Juli Catlin talks Interior Design & Antiques

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….

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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And here’s a few more of her gorgeous rooms…

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James Michael Howard


James Michael Howard is a man who needs little introduction from me. Schooled at Parsons in New York, Jim Howard started his own interiors firm in 1988 after twelve years of working with various design firms. Jim’s awards and published projects are too numerous to list in this article  but you can read more about them here. It was truly an honor to get to sit down with this great man and you will not want to miss him this Friday at the Show. I give you Jim Howard…

You are still wrapping up your book tour for AtmosphereWas a book a lifelong goal or was that something that came to you in the last few years? Do you think you have another one in you?

The book tour has been pretty invasive to my daily routine.  The signings have been in Chicago, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, Washington, New York, Boston, and on and on.  I never imagined that it would be so demanding, but it has been a lot of fun meeting so many kind people.  The book was really never on my radar screen at all.  Phoebe’s publisher asked me several times to do the book, but I didn’t feel that interested.   After 4-5 formal requests, my children told me that I needed to do it, and that’s how it happened.  Another one in me?  We shall see.


You’re kind of one of those old school designers like Robert Adam or Frank McCall who “does it all”….interior design, furniture design, architectural design. You even have an eye and passion for well-designed gardens. Was your plan always to be an “all encompassing” designer or did it evolve over time?

 Well I’m certainly not in the same galaxy as those guys, but I really do love what I do.  I think my passion to be better every day keeps me in the game, and in the game means making sure things are as good as I can get them.  Gardens are architectural, which I understand quite well, but horticulture is another topic altogether, and that is something that I don’t possess.


What do you think is the future for antiques in modern homes? You have always been a great lover of period English Georgian furniture, but also have embraced and curated fabulous Art Deco and mid century collections…not to mention your own furniture line. It seems, as a whole, that the general interest in working antiques into interior design is waning. What are your thoughts on that?

Antiques have a very bright future in any home.  Like all things that are influenced by fashion, it depends greatly on what you are looking at, or what you are reading.  I use antiques and vintage furnishings on every project and always have.  They are like a piece of art because they are “one of a kind” and you won’t see them at your neighbor’s house.  An antique has a pedigree that is unmistakable.  From the finish to the detailing, proportions, and authenticity they are game changers.  We go to Europe and the UK several times a year to bring back containers of beautiful antiques and objects, and I don’t see that changing at all.


What’s your new house going to be like? Is this going to be the culmination of everything you and Phoebe love….the “piece de restistance”? Are you looking forward to any particular pieces or styles that you want to incorporate in it?

What new house?? You can’t keep anything secret in this town.  Phoebe and I are very opinionated about what we do, and don’t always see things in the same light.   With that being said, however, we are both fanatical about crafting a great project.  We both know that it isn’t that one thing that makes your home great, but an assemblage of elements…architecture, furnishings, art, rugs etc.   We both feel that you don’t need to love everything, you just need to love to whole.   It is impossible for two people to agree on so many decisions that have to be made, and we get that. I think that what we are looking forward to is a project that reflects the way we feel about design, and what we have learned over our long careers.


This might be an impossible question to answer…but, as you look back on your long career, do you remember a particular client, job, or project where you were like, “Wow, this is my favorite!” or “This is some of my best work!” Some defining point where you thought, “I can’t believe I get to do this assignment?”

You are right…that is impossible!  I have had so many successful projects with wonderful, delightful people, and there have been some that were more difficult.   That’s just life in business.  I’ve always said that my next project will be my best.


 I asked you this a few years and you said you’ve changed your mind…so I have to ask you again in 2019….do you currently have a favorite period or style that you love the most?

I think it was Frank Lloyd Wright that said; I am easily satisfied with the best of anything.  I feel the same way.


7. What’s the best part of working with your wife and kids?

It’s my family.   I love to see them all day long, and glad that they have the same passion as I do.  They really work hard, and put in a lot of hours to get better, and solve problems.   We are all different, and have our own points of view, and it’s refreshing.  And each of us is convinced that they are the best.


You will not want to miss this legend on Friday, December 6th. Get your tickets here and follow him on Instagram @james_michael_howard to get more of the good, the true, and the beautiful.

