Julia Brenner

Julia is a writer and editor living in Chicago. She's also a big fan of old construction, new design, and people who can pull off a wink. She is not one of those people.
The 11 Best Room Design Apps For Planning a Room Layout and Design
What a time to be alive (and planning room layouts)! Thanks to a treasure trove of user-friendly apps, it's never been easier to create floor plans and virtually design our rooms.
Apr 13, 2022
This Artist Bought Her Grandparents’ Condo—Here’s What She Kept (And What She Changed)
A mix between "Mad Men" and "Pee Wee Herman," artist Kim Alpert's self-proclaimed style is "Folk Futurism."
Mar 29, 2019
Stop Doing These 10 Things That Are Dragging Your Home’s Sophistication Down
Because we’re not living Pinterest boards and no one gets it right 100 percent of the time, I think we all have certain aspects of home decor and housekeeping that we ace, and other aspects that we struggle to get a handle on. I know I do. Here are 10 common issues that may be diminishing your home’s sophistication along with some easy tweaks to help you self-correct. Rumpled sheets look, well, rumpled.
Oct 5, 2018
A Photographer’s Sunny Pre-War Apartment in Chicago
When you're lucky enough to inherit good bones, less is always more. This beautiful rental is a love letter to vintage Chicago city living.
Nov 5, 2017
Quick Question! In or Out: Cheeky Word Art on Decor?
Right? “Hustle” pillows and “I Can’t Adult Today” blankets, “Live, Love, Gymnastics” tea towels and “The Snuggle is Real”…At this point, it’s like, okay okay, I get it. The world is filled with cute sayings, always has been. There were some real zippy zingers back in the mid 19th-century. I mean “bully for you!” or “acknowledge the corn!” That is some first-class slang.
Oct 21, 2017
The Pattern Trends That May Have Overstayed Their Welcome
Before getting down to business, I would like to say no disrespect to any of the prints featured in this article. They are all wonderful motifs in their own right, but for reasons ranging from over saturation to too many knock-off versions, 2017 may be the year to put down the palms. What do you think? I reached out to a couple of well-known designers to get their take on prints they think are too trendy or tired.
Oct 3, 2017
The Key to Color Confidence: The 60-30-10 Rule
If you are nervous or unsure about adding color into your home, consider using 60-30-10 color rule when planning your next room makeover. The 60-30-10 rule is a very easy-to-follow approach that designers often use to create well-balanced rooms using color. This concept follows the classic rule of three (which is also used in everything from marketing, to floral arrangements, to writing). In this case, three color families are used to add balance and depth to a room.
Sep 4, 2017
How We Can Help Those Affected By Hurricane Harvey
As many of us begin our Labor Day weekends, victims of Hurricane Harvey are experiencing the aftermath of one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. We’ve compiled a list of charitable organizations working the front lines of the rescue and recovery efforts as a resource for those looking to lend their help. Consider a monetary donation or volunteer opportunity with first responder organizations that are actively engaged in ongoing rescue, recovery, and relief missions.
Sep 2, 2017
Phaidon Wrote the Book (Literally) on Humble, Irresistible Nordic Design
The Red Thread: Nordic Design is a gorgeous and comprehensive book exploring the Nordic approach to design for everyday life—from furniture to kitchen utensils to textiles. Exquisite photographs illustrate how Nordic designers have mastered the art of simple beauty and functional accessibility. Spoiler alert: You’re going to see a lot of Apartment Therapy favorites featured in these pages. Take a look.
Sep 1, 2017
The Art of Living: Lessons on Hustling and Giving Back from a Very Cool Woman
Tanya Sheikh is inspiring on many levels. Driven by her own love of art and fashion and fueled by a desire to promote diversity and broader opportunity, Tanya and her business partner Ivan Gilkes opened In Support Of—one of the most well-regarded boutiques in NYC—a clothing showroom and retail concept that carries innovative indie designers and donates a