As we close out our Designer Interview Series for the season, I can’t think of a better grand finale than Juli Catlin. Juliana M. Catlin, FASID, founded Catlin Design in 1984 (the same year my dad started our company) and has led her firm all over the country and beyond. Her projects span from Los Angeles to Paris and everything in between. In addition to private homes, her work can be seen in clubs, hotels, and offices throughout the United States. What makes Juli’s work so unique is her knowledge of architecture and interiors, and her use of antiques with contemporary furniture lines. Juli’s homes are truly curated, layered, and blended. I am always amazed at how Catlin Design goes above and beyond for their clients and have the ability to tackle everything from period rooms to ultra modern. I can’t list them all here, but Juli’s projects have been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living Magazine, and Interior Design Magazine to name a few, as well as being featured on HGTV. For me, this past decade of working with Juli has been nothing but a joy and a great learning experience. In the season of giving thanks, I am truly thankful for my friendship with Juli and everything she has contributed to this city, the design world, and particularly the Women’s Board. Without further ado, I give you Juli Catlin….
Juli, so many people want to start a collection of something, but don’t know how….maybe they are intimidated. What advice do you have for the person that wants to be a “collector” but doesn’t know where to start?
To make a home uniquely yours, I think you need to begin trying to distinguish things that match your personal taste or interest. It may be a type of art, a color in some porcelain, or a type of glass art you are drawn to. Pinterest often features eclectic rooms and you will see types of accessories or details you are drawn to. Even a hobby can spur a collection. In my over 40 years as an interior designer, I have helped people display so many collections. The gamut of displaying Rose Medallion porcelain, Transferware in many colors from purple to black, signed baseball collections in a study or even opera glasses….all can be displayed to add your touch in a home!
The collections I have seen and helped display have one thing in common – the owners were uniquely drawn to those items. Your own childhood or family history can also trigger a collection. Some people can enjoy one or two items they inherited that spur further investigation and then inspire adding to the original pieces. It is so personal and unique, which is my favorite part of placing them in the best light in a home. We frequently encourage another few pieces being added to help fill a buffet or find a matching large bowl for the dining table. We often go through items to be displayed and help the homeowner make a future wish list to help better complete a room or display. Then they can enjoy finding their own treasures with a knowledge of where they could be used.
How do you find out more about things you want to collect and jump into antiques without being afraid?
Use the dealers with their wealth of knowledge at the Antique Show. I have learned to stop by a booth and ask a dealer all about a unique piece, they are very glad to pass along their knowledge. Also using tools like the Kovel Price Guides (available on Amazon for under $30) allows you to learn about what you enjoy and even help you know when you are paying a fair price. Kovel is an annual pricing guide with most items listed from collected items and period furniture. Exploring YouTube can also help find information from many experts on items like paperweights or Canton blue and white porcelain. It is now so easy to explore online and find experts on any collection and many books on just about every collectible are now available.
Where did you first develop your love of antiques and collecting?
My sweet mother would drag my sister and I into every antique shop on every trip. My parents loved to travel to every corner of the US and then onto Europe. My mother taught me to ask and learn about things I found beautiful and interesting. Exploring and traveling is one of our favorite things, thanks to my parent’s curiosity. Now I am enjoying learning more about contemporary art and I find the blended home is the best with a mix of contemporary with classical items. That is a large part what we are lecturing on with “The New French” at the show on Friday at 11:30am. A touch from the past mixed with simple lined clean pieces are my favorite rooms.
Will you share with me one of your favorite things to collect in your home?
My latest has been a small collection of six or seven Miessen pug dogs. My mom had a fun pair that I inherited and I have added to them. So now my mothers’ have procreated! My husband sees the table getting more pups and shakes his head that I have dragged something else home. But it’s as many as I want now!
Who or what has been one of the biggest influences on your style?
I think during college I found the beauty of proportion and scale from the Classics and have found that the core principles of design still that have a large effect on my work today. I was privileged to get my education from the College of Architecture at UF which only graduates 20 or so Interior Designers a year through a tough qualification process. Those amazing professors expanded my mind into understanding the concept of the architecture and how the interior should further expand on the concept of the original structure. You can vary a home to be contemporary or eclectic in a classical building, but you keep the building pure on molding choices and other items attached to the structure. So it changed how I thought of any space. And I have found my love of architectural details and space planning helps make any space work well for the occupants. No matter if it’s a home or an office….it has to function, as well as be beautiful.
Do you have a favorite period or style? I know you work with everything, but do you have a particular one that you love to draw from or incorporate?
Who doesn’t love a touch of Regency with that small amount of black! And I love a good dose of George IV and some Louis XVI….but with clean-lined, plush upholstery and a contemporary painting to give a background for the antique finds you want to highlight.
You have been a lifelong collector, and it reflects in your home, which is beautiful. After all these years, is there any piece you are still on the hunt for? Anything in particular that you will be looking for at this year’s show?
My house is just about as full as possible, but thankfully my daughter-in-law loves blue and white Canton porcelain and she even loves a blend of antique furniture. It has been wonderful to have a girl in the family love a blended home. And my husband would say, I always have room for a piece of jewelry!
Juli and I will team up again this year for “The New French: Louis XIV to Louis Vuitton” to bring you an inspirational and informational talk on how to identify and collect French antiques and incorporate them into the modern home with a blended look. You will not want to miss this incredible woman December 6th at 11:30. Follow Juli and Catlin Design on Instagram for more great design.
And here’s a few more of her gorgeous rooms…