Antiques & Design with Phoebe Howard

This time of year I am flooded with happy memories of my life with Phoebe Howard, a person who has had more influence on me than she probably knows. Although I have known her my entire life, I look back with particular fondness on a period in the late 1990s when the Howards lived around the corner from us in Jacksonville’s historic district of  Avondale. Going to their house for dinner parties was something our WHOLE family looked forward to. You were immediately overcome by a sense of warmth and beauty as soon as you walked in the door. Phoebe would greet you with a warm smile and immediately ask what you would like to drink. What always amazed me was that she was as interested in getting a kid a coke (and presenting it in a crystal tumbler,  wrapped in a tartan napkin) as she was in getting the adults their cocktails.  There was one particular moment when I was twelve that I will never forget . I was standing in their living room, staring at the beautiful Howard Christmas tree, coke cocktail in hand, surrounded by beautiful antiques, while piano music was playing in the background. Phoebe and Jim were greeting guests as their four kids darted up and down the stairs. At that moment I thought to myself, “When I grow up, I want my life to look just like this.” Oddly enough…I grew up, had four kids, and bought my own Georgian brick a few houses up from that one. I look at their old house everyday from my porch,  sip scotch out of a crystal tumbler, and thank Phoebe Howard for planting the seed for this life in my heart.

It was especially fun to sit down with her for this interview on antiques and design. Phoebe has written three books and is known nationally and internationally for her design work and is one of the foremost authorities on Southern style. You will not want to miss her in person December 6th and without further ado…I give you Phoebe Howard.


1.) Phoebe, a lot has happened since we sat down six years ago for this interview. You had just finished The Joy of Decorating and since then you have written two more books! What has that been like? The writing…the book tours…balancing clients and the store? Do I hear there might be another book in the works?

I have found that I really enjoy writing the books. Not only does it chronicle my work, but it gives me a chance to revisit the houses I have furnished and think a little more deeply about the projects, and what drove certain decisions and design directions. It is just another creative avenue that I enjoy. I actually majored in English literature, and creative writing. At the time I graduated college, I had intentions of becoming a journalist. So it feels like my life has gone full circle with the books becoming a reality. I am working on another book right now: it is about the topic of ” pretty”. The working title is The Principles of Pretty, and it has three sections: City, Country, and Beach. In the book, I talk about and illustrate how I employ these principles in whatever region of the country I am working in, whether it is a mountain retreat, a slick city apartment, or a breezy beach house. The same principles always apply in my work, and the end result is somehow always pretty.

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2.) It has to be so gratifying to see Andrew and Nellie working with you and Jim and carrying the torch for the legacy you started. When they were little did you ever deep down hope this might happen or is it a shock?

Never saw it coming! It has been both a shock and a joy to see these two join our business. I did not consider either of them to be ” creatives” as children. They are both bright, smart and adaptable people who work hard and who are very dedicated to both their craft and to their clients. They have watched Jim and I working over the years, so I know that they knew what they were getting into. They both understand that decorating is a service business, and that you have to have the desire to serve others in order to be successful. They each have their own style, where they gathered bits from both Jim and me, but then gave it their own twist, so that they have their own unique styles.

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3.) You and Jim are building and designing a new house together. What does that look like when two great designers and friends work together? Obviously you all complement each other, but are there ever times where you each have a different vision for a room? Who usually wins out?

The way that we usually work together is that we divide and conquer. In the past, Jim has designed all of the interior architecture, and I do the decorating. This method has served us well over the years. In this one particular house, however, we realize that this will be our last major house, and we are both deeply invested in the details. There is a bit more crossover into each other’s territory, which is causing a little friction, but I am sure it will pay off in the end. We will always work to find something that we both like, which is often difficult, but definitely worth the extra time and effort required.

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4.) The Howard family seems to be passionate about two things: Design and Family. Y’all are internationally known designers with clients all over the world, but seem to have a great balance of work and family. Do you have any advice….particularly for are younger readers who are trying to balance career and marriage and family and do it well?

I was 38 years old when I started my business. I had been a stay-at-home mom for many years, focused on raising my family. When I did start the business, I was lucky that my mother was retiring at the same time, because she is the reason that I was able to travel and work without disrupting the kid’s schedules or activities. She always just moved in when we were away, which was an incredible gift. My children are extremely close to my mom, which has been wonderful to watch. I would say that my advice to younger families would be: be patient. There is plenty of time in life to achieve success in business, but you only get one shot at raising your family.

