Tap, Tap, Is This Thing On?

Hello? Do you remember me? My name is Julie and I used to have a blog.

It’s been a while.

Life has been, well, weird that past few months. My dogs and I were attacked by a loose pit bull on December 7th. It was by far the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me. The legal and criminal situation is ongoing, so I can’t write about too much at this point.

In a very brief nutshell, we were minding our own business going on our morning walk early that morning, when a pit bull ran across the street and charged us. It got my boy dog Henry first, so I threw myself on top of him to get the dog off. At that point the dog bit my hand, biting off one fingernail and leaving permanent scars on my hand from where his teeth punctured the skin. He then attacked my girl dog, Lady, and got her the worst. At this point he was mauling her, and was too strong for me to overpower so I was left lying in the street screaming for help. It was the most helpless thing to see my sweet little girl get attacked and to hear her shrieking.

We are all thankfully almost totally recovered. Lady needed extensive reconstructive surgery on her stomach. They had to graft her stomach with pig tissue, which makes me giggle to think my dog is part pig. While I was at my house with the paramedics, police, animal control and fire department, my sister and brother in law took Lady to the first vet. They didn’t tell me it at the time, but the vet told them she had no chance of living and put her on morphine to keep her comfortable. Once they got her stable, they referred us to a surgeon in West LA that would be able to do surgery. Here is a video of her recovering from surgery, and a video of her coming home from the hospital. It still is surreal. Lady is having a lot of trouble walking on my hardwood floor since she lost a lot of strength in her legs, but thankfully there are products out there that give her traction.

But… that is not why I’m posting today.


I wanted to pop in to say that I’ve rebranded and relaunched my interior design business! You can now find my business site at labriinteriors.com. I’m hoping to transition to mostly e-design, which meant a switch from wordpress to squarespace.

So, if you are in need of interior design help, please reach out! If you want to be kept in the loop, please sign up for the newsletter on the contact page.

I don’t know what my plans are for this blog–I’m definitely going to be blogging about interiors on my new site, so keep an eye out for that.

That’s all for now!






PS–email me with any questions! julie@labriinteriors.com

Christmas Gift Guide 2015



Here are some things I love/want that you may want for Christmas or would make great presents! Not a paid advertisement–they are all items I either love or want. What’s on your Christmas list?

Cute Planner from Emily Ley

Lush Ocean Salt Scrub

Any and all Bath Bombs from Lush

Mason Jar Tumblrs

Dagne Dover Tote

Super cozy throw blanket from West Elm

Subscription to Stumptown Coffee or Blue Bottle Coffee

Grapefruit Essential Oil–a few drops in the bath smells so good

Gift Certificate to Minted for Wall Art

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


Happy shopping!


What Do Interior Designers Learn in School?


I was at a friend’s house recently sitting on the floor, staring at her rug trying to remember what type of weave it was (cut pile?) and what that particular type of binding was on the edge, and it got me thinking–do people have any idea the width and breadth of the stuff interior designer are taught in school? I know I had no idea going in about the vast array of things I would be taught, and certainly had I known the amount of math and science I would be required to learn, I would have been like “oh hay-ell no. Buh bye.”

My very first design professor in my Introduction to Interior Design class told us on the first day “if you think you are going to be learning how to plump pillows and pick wall colors, you are in the wrong place and you should leave now.” I had another professor a few semesters later (who was an architect) tell us that she thought interior designers are some of the smartest people around. Now that I’m on the other end of the degree, I can see why. Not only do we need to be an artist, a creative and a maker, we have to understand the science and technology behind the furniture and lighting and materials we are using and specifying in interiors. So, what do we learn? Here are some lists that I am spitballing, as all my notes and books are in storage in my parents’ basement on the other end of the country:

