Q&A: Remodelista's Julie Carlson

Q&A: Julie Carlson
(Julie Carlson [above left] and a bedroom nominated in the Professional Bedroom by guest judge Elana Frankel for Remodelista's Considered Design Awards. Photos by Maria Del Rio, courtesy of Remodelista.)

Name: Julie Carlson
Occupation: Editor, Remodelista 
Resides in: Mill Valley, CA
Working on: The brand's Considered Design Awards, whose finalists, a selection of whom are featured here, debut in full on the site today. Voting is up now through August 8.

1. Antique or modern?
I like a mix; too many antiques makes me nervous. But houses furnished entirely in modern furniture can be sterile and lifeless. The trick is to strike a balance.

2. City or country?
City. I like the energy of street life and being able to poke around in shops and museums and drink coffee at a sidewalk cafe.

3. Which colors do you use most?
Green, black, white, and blue.

4. Favorite materials or textures?
I love a mix of high and low: rugged canvas, mohair velvet, sheepskin throws.

5. What is your favorite interior design-related word?
Symmetry. I like the sound of the word, and I like the results.

Q&A: Julie Carlson

(A finalist in the Professional Bathroom category, selected by guest judge Suzanne Slesin; an Amateur Bedroom finalist selected by Gael Towey. Photos courtesy of Remodelista)
6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?
I grew up on Cape Cod, so I'm always looking to recreate the light and open feeling of living by the sea. The interiors in my Mill Valley house are all white, and my paintings are all by Outer Cape artists. Even though my childhood house is a Victorian built in 1860 and my house in Mill Valley was built in 1970—and overhauled a decade ago—there are lots of similarities.

7. Does a room need a view?
In an ideal world every room would have one. But I also love dark libraries and den-like spaces; I think you have to work harder if you don't have a view but you can compensate with paint and beautiful fabrics and textures.

8. Favorite designer or architect?
Right now I'm captivated by the work of London-based Faye Toogood; her own house is my ideal. I'm also fascinated by the fact that she designed a palette for a new makeup line called Make.

9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
I get lots of ideas and inspiration from Dezeen, a London-based architecture and design site.

10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
Personality; I love spaces that are not too perfect, that reflect the interests and obsessions of the inhabitants.

Q&A: Julie Carlson
(A finalist in the Amateur Office category selected by judge Jenni Kayne; a Professional Living/Dining Room finalist chosen by
judge Wendy Goodman.  Photos courtesy of Remodelista)
11. What is a forbidden word or phrase in your house?
Color pop.

12. Design rule you love to break?
I'm not big on design rules; I mostly work by instinct.

13. What is your favorite room in the house?
Our living room/dining room/kitchen has a vaulted ceiling and overlooks Mount Tamalpais; it has a fantastic feeling of light and space. It's where we spend almost all our time.

14. What is your most treasured possession?
Black-and-white 1950s photographs of my parents in Rome looking artsy and intellectual.

15. What do you wish you could do without?
Coffee. I wish I could function in the morning without it.

Q&A: Julie Carlson
(Judge Diana Darling's pick for the Professional Kitchen category; an Amateur Bathroom finalist chosen by judge Gesa Hansen.
Photos courtesy of Remodelista)
16. How does West Coast design differ from East Coast design? Does it?
It definitely differs. But design in Southern California design is also very different from design in the Pacific Northwest. SoCal is glam and a bit over the top, even if it's bohemian. Design in the Pacific Northwest is earthy and natural and low-key.

17. What is your favorite thing about the West Coast—design-related or otherwise?
The majestic landscape; I drive over the Golden Gate Bridge every day, through the Presidio, and on the Embarcadero. Now everything on the East Coast seems so small to me.

18. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be?
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. I went there years ago and I still remember every detail. There was something about the simplicity that was very moving.

19. On what movie set would you like to live?
My current favorite is Jeff Goldblum's Paris apartment in Le Weekend, a movie about a British couple on vacation. There's a dinner party scene in Goldblum's apartment, which is full of books and lovely paintings and is charmingly disheveled but also very grand.

20. To which city or country would you move for the design?
I lived in London for a year and I'd move back in a second. I love the witty way Londoners decorate their houses and their fearless use of color.

21. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
An Eames plywood dining chair with metal legs. I love the mix of metal and wood, the graceful lines, and its timelessness.
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