Inspiration in the Studio

Meet Our Team: Julie

Next on our “Meet The Team” series is Julie, who joined the Southern Studio team last fall as our Client Relations and Marketing Coordinator. Her smile is contagious and we admire her willingness to go above-and-beyond to serve our clients.

First things first. How did you get started in the interior design world? What sparked your interest in the business?

I started as an intern with Southern Living in marketing, assisting with advertising, events, and other marketing initiatives, including Southern Living’s Custom Builder and Designer Network programs. From there, I fell in love with the world of interiors and my passion evolved, eventually leading me to Southern Studio.

Your design style in three words?

Classic. Inviting. Layered.

Describe your dream home…

A Wrightsville Beach cottage with a boat dock, marsh view, plenty of windows, and a gracious front porch and rocking chairs. Nothing stuffy. Sandy feet would be welcome, and enjoying a glass of rosé with family and friends would be a staple summer occurrence. That’s heaven right there.

Your favorite piece of furniture at your own home:

My grandparents’ 1940s bedroom suite, including their antique vanity, dresser, and nightstand. After they passed, I knew I wanted to keep a memory of them in my own home. When I found undiscovered love letters from my grandfather to my grandmother while cleaning out one of the drawers, I knew their furniture was meant for me to keep and cherish. Their wedding photo remains in the same place, on top of the dresser.

What’s your morning routine?

I’m happiest when I can squeeze in a 6am hot yoga class and enjoy a cup of coffee before heading in the studio. I’m an early bird!

Stripes or florals?

No question. Stripes. They’re on constant rotation in my wardrobe, and honestly, I need to stop buying blue and white striped shirts.

What’s currently on your nightstand?

A candle, a small painting of an oyster shell by a local artist, and my glasses.

Your favorite sources for marketing and design inspiration:

This started with magazines as a little girl – I dreamed of being a magazine editor, making collages and posting them all over my room. I’ll always be an avid collector, but I now find inspiration wherever I am, whether I’m at home scrolling through design-related Instagram accounts or out and about traveling to new places.


A Raleigh New Construction Project Comes to Life

There are so many special moments during the construction of a custom home!  For this particular project, it started over fourteen months ago.  The plan was almost final and our clients wanted to make sure the space would function for their family and reflect their contemporary style. Most clients have one chance to build their dream home and want to be thoughtful with each detail. Through a series of weekly meetings, we have tackled the decisions one design element at a time. It’s our job to understand our client’s vision and provide guidance throughout construction to bring that vision to life. During a recent site visit, we were able to capture a few mid-construction details.

The custom front door was recently installed and is anxiously awaiting the finishing stain and unique hardware.

The staircase is a focal point of the home and spans three floors. From the treads, to the handrail, to the spindles….every detail needs to be designed.

There are three fireplaces in the home that require unique designs. This asymmetrical fireplace wall is going to be fabulous!

The individual design elements are being installed as we work on the interiors and furnishings. The vision is coming together beautifully!

Construction will be completed by the end of summer!  We have so enjoyed working with our clients who value design and enjoy the process….the perfect combination for a beautiful and very custom home!




Meet Our Team: Julia

From intern to a leader at Southern Studio, Julia is next up in our “Meet Our Team” series. Recently, Julia was promoted to Lead Designer – discover a little more about her below!

First things first. How did you get started in the interior design world? What sparked your interest?

When I was little, I loved playing with different textures and patterns, mixing and matching them together. One of my family friends was actually an interior designer and I had the opportunity to shadow her at the Design Center in Charlotte, which was my first real-life exposure to interior design. From then on, I knew I wanted to pursue design as a career, so I chose Meredith College for its accredited interior design program. During my senior year, I interned at Southern Studio, eventually leading me to a full-time position on the team.

Describe a project you would jump for joy to do.

That’s an easy question, I would love to design a nursery! I imagine a neutral color palette to keep the room gender neutral. Stray Dog Designs has an exquisite white on white pendant chandelier that is embroidered with an animal pattern – I’ve been dreaming of using the piece in a design. From the furnishings, window treatments, and artwork to even the books and toys, I would love to have a hand of putting the entire nursery together.

What is your favorite shade of white paint color?

“Snowbound” by Sherwin-Williams. I use this color often, as it’s a beautiful white that doesn’t feel stark. I love the color’s subtle gray undertone.

What’s on your nightstand? 

I have a simple white lamp with a gray shade, a current book I’m reading, and a mango and papaya scented candle from Candlefish – the perfect summertime scent.

Your design style in three words:

Sophisticated. Inviting. Cozy.