  • Codes codes codes: building codes, fire codes, ADA codes, local zoning ordinances… how many people are legally allowed in a space, how much distance you can have between exits, how many exits you need to have
  • Building systems: plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc…
  • Building construction: timber frame and steel construction, all the other various methods of building construction… the anatomy of a building from the floor to the ceiling
  • History! My favorite. The development of architecture and interiors from the Egyptians to the present day. East, west, north, south… how and why people build buildings and how that has changed based on culture and time and technology and a whole host of other factors
  • Art… how to draw/paint/sketch with watercolor and marker, pens and pencils. Not only do you have to know how to functionally and aesthetically design a room, but you have to know how to render it in a way that communicates the feel of the space to a prospective client
  • CAD/BIM (Computer Aided Drafting/Building Information Modeling)… now that you know what materials and furniture you want to use, their chemical content, flammability and construction, time to draw it in 2D and 3D. And as I’ve found in my post-grad school job search, it is not enough to only know the drafting program your school taught (in my case Revit), firms are looking for someone who knows the other biggies (Sketchup and AutoCAD)
  • Business procedures! This class has been very handy in the first few months post-graduation. How to write a business plan, contract, RFP, some other acronym that I am forgetting, national licensing laws: where it is legal to practice design without having passed the NCIDQ
  • Hand drafting: drawing 2D and 3D floor plans, furniture, spaces, etc by hand. I’m still a little too traumatized by this class several years later (and still suffering from carpal tunnel), so if you want to learn more about hand drafting, check out Ching’s book.  Here’s an interesting comment thread on the hand drafting vs CAD debate.
  • The various weaves of carpet and fabric, what all the various synthetic and natural fabrics are, their construction and flammability
  • Materials… tile, wood, paint, etc… all the different materials for residential and commercial applications; when and where you should use each material
  • The different areas of design practice: residential, commercial, healthcare, education…
  • How to work with architects, engineers, contractors, sales reps and other vendors you will meet along the way
  • Green design! Sustainability, what in the heck is LEED, how and why you should pass the LEED Green Associate exam. How many gallons of water a toilet uses per flush, how and way water and light are absorbed in different materials, all the other gazillion ways to design “green” that doesn’t involve just recycling
  • Lighting. Oh geez, this was a doozy. Incandescent vs. fluorescent vs LED vs halogen vs all other various light sources. The difference between a bulb and a lamp. Here’s my notes from class if you’d like to take gander and the absurd amount of science and technology we have to learn
  • A gazillion other things I am forgetting

This is of course varies from school to school, but programs that are CIDA accredited have guidelines they have to follow, so you can expect similarities in U.S. accredited schools. Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments.






PS… Here’s an awesome video on why interior designers matter:

House vs. Home


I’m far enough removed from finishing my Interior Design Master’s Thesis this May that I think I can now talk about it with a bit of a clear mind. There was a point in time pre-thesis that I thought about continuing on in my education to pursue a doctorate in historic preservation or architecture. Teehee. After the year plus long process of writing my thesis, I know believe that you have to be a little bit insane to want to write a dissertation. Doing historic research was hard to put it mildly, probably the hardest part of my degree–worse than hand drafting an entire page of text in architect’s handwriting, much worse than learning to draw in perspective, and definitely worse than the science of lighting design (ugh, what the heck was that?). But, I don’t want to dwell on the thesis writing process at this point, painful memories of a near psychotic break are no fun. So let’s talk a little about what I wrote about, k?

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House vs Home

I wanted to research the differences in a house and a home–what are the environmental and physical differences in the two? Why do some beautifully decorated houses not feel ‘homey’? How can a house that has not been treated with extreme care in the design of it feel comfortable and inviting? An interest in this topic as well as a love of history and historical home styles led me to my topic:

How did home service (shelter) magazines published during the years 1929-1945, specifically House Beautiful and Better Homes and Gardens promote the notion of ‘home’ to its readers?

In hindsight, this is WAY too big of a topic to tackle in one master’s thesis. But once I figured that out, I was way too deep in the school year to narrow it down, so I had to roll with this. I am not going to talk about my specific findings in this post, rather what I feel are the universal characteristics that I believe make a house a home, gathered from reading magazines published at this time, as well as other studies on the topic of house vs home.

So then, what makes a house a home?

The bubble diagram above shows what I believe to be the characteristics of a ‘home.’ I’ll discuss below a bit on each of the aspects of ‘home.’

A home is comfortable

A home is a place where the occupant feels at ease; it is a refuge and safe haven from the outside world. A home that offers these amenities can contribute to the occupant’s wellbeing. The words ‘convenience’ and ‘efficient’ I had listed in my diagram referred to magazines during the time period I studied promoting creating a floorplan that flowed well and was easily navigable for the household manager, either household help or the woman of the house.


