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!


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.


What Is My Life?


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is the best platform for my design blogging, life blogging and short stories/non-fiction writing which I’m hoping to do a lot more of. Up until this point, just about everything went on this blog. While pondering where these different topics would best be suited, I got a little overwhelmed trying to organize it all in my head. We designers use bubble diagrams often in space planning, so naturally I decided to ‘bubble it out’ help while I was trying to sort out all my different online personas…

… which led to this monstrosity above. No wonder I was having trouble working this all out in my head.

One of the biggest things I’ve been thinking about is where to blog about design so that I can monetize it through affiliate links. I’m not sure if this blog is the place. I’d like to do that type of posting several times a week, and it might get annoying on here. I want it to be on a place that either gets a lot of traffic already (e.g. someone else’s popular blog), or someplace more interactive, like Tumblr. I already have a design inspiration Tumblr and a design advice Tumblr (and a secret Tumblr where I just reblog funny stuff online). At the moment I’m thinking about incorporating design blogging onto my design advice Tumblr. I think Tumblr is a great platform–it’s kinda like Pinterest in Twitter format, but more social. I posted on here that I was going to be switching all of my design blogging over to my business site, juliedanieldesign.com. The more I thought about that, it just didn’t makes sense–I don’t get a lot of traffic there, it’s not a space I’d like to be very interactive.

I’d like to write more, and I was trying to find a good medium for this writing, and right now it turns out Medium.com is working best to write non-fiction, at least for now. I do have one post up on McSweeney’s, and I’d love to get more up there.

So I’m not totally sure what I am going to be posting here. And I could wake up tomorrow and change my mind about all of this, so we will see where I end up. You definitely need to write for your audience, and various platforms are best at reaching different crowds.

And God forbid I ever get married, if that happens, I can’t imagine having to do this all over again with a different name. Oy.


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.

Pink + White

The Cherry Blossoms reached their peak this past weekend, which means there is a lot of pink + white across the region. I’m moving to California in a few weeks, so I’m trying to savor the changing seasons + the little things I know I will miss here in metro DC. On my bucket list is: Georgetown Cupcake (the Bethesda location, because there is no way I’m dealing with the Georgetown location tourist madness), Gravelly Point (been there a gazillion times, but it’s my favorite), and to eat as much BBQ as possible because I’m scared they won’t have legit Carolina/Virginia BBQ in California (Texas BBQ does not count).

Here’s a little inspiration board of pink + white home accessories.


Pink Cacti from Artfully Walls

Pink Mosaic Wastebasket from Furbish

Pig from Stray Dog Designs

Small Rectangular Lacquer Tray from West Elm

Teak Step Stool from Serena & Lily

Poppy Floral Tea Caddy Lamp from Furbish

Chateau Rug from Anthropologie

Tini IV Accent Table in Pink from Oomph via Domino

Pink Birds from Natural Curiosities via Domino

Here are some other inspiration boards I have made. What color should I do next?


A podcast I listen to, Around the Table, has a segment called “Read, Watch, Listen, Follow.” I thought it would be a fun idea to start doing this as well at the end of posts, instead of “Best Of” posts I have previously been doing.

Read: Houzz Design Dictionary

Watch: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Hashbrown no filter)

Listen: The Lively Show (my all time favorite podcast)

Follow: I Have This Thing with Floors on Instagram


Check out my latest post, Spring Design Reads on The DC Ladies

Have a good week!


[Some links may be affiliate links]

My Sister Got Married Part 2


My older sister got married this past Valentine’s day so I wanted to share a few pictures and stories from the day. (All professional photos are by the wonderfully talented Krystal at Sweet Pea Studios.)


I posted last spring about my younger sister’s April wedding (see posts here and here), so between those two weddings + nearly four years as a wedding planner, I am 100% eloping or having a low-key destination if and when I get married. It really is just sooo much work to pull off a wedding.


Given the fact that she only got engaged in December, I’d say we pulled off a really pretty wedding despite the short planning timeline.


My sister wore my mom’s veil.


If you live in Northern Virginia I’m sure you are familiar with Pastries by Randolph. Nothing they sell is not amazing, and the cake was seriously so, so good.


I’ve never been to or planned a brunch wedding before, but it was great. Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are always okay in my book.

I took like 2 pics at @aclairebear's wedding, whoops. #danielgordonwedding

A post shared by Julie Daniel (@thejuliedaniel) on

Someone thought I was pregnant. “You look healthy!” Uhhhhh…. #awkward. It was February, gosh darn it, it’s just my winter layer.

