We first met Julia Green in 2014 when filming The Block ‘Fans Vs Favs’. In my sleep deprived state, I stumbled across the Greenhouse Interiors website whilst searching for art for our dining and entry way. I emailed an enquiry through and Julia phoned back as quick as lightning. She encouraged us to head to her studio the next morning and check out the work of Ali-McNabney Stevens. So with Kyal, a producer and the Block film crew in tow, we rocked up ready to purchase some art! Both Julia and Ali are beautiful, welcoming souls, which especially resonated with Kyal & myself. We were tired, missing home, and ready to be inspired.
Julia is a powerhouse of energy and talent. Not only is she the resident stylist on Network Ten’s ‘The Home Team,’ she styles for some of Australia’s biggest interior magazines (with regular cover shots) and runs a successful interior styling, art business and online store.
Tell us a little about your background – what did you study and what path led you to what you are doing today?
As a kid, I was always told I would be a teacher or a lawyer as I was bossy and apparently always got my point across! But I wanted to be a singer. I won a karaoke competition to Bali once, but that’s as far as I got. I did well at school, (but had to study hard unlike some naturally brilliant people that just flew through with little work)- and after an arts degree I decided to transfer into law, out of confusion about what else to do really. I didn’t enjoy study and after 4 years threw it in, tired of being a poor student. I took the first job in the paper that said they would give me a car and lots of money. 15 years later, I left the pharmaceutical industry having tried nearly every role you could poke a stick at. I never liked it in truth; I just did it and was good at it. But it never ever made my heart sing.
Finally at 38, after my second child, I worked out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I accidentally fell into styling and straight away, threw myself into it. That is my nature, I never do anything half arsed. Its been a fast and furious 6 years, but all of those previous skills from a job I never really liked, have held me in good stead by giving me solid business skills to fall back on now that I run my own company, Greenhouse Interiors. No turning back now. Though sometimes I dream about retiring to a desert island where no one can find me. That’s usually when I know I need to go to bed and bank some sleep due to exhaustion.
Thinking back, I always had it in me. Mum said I had an incredible sense of colour as a child and she remembers me choosing a baby pink jumper with red cords to wear, and told me those colours did not work together. I refused to get changed, and told her they in fact did work vey well. To this day that combo is still a favourite. I also move my room around weekly, and was very house proud in all of my first homes in my early years of renting and then buying. Friends often said I had missed my creative calling; I never gave it a second thought.
How would you best describe the work you do and your style?
It’s funny, as I don’t really think of myself as having a distinct style, other than a love of colour. And yet, I have heard others say they can spot my work straight away as its distinctive. Maybe I am too close to it to really know? But I love so many styles, and boho is one of my fave styles, mixed in with high-end contemporary. I love opposites. Like my shell chandelier in my concrete foyer at home. I love that mix. I love a bright colour with a super soft hue. And I love a bit of quirk. I don’t usually love symmetry. And my work will always have greenery in it. Not sure what ‘style’ that is…
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
There is NO such thing. Every day is different. Sometimes, I shoot, sometimes I prop all day, and I find a lot of my time these days is spent on the other side of my business, mentoring, selling marketing and helping with PR, for the 20 Australian artists I represent. It’s more than a full time job on its own. I answer around 500 emails a day, talk on the phone all day, and pretty much sweep the floor with a broom up my rear end at the same time. I am a big multi-tasker….
I try and throw in a beach walk with the dog somewhere if I am home on the coast, and squeeze my affection into a small window of time for my poor orphaned kids whom I miss so much. I am the breadwinner in my house, so my husband is home with them full time, but I miss them terribly. One day I will discover balance. One day I will learn to mediate. One day…not any time soon.
What has been one or two of your favourite recent projects?
Ohhh now that’s asking me to pick a favourite child..!!!!
I recently launched my own online store, greenhouse interiors, and this was a light bulb moment really. It has given people one destination, under one roof, to find all of our art and curios and has been a great success to date. I have loved watching it grow each day, and love to see my artists flourish full time and be able to keep their creative practices going AND be financial at the same time. I am proud of this. As many artists know, its not an easy task putting food on the table, and Greenhouse has become a breeding ground for emerging artists, that find their place, their mojo, and hit their straps.
I also loved shooting the most recent cover *FEB for Inside Out…its amazing to go into other people’s homes and see how they have curated their lives. This home was special, so stylish and simple, nothing highbrow but full of interest. And of course, I got to shoot with my greatest photographer mate, Armelle Habib, which always means a great day at the office.
Which other Australian designers, artists or creative people are you loving at the moment?
I have had a deep sense of admiration for Armelle Habib for years and have been lucky enough to work with her most weeks of my life. I still learn from her every day. I also love the work of architectural firm, Auhaus, the furniture of Adam Lynch and Jardan, and the artwork of my own crew. So many people to be inspired by. My kids also deeply inspire me.
What has been your proudest career achievement to date?
Talking my way into shooting the set of Offspring. What people may not realise is that being a stylist is one thing, but creating the opportunities is quite another. I am a good rainmaker (that’s my previous life as a drug peddler- legal ones of course)-from my time in the pharma industry. I tracked down producers, set designers, all with phone calls, and managed to get them to agree for me to shoot it for Inside Out. It was the closest I ever did get to Patrick’s bed…. I even sniffed his pillow. If he ever read this, I would be horrified, as I am not the stalker-ish type.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your own home, and what advice would you give someone for adding a personal touch to his or her home?
I have to say; I rarely get inspired in my own home, as I am hardly ever there sadly. And when I come home, I am a bit anti stuff. I think it comes with the territory of being around it all day long, living and breathing it, writing about it, presenting about it at workshops, dreaming about it at night. I kind of want to get away from it somehow. So my house is a bit bare bones. And only really special things get a Guernsey there. I have some beautiful art, an amazing bed from Jardan, and a Christopher boots angel light over my bed. Other than that, I just want to be around the people that live in it. Time in my home with my kids, labradoodle Mr Wolf, and my husband inspires me more than anything. Time has become my most prized commodity rather than stuff. Working 7 days a week, 16 hours days, means there is not a lot of time left for much else….
Any renovation blunders you want to share?
I don’t renovate. I buy other people’s renovations. Lazy? Yes. Time poor? Yes. One day, when I retire, I will build and design my own, but right now, I am too busy in everyone else’s houses to think about it…
What interior trend are you happy to say goodbye to?
I love them all, well parts of them all. And I don’t necessarily say goodbye. I still have a pop of fluro in my guest bedroom and love it. My own bedroom could be technically a little ‘scandi’ but I love it. I am not driven by trends (influenced, sure, you can’t help but to be I guess) but am not a slave to any of them, and hold onto some for dear life. My shell chandelier from the 70’s is still cherished today in my concrete house, just like it was in the bedroom I grew up in. Surround yourself with things you love, that matter, and precious people, and the home will always be a special place.
Favourite interior wall colour?
Black or blush or forest green or wallpaper, or concrete, or paneling, or ply…shall I keep going? I have NO one fave..….
Be sure to check out the Greenhouse Interiors Online store if you’re after beautiful art, homewares or jewellery.