Sitting Down with Passionate Interior Designer Julianne Henry
For Julieanne Henry of Julieanne Henry Interior Design, her formal design education at ISCD didn’t begin until her daughter was one, but it was long before that when she discovered her interest and love for all things related to interiors. By age eight her mother would come home to find she had rearranged the furniture, and she was often working on new colour schemes and design concepts.
Julieanne has been working professionally as an interior designer and stylist for ten years, having worked on nearly every style of project, from minimalist modern design to traditional, antique-centric concepts. Ultimately each project she works on begins with listening to her client’s needs, wants, and preferences for how they want to live and what they want to be surrounded by in their home. This makes every project entirely personal to the client, and not about the “rules of design.”
We were able to speak with Julieanne about her experiences as a designer, and what she feels is most important when she’s working with clients, as well as what inspires her at the personal level.
1. When did you first decide to become an interior designer and stylist and how did you get started with your design business?
My mother will say I've been an interior designer since the age of 8. She would be amazed when she would go out to do some gardening or shopping and come inside and I would have completely rearranged the furniture in the house. I was always changing my room around and dreaming up colour schemes.
I started working full time when I was 15 to support my desire for new bedlinen. I was advising people then on ideas for their homes and paint colours. It's just always been a passion of mine.
When I was 21 I opened my own store in Wollongong called Mexico Rd. It was a hugely successful business and my love for decorating was unleashed. I even designed a very small or let's say "exclusive" range of bedlinen. Mexico Rd was a prominent local
business for 15 years, run very successfully by my mother after I had moved to Sydney to pursue my music career. People still stop her in the street and say how much they miss it.
When I moved to Sydney I did a lot of styling work and studied as well as performing until I decided to formally study Interior Design at ISCD when my daughter was 1 year old. My journey into starting my own Interior Design business has been a gradual organic process. I have gained great experience working in corporate and small business but have always had the desire to have my own business again and create my own vision. Six years ago I started my own business whilst I was working part time for Imagine This in Woollahra as their in house designer. As of October last year they closed their doors and I have been entirely focused on my business since. It was all timely and I am so excited about this new phase of my career. I feel like I'm where I should be and at a great age for it. I'm looking forward to great things ahead.
2. What is the most challenging part of your job?
Being an interior designer is a very challenging job. The design aspect of my job is the easy part, that's the fun part. It's everything else that happens behind the scenes that you take care of for your client, which is of course why they hire you, that are the challenges - from ordering fabrics, checking dyelots are consistent with samples, making sure they are sent to all the right places, making sure those companies know exactly what fabric is for what piece, co ordinating tradesmen, check measures, site meetings etc etc all with a deadline to work towards and dealing with the issues that inevitably come up along the way to mention but a few.
These are all challenging components to our job and we try to handle them efficiently and professionally to deliver a beautiful outcome for our clients. There is incredible attention to detail that goes into being an interior designer and you can't afford to get any of that wrong, all challenging but I would not choose to do anything else.
3. Is there an interior design style you favour and do you have your own design aesthetic?
I'm very open minded with design styles. You have to be when you are working with so many different people if you want to try to relate. Plus I just love design. The aesthetic that I bring to my work is a cohesion, a quality and luxury. Texture, light and colour are important layers that make you feel a room. I love Antiques or vintage pieces for their history and quality.
4. Who are other interior designers you admire?
I love Martyn Lawrence Bullard. I love his Moroccan influence, his bold use of colour and pattern. I also love love Lorenzo Castillo. I love Kelly Wearstler, she is so imaginative and quirky but super stylish. There are many Australian designers who I admire greatly who are all doing such beautiful and diverse work.
5. What inspires you?
Travel really inspires me. To be surrounded by history, smells that are unfamiliar to me, languages I don't understand and places I don't know. To be free to explore and discover. I think travel is one of the richest gifts we can give ourselves.
6. What do you think is the essential piece of furniture we should all have in our bedroom?
The bed is definitely the essential piece in the bedroom. Beautiful beds, upholstered, four poster, and beautiful linen. Mood is very important in the bedroom too. I love to create a tranquil and comfortable sanctuary with soft lighting.
7. What key element do we all need for a chic living room?
Definitely a gorgeous rug. I love beautiful rugs. They really pull a living room together. It's a great starting point. Then of course beautiful sofas...oh and cushions.
8. Do you have a favourite project or story behind a project?
I love all my projects. I love the collaboration with my clients. There is always a story behind each project.
Let's Get Personal .....
1. What else are you passionate about besides your work?
At the moment I'm passionate about Aqua aerobics. I love it! My greater passion is Italy, great food and wine.
2. What is your most treasured belonging?
My most treasured belongings would have to be the jewellery and trinkets my mum has given me over the years from my grandmother and herself. Plus the stories of my family heritage. It's quite a fascinating story. The memories are treasured.
3. What's one thing people may not know about you?
I was a singer before I decided I really wanted to pursue my love of Interior Design. I used to perform from a very young age. In high school I played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz which landed us a place in one of the first School Spectaculars at the Entertainment Centre where I sang a duet with Rolf Harris. I once thought that was pretty cool but have since been shocked by the allegations against him, although I have to say I was never subject to any of this even though it was around that time.
I sang in a jazz band, I did a lot of recording, songwriting and toured as a back up singer with Australian performers as well as television work. I took a long break from music after realising the industry was not what I hoped it would be until I was asked by a very dear friend to join his band playing original songs. It was a harmony based alternative country band with lots of twanging guitars. I loved it! We recorded three cds and played the Tamworth Country Music festival as well as many other great venues and festivals. Music is still very much a part of my life.
4. In 10 years I'd like to be ....
Definitely going strong with my business. I absolutely love what I do. Each new project is a new experience. I would love a bit more space and quiet so perhaps a move to the country in a rambling old house with beautiful gardens, lots of pets, travelling the
world being inspired so I can continue to make beautiful homes with clients.
5. What can't you live without?
I can't live without my family and that includes my beautiful cat.
As Julieanne continues partnering with her clients, she hopes to keep building and growing her business. She will also likely spend time traveling and finding inspiration in the new places and experiences along the way.