I have been and am working on it! So, I have spent most of my life “interior-design challenged”. I blame my parents. It was the 1970s and 80s and my parents made sure I had a waterbed. What? Of course, the 80s were pretty hideous generally with acid wash denim, shoulder pads, and neon. Things did not look much better in college when I had an assortment of dorm rooms and apartments inspired by Laura Ashley floral motifs. I was particularly fond of a bed-in-a-bag set in a dark blue floral pattern with pinks, purples and white.

Fast-forward to my first great design decision—the rental of a historic apartment in Highland Park in Birmingham. Gorgeous columns, hardwood floors, and high ceilings on the inside and a wonderful patio outside—the apartment was a long walk from Bottega Cafe and Cosmos pizza (Cosmos closed in 2016.). Sadly, the furniture inside my beautiful historic condo was dated, featuring more floral prints and not very interesting.

A few years later I made my first real estate purchase: a condo at Peachtree Commons in Atlanta. With arched doorways, a black and white checkerboard floor in the kitchen, and a sunroom drenched in natural light, I knew this treetop condo would become my home. Amazing purchase decision, followed by several bad design decisions such as painting the 80-year old walls myself with a high gloss paint in an unfortunate greenish yellow. Pesky paint swatches.

Peachtree Commons in Atlanta

About twenty years later,  I had the opportunity to chair the 2016 Junior League of Miami Designer Showhouse.  In the interim, I made a few great choices.  The Eero Saarinen designed Womb Chair in red.  A peaceful gray-blue paint by Benjamin Moore. A bedroom inspired by a Miles Redd image.  A glorious bronze starburst chandelier.  But the Showhouse really piqued my interest and motivated me to raise my game.

The Womb Chair, in fire red, designed by Eero Saarinen

At some point between my condo in Atlanta and the Showhouse, I was flipping through a FLOR carpet catalogue.  Several of the images were inspiring–and upon reading the liner notes, they were all styled by Julia Buckingham.  Julia is a Chicago-based designer who has fashioned a style she describes as “Modernique”.  After perusing her website, I ran across this image of gray painted bookshelves and a bronze chandelier.  I thought to myself, “That’s some Charcoal Sparkle”.  And so, Julia has inspired not only the dark gray accent wall and starburst chandelier in my dining room, but the name of this blog as well.  Thank you, Julia!

If you’ve been interior design challenged like me, there is hope!