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5.) What do you see as the future for the “antiques world”? I mean, you’ve seen everything….”The French Country” wave, the “high Georgian French polished brown furniture” wave, “the mid-century ” wave, the “everything painted grey” wave. Antiques seem to be moving from staples to accents. As someone known for loving and using antiques, what’s your take on it? What’s your forecast for the next decade?

You are right, we are passionate about antiques, and we both always incorporate them into our projects. There has been a steady decline in both the popularity of antiques, and also the prices. I say, BUY NOW! The prices are so low for beautiful English and French furniture, usually less than a reproduction of the same item. There are ways to work these wonderful pieces in without looking frumpy or dated. They add patina and interest to a room, not to mention a sense of history. I don’t know what the future holds, but I will continue to carry the flag for using antiques in decorating.

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6.) I have always felt like you were as much of an icon for “Hospitality” as  for “Interior Design”. You seem to intertwine the two. Where did you acquire your love and gift for entertaining?

I was raised in Neptune Beach, but we spent all holidays and summers at my grandparent’s farm in South Alabama. At every meal, they set the table, and used beautiful old vintage serving bowls and platters to serve all the food family style in the middle of the table. All of the produce was fresh picked and everything was delicious as it was lovingly passed from hand to hand at the table. I guess these memories made me realize the importance of spending meal time together, and to make a ritual out of it. I love to cook for my family and we gather often. We have a huge celebration every Christmas Eve at my house, and I like to think that my children will have lovely memories of these celebrations.

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You will not want to miss a Q & A on design and slideshow of her portfolio with this special soul, Phoebe Howard. Get your tickets for December 6th here and follow her on Instagram @phoebehoward_decorator for more inspiration.

Nellie Howard Ossi on Antiques & Design

A little while back I had the privilege of catching up with my old friend and interior designer, Nellie Howard Ossi, to talk about all things antiques and design. The daughter of the famous Phoebe and Jim Howard, and the sister of the interior designer/amateur comedian, Andrew Howard, Nellie possesses the same eye for detail, passion for decorating, and hilarious sense of humor as the rest of her family. I promise if you follow her on Instagram @nelliebakesandecorates you will be inspired and uplifted by her design and wit. It was truly a joy to sit down with this mastermind of interiors and so I give you Nellie Howard Ossi…

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1.) One of my favorite parts of your mom’s book, Mrs. Howard Room by Room, is where she tells the story of how they decided to have a fourth child, Nellie Jane (it’s page 82 in the Kitchen chapter for our readers). She said you are “the glue that holds everyone together”. Can you describe for us what it was like “growing up Howard” with two iconic designers as parents and being the baby of the bunch? When did you realize you had caught the “design bug” too?

Well, as the baby of the family, I can thank my older siblings for showing me what NOT to do! I loved growing up in our family. Some of my favorite memories are of our family vacations. We had a minivan at one point and when our parents took us on trips we would inevitably end up in antique shops. My parents always convinced me it was an adventure and would make a “fort” for me by flipping an antique table over and I would hang out in it.  In hindsight possibly not the safest thing on earth but to me, it was the coolest thing in the world. Now when I travel, I make sure I scout out antique shops pretty much wherever I go. They ingrained it in us and now we incorporate it into our own adventures. I love the thrill of the hunt in an antique store, the potential of finding the hidden gem.

I didn’t realize I had the “bug” until I was out of college! I was pretty adamant that I didn’t want to work in the business but then I realized – being surrounded by beautiful things and pretty fabrics all the time, it’s not such a bad gig!!!!

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2.)  I know most of your work is about delivering what the client wants and helping them achieve their design goals, but when it comes to you personally….do you have some favorite styles, colors, periods? Things you love to incorporate in your own home?

Our clientele primarily asks us for either neutrals or variations of blues, so as much as I would like to say I’ve got a lot of color in my own home… it’s soft blues and greens as well. I wish I was bold enough to have some wild colors but the truth is I like for my home to have a soothing and calming palette. I have a few vintage and antique finds that I treasure and I love the unique patina that they create. And if you ask anyone that knows me they’ll tell you my home is also full of plants! I have quite a few. It started with a simple fiddle leaf fig tree that we named Phil. He grew from 6’ to 15’ tall and the rest is history. I think it’s so important to incorporate plants into the home as well, because they promote healthy oxygen and they’re a unique accessory, they take on a life of their own!

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3.) Are there any particular design trends you are loving right now? Any you wish would go away or come back?

