Interview with an Interior Designer Julia Walsh

In order to continually offer the Row House Nest readers something fresh and different, we have reached far and wide to draw inspiration and get the ‘scoop’ with all things related to making a home a home. Today I want to share my interview with an Interior Designer Julia Walsh.

We were so grateful when a dear friend, who just finished her degree in interior decorating, agreed to speak with us. We thought this would provide some fantastic insight into the mind and life of someone who has formal training (unlike ourselves!).

Let us introduce you to the fabulous Julia Walsh, interior design consultant.

Question: Tell the Row House Nest readers a little about yourself.

Response. Howdy readers!  My name is Julia and I have been friends with the resident “nester”  since high school. This past December I finished my formal schooling for Interior Design, and have started my own side business!  My real passion is in the way that people interact with their surrounding environment.  I like to incorporate personal touches and sustainable elements into my designs.

Question. How did you decide to get into interior design professionally?

Response. After University I worked for a few years but nothing seemed to click.  I really didn’t feel passionate about what I was doing and I started looking into options for a second career.  I have always loved design, but the thought of going back to school really seemed daunting.  When I moved back to Toronto, I did some more research and I found a program at The Academy of Design where I could do a 3-year condensed program.  I got accepted for fall of 2008 and the rest is history.

Question. Tell us a little about your favourite project that you have worked on thus far.

Response. So far my favourite project is “The Cell Lounger”.  In my second year we had to design and build a chair using only cardboard.  I used the image of a dragon fly wing as a concept and focused on the interplay of light through the solid and void relationship.

Question. What projects do you have upcoming?

Response. I have two projects I am really excited about at the moment.  I am doing an exterior redesign to give some curb appeal to an old wartime house, and helping a friend make sense of her kitchen/dining room area.

Question. Where does your inspiration come from and how would you describe your creative process?

Response. I try and get inspiration from everything around me. Art, nature, photography, magazines, fabrics, paint colours.  I start with a concept and then have some fun doing research to see what can best express it.  I like to make concept boards so I can lay out how everything ties in together.  Then I move to sketches, renderings and if everything works out final drawings!

Question. Favourite store?

Response. I really love West Elm! You can get some really neat design finds at a reasonable price.  I am all about a bargain!  I really like checking out vintage shops and Craigslist.  Granted they aren’t really shops, but lots of good finds!

Image from West Elm.

Question. Favourite websites and blogs?

Response. For poking fun at design magazines: but my three favourites for inspiration are, John and Sherry at Young House Love and of course my fav The Row House Nest. {editor’s note: we did not force Ms. Shaw to say that… but well she is a friend so she basically HAD to! xo}

Question. Favourite Magazine?

Response. Canada’s Style at Home and Canadian House and Home.  I love all design magazines, but I really appreciate the Canadian ones as they feature  stores and items that are easily accessible in Canada.

Question. Where would you like to be in ten years?

Response. My current ten year plan (design wise) is to be running a successful design and build company with my fiancé (who will be my husband at that point!).  We are both trying to do work to get a lot of experience now so that when we go out on our own we have the knowledge behind us.

Question. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Response. Perfect happiness is a day starting with brunch, followed by browsing in bookshops and neat little furniture shops, people watching in a café, and then making dinner with my fiancé and watching a movie.

Question. What living person do you admire most?

Response. I most admire my mother.  She has been through an awful lot, but has always been supportive and encouraging. Even when things seem the darkest she can see something positive and turn things around for me.

Question. What would you consider your greatest achievement?

Response. So far my greatest achievement would have to be winning a scholarship in my third year of college. I worked really hard and was so thrilled that I won.

Question. What is your most treasured possession?

Response. My Nanny kept all the love letters that my Grandpa wrote to her over the 60+ years they were dating and married. It is really neat to be able to catch a glimpse of two people in a way I would never normally have seen them.

Question. Where would you like to live (other than  your current home!)

Response. I would love to live in Ireland, England and or Scotland.  It’s where my family comes from (sort of all over there) and I would love the sense of rich history to be surrounding me. Also…perhaps a typical answer but Paris because it is just so snazzy!

Question. What natural talent do you wish you were gifted with?

Response. I would love to be able to draw!  I practice my sketching, but I know it will never get to the point I would like it to.


Lovely. Simply loving. Don’t you feel better?

You can reach Julia Shaw by email: juliajshaw AT gmail dot com