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A home offers privacy

A home has both public space–for family and social gatherings, as well as private spaces for each member of the family to retreat to. If an occupant shares a room and has no where in the house that is solely theirs, this can contribute to a feeling of not being at home.

Single family, detached homes on a large lot will offer privacy and space needed to feel at home, not cramped and on top of your next door neighbor.

A home is a stable environment

A home is familiar to the occupant–objects and architecture can remind them of permanence. It offers a base of activity for the members of the house, usually a kitchen or living room. A person feels secure in a home–they are not overly worried about their safety.

A home has an interaction with nature

Homes offer views of nature, which are scientifically proven to ease and relax. Their is a strong connection between the indoors and outdoors in homes–outdoor space is utilized to the fullest.

A home is a place of social interaction

Mentioned above, a home is a place that offers social interaction, both among the family members, but also it is a place for social interactions with friends and neighbors.

A home offers space for personalization

A home is a space that offers the occupant the opportunity to personalize their space. When someone is able to display their prized possessions and objects that reflect their personality, they feel at home.


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A home conjures up nostalgia

A home reminds the occupant of times past–either moments with the family, or historic architectural and design choices and remind the occupant of earlier times in history, adding to a feeling or permanence. This is perhaps why super contemporary homes may not make you feel as at ease as a traditional, Colonial center hall home.


That’s it! I’d love to hear what you think makes a house a home.


Hello World


Well, hello world
How you been
Good to see you, my old friend

-Lady Antebellum

It’s been a while, due to finishing my 100+ page Masters Thesis, graduating, moving across the country, job searching and starting a new job, all of which have happened since May. With all these big changes, it’s time to shake things up on the blog.

From now on I will be blogging about design at juliedanieldesign.com. I’d really love to start more humor writing, so general nonsense & my misadventures as a single lady will stay here on this blog.

If you’d like to stay up with what’s happening in designland, sign up for email updates on juliedanieldesign.com. I’m working as an interior designer for Laurel + Wolf, as well as doing work on my own which will be launching soon. I’m also giving away free interior design advice on intdestherapy.tumblr.com, so if you have design questions, ask away there (you can do it anonymously + without a tumblr account).

Thanks everyone!




*Image is mine. Please don’t remove watermark or alter in any way to claim credit. Feel free to use, but please link to me.

Curated Kravet Inspiration Board

One of my favorite fabric lines, Kravet, just came out with a line of furniture and accessories, Curated Kravet:unique pieces hand selected from the global design market, offered made-to-order or in-stock and ready to ship…”

Since I have a gazillion things going on at the moment and my brain is on overload, I wanted to wind down and get some creativity flowing by throwing together a little inspiration board. Here is one I made of some fun pieces from the new Curated Kravet line:


Bao Foo Dogs

Sagano Branch Table Lamp

Sergeant Console

Poppy Velvet Pillows

Sandrine Chaise – Velvet

Raja Aqua Wallpaper

Wildflower 5 Art

Wildflower 3 Art

Collins Acrylic X-Bench

Aspen Burl Side Table

Mod Bianco Chair

Kravet Curated is available for purchase through a designer, so contact me if you are interested in any of the pieces.

Design Matters,


Spring Has Sprung

Happy Monday! It’s sunny out and today is opening day for Major League Baseball which makes me a very happy lady. Here’s a rainbowy inspiration board of furniture and decorative accessories from around the web to brighten your day (not to all be used in one room [unless you want a seizure]). I love doing these collages–I already have a green one, I think I might continue making them in other colors.

(I also have a few more inspiration boards/collages on The DC Ladies. Check them out here.)


Other things I’m loving from around the interwebs: Should I Wash My Hair Today? Flowchart il_570xN.578269029_fyqk Kate Winslet Titanic Costume Test: (that phone in the second pic!)


Have a great week!


It’s the Most Wonderful Month of the Year


I have approximately 7,468 things I should be doing right now–my thesis, scanning my portfolio work to put online (Hey! Anyone want to hire me? Looking for a full time interior designer position this May post graduation). So naturally the logical thing to do right now is make a March inspiration board.

