Name: Gina and Michael Julian with Eric the Greyhound
Location: Franklin, Tennessee
Size: 2,300 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year
Gina has an eye for glamour and sophistication. She studies designers like Kelly Wearstler, Kelly McDonald, and Jonathan Adler. She mixes together fabrics and rugs and lighting like nobody’s business. Yet she has somehow made a home that isn’t stiff or formal. And have I mentioned she lives in a “builder’s special” home? Or that her and Michael’s favorite hobby is motorcycle racing?
They had a carpenter come in and install panel moulding in the front entryway. Then there were the light fixtures. All collected for the house while it was being built. Not one single builder’s grade light fixture is in the house.Gina was lucky enough to work with a builder that allowed (after a little sweet talking) for more customization than was the norm. The kitchen countertops were chosen by her and open shelving was installed.
Many upgrades, personal touches, and design decisions later, Gina and Michael’s house has become a beautiful testament to Gina’s style. A forever home that shows that you can personalize any space to make it yours.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I like a good balance of modern and traditional pieces in my house. I love vintage furniture and we have many family heirlooms, so I try to mix those with some contemporary furniture, accessories and art.
Inspiration: I am always inspired by art, and I love looking at beautiful spaces that incorporate art. I believe that art is a true testimony to the personality of the homeowner. I could design entire spaces around one piece of art (and have done that in a couple of rooms in my house).
Favorite Element: For me, it’s the quartz stone on the fireplace. The builder framed it with warped studs and after several failed attempts to correct the issue, I decided to fix it myself by having quartz veneer installed. To look at the fireplace now you’d never know it used to be crooked, and the space has a much cozier feel due to the added texture in the room.
For my husband, it would have to be the motorcycle shop. A dedicated shop/workspace was on our wish list when we were looking for a home, but building one from scratch was way out of our budget. So we had our builder use what would have been the sunroom for the shop space. We simply built it at garage level instead of on the crawl space. Problem solved!
Biggest Challenge: Getting our builder to make a few adjustments so that the home would fit our lifestyle. We built this house with the intention that it would be our last, and we built a smaller home so that we could afford to upgrade a few things. We pushed out a wall or two, upgraded some of the tile and countertop selections, rearranged the kitchen a bit and built out the sunroom as a shop/workspace. This was not a custom builder so it took a bit of begging, but they eventually caved in and gave us what we wanted.
What Friends Say: Friends say my house is constantly changing. I always have an art or decor project in the works. Can’t help it. It’s in my blood.
Proudest DIY: I think the tone-on-tone striped wall in my office was one of the most tedious, but most rewarding. I painted the wall with a flat paint, then Michael and I measured and taped off the whole wall in the stripe pattern. It took two entire rolls of painters tape! I painted over the wall with a semi-gloss in the same color and then removed the tape. I think tone-on-tone wall treatments give a lot of bang for the buck.
When it was time to move we had to figure out what to do with everything, and so the bonus room became the holding pen for everything that did not have a place in the house. We’re still making our way through the piles. It is a room full of delayed decisions.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our bonus room. We were in the process of building the house when Michael’s mother passed away, and we inherited a lot of family furniture and personal items.
Biggest Indulgence: I like to splurge on light fixtures. A good light fixture can really make an entire room and it’s the one thing our greyhound can’t destroy.
And when I wanted a specific size for our coffee table and side table in the great room, I found a welder to make the steel bases and a stone fabricator to cut quartz tops for them. I finished the bases myself with gold paint and Rub-n-Buff. In the end it cost us much less than if we had tried to buy them retail.
Best Advice: If you can’t find what you need for your home, you can usually find a way to have it made or make it yourself. I wanted a lightweight headboard for our master bedroom, so I made it out of a hollow core door and hung it on the wall with a simple French cleat.
Dream Sources: Finding vintage/designer furniture on Craigslist. MAKE + MODEL is my go-to source for a curated selection of vintage pieces, and Little Design Co. supports my pillow addiction. One day I hope to own a piece from Kelly Wearstler’s decor collection.