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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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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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