Not sure about y’all, but I am o-v-e-r winter. I am really hoping to find a job in California so that I never have to live through winter again (and be near my sister, of course). The thought that rolls around in my head all winter is “I just have to make it through February.” Being that tomorrow is March 1st, and I am tired of gray, dirty snow, I thought I would make a spring/ green themed inspiration board.

I love March for many reasons–besides the fact that it is my birthday month (and that really isn’t even a factor because I don’t like making a big deal out of my birthday), the first day of Spring is in March, daylight savings begins in March (yay!), sometimes (not this year) Easter is in March (I will never be too old for an Easter basket, no matter what my parents say).

So here is a few fun green decorative items, listed in no particular order.

Love Bird by Stray Dog Designs

J Bright Letter Throw Pillow by Land of Nod

Velvet Wingback Chair by Anthropologie

Villa Napkin by Anthropologie

Woven Raffia Frames by Serena and Lily

Jungle Diamond Cushion by Furbish

Wire Basket by Clever Spaces

Sinnlig Crisp Apple Scented Candles by IKEA

Astro Sage Wool Micro Hooked Rug by Dash & Albert

Plus some items that didn’t make it onto the board:

Epic Battle Wallpaper by Flavor Paper

Solvinden Solar Powered Light by IKEA

Flora Inlay Mirror by Anthropologie


I also made a similar board for The DC Ladies which will be posted later this week. Check the link in a few days to get the sources for all the items below.


Have a happy March!

What Makes a Good Coffee Shop?

“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy coffee shop, asking him the design team to love her for dim lighting, over-sized, comfy couches by a roaring fire that I can curl up in.” -Notting Hill/ Julie

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I’ve been spending a lot of time recently in coffee shops since my main focus for this semester is writing my thesis. I quit working full-time last spring and have just been doing very part-time design work and consulting for a few other designers since then, so I don’t have a real office. I do have a desk in my room, but I have a hard time working in there–I don’t like my sleeping and working spaces to be one and the same. So on most days, you can find me at my local Starbucks.

Living in the DC suburbs, there aren’t a plethora of locally owned, small coffee shops that don’t mind you sitting in them for 17 hours on end mooching off their wifi, so unfortunately I have to continue to feed the beast of chain coffee shops.

I’ve been listening to a the Around the Table podcast a lot in the past few weeks, and on a recent episode they talked about their ideas on what makes a good coffee shop. Here are my two cents, with more of a design view of things.

A good coffee shop can be your third place. A few definitions of third place, from around the web:

“In community building, the third place (or third space) is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace.” –Wikipedia

“Oldenburg identifies third places, or “great good places,” as the public places on neutral ground where people can gather and interact. In contrast to first places (home) and second places (work), third places allow people to put aside their concerns and simply enjoy the company and conversation around them. Third places “host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.”” –Ray Oldenburg, Ph.D.

A third place is where you can feel relaxed, not rushed, a place where you feel at home.

My main haunt is a Starbucks about 10 minutes away from me–there are two closer Starbucks and two other coffee shops along the way, but this particular one is worth the drive for a few reasons, mostly all related to the ambiance, layout and design of the building.

A good coffee shop is warm and welcoming.

One of my favorite parts of my Starbucks is the fireplace, as you can see pictured above. I am a huge proponent of fireplaces–I think they are appropriate in just about every space. (Doctor’s office? DMV? Sure why not!) If I were to design my dream home there would be a fireplace in every room. I think they are fine in warmer weather regions–you can buy ones that don’t emit heat. They give off the impression of “home” that just automatically makes you feel welcome.

Another coffee chain, Caribou, which had several locations throughout metro DC was taken over by Peet’s several months ago. I was super bummed Caribou and their amaaaazing milk chocolate hot chocolate went away, but excited for Peet’s to come to the area because I’ve heard great things about their coffee, but… THEY GOT RID OF THE FIREPLACE. I just want to sit down and talk to their design time and ask them “why… how could you do this to me.” I understand Peet’s has their own brand and design they implement in all their stores, but if there is already a beautifully designed fireplace in a store, you keep the dang fireplace. (Rant over.)

