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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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My Interior Styling & Home Staging Career - How Mom's Death Made Me Start a Business

Tales of an Interior Stylist Blog - Business

December 1998, I sat listening to my Mother’s eulogy by one of her dear friends.  My Mom had died at 66, which may seem young.   A dear friend spoke and wove a story, creating a lovely, rich mosaic of a woman who leaped through life; she pushed past life’s challenges, celebrating life in a curious, educated and always beautifully vivacious way.   She raised a son handicapped at 15 months by polio, lost a daughter to drugs, marched for women’s rights in Washington, was a business partner to her husband, traveled the world, community volunteered and played bridge and golf while terminally ill, and so, so much more.  I sat there listening, holding my brother’s hand and it occurred to me that there is no perfect time to do something and if you want to do something, just do it.
Tales of an Interior Stylist
( Photo: Julea's Mom Felicia)

Sparks. A buzz, a click of a light bulb.  It may sound cliché; I really did have that light bulb moment, which spurred me to a new career.  Damn… that eulogy was good.  I have told that dear friend of hers on many an occasion, that she should be a professional eulogy writer. The back story goes like this –a few years before, I had read an article in the magazine Better Homes and Gardens about a new breed of designer emerging.  A designer/home decorator that used what the client already owned and restyled and arranged the home’s spaces  (Interior Stylist/Re-designer/Home Stager).  I loved the concept, had always had a talent for design and would paint, rearrange and sew new window treatments in my home in a weekend - on a whim.  I called and was sent information about this fledgling association that too offered an educational program. I really wanted to take the training, but instead filed away the material for the future, having a toddler and baby filling my daily life. 

After getting home from saying goodbye to my Mom, I immediately signed up for a few Interior Design classes at a local college, signed up and booked a flight to Dallas for that specialty Redesign/Staging educational program, and leaped into a new career and business all in a few months.  I wake up every morning excited about my business.  There is never a day that I regret or consider something else.  My business has been the perfect fit, fulfilled me, and changed me.   I have the best clients, meet the most interesting people, have created friendships with both clients and associates.  I pour my skills, experience and creativity into something that makes people happy in their homes. I have a successful business that offers soup to nuts services to make homes lovely whether homeowners are moving out, in, or anything in between.  My adventures are many - From HGTV projects, a little local cable TV show, working on everything from model homes to mobile homes and getting to share my passion for all things 'home' by speaking, educating and training others.  And that dear friend of my Mother's?  Well she is a dear friend of mine now and a client!

Years ago, I had lunch with a famous Interior Designer and author who I greatly admired and to this day, channel her design and life-style philosophy, Alexandra Stoddard.  She told me something that stays always in my mind and heart - “You become truly the women you can be, after your Mother is gone”.  

So with that, I thank my Mom. 

Want to start your own journey into the Redesign/Staging business?  Whether you are interested in starting a new career path, a professional adding to your repertoire of skills, or are a home decorating enthusiast who wants to make their space more beautiful you’ll fully enjoy my dynamic educational forums. Visit my site at www.Julea.com .

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There's Something About Marsala - PANTONE's 2015 Color of the Year

2015 color of the year tales of an interior stylist, julea
PANTONE Marsala (Photo gallery selections: Source)
PANTONE the leading authority on color has announced their color of the year. For most, you know PANTONE by seeing the PANTONE 'color and paint' display at home improvement store Lowes. But for design insiders they are the guru's of color marketing trends - From fashion and makeup to autos and appliances, their color collections are what we see transformed into new products all over the world.

PANTONE Color Studio

So this year they selected a mellow, red/brown color "Marsala".  They say: “PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala is a daringly inviting tone that nurtures; exuding confidence and stability while feeding the body, mind and soul. Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this robust shade incorporates the warmth and richness of a tastefully fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots point to a sophisticated, natural earthiness" I like it! There's something exciting and a bit daring about the color and such a refresh change. We've already seen it in high end fashion, but could we incorporate into our home interiors?

Reinventing Space, Julea Chicago
Marsala Color of the Year PANTONE - Fashion (Photo: Source)
Sure, it's the color of brick, wood tones or a rich berry paint color.  So if you want to warm it up or add a bit of spice to a space - incorporate away.  If you like a more neutral backdrop, try pairing the color with cooler tones, for juxtapose pairing of warm and cool.

