrance to both the prospective buyer and your wood or carpet floors. Let's make looking at your home a good and positive experience.

  • Make sure your home's entry is buyer friendly by maintaining walkways and having a lovely entry rug to land wet feet. A basket full of those blue booties can keep your floors clean and make your guests comfortable when walking about your home.

  • When seasonally staging/decorating a home keep true to the bones of the home and the decorative style of the interior. Be very careful when staging and styling the home keeping in-tune to the price point, architecture, and decorative interior style.

Centsastional Girl Photo
Accessorize to the style of your home.

  • When decorating,  limit your accessories and decor -think "Holiday "Lite" when unpacking your festive boxes. Holiday and seasonal decorating make homes feel real and buyers happy. But too much, too personal, or too many colors can obscure views, make rooms feel smaller and distract buyers from their true purpose: deciding whether or not your home is right for them.
Go Holiday "Lite" when selling your home.

House and Home photo
Create simple curb appeal when selling during Holiday months.

  • This same rule applies to the exterior of the home. Keep it simple. Two lovely urns seasonally dressed flagging your entry adds classic appeal, rather than a large blow-up Holiday character to greet guests.
  • Think twice before displaying decorations specific to your religious or cultural heritage,  it makes it more difficult for others who don't share your background or beliefs to envision themselves living in the space.
  • Battery operated candles offer a cozy feel and keep your home safe, Fresh seasonal flowers or greenery in vases, bowls of ornaments are simple ways of celebrating the season when selling.
Stay safe when selling your home

  • Tap the spirit. Light the fireplace if you have one.  Decorate with a pretty throw or pillow, add the scents of the season. Make your home cozy, inviting and warm someone else might want to move right in.
Make your home cozy when selling in fall and winter.

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Wallpaper Decorating Ideas

Wallpaper can create a room's personality.
Wallpaper is back and I am hopping on the band wagon! What a wonderful way to add texture, depth, personality or ambiance to a space. No longer to be abhorred and painted over - This little wall flower has come a long way and with technology and innovation is very easy to remove, can duplicate anything and is on the forefront of interior chic.

If you are a Pinterest member, visit my Wallpaper board: http://pinterest.com/juleajane/wallpaper/

With all the wallpaper buzz, the Interior Stylist Network had an educational field trip to a wallpaper store.  From beautiful patterns, to paper that removes if you are a renter, to elegant papers that have glass beads embedded on them.

Here are a few tips on working with wallpaper.

1)      Wallpaper can hide hideous paneling.  If the panel grooves aren’t too deep or wide, a simple liner can be applied first, followed by your wallpaper of choice. 
2)      If you are planning on redecorating a room – Pick the paper 1st, then choose a paint color.
As a headboard

3)      Always prime your walls before you paper . Painted walls are not an option! Shieldz® UniversalWallcovering Primer-Sealer. (Make sure you wait 1 day before papering.)
4)      If you are working with freshly painted walls, wait 7 days before you prime.
5)      Paper is no different than fabric.  Check the repeat to see how much you need.
6)      And just like fabric, there are commercial grade papers that have a higher durability factor as well as fire code protection.
7)      Never paste a pre-pasted paper.
Re-fresh a China hutch with wallpaper
8)  Consider papering a single focal wall, a niche, powder room or foyer if you have wallpaper fear.
9.) Wallpaper can be used to update a piece of furniture, line drawers, inside a China cabinet or as art
Upgrade a plain dresser with wallpaper

This cheeky paper is called "London Toile."

Super size your style in a tiny space.

Use Wallpaper as your Art for the wall

Great Wallpaper Sources:

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Fall Table Decorating

I have really tried not to go prowling around stores to buy more fall decor. This is my favorite time of the year and have oodles of boxes of decor already.  This year, I've tried to be creative in the process and come up with some new arrangements and reinventions of the stuff I already own. Luckily, I had a kick this year because I was interviewed by a writer of a magazine on tablescapes and set the stage for inspiration.

  • Burlap seed sacks from Home Depot - End to end.
  • Southwestern accent rug used as additional layer.
  • Decorative paper suitcase and faux books used to create height.
  • Wire covered cake stand used in my garden makes for a rustic statement.

Anchor your arrangement with fabric or textiles.