We stay away from trends. It’s what keeps our style timelessly chic and classic. Lately I have seen the combo of red and gold coming back in fabrics and trimmings and it makes me cringe, reminding me of all the heavy swag draperies of yesteryear. I do love the modern revival of bouillon fringe though!

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4.) You’ve watched the antiques world change dramatically in your lifetime. When we were growing up together in Avondale, 19th century “brown” furniture was still the staple and the rage in high design and now we’ve seen almost a total shift. What do you see as the future of antiques and “brown furniture”? Do you see a comeback in our generation or continued moving away? What do you think Millenials are most looking for in terms of what they want out of a house?

The respect and demand for antiques has fallen so drastically in the last 10 years and it’s so sad to see. I grew up going to antique stores with my parents and saw the relationships they had with the shop owners. As the years pass, they tend to fall by the wayside and I can’t help but wonder, where will they go? My generation certainly lacks the understanding of what antiques bring to the table, the value they add and the unique qualities they bring into a home. I hope that we are able to bring back the desire and respect for antiques, because there really is no replacing them. When I look at a space of all “new” furniture and it just lacks the personality that you have when you incorporate antiques. It just feels a bit stale and uninteresting. It might be too late for millennials but I do hope the next generation “gets it” and brings them back!Nellie II5.) So, you’ve got a little boy coming in December. Hopefully, you’ll make it until the Antique Show! Can you give readers a hint into what you are doing and thinking about for a design plan for your own nursery? Will Phoebe be involved or are you doing it solo?

I do have a little one on the way! I’ve always had an intense love for elephants, which I got from my grandmother. She has a huge collection of small elephants that we always played with as kids and it just stuck for me. So my draperies are, quite appropriately, “Elephant Parade” by Jane Churchill. We painted the walls a soft blue called Lookout Point by Benjamin Moore. Overall, it’s mostly a mix of denim blues and whites. My favorite touch is the “Larissa” star wallpaper by Colefax and Fowler we are putting on the ceiling. When I asked my husband what he thought about it he said, “wallpaper on the ceiling of a nursery, isn’t that a bit much?” I said, “Honey, you married a decorator. Everything I do is a bit much.”


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Come see her in person December 6th at the Art & Antiques Show and get your tickets here.


Andrew Howard Talks Antiques, Design, and Family Life

A few weeks ago, I caught up with my old friend and soccer coach, Andrew Howard, for a quick interview about antiques, design, and family life. As kids, our age gap (though relatively small seeming now) made me “the little squirt” when our families would get together, and we didn’t have much interaction apart from him telling me things like, “Dude, you can’t use your hands in soccer” and “Stop picking the grass when I put you at Left Fullback”. As grown-ups, however, I have loved interacting with him, watching how he works with his dad, and seeing him as a devoted father and husband. For me, he has been a great example of a man who knows how to balance all things in the right proportions. His portfolio, design pedigree, and recent house in Veranda speak for themselves and need no further introduction from me. So, I give you Andrew Howard…

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1.)    You have been at this “design thing” eighteen years now. Do you remember the particular moment when you realized you wanted to do this? Was it something you felt growing up or did it hit you later? How did it all come together?

I never felt I would join this business growing up, and after college I had a “try a few things out and see what sticks” type of policy.  This was the first job I had where I felt like I really understood everything that was going on fairly quickly and not too far into it I found it to be something I really enjoyed.  Plus I didn’t have the talent or the size to do something really cool like be a professional basketball player, or the amazing guitar shredding ability to take over for Eddie Van Halen if he ever retires, so here we are.  With that said I can still play a mean version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” if needed in a pinch.


2.)    I know so much of what you do involves fulfilling a client’s dream for their home and working with the style and feel they want, but when it comes to you personally (and with your wife)….do you have particular colors, styles, periods that you like to incorporate in your own home? What are particular design passions?

I like pieces to have a story or a memory attached to them.  I have a great lamp that I bought from an antique booth in Charleston when my wife and I went, and I bought a vintage commode in Palm Beach not all that long ago (with no real set plan for how to fit it in my car).  So when I go around my house I can look at individual pieces and remember a specific time and place when we bought them.  I don’t believe you really ever finish decorating your own home if you are in the business and I would consider mine to be a work in progress at all times, but so far I am fairly happy with where we are.  I cannot say the same for the state of the back of my car which includes crunched up goldfish, multiple lollipop wrappers, and a small portion of a banana peel.