Chicago, Reinventing Space Julea
Marsala can be translated into Home Decor options.
PANTONE also said to pair Marsala with two other 2015 trend colors - Aquamarine and Glacier Grey.  Both of these colors have a strong presence already in home decor and perhaps already in your home.  Why not add a pop up your place with easy purchased pillows, a rug or accent accessories to add a bit of Marsala to your mix?

reinventing space, chicago
Looking to step up for more Marsala? It could be a option for creating a statement in a space. perhaps a piece of furniture, bold window treatments, or a wallpapered accent wall. Consider this new trend color and I think you too will see - there's something about Marsala.

Julea Reinventing Space, Chicago interior stylist, styling, staging
Hooker Furniture - Bombay Chest (Photo: Hooker Furniture)

Julea - Reinventing Space, interior stylist, styling, staging, Chicago
Marsala toned fabrics and textiles by Ralph Lauren (Photo: Source)

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Holiday Home: Start Your Amaryllis Bulbs Now For Christmas Blooms!

Holiday Home
Amaryllis Centerpiece (photo: Country Living)

If you want to have some beautiful Amaryllis blooms for this year's Christmas season, start growing them now. I love having fresh or live floral in my home rather than silk or faux. These little wonders which are easy to grow - pack a huge decorative punch and create just the right ambiance for a beautifully dressed holiday home. 
You can buy Amaryllis bulbs in a nice little kit, complete with soil and a pot, or if you have just a bit of a green thumb - buy loose bulbs which you can plant collectively in a large vase or bowl.  You can purchase the kits at any home improvement store and bulbs at a garden center.  A collection of bulbs will create a lovely centerpiece or entry statement maker. A single bloom is lovely on a counter, mantle or part of a tablescape. When to start? Below is a planting and bloom guide to help you determine when to get indoor gardening.
Holiday Home
Amaryllis Bloom Chart (photo: Source)
I added a few more pictures to get you inspired to get a bit of dirt under your nails and celebrate the season with Amaryllis. I too started a Pin Board on Pinterest with more ideas: AMARYLLIS CHRISTMAS

Holiday Home
Amaryllis Tablescape (photo: Southern Living)

Holiday Home
Amaryllis in Mercury Glass Vase (photo: BH&G)

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Tastemaker Color Combos for Your Collected Room

Photo: Chairish

Here at Reinventing Space our philosophy is simple - Make the most of what your have, create a home with soul, a layered space with a mix of old and new, rich with poor and an infusion of color, style and a bit of the unexpected.

If you are ready to rev up your home environment, especially with the entertaining season just around the corner - color is a great launching point to inspire you to swap out, up-style and redesign your space - A simple style recipe to add a whole lot of WOW.

Advice and suggestions flourish this time of year, but here is one that offers sound advise to those of us that are all about the 'art of the mix.'

If you haven't already checked them out, discover the uber cool on-line resale shopping hub for home furnishings/decor called Chairish. A marketplace to buy, sell or be inspired.  Their tastemaker team are pros at forecasting on-trend and super chic ideas to re-style your abode.

I love how they research, then curate their current product line.

Be inspired and check out their latest BLOG post "5-Colorful Couples to Invite into Your Home".

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BUDGET Home Staging Ideas - A Bedroom With 5 Easy Pieces

Do you have a need to create, stage & style a bedroom in an empty room? Think you need to go out a buy and lug in heavy furniture? Think again. Today's home staging & styling job was for a client that enlisted me to to do a budget bedroom staging. Here's how I did it.
  1. The bed is the focal point of a room, so start here.  My client owns this great air bed that basically is a rolling suitcase and you unzip, plug in and within minutes POOF turns into a queen size bed.  Frontgate has a few to choose from.
  2. Head Board. The head board are 2 plastic decorative fencing panels from Home Depot. I know, I know, super clever, weigh nothing and you can attach them to the wall with a nail. Instant headboard. Acurio Panels from Home Depot. 
  3. Bedding. A bed should be lush & lovely.  Chic bedding, fluffy pillows, cute accent pillows -and always throw a throw at the end of the bed for a bit of interest and texture. I found this great microfiber duvet set (almost no-iron) at HomeGoods and bird accent pillow fromMichaels. (had the shell pillow and throw in my staging stock pile.) 
  4. The Night stand is a butler tray table. A butler tray is meant to be mobile, so easy open and close. This is a great what I call "Good Bones" piece of furniture.  The tray comes off and the base just folds up.  I found a close one on Amazon: Crosley Palm Harbor Outdoor Wicker Butler Tray 
  5. Lamp.  Just make sure is substantial enough to work with the scale of the bed.
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Home Decorating Ideas - Blue & Orange