Plate chargers can be used in multiple ways.
  • Chalk board paint chargers. 

Buffet napkins with rosemary sprig.

  • Napkins can be bundled with your silverware and a fresh sprig of lavender from the garden.

The covered cake stand was a launching pad to another arrangement.  This time I re-purposed some old bamboo bird cages I had in the garage.  Sprayed with dark bronze paint, they went from give-away to a style statement. I can easily swap out the fall seasonal finds to winter!

Birdcages capture pumpkins.

  • And the last one I couldn't resist, my cat Carmen as part of an arrangement! She's a very fancy cat with her lovely mane.  Meow!
Carmen the Cat 

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Staycation Ideas fresh from my Vacation

Craving that vacation feeling, but are back to the grind?  I’m fresh back from a two week vacation on a sleepy, shell filled key in Florida. That beachy, coastal living feel can be brought into your home by reinventing your spaces, repurposing or showcasing your vacation treasures.  Here are some ideas to make your vacation last a bit longer.

Bathroom Decorating (Coastal Living Photo)
In the bath:  Add a bar of soap in a scent that reminds you of your vacation, better yet, add sea glass to the dish for a reminder of those morning walks along the surf.

Dress up Your Foyer (Coastal Living Photo)
Your Foyer:  Create a beach themed entry.  Your foyer table is the perfect muse to set-up a tropics inspired tablescape both on top and underneath.  A bowl of shells resting on a "treasure chest," framed maps, tropical fronds and a display based lamp with a sandy bottom will make your forget your daily worries when you get home.

Sunset on Manasota Key (Photo by Julea Joseph)

Your Walls: Create Art. Costco and many other store have photo blow-up options.  They transfer your photo to canvas.

Jute Wrapped Trash Can ( The Creek Line House)
Accessories: Jute It. Give old stuff a nautical lift by wrapping it with jute or twine. From lamp shades to trash cans, this material give your plain jane things a bit of coastal pizazz.

Sarong covered pillows (Design Sponge Photo)
Living Spaces: Beach cover-up to Pillows: Your trusty sarong can be retooled to cover pillows.
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Stinky Homes Don't Sell!

As a professional home stager, I can give sellers oodles of tips, techniques and sage advice on making your homes attractive to buyers.  I can sweep in and make your house look like a model home. But after all the preparation, want to mess up the sale of your home?  

Don’t address the way it smells.

A client sold her home in three weeks. The home would have been sold the first day if it hadn’t smelled like smoke. She had lots in her favor, a great suburb to live in- it ranked in the top 100 in the country by CNNMoney.  The home was one of a few in the entire subdivision that backed into a spectacular park with country club like vistas.  A great floor plan, 3 bedrooms, an office, four levels of living space and a beautiful added sun room off the back. She de-cluttered, painted, cleaned the carpets, scrubbed and made smart, simple updates. The public areas were beautifully staged, a great Realtor was hired, and the house looked good!  

But there was one update, one big change that wasn’t made - Smoking in the house.  

The house hit the market and there was instant interest.  The 1st lookers surveyed the backyard as the Realtor fiddled with the lock box.  They were thrilled by the lovely views, they wanted to buy in this area, and they were so excited to see the home! They passed through the front door only to be hit with the stench of stale smoke. The excitement was gone, the criticism started... When the Realtor asked for feedback, the potential buyers said their clothes smelled.
All that excitement and in the end their take away comment was - “Smelly Clothing,” not “WOW what a view or this home is perfect for a family.”  In the end and three weeks later, those 1st lookers ended up buying the home at a negotiated lower price. Lots of lookers, lots of keeping the home tidy, clean and leaving for showings - They had so many lookers and they all said the same thing, great house but it smells like smoke.

Preparing your home for sale goes beyond making it look nice.  It has to smell nice too.  Odors suggest all sorts of feelings and conclusions about your home.  If your home has any aroma that evokes an unfavorable response by the potential buyer, you are sabotaging the sale of your home.   We smell it, you don’t, you’ve been desensitized.  So what can you do if you’ve got a home with halitosis? 

