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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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Backyard Chickens - Coops are Chic!

chicken coops are chic
Our Backyard Chickens.
Little did I know almost 12 years ago when I bought my first batch of chickens that someday they'd be the trendy chic backyard hobby to have.  Why did I get chickens 12 years ago? Well, we bought my childhood home complete with a chicken coop on 1.5 acres, and being an avid reader of Martha Stewart magazine, she had chickens and a lovely garden - So why not me too? As a kid we had ducks, bunnies and I rode my neighbor's horses, so the little town we had moved to was 'pet' friendly as well.

I share the street with a Horse and Rider in my 'pet' friendly town.

My Chicken Coop 'Coup du Jour'

[Turns out my coop is very old, having been the my neighbor's historical estate out building before they subdivided the land post WWII to build my home. ]

It all seemed serendipitous since not only did I have a coop, lived in a chicken friendly town, but a feed store, aptly named The Feed Store carried chickens and was the same place we got those ducks and bunnies as a kid.  A quick chat on chicken raising with the staff and I drove home with 6 baby chicks and bags of chicken chow. I created my French kitchen garden the same summer.  Eggs were gifted to me by fall as well as something else - Community.

Colorful Eggs from my Hens
Soon, my friends would bring their kids or grand kids over to my 'farm' to see the chickens and my garden. I would open my mailbox or door and there'd be a note with a bag of egg cartons or veggie peels for my chickens to eat. I was giving my fertilized eggs to the local Montessori School for classes to hatch.  The kids even had a field trip to my home to see their fruits of labor and my garden.

My French Garden Kitchen

William -Sonoma  Chicken Coop
So what a surprise when I started reading in the paper that the new trend was to have chickens. Even more of surprise when I saw that William - Sonoma had hopped on board the coop train and has an Agrarian collection in which they offer up coops to bee hives. From the city of Chicago to suburbs, the idea of having backyard chickens seems to have hatched! I was visiting the San Francisco Bay area a few weeks back and it seems everyone has a fancy coop, even in property tight Berkley, CA!

Having a coop does also requires a bit of maintenance and setup. Read this great article about maintaining and setting up your coop before your make your final decision on a coop investment from my friends at Treats for Chickens. 

10 Reasons to Check Your Chicken Yard + Checklist

Why I love my Chickens:

  • Daily fresh organic eggs.
  • The best organic fertilizer for my garden.
  • All my veggie, bread and fruit scraps that would have been in the garbage - feeds my chickens.
  • When free ranging, eat bugs keeping my garden pest free.
  • Creates community.
  • Fun to have
Thinking of getting your own coop? 
Maybe I'll create the next buzz and get a few bee hives!


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Business Cards - Your Visual Elevator Speech

Business Cards - They are meant to quickly broadcast, inform and remind prospective clients and associates who you are and what your do.  They are a small snippet of your branding and identity, your business finger print.

If you're just starting off they should be 1st on your list for advertising and marketing purposes.
Companies such as Vistaprint.com  are super easy to work with and can produce a great card.

As your business grows, so should your cards:  Your business evolves and you will find what works for marketing and doesn't.

First Impressions:
  • Afford only the best.  Budget restriction may impend the quality of your cards when you 1st establish your business. But as your profits rise, spend the monies to have a card professionally created and executed by a graphic designer.
  • Print your cards on good quality heavy stock.
Show off your Talents:
  • Your logo, color and stock paper color can express your talents and reflect that finger print.
  • Text - Be reminded of KISS - Don't over do the card with too much information. I've seen more logos on a business card that the business identity is lost.  Same goes for a multitude of services. You've got 3-5 seconds for them to read it. It should be about you not your associations you belong to.
  • Font - Make sure it is easy and large enough to read.
As an example - Here is the evolution of my cards:

Fresh out of my specialty Interior Redesign and Home Staging training I ordered these cards from Colorful Images. I called myself a 'Home Stylist' only to be confused at my High School reunion to be a Hair Stylist.  I quickly changed my position to Interior Stylist to better identify myself.

Reinventing Space and The House Stager

the house stager

 (Black and White copy of cards)
rs OLD

We had relocated to Chicago where no one knew what a Home Stager or Redesigner was - I hired a very fancy graphic designer to create a new identity for me. Originally my business identity and cards were a split personality. I had them printed on craft paper (I had a whole "Packaging" the product theme) By offering two cards I could showcase my two services  which both where virtually unknown in the Chicago-land market.