A great color pairing - Blue & Orange.  Sophisticated, cool and grounded, BLUE mixes with a spicy, lively and warm ORANGE. During a quick trip to order a few chairs at Pier One today - I paused at an entry display that caught my eye.  As I waited for the sales person to check on stock, I browsed the store combining the hues.
Coral Chambray Napkin

Indigo Floral Dinnerware

Carmilla Dining Chair - Blue Damask

Faux Croc Persimmon Tray

Lexford Chest - Navy

Aster Quatrefoil Tile Pillow

Petals Lumbar Pillow - Orange

Aster Jacobean Pillow

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Home Stagers LOVE-HATE Relationship with House Cleaners

Bathroom Home Staging
A house cleaner moved home staging - shower curtain pushed to other side, accessories squished.

Ahhh.. cleaning people.  The coveted crew that makes us, the Home Stager, happy and horrified at the same time. In our perfect world, the cleaning people sweep in just prior to our detailed obsessed styling when we stage a home.  We love them because they're the experts in cleaning and polishing a home to make it fabulous for the prospective buyer.  The down side is, they clean the home after our job is done, moving what we've styled, squishing our perfectly placed accessories and moving everything around from furniture to window treatments in their quest for a tidy home - forgetting to put all those things back.

Our obsession with perfection has a goal - it produces a great online photo and gives the room optimum visual appeal. We take spaces and stage and style them not only visually appealing, but attractive to everyone who takes a peek. We showcase the best of the room which is why it is important to retain the product we produce.
home staging bathrooms

Here are some ways a homeowner can preserve the integrity of the original staging.
1.) Have an photo archive of the recent staging for each room on your cell for reference.
2.) Print out a picture of the room/space and slip it into a plastic protector for the cleaning crew.
3.) Have a plastic storage bin that can house and protect staging props when the space is being occupied for daily usage or cleaned.
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Spring 2014 Home Decorating Ideas

#chicago #homedecorating #interiorstylist

Here in Chicago, we are waiting patiently for spring to arrive after a very long, cold and snowy winter.  I woke up this morning to a wash of white again! Just a dusting of snow, but I’m so ready to see the green of my lawn. I'll take any green!!

I know its coming - the migrating birds are back, there are buds on my trees and I can see the chartreuse green tips of my daffodils pushing their way up in my garden beds. With spring outside on pause, if you're wishing for spring like me, why not give your home interiors a bit of a spring redecorating.  I have been rearranging and styling mine, storing away items that remind me of winter – heavy throws, pinecones, dark colored accessories and of course a few rogue Christmas items. 

In my quest for spring, I made a few visits to my favorite hidden haunts, read at least a dozen magazines and publications, went to a trade show for inspiration, color cues and came up with some ideas for spring decorating for your home.

interior stylist, chicago, tips, decor, accessories

1. BIG Colorful Art. Swap out a few and insert just ONE.
2. Agate. From mirrors to book ends, try this fancy sliced stone for an edgy, natural look.
3. Terrariums. Bring that green inside, create a tiny garden and adorn your desk, table or buffet.
4. Nests & Eggs. Whether a frame piece or tucked under a glass dome - Nothing says spring more!
5. Preppy. Get your Monogram on a new set of plates to add to your existing collection.
6. Gold is Back. Mix up your metals with a little bit of gold/brass.
7. Chunky Knits.  From pillows to poufs.
8. Water Color. Pillows, art or upholstery - Mellow and serene.
9. Sheer Window Panels. Lighten the window load with a pair.
10. Spring Fabrics. Chintz (it's back!), geometric prints and stripes can redecorate any space.
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Business Tips: Sometimes some of your life's biggest trials create the best lessons.

I wrote this blog post 4 years ago after the death of my brother, it was his birthday last week - He would of been 59. I miss him.  This week, 15 years ago, I took a leap and started my interior redesign and staging business. My motivation for starting my business? My Mom's death.