1.)    STOP the smell making behavior. If you smoke, don’t, if you love to cook, stop, if you have pets with issues, keep them away from carpet and have them groomed. 
2.)    Clean, clean, clean. From carpets to curtains, everything gets a good cleaning.   Use a vinegar and baking soda solution (Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda  into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. ) lemon oil for woods.  
3.)    Have your carpets and upholstery professional cleaned and inform them of the issues.
4)    Open the windows - air the home out.
5.)    Replace or clean all ventilation filters.
6.)    Use an order neutralized such as Fresh Wave (www.fresh-wave.com).
7.)    Rent a special machine that removes odors.
8.)    If cleaning carpet and walls does not work, you may have to replace the carpet and paint the walls.  Many paint brands now carry odor eliminating formulas.
9.)    Remove window treatments if you can’t clean them.
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Peonies and Coffee

Peony Floral Arrangement
A fresh bouquet of flowers celebrates any space - A kitchen counter, a night stand, a patio table. This floral, fresh cut from my garden is simple peony stems and variegated Hosta leaves.  In a favorite vase given to me by an old California friend, makes it even more special. As I sit in my kitchen and take my first morning sips of coffee, this simple floral arrangement starts my day in a beautiful way.

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The Art of Displaying Art

Art does not have to be found at a gallery or require a college degree to make the right selection. Instead, "Art" can be anything that pleases your eye and makes you smile. From trash to treasure finds to your own jewelry collection - ART can be anything.

When it comes to hanging art, there are many techniques that can inspire you - Here are a few:

This romantic room showcases a "Head Board" of unique and personal finds.

The white washed painting of the display items - vintage shutters, picture frames and mirrors, creates unity and connects all the pieces. The scale of the art collage makes for a great representation of the traditional head board too!  The use of personal items layered into the display softens and by centering the display on bed AND the night stand, adds just the right whimsy and a casual feel.

Hang it up with re-purposed vintage pant hangers
A simple vintage pant hanger makes for just the right prop to showcase photographs.  We could all picture the dapper gentleman, the subject of the photo, hanging up his trousers on those hangers. Don't be afraid to alter a photo to create a new look, repeat the photo for impact or use a unique hanging device.

Especially in a dining room, use art as a conversation maker
A dining room is your special place in your home to sit with family and friends and celebrate! This art display celebrates the space, showcases the scale of the room and expresses the style and personality of the homeowner.  The largest piece is the starter point of this display; note the smaller, yet darker framed/matted pieces are placed above the largest piece to bring the eye up and the entire collection is hung lower on the wall, since the viewers are most likely sitting, not standing in the space.

Wall sconces as object holder and art itself
Art need not be flat or hung with a nail.  In this display, the Art IS the sconces.  The secondary subject is the organic, from-the-sea finds.  The impact of many, the juxtaposition of the high gloss white painted sconces to the organic beach finds, makes for an interesting display. (Note how the less detailed sconces are hung above the more detailed ones...)
Adding color block back drops for an art collection (Photo: West Elm)
This clever wall display, which would be perfect above a couch, in a dining room focal wall or down a hall, showcases smaller art collections with a color block background.  The art or smaller pieces would be lost just hung on the wall or displayed in a curio.  But by making mini collections with the use of shelves and by painting the wall behind, makes this display fabulous.

Showcase your Jewelry Collection

Have you been collecting jewelry for years?  Why not display it as art? Use picture frames backed with cork, ribbon or wallpaper to display your favorite items.  From broaches to pearl strands, your jewelry can showcase as art!

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2013 Color and Trend Forecast

Just digested this morning the 2013 color and decor trends which includes "Western" and "Americana" as the new trend as you'll read below.  Then picked up a copy of this new magazine - http://www.romanticprairiemagazine.net/ - From denim to washed linen, American casual is the hot new trend. With the election on the horizon and economic recovery -  we celebrate American determination and durability. Our "Super Bright" colors have been going strong for awhile and will incorporate more neon's. Super fun, with just the right POP - These can be used as accents to pull spaces together. On the flip side, "Art Deco" inspiration makes us celebrate classic "city" design with glitzy metals, sleek lines and the sultry mystic that era represented.