Another must is temperature–they talked about this in the ATT podcast, but freezing cold coffee shops are, in the words of Liz Lemon, a deal breaker. I don’t expect coffee shops to be as warm as I’d like them, roughly the temperature of the inside of a space heater on full blast, but if I am chilly even with a sweater on, sorry coffee shop, it’s not happening.

LLimage source

A good coffee shop has dim lighting.

…But also spaces that are not so dim, because normal people need normal people lighting to see/ talk/ interact/ work. I like spaces with little overhead lighting and lots of ambient and task lighting, but I know that is not for everyone. However, there is absolutely, without a doubt, no reason or need for tube fluorescent lighting in a coffee shop (or anywhere, it’s the worst, but that’s my irrational issue). While the light that human brains are used to and drawn to–incandescent is quickly being phased out, LED lighting is becoming the norm is just about every space, residential and commercial. LED lighting, and lighting design in general is changing so fast, that there have been huge improvements since I took my lighting design course a year and a half ago. LED lighting is constantly being tweaked and made better so that it not only is super energy-efficient, it also puts out a really soft light. (I am really passionate about lighting in commercial spaces. Have an hour or 57? I will talk your ear off about good lighting.)

A good coffee shop is quiet, but not too quiet.

I’m not sure if someone fell in the and hit the volume button at my favorite Starbucks, but the music has gotten really loud, making it harder to concentrate while here. Which is another reason that spurred on this post, I’ve been thinking about breaking up with my bestie Starbucks in search of a quieter one.

On the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want a shop so quiet that it is uncomfortable and you can hear the customer on the other end of the store chewing. Soft music in the background is a necessity.

Not helping the noise level at all at my favorite ‘bucks is the fact that there are very little soft surfaces in this store. Lots of tile and wood combined with the fact that this Starbucks is two stories means that sounds aren’t absorbed but rather amplified and echo. Which leads me to…

A good coffee shop is designed using a variety of materials.

Wood, tile, upholstered surfaces, window treatments… use them all. If you are going to use hard surfaces on the floor, as opposed to carpet–there needs to be ample soft surfaces to absorb noise as well as create a softness to the space.

A good coffee shop has a variety of seating options.

An important part of any well-designed space is the ability for the user to make adjustments to their environment. Adjustable height desks are a huge trend in office design (and one that is here to stay I’m guessing), and it’s because we are recognizing that we all are shaped differently, work differently and need varying options for seating in order to be productive. I would be happy with a coffee shop full of oversized sofas, but that’s not for everyone. Communal tables, two tops, four tops, round tables, square tables…. BANQUETTE seating, oh my, let’s not forget banquette/ booth seating. Customers need to have a variety of seating (upholstered/ non-upholstered) and table options.

A good coffee shop has a well designed ceiling.

Really any well designed space should have a carefully thought out ceiling design. In a coffee shop, really tall ceilings are not the best idea. If a space has high ceilings, a well designed coffee shop would drop the ceiling in various locations. Lowered ceilings make a space feel more comfortable and safe. A space with high ceilings gives the impression of awe and grandeur (e.g. Cathedrals, museums, etc…). Since we humans spend the first 9 months of our existence comfy cozy inside our mom, we naturally feel more comfortable in cozier spaces. A really tall ceiling can feel very daunting and intimidating, which does not lend itself well to having a cup of coffee with a friend.

A good coffee shop has many, many outlets.

This was another thing the girls (I say as if they are my BFF) mentioned in their podcast. Coffee shops need quad outlets at least every four feet in the walls, and several locations on the floor. And really coffee shops designed today need to have outlets with USB ports in them.

And last but not least… A good coffee shop has fast wifi. And free wifi. Amen.

 PS- Coffee shop chains, if you are reading this, you have GOT to get on the coworking train. Shops with rentable by the day/ week/ month, secure office spaces….I (and start-up businesses/ freelancers) would be ALL OVER THAT. I will design them for you!

Over and out.

Oh, and… I’ve decided to close comments on my posts for a plethora of reasons (maybe I’ll write a post on this…). Feel free to drop me a line on twitter or via the contact page above if you have a comment. Thanks!