Bring something living from the outside to the inside of your home. Bring in greenery or florals — a tree, plant or fresh flowers. The life and energy from these are felt immediately and add a splash of color too.
As part of my series on the “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Julia Longchamps.
Julia is the founder of Julia Longchamps Design, a full-service interior design firm focused on high-end residential design projects ranging from renovations and new construction to room makeovers and finish selections. Julia’s longtime passion for design led her to major in Fashion Design at F.I.T. in New York City. Soon after earning her degree, she began her career in sports apparel design working for a leading global fitness apparel brand.
While working full-time, together with her husband, Julia purchased a “fixer-upper” for their first home — a project that required multiple renovations and interior design projects. This is where Julia found a renewed sense of energy and inspiration and realized she was eager to pursue her passion for interior design. She went on to earn her degree in Interior Design while also juggling motherhood and customizing a new home to fit her growing family.
Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was an undergrad at F.I.T. — initially focused on fashion design. I took my first home products class my senior year with David Brogna. He taught us all about quality home products — how to buy good linens, how to properly furnish your home, build a bed, and more. David opened my eyes to home products and truly appreciate interior design for the first time. It was my favorite class at F.I.T.
A few years later I found myself working on my “fixer-upper” home that required multiple renovations and interior design projects. I found a renewed sense of energy and inspiration and realized I was eager to pursue my passion for interior design and launch my own firm.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
My most interesting story took place at High Point Market. I was in the Bob Wiliams+Mitchell Gold showroom (my first market so I was majorly green) and met Mitchell Gold. I was thrilled to be able to share how much I admired his brand because of being introduced to it by David Brogna — my professor at F.I.T., whom he knew very well. Who knew my world would come full-circle a decade later after David’s class at F.I.T.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
It was not funny at the time, but looking back there’s nothing like opening up a major delivery expecting to see one thing and receive something completely different. I ordered a nice flush mount for a project and had been waiting to receive it for months — it had been back-ordered for a year. I finally receive the package and when I opened it up, it was a 3-foot chandelier. Totally not what I was expecting or needing.
The chandelier was a beautiful fixture and so stunning — I just didn’t have a use for it in any of my projects. And until this day I’m not sure who was really at fault — I had checked the order number based on the showroom floor tag. The lesson here is to go back and always check the books and make sure your order details are correct.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Right now I’m working on an exciting full renovation in the city of Annapolis for a young family with three little children (similar to my own family). The project is LEED-certified, and we’re working through many city approvals to get everything passed and on schedule.
This is interesting because after months of framing, trades and inspections underway, we are getting to finish work. The hard work is starting to pay off and everything is coming together. It’s a modern farmhouse design and I’m helping them to keep function top of mind for their growing family. It’s an open concept, great for entertaining, and a well-planned kitchen. Every cabinet has an allocated space and use and we’re really maximizing every foot to serve the most storage. This is going to bring them so much joy as their family grows.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” WILLIAM MORRIS (a textile designer).
I’ve loved this quote from even before I started my career. It helped me to prioritize how I design, even at the beginning when I was on a tighter budget for my own house, and continues to help me today.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
David Brogna, my F.I.T. professor, came along at the perfect point in my life. He opened my eyes to a whole new world of design beyond fashion, which I thought was my passion. My last semester at F.I.T. I was ready to go out and start a career in fashion and instead I absorbed everything he said and packed it away in hopes of leveraging it someday. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the inspiration I received from him.
And of course my mom! She has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and helped me along the way. When I decided to leave my corporate job to go back to school she helped watch my kids while I was gone. She is helping me in this phase of life with my design business and now three kids. It takes a village, and I couldn’t do what I am doing today without her.
Thank you for that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1 — Bring something living from the outside to the inside of your home. Bring in greenery or florals — a tree, plant or fresh flowers. The life and energy from these are felt immediately and add a splash of color too.
2 — Consider wallpaper. Whether it’s on an accent wall, a nook, a ceiling in a bedroom, or a whole room. Select a color and pattern that sparks joy. Put it in a place you maybe don’t love and it will instantly elevate it.
3 — Organize. If you feel overwhelmed in a space you need to purge and organize. Clearing space and giving all of your belongings a “home” will bring you instant joy.
4 — Purchase furniture that not only looks good but is functional. For example, it can act as storage and help reduce clutter. For example, when selecting a console table, consider getting one with drawers.
5 — If it bothers you, fix it. There are so many ways to fix issues in a home — whether you’re on a budget or not. For example, lighting. If you loathe your kitchen because it’s dark, call the electrician and add lighting. It will transform a room. And scale matters, don’t buy something small because it’s cheap. Make a statement. If your kitchen feels sterile, add some wood tones to add warmth. Living room feel plain? Bring in layers through pillows, throws, and curtains.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As I continue to grow my business, I would love to get to the point where I can mentor up-and-coming interior designers. I realized there are not many resources for interior designers to own and grow a business, let alone further their expertise. This is such a competitive space and I’d like to shift the perspective to be less so. I want to focus on putting positive energy out there and helping the next generation of designers be successful. Kind of like how David Brogna shared his wisdom with me back in school.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Shea McGee, founder of Studio McGee. She’s truly doing all the things that I aspire to do and she’s such an inspiration. Shea started her business like every designer. And she’s grown so much — from writing books, to having a storefront, her own line with Target, a Netflix series, and dream projects across the US. I’d love to have coffee with her, female business owner to female business owner. We could meet on our birthday (we share the same birthday).
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!