3.)    It’s obvious your wife and kids are really important to you. You do a really great job of weaving in your design life and family life. I mean, I think people love your Instagram posts as much for the “kid jokes” as the rooms. What would you say is the biggest struggle in finding that balance of carving out time for your family and also being so involved in your projects for clients all over the country and even out of the country? How do you do it all?

I always knew that if I planned to only focus on Jacksonville for projects I could only go so far in this business.  While this is an amazing town it is always fun to start a new project / adventure somewhere I have never been.  I try to be really “on” when I am home and take the kids to do things outside.  We play a lot of sports and spend almost an hour every summer night in the pool together.  In the office I try and surround myself with amazing folks and we always have each other’s back when times get tough.  It allows me a lot of creative freedom and to search for the next great design idea.  As far as “kid jokes” I write down everything my kids say that make me laugh and regurgitate it on Instagram.  If people want to call me a creative genius for that I will take it… Wait I have just been informed that people are not referring to me as a “creative genius” for that so please disregard.


4.)    What do see as the future for the “antiques world” in modern interiors? You grew up in the 80’s and 90’s when 19th century “brown furniture” was all the rage and now they are more accent pieces here and there. Do you think it will stay that way or make a comeback? What sorts of styles are your younger clients most drawn to?

I’ve never paid that much attention to what is in style and what is not.  I always go with things I like and that fit an aesthetic that a client would like as well.  What I can tell you about brown furniture is this… I watched Saved by the Bell every Saturday morning in the 90’s and then every day on TBS after Economics class in college.  I still know almost every episode by heart.  Even though I don’t watch it as much now if it is on I do still enjoy it from time to time.  Same with brown furniture… We do still enjoy it and love using it we just have lots of other options as well.  I don’t think it needs to make a comeback because it never completely left us in the first place.  PS… If I saw Mark-Paul Gosselaar in real life and he had an I-phone (and not that huge phone he carried back in the day) I would be really bummed out.


5.)    You and your dad seem to complement each other really well. In what ways would you say your style and vision for spaces is the same? In what ways are they different?

I learned a ton from my dad and am still learning from him now.  I think a great designer listens to his clients and shows up for them when it really counts.  I think both of us do this really well and we are a lot alike in that respect.  If you wanted me to list all the ways my dad and I were different this article would need to be a few more pages and I am not sure we have the space to accommodate such a list.


Oh, and here’s this….in case you thought I was making it up…me and Andrew circa 1990. Follow Andrew on Instagram @andrewjhow and don’t miss him on December 6th at 9:30. Get your tickets here.

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Top 10 Reasons to Come to the 2019 Art & Antiques Show

The Wolfson Art and Antiques Show blog is back! We’ve heard over and over again that everything is moving to Instagram and no one reads the “old fashioned” blogs anymore. That may be true, but there are some things that Instagram can’t give you. If you are looking for beautiful and inspirational content with a meaty substance and a break from the sea of mindless scrolling, you’ve come to the right place. We are excited to keep you updated about this year’s show, Paris in Full Bloom, coming to Jacksonville December 6-8. Throughout the month of November we will be rolling out some exclusive designer interviews with some of the show’s featured lecturers, as well as educational articles about antiques and design.

james farmer

Here are 10 reasons you should come to this year’s show:

  1. Antiques are green. We hear a lot of news today about what we should be doing for our country and our environment. We are all guilty of buying mass produced decorative arts and furniture for our homes (yeah…me too…HomeGoods anyone?). Recycling our plastics and paper and properly disposing of chemicals and old technology is great, but what about those ancient things called trees? Do we as a culture think about recycling furniture made from already harvested trees? Antiques are the ultimate “recycling”. It’s honoring our environment. It’s honoring craftsmanship. And it’s better made than anything we can buy from a catalogue or designer showroom! The Wolfson Art & Antiques Show brings some of the finest dealers in antiques, fine arts, and decorative arts from around the country to one place for one weekend. If you get tired of scouring HomeGoods, Wayfair, and antique malls you should come check out a truly curated collection with much more to offer. Check them out here.