We love your knack for organization. Any design tips you can share for keeping your home tidy while still “livable”?

It’s easy to keep things just to have them – my tip would be to only keep the things you love. Less is more. Also, I have to mention using trays to keep things organized  – I love using them when styling a coffee table or tidying up bathroom items.

Where do you find inspiration for designing something new?

I love scrolling through Instagram, particularly to discover new textile patterns color combinations. Finding new-to-me fabric lines and designs by textile artists spark my creativity.

Do you gravitate toward bold prints or softer, more subtle pattern?

Personally, I’m drawn to softer, more subtle pattern, and I enjoy incorporating tone-on-tone prints. However, I have to say I would love to use a pop of the bright, leafy green color I’m seeing everywhere this season, and I’m waiting on that perfect project!

What’s the best piece of design advice you’ve ever been given?

Function and aesthetic must work together. Nail down the function of the space first, and then layer the aesthetic. 

Your dream party to host?

A backyard, poolside Cinco de Mayo party! It would be super colorful and bright with lots of confetti. Not to mention, it would have to include margaritas and a festive table setting.

An Evening of Celebration, Community, and Service

From community events to small gatherings of clients and new and old friends in the trade, we are excited to open up our studio with the event series we launched this year, named Southern Studio at Sunset.

Last week, we were thrilled to host our second event of the series alongside the Cary Women’s Giving Network. This giving group brings women together to learn about the local community’s needs, inviting nonprofits to speak at meetings and apply through a competitive grants process. We were honored to be selected as hosts for their annual Grants Award Presentation, inviting both members and representatives from the winning organizations to our studio for an evening of celebration and community.

Four awards were granted:

$3000 to CASA for quality, affordable rental housing for low income families and individuals

$3,000 to the Fill Your Bucket List Foundation for wishes for Cary residents

$5,000 to the Green Chair Project for providing “Sweeter Dreams” beds for kids in Cary

$3,000 to the Hope Center at Pullen for preventing homelessness with young people aging out of foster care

We applaud this group of Cary women for their involvement in supporting our local community, and we look forward to more Southern Studio at Sunset events coming up this year! Stay tuned to see what event we have planned next…and see below for photos from the event!


Latest ASID Awards Found a Home in the Studio

At the ASID Carolinas Spring Gala in Charlotte, we were honored to be in the company of some of the best designers in North and South Carolina. Taking home three awards was the icing on the cake of a fabulous weekend spent amidst fellow designers and friends. We wanted to take a moment to share the three homes that were recognized at the gala – we are thankful for the beautiful homes and the beautiful clients who allowed us to create these livably sophisticated spaces.

First Place, Singular Space

A large-scale renovation, this open kitchen / keeping room combination dramatically changed to create a space that feels welcoming and intimate, reflecting the homeowners’ entertaining and personal style. The outdoors-in aesthetic offers a peaceful place to rest and enjoy for the homeowners and guests. Featuring an eye-catching dining table in the center of the space, dinner party guests feel welcomed by the soft color palette of blues and hints of cool gray, warm wood finishes, elegant lighting, and comfortable upholstered seating. The homeowners’ original art also provides a stunning backdrop to bring the room together.

First Place, Vacation/Secondary Home

With a soothing color palette mirroring the home’s coastal surroundings, this calming retreat is idyllic for overlooking the ocean. The goal was to restore and showcase the home’s original history and integrity, yet create a retreat where serenity and relaxation was at the center. We incorporated furnishings that would remain durable to withstand beach vacations for many years to come, while bringing in details that told a subtle coastal story, altogether impactful. The main living space offers ample seating, exquisite views of the surrounding beach, and plenty of natural light pouring in to highlight the room’s sea-inspired color palette. The dining area is informal in feel, reflecting the personality of the rest of the home – carefree, airy, and laid back: the homeowners’ perfect idea of a vacation home.

Honorable Mention for Single Family Home 3500+ sq. ft.

Layered in soft neutrals and detailed textures, this home is a peaceful retreat grounded by a classic and clean design aesthetic. Seeking a relaxing space, yet one sophisticated and refined to match their taste, the homeowners wanted to incorporate beautiful architectural and design details alongside a neutral color palette. Incorporating the homeowners’ existing pieces along with new created an opportunity to transform the old when paired with new furnishings, giving each room a fresh story to tell. The homeowners were also open to paneling and wainscoting, showcasing the home’s arches and adding visual interest to walls that could be further uplifted. On the second floor, there was also an opportunity to incorporate hints of color in these more playful, personal spaces.