Sister selfie #danielgordonwedding

A post shared by Katherine Kubler (@katherinekubler) on

My stepmom’s friend, Kim Love did the flowers and did an outstanding job. Funny thing is, she and my stepmom put all the flowers out in the garage the day before the wedding and they all froze. So she had to go back and rebuy and remake all the flowers. None of us knew until this week.

Happy Valentine's Day wedding day, Claire & Greg! ❤️🌹🍀 #danielgordonwedding

A post shared by kellycarey (@kellycarey) on

I wanted to write down all the questions or references to being single I got over the weekend. Things got a little crazy once everyone got into town, so despite being told many times things like “You’re next!” and “You’re time will come (insert worried/sad face)”, the only thing I had managed to write down in my phone was “Don’t worry, you’ll have a family of your own one day.” Thanks?

First dance ❤️ #weddings #danielgordonwedding

A post shared by kellycarey (@kellycarey) on

The dinner jacket (below) was my sister’s first attempt at a faux fur jacket for the day. It was comical how ridiculous it looked. Gotta love Rent the Runway.

A dinner jacket that didn't make the cut for #danielgordonwedding wedding.

A post shared by Julie Daniel (@thejuliedaniel) on

Other vendors:

Day of Coordinator: Lynn Nelson at Bridal Silhouette

DJ: One and Done Events

Venue: Kenwood Country Club in Bethesda, MD

Cake: Pastries by Randolph

Bridesmaids Dresses: Anthropologie and Nordstrom (mine)

Programs: Minted

Invitations: Paperless Post

Hair and Makeup: Trish Langley at My Mobile Salon

Photo Booth: Pixelated Photo Booth (Not pictured here, but photos can be seen at #danielgordonwedding on instagram.)


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.

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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!

Best Of

Hey world-

Gosh it was a rough semester–4 grad classes is a LOT to handle. I’ve basically taken the month of December to recover. I didn’t want to let the month pass without a single post though, so here’s what I’ve been loving lately:

Ayres Body Butter. It smells and feels amazing. Another Birchbox find.


SJP Alyssa Peep Toe Booties– Sarah Jessica Parker recently launched a shoe line and came to town the other month to sign items from the line (yes, she signed the bottom of shoes). Being a very poor grad student, I do not own any over her shoes (I believe they are manufactured by Manolo Blahnik)–i.e., they are fairly expensive.


This woman actually curtsied to SJP (as would I, if I had gotten to meet her).

I went to her shoe signing at Nordies not expecting to meet her since I wasn’t going to be purchasing anything, and I didn’t get to meet her. But y’all, when she was leaving she walked right by me, so close I could have reached out and grabbed her. Thankfully I had my senses and didn’t, but oh my it was exciting. Like any red blooded American girl, Sex and the City is my jam and taught me everything about love and relationships I did not (surprise surprise) learn growing up in a conservative Evangelical home. So imagine me, sharpie in one hand, pink velvet Sex and the City complete series in the other, sweating profusely while standing practically in the middle of a clothing rack, and SJP walking by and me thinking “if I wanted to, I could jump on you and hug you.” Instead I chose to stare like a deer in headlights and just whisper “I love you.”


Julie the #Creeper


Hi, friend. Can I hug you?

Major creeper, I know. Anyways, the point it… several women that night were wearing these peep toe booties, and gosh darnit, I NEED them. Doubtful that I will ever own them anytime soon though, but a girl can dream.


This pore refiner by Dr. Brandt, found on Ipsy. It’s the smoothest stuff you will ever put on your face, and has a little tint in it, which is good enough to count as a full face of makeup for me. I spend probably 3 minutes on makeup in the morning, so something that moisturizes, refines and covers blemishes gets two thumbs up in my book.

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Make it Happen– Lara Casey just published her first book–as in it came out today. I just got it in the mail a few hours ago and am only a few pages in so I can’t give a full critique, but man do I love her. I am a huge LC goupie, and anything she puts her name on I am down to buy. Looking foward to digging in to it. Her powersheets have really helped me with goal setting and separating the daily to dos from long term goals.

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I heard this quote by Shauna Niequist while listening to Around the Table Podcast (which is another thing I am loving), and this quote really struck a chord with me. I’m looking forward to reading some of her books. (By the way, I just got into the Kindle world, and oh my is it life changing–I know I’m about 5 years late to the party).



This chili recipe. My stepmom made it the other day, and oh my is it good. Surrriously.

The complete novels of Jane Austen, which Santa so thoughtfully purchased for me off of my Amazon wishlist for Christmas.

This documentary on the Architecture studio, which has a lot of parallels with the interior design studio process.

These Bean boots. Totally not necessary for Virginia winters, but they’re cute.

That’s all for now…. follow along on Twitter or Pinterest to see what else I am loving.