Julie bought her one-bedroom beachside apartment eight years ago, and has taken a very practical and experimental approach to the renovations and styling. Julie is a painter of small-scale artworks and also a very successful textile designer. Her shop, Cloth, in nearby Clovelly, is where she dyes and prints colour and pattern onto natural textured fabrics, creating home furnishings and clothing ranges. But it's in her apartment that she creates her wonderful paintings, on various wooden boards, of organic shapes.
The dark ground-floor apartment is from an era that is synonymous with her style, which she declared as "Granny Style". It had once been part of a stately home that dates from the turn of the century and in the 1920s it was converted into nine flats. This era provided the high ceilings, large windows and moulded plasterwork. Renovation and extensions in the 1950s added the now-enclosed balcony, as well as the kitchen and bathroom with their powder blue tiles. It was these original features that Julie fell in love with and have provided the perfect backdrop for second hand furniture, and colourful artwork and fabrics.
Upon moving in, Julie set about the task of renovating. The wallpaper was ripped from the walls to expose the original plasterwork. These wonderfully-muted markings have been left exposed and are now framed by the new paint finish that surrounds it. They reveal the markings of the original ballroom, which her flat and the flat next-door together now occupy.
Julie says that the colours in the walls influenced everything in styling and decorating.
Next, Julie knocked out the wall between the enclosed balcony, which is now her bedroom, and the living room. This allowed the light from the bedroom to filter through to the living space. And filter through it does, through drapings of her sheer organza hand-dyed curtains.
Julie has an instinct for preserving the past as is evident in her second-hand furniture, including her kitchen table and the vinyl armchair in the living room. Even the candlewick bedspreads on her bed hark from a past era, which had been left behind by the previous owner of the flat. Julie also loves religious iconography and has 'shrines' set up in every room.
Julie believes that you must get to know a place before you renovate it. Sit and live with it and let the character of the place come through. She also says to be your self and have the confidence to experiment, to allow your own style and character to evolve. It doesn't have to be about the latest fashions, it's about things that have meaning to you.