I love the way blogging brings like minded individuals together each day. Through this remarkable medium I am offered a privileged glimpse into the hearts, minds, homes and work of those I admire. Over the past two and a half years I have had the honor of meeting countless people through this amazing phenomena, and yet there is still something wonderfully surreal about meeting in person.
During our tour of Magazine Street we stopped by the shop of Julie Neill. Expecting our arrival, Julie was waiting at the door with open arms and a hug. It was very much like reuniting with an old friend. Since discovering Julie’s blog last year, I have become a fan of her elegant hand created chandeliers and sconces. What a delight to see them with my own eyes, they are even more beautiful than I imagined.
After obtaining a Fine Arts degree from Agnes Scott College Julie pursued a career as a painter but found painting on canvas confining. She began painting other objects including walls, fabrics and furniture. Before long she began freelancing and selling her decorative creations. After several clients asked for her help in finding unique pieces for their homes, Julie began a second career as an interior decorator.
Frustrated with being unable to find the right chandeliers for clients, she found a few talented craftsmen to create lighting made to her specification. Julie followed by opening her shop on Magazine Street in 2000. “It is a dream come true. I get to be my creative self all day long and I have so many interesting clients who inspire me to come up with more and more fabulous ideas.” I can attest, Julie’s designs are truly fabulous indeed!
We followed the tour of her showroom with a brief look at her design studio just down the street. It was fun and fascinating to see her chandeliers in various stages of development. She also shared with us some of the details of an exciting new collaboration that she will launch in the near future. Stay tuned for more details…
Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
Gerrie Bremermann, the goddess of New Orleans interior design.
What is your favorite luxury in life?
Sharing a meal, a relaxing afternoon or an adventure with my children.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Taking time to slow down and experience the small beautiful details of living on this earth. To truly look into someone’s eyes while talking with them, to notice the intricate symmetry of a flower, to close your eyes and listen to a beautiful piece of music, to feel the warmth of the sunshine on your face or the embrace of someone you love.
Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life?
At present, my new business partner, Shawn O’Brien is most influential in the direction of my life because we are in the process of collaborating on creating a series of new fabulous pieces of furniture and lighting which will be shown and available in our new store, N+O, on Magazine Street.
What inspires your creativity and designs?
Absolutely the city in which I live: New Orleans. I am inspired every day and in every way by the history which is still so very present in our city today. The architecture, the antique shops, the historic neighborhoods, the unbelievable cuisine, the redolent tropical ambiance, the cast of characters, the plethora of art and artists, the luxurious slow pace of life, the decorative fantasy of Mardi Gras, and the importance placed on the creation of a home are all things that stir my creativity and inspire my designs.
I’m so happy that you got to experience some of this first-hand while you were here.
What is your most prized possession?
My iconic New Orleans 130-year-old double shotgun camel-back house where I live with my two children surrounded by the most wonderful neighbors anywhere.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Athena, goddess of Wisdom, Reason and Purity, Patroness of the arts and Protector of Cities. She was both powerful and fashionable and inspired the construction of the Parthenon, the most perfect building ever built.
What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
The love and inspiration of my beautiful family and amazing friends.