Sometimes some of your life's biggest trials create the best motivation and teach you the most important lessons in life.

business life lessons, motivation, home staging, training

Posted October 2009.
Instead of sitting in some auditorium, or reading a certain book, my inspirational speaker has been a different fellow.  You may at first think this blog post odd being categorized under Business Tips and Planning, but please read on...

My brother passed away on October 5th after a 1 1/2 battle with prostate cancer.  For those of us that have lost a loved one (I have now lost both of my siblings and my Mom,) part of the mourning process is self reflective.  We take heed of our own lives - We ponder our own self worth, things we've accomplished, things we have not, as well as life's pleasures and sorrows.
Life is.. well life.  No pity party here.  If you go through it thinking"Why Me?","I Should of...," "Well...That's because..." - You know what?  It will just pass you by.
So let's reflect on that in terms on how we look at ourselves within our businesses.  We are all independent business owners; it's a part of our self make up, our life's elevator speech. And how COOL is that?  We determine our own business destiny.  We get to plan our path - With that, let me share with you things I've learned from my favorite motivational speaker - Death.

life lessons

He's a bare bones kind of guy.  He helps you make finalized plans, his directional message launches lessons smack into your psyche - No warm and fuzzy accolades or sayings from this speaker.
When my Mom passed away in '98, I sat intently listening to her eulogy and absorbed her wonderful life story balanced with a perfect mix of family, work, play and volunteerism. Toward the end of her life, although afflicted with a dire disease, she continued to live life at full speed - she golfed while terminal.  It took her death to motivate me to act on my new career path.  There sitting in a drawer for three years was information on specialty training in Interior Redesign & Home Staging.  There is sat in that drawer -Waiting for me to say the cost was worth the educational results, waiting for me to say I had the time to juggle kids/ husband with work, waiting for me to devote myself to building a business. Within 6 months of her death, I had started a new business, and taken that training - Moving full speed into a career I felt passionate about.  Now going on 11 years, I just love my job.  So what did Death teach me? Do not wait for some revelation to be motivated to move on a passion - Just Do It!
So now with the passing of my brother,  I reflected on what fills my day.   Made up of only so many hours, how do you want to spend it?   Time management is a huge issue with many business owners. How wonderful that we get to dictate how each of our days is spent? But how easy is it to let that control go?  

The key here is to create that perfect recipe of success - To balance it correctly, make room for that perfect harmony of family - work - play.   Create that list of what is important to you within those areas to make your day fulfilled - 

  • Are you busy doing something trivial, when you could be taking a beautiful fall walk with your spouse/child/self instead? 
  • Can you give yourself a raise, which will allow you to spend more time doing a hobby, or taking a class? 
  • Can you hire a service/person to free up tasks you dislike? 
Evaluate your hours spent during the day and how that's working in terms that perfect recipe for success.
Pretty great speaker isn't he?

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Your Home’s Evening Look. Selling/Staging tips for Making Your House Buyer Ready - Day or Night

My adventures in my business are never expected. The other night I had a few home staging evaluations back to back – The final at seven in the evening.  I don’t set many evening appointments, but the seller had a tight schedule, so I was happy to accommodate. Winter in Chicago, it's dark. As I drove down the street looking for the right house number, my GPS told me I had arrived – But to my dismay, I couldn’t see the house numbers.  Many of the homes lacked exterior lights, were nondescript from the street, and one looked kind of scary.

Using my house number lessons from my mother, I counted and assumed the right address. Well it turns out I had been given the wrong house number and ended up at the wrong home and had a nice conversation with the home staging client’s neighbor.  After a call to the client and text to the Realtor, I arrived at the home, slightly frazzled from my house number adventure. Then it dawned on me why I didn’t set appointments for staging evaluations in the evening – I can’t see anything! 

I advise my home staging clients all the time to make sure the home shows as well in the evening as the day - but from my evening debacle, it hit home why it’s so important that I offer up these tips.