  1. Kids. It’s obvious our kids are our future. Whether you have kids or not…someone’s children will be helping you one day. Think about that for a minute. The babies of this generation will grow up to help you as you enter the next phase of your life….serving you, operating on you, fixing your leaking pipes, and taking care of your business needs. We need to invest in our culture’s children and there is no more noble cause in the world than helping something as beautiful as the Wolfson Children’s Hospital grow and prosper. As a father of four, and someone who watched his own two year old undergo surgery at the hands of this amazing hospital….I can tell you this is real…this is one of those organizations worth working for…worth fighting for. Buying a ticket to a show event, large or small, is really at its heart helping sick children.


  1. Jim Howard. Phoebe Howard. Andrew Howard. (and Nellie Howard Ossi who will be too pregnant to commit to anything but is pretty awesome). Sometimes I think we Jacksonvillians forget that some of the nation’s most respected and sought after designers are actually here in our own backyard. Jim and Phoebe Howard have been a part of our city’s cultural fabric since the early 1980s and have grown a design dynasty so unique and successful that they have retail stores in Charlotte, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Jacksonville Beach. Between them they have released four books and enjoy international renown and clients. I am so proud that for the first time ever this show is honoring homegrown talent as their featured lecture. We have a series of articles coming out about the Howard  Family, but trust me….they are reason alone to come out for this event. Their lecture, Family Affair, will be a panel discussion with Jim, Phoebe, and Andrew that encompasses a slideshow of their recent and favorite projects and a Q & A about design moderated by yours truly. Check it out Friday December 6th at 10 am. Get your tickets here.


  1. Juliana Catlin, FASID. A woman who needs no introduction, Juli Catlin has been at the heart of the Women’s Board and the Wolfson Show from the beginning. She has tirelessly given to this cause, uniting her love of antiques, design, and children. Her rooms have been featured on HGTV and her projects published in Southern Living, Better Home and Gardens, Interior Design Magazine, and countless others. Past Chair of the ASID Board of Directors, Juli has led Catlin Design, one of the top award winning full service design firms in the country, on national and international projects from Los Angeles to Paris. She and I  will team up to bring you “The New French: Louis XIV to Louis Vuitton”, a lecture on how primitive or ornate French antiques can work in the modern home with contemporary art and textiles. Juli will take you on a fun journey buying, styling, and incorporating French finds. The lecture also offers 3 CEUS for designers and architects and immediately follows the Howard lecture and book signing. If you want a morning of design and inspiration block off Friday December 6th at 11:30 and check out  more of Juli’s beautiful work here.


  1. Julia Reed. Julia Reed has written eight books. (I mean that right there should be enough to make you want to come out and see her). I am totally enchanted by her witty and wise comments in Garden and Gun, where she is a contributing editor. She’s kind of one of those people who’s a southern icon of everything….interior design, travel, people, hospitality food. This delightful Delta woman’s timeless taste and her Tales and Tabletalk is something you will NOT want to miss…especially as you get ready for the holidays. Check it out Friday, December 6th at 1:00. Reserve your tickets here.


  1. Ray Booth. Described as “a young spirit and an old soul”, Ray Booth is an Alabama native and though a graduate of the Auburn University School of Architecture, his career has been solidly in the world of interior design, in which he worked in the New York offices of John Saladino and Clodagh before becoming a partner in Nashville’s McAlpine firm, where he reunited with his professor, Bobby McAlpine. His new book Evocative Interiors was released from Rizzoli Publishing in 2018 and he recently launched a line of furniture, lighting, and accessories for Hickory Chair. Ray’s work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, and He splits his time between his 9th floor apartment in an old warehouse surrounded by beaux arts buildings in New York City and his Nashville residence on a hill surrounded by trees. Come see him Saturday, December 7th at 11:00. Get your tickets here!

Ray Booth

  1. Margot Shaw. Okay…so Margot Shaw is cool! She is the founder and editor of Flower Magazine. She’s one of those rare “old school- new school” people who can touch the hearts of old people and speak to young people. A student of art history at Hollins and interior design at the University of Texas, Margot was inspired by the art of floral craftsmanship when working with the floral designer to plan her daughter’s wedding. She began apprenticing with the same designer. Later she launched Flower Magazine, now in its 12th year She is also the author of the newly released book, Living Floral: Entertaining and Decorating with Flowers. For those of you who share her passion for flowers you will not want to miss her panel discussion, “Outside/In: Designing with Nature in Mind” with Elaine Griffin and Barry Dixon on Saturday, December 7th at 1:00. Reserve your tickets here.