What I discovered over time -
  • Square cards don't fit into any protective business card cases, making for a lot of squished and bent cards in my brief case and purse.
  • Having two identities is ultimately confusing to your clients, associates and press.
  • Font and text size is too small for anyone over 35 to read unless they have a magnifying glass. 
  • Upscale Craft paper stock although beautiful and coordinating w/the "Package" theme is very expensive and not easy to match and readily available when wanting to do quick marketing campaigns such as post cards, pass-outs, gift certificates and flyer's.


Large font, defined logo and focus on the services that drew the biggest client base.

  • The House Stager has been shortened to HOUSE STAGER and only used  for website marketing and educational purposes.  
  • Square cards still. People love them and identify that I'm in a creative business. Too bad about not fitting in a carrier.
  • One identity and more personal individual name branding. This goes hand and hand w/my website. REINVENTING SPACE.com which was WAY to long to type, remember, and spell...  so I now use JULEA.com.  If they can't spell it, they can't find you.
  • Font and text size adjusted for over 35 year eyes -  My target market...
  • White paper coincides with easy marketing, and is less expensive. K.I.S.S.

  • New fresh logo and color scheme.  Easy to read.  I now am building a team of associates as part of my business plan, so the cards offer them a not so overpowering identity of 'Julea'.

 So when it comes to your business cards, make sure they evolve with your business identity -
Are professional and of quality materials to ensure the stature of your business, and quickly and effectively identify who and what your do -
Making that visual elevator speech a success!

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Fe Fi Faux Plants - How to Use Fake in Your Decor

Faux, fake or silk plants and floral is fine in your home decorating IF you use it sparingly and they are displayed to look as if the real thing.  The whole point of fake is that it looks realistic and doesn't require watering or weekly replacement.  Good for us, that there are some beauties out there for us to choose. Here are some rules to use when buying or styling your spaces with faux floral.

1.) Be in-tuned to current styles. Page through shelter magazines, websites, blogs and such to get the scoop on the latest trends and styles.   If you've got ivy perched on top of your China Cabinet, Armoire or Entertainment unit, please remove it.  Using ivy to adorn the tops of things went out with the dress-up Goose.  Instead, re-house the ivy in a rustic glazed urn or colorful pot and add it to an appropriate counter or table as a welcomed accent.

An Ivy Issue... (from uglyhousephotos.com)
Ivy housed in a glazed pot.

2.) Make sure it looks real.  From color palette, texture, scale, etc. when shopping, make sure the product is as close to nature as you can get.  If shopping for a large tree or floor plant - Think how this species would look in nature.
Silk fern terrarium by NDI
Fern Terrarium by NDI

Trees should look as if in nature.

3.) Make sure it 'could' grow.  I've seen ficus trees in the oddest places, mostly in some dark corner of a windowless room - Common sense says plants need light to grow, so place it near a window where it can pretend to grow.

Ficus tree in dark corner (Photo: Source)

Place faux trees near a window to mimic a real one.

4.) Floral Arrangements should look too as if a professional florist put it together for an occasion, a store bought or garden arrangement you added to a vase or as an artistic statement for the style of your home.  A mega sized rose in an urn arrangement on your dining room table says "My daughter just got married, or I wish I was living at Downton Abbey."  Stay true to the bones of your home as well as what would be appropriate (an affordable) if real.
Look for faux floral that are appropriate

5.) Display floral in 'season.'  Tulips, daffodils, forsythia and forced branches are perfect now, sunflowers, not so much.  Consider rotating out or refreshing your floral as the seasons change.

6.)  Consider the purpose of the room.  A 4 foot vase and sticks is not great on the TV room's cocktail table, a tree in place of the refrigerator in a vacant staged home can't fool anyone and an ivy line powder room shelf, is only a dust collector. Instead, add the curly willow arrangement on your entry table and add just a simple square vase with fresh eucalyptus from your local grocery store.

Curly Willow from Vickerman

7.) Use a Light Hand.  Acres of fake floral or trees or plants adorning your home is too much, the best rule of thumb is to use the rule of three.  One large, medium and small in a large room and one or two in a small room.  Too much of anything looks like your hoarding.

A trio of florals adorn this room.  (Photo: House Beautiful)

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