How can you incorporate these color trends?  Use the theme as an inspiration as you redesign or rotate a room. What things do you already have in your home that can be used to freshen a space?  Use the color cues for a new paint hue for your walls, a fabric for a chair re-do, or a palette for a remodel.  If replacing lighting, floors or cabinets, let some of these color trends be your muse.
  • The Old West: Color palettes with shades of brown evoke tones of worn saddles leather and  weathered wood, while those with strong hints of red recall clay and prairie land. Faint greens and bolder yellow-greens add out-doorsy diversity, along with stone blues and charcoal grays.

Old West Inspired Space 
  • Americana
Colors palettes inspired by the American Flag and the Old West will make a splash in textiles and upholstery. Classic denim blue, off-white and autumn red will be a strong presence as well us rustic brown and cowhide patterns to represent the old West trend.
  • Bright Colors:
Primary colors in their brightest form will command attention in 2013, however the neon trend is not expected to re-emerge. Upholstery is trending towards bright reds, light, crystal blues and high impact yellows.
Bright Colors 

  • Art Deco:
The muted palette of 20th century art deco is coming back. Dulled silvers, greens and yellows will be a presence in some upholstery and home décor patterns.

Art Deco Inspired Room

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Decorating Trends 2012/2013

View of Chicago from TRUMP Hotel

Yesterday I enjoyed a delightful event at Trump Hotel presented by Ethan Allen and Sherwin Williams.  From the history of decorating needs for homeowners, new demographics, today's lifestyle, color and design trends - I was chocked full of inspiration and education.  I also received this week from the folks at High Point, an interesting trend report which I have reprinted.  With a bit of interest scouring, I've attached a few pieces from our favorite decorating retailers who have introduced the same.

Let these trend inspire you when shopping, thinking of making a few color changes or incorporate them into what you already have - Julea

The UK-based trend-forecasting agency Trend Bible began working on its autumn/winter 2012/2013 in early 2011. The experts observed social, economic, cultural and consumer behavior to build a picture of what they thought the future might look like. What they found is the resurgence of “casually styled” spaces, where decor is mismatched yet sentimental and where tactile handmade goods take center stage.

Anthropology Talisman Stool

  “Artful, eclectic curation to reflect a sense of personal style” sums up this trend. Salvaged, “rustic, weather-beaten materials and finishes sit alongside warm and cozy fabrics,” according to Trend Bible. “In essence, this trend is about the celebration of tactile qualities in a post-digital era, where products that tell a story and bring a wholesome, unrefined attitude are valued.” Think reclaimed rough wood, rusted metal, hand-knitted and crocheted fabrics as well as felt, leather and wool. Distressed finishes on furniture add a tactile quality as well. 

Curiosity: Dramatic yet whimsical romantic elements will carry over from spring/summer 2012. “Products have a playful quality and reminds us of our childhoods, as adults retreat into child-like worlds in times of political, economic and environmental confusion,” according to Trend Bible. Along with the romantic elements come bold, graphic patterns and “feather-light” fabrics. Decor elements include chandeliers; pendants, flowers and nostalgic, vintage decor make up this trend story, plus soft lighting, plush rugs, flowing curtains, hand-drawn illustrative characters and damask patterns.
Ethan Allen Rachelle Chair

Grey Gardens
This trend forecast gathers inspiration from the 1970s documentary and subsequent 2009 film Grey Gardens, which tells the story of the decline of a 1920s household and its inhabitants. Once decadent and luxurious, the bohemian home slowly decayed, resulting in “flickers of faded grandeur,” reports Trend Bible. The agency’s forecasters say the trend also was inspired by the effects of the global recession, resulting in “down-at-heel glamour.” More elements picked up from the original Grey Gardens include the concept of a garden inside the house, such as wrought iron and rusty finishes, birdcages and fresh flowers; lux finishes like plush velvets, paisley patterns and furs; and chinoiserie. 

Restoration Hardware Deconstructed Wingback Chair

Wild spirit:  This trend story celebrates different culture’s traditional handmade goods. Patterns and crafts from “Scandinavia, Mexico and South America” and Native American goods like “dreamcatchers and feather trims influence decoration and print,” according to Trend Bible. The trend includes a multicolored palette, primitive decoration, simple illustrations, handcrafted textiles, pieced and patched fabrics and wood, raw and rough-edged ceramics and strong angular geometric patterns.

Horchow Collection  Worldy Oasis 

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