8.) Elaine Griffin. Interior designer and tastemaker Elaine Griffin believes that a person’s home- what it looks like, where it is, how it’s lived in- reveals more about him than anything else in the world.  “The decorator’s hand should enhance a client’s personality, not eclipse it.” she says, “because rooms should always look like the people who live in them.” Elaine holds the distinction of being the first African-American recipient of the New Oak School of Interior Design’s highest accolade, their honorary doctorate, award to her in May 2019 following her keynote speech to the school’s graduating class.  She earned her B.A. in Art History at Yale and began her design career in the office of architectural behemoth Peter Marino, following a non-year career as a publicist in New York and Paris and officially opened her eponymous design firm in 1999.  Elaine returned to Coastal Georgia of her youth in 2015, where she presently resides. You will not want to miss being inspired by this amazing Southern woman as she teams up with Margot Shaw and Barry Dixon for “Outside/In: Designing with Nature in Mind” on Saturday, December 7th at 1:00. Reserve your tickets here.

Elaine Griffin

9.) Barry Dixon. Inspired by acres of lush Virginia countryside, Barry Dixon is known for a distinct aesthetic that blends Western styles with global influences from a childhood spent abroad in India, Pakistan, Korea, New Caledonia and South Africa.  With Projects spanning the world, Dixon imagines interiors that infuse artifacts and antiques with present-day motifs- all preserving the history and personality of the home’s owners and their treasures.  His exclusive collections include furniture, lighting and accessories for Arteriors; showroom design and products for Fortuny; custom furniture and lighting for Avrett; fabrics and trims for vervain; upholstery for Tomlison; and The Naturals color collection by Barry Dixonfor C2 Paint.  This year, Barry will introduce his first collection of wall coverings with Vervain. He is the author of several books, Barry Dixon Interiors and Barry Dixon Inspirations, as well as Farrow and Ball: The Art of Color and Fortuny Interiors. Dixon lives and works in his 1907 Edwardian estate, Elway Hall, located on over 300 acres of farmland in the heart of Fauquier County, Virginia’s horse country. I don’t know about you…but horses, Edwardian estate, Farrow and Ball….I think our world needs more of this and less of whatever else we are getting. Go check him out for “Outside/In: Designing with Nature in Mind” on Saturday December 7th at 1:00. Reserve your tickets here.

Barry Dixon

10.) Adam Levine. Director and CEO of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. So if you have been wanting to meet the young, attractive “new guy in town” here’s your chance. The Cummer’s very own Adam Levine will speak on collecting and curating art on Sunday, December 9th to round out the show with a bang. Adam Levine, PH.D is the Cummer Museum of Art & Garden’s Inaugural George W. and Kathleen I. Gibbs Director & Chief Executive Officer.  He began his new role with the Museum in January 2019.   Levine’s more than 10 years of management and curatorial experience in leading arts institutions and museums in America includes times spent at the Toledo Museum of Art as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow before being appointed Assistant Director. He was promoted to Associate Director and then Deputy Director, all the while acting as the curator of the Museum’s important collection of ancient art.  From 2011 to 2013, he was a collections management assistant in the Greek and Roman Art Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  In 2009, he cofounded Art Research Technologies in New York City and served as CEO until 2012.  He has also consulted extensively for national and international museums, universities, and think tanks. Be sure to check out his lecture “The Nuts and Bolts and Dos and Don’ts of Collecting” on Sunday, December 8th at 12:00 noon. Get your tickets here.


So….there’s your 10 reasons. If you want an eleventh I will also be there facilitating, moderating, and lecturing and you can ask me about the stuff I do in between changing diapers and chasing children.


What’s “trending” right now in antiques?

James Farmer

Ask the Expert: What’s trending right now in antiques?

Thanks for your question! I get this one a lot. In fact, this is probably my second most frequently asked question next to last month’s, “How old is an antique?” I have to kind of chuckle because the short answer is that what’s “trending” right now in antiques is to not buy antiques….. and that’s why it’s actually such a great time to buy them!

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Ask the Expert: Antiques for Kids?

Question: Hey there! I really enjoyed your post a few years back on the “antiqued nursery.”  Could you give any tips or ideas on using antique pieces for kids’ rooms?  In particular, a little boy’s room? We just found out we are having our first (a boy) in the new year and I am looking for some unique pieces to start a collection for him.  I want to create a nursery that can double for a “big boy” without changing too much decor. Thanks!

Caroline in San Marco Continue reading