Home Staging, House Stager Tips/Advice

Encourage Evening Exterior Coveting:  Remember the HGTV commercial where the couple drives through their favorite “move-up” neighborhood slightly voyeuristically, coveting their favorite home - and the homeowner spots them looking?  The wife slips down into the seat and the husband hits the gas?  Well, you want that to happen to you.  Don’t forget that your home needs to be marketed in the evening as well as the day.  Evaluate your exterior lighting, making sure that in the evening hours your home glows.  Add some landscape lighting, or improve on what you already have.  You must have large house numbers, in great condition and can clearly be seen from the street.  If your numbers are on a mailbox, they have great solar kits to light up your box or illuminate the numbers. 

Show Them the Door:  Invite your potential buyers to your front door with a clear walkway with proper lighting.  If your door is not front facing or they could have an option of two doors, direct them to the proper stoop.  The one house on the street that seemed scary had a side entrance. No front facing house numbers to identify it, and the only lighting was interior, peeking out from behind the blinds.  If the home had only guided people to where the front door was, some up lights in their landscape, a friendly street lamp or two flagging their driveway and its stoop well lit, it would not have looked like a few serial killers dwelled within.

An Inviting Stoop:  Make sure your entrance has lighting, is inviting and  most importantly, a working door bell!  The wrong house was well lit, seemed inviting - but the doorbell was a cracked stump. They instead, had one of those bell/knocker contraptions inside the screen door. Not wanting to open the screen door to get to the knocker, I just knocked.  And of course the result was a homeowner who quizzically looked at me and asked “Can I help you?” because I was at the wrong address. 

Light it Right:  The final tip is making sure the interior of the home is well lit.  From foyer to back patio lighting, when showing your home in the evening, make sure the lights are on.  Consider getting a host of timers and having them set to switch on at dusk. Lighting creates mood and ambiance, allows visitors to see your homes’ best qualities and gives the spaces its best opportunity to be showcased. Get those under cabinet lights on, hit the switch on the China cabinet to create a bit of dining room mood and no one wants to move room to room only to enter into a dark space.  Make the showing easy and friendly by pre-lighting every space. 

When selling your home, do not overlook the marketing opportunity to make your home show as well in the evening as it does in the day. You will get evening showings, especially if the target buyer of your home is a dual income family, so don’t lose them at the curb or beyond.
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You Had Me at Hello – Making That 1st Impression When Selling a Home

I've been helping people prepare and package their home now for 15 years as a home stager and stylist. Your home is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought, so if you are selling  – wouldn’t you want it to look its very best?  

The adage that you get one chance to make a 1st impression rings very loud and very clear when it comes to selling a home. There are simple, fundamental home staging guidelines to create a great impression that need to be applied. This sage advice is not revolutionary. It will cost you either a bit of elbow grease or maybe some cash, but if you choose not to follow this advice, your competition gets the edge.

But here’s the catch, it’s just not one chance – It’s four that you need to pull off to get them to start falling in love with your home.

#1. The Virtual Invitation:   Today’s buyers are not driving around looking for FOR SALE signs, they’re looking on-line and if the MLS photos don’t cut the mustard, they’re not picking up the phone to book an appointment. 
Chicago Home Staging Tips, Ideas
(Source - Reinventing Space)

 #2. Drive-Up Curb Appeal:  If the outside looks great, they’ll want to see the inside. Well marked house numbers, nicely lit in the evening, a maintained home with groomed landscaping, walkways and added annuals makes for a great introduction.

Home Staging Chicago Julea Joseph
(Source TOH)

#3. Time on the Stoop:  As your Realtor is retrieving the key, your potential buyers are inspecting the stoop.  A front door in its prime, a new, substantial door mat, cleaned or replaced porch lighting, a working door bell and a nice container garden or potted plant sets the stoop stage.

Chicagoland, Chicago Home Staging Tips, Ideas
(Source BHG)

#4.  A Stellar Entry:  Your foyer or entry is your home’s hostess.  Create a warm welcome with an entry table set with a vase of fresh flowers, two bowls – one for Realtor cards, the other wrapped candies and your agent's listing information so that the potential buyers can pick it up and have it at the beginning of the tour.  A stool or chair for easy shoe removal and a boot tray or rug for placement reminds guests that your well maintained home is viewed in socks.

Home Staging Tips, For Sale, Styling
(Source LUSH)

These are just a few home staging tips we offer at Reinventing Space.  First impressions make a lasting impact on potential buyers and set the stage for the rest of the home.  Make sure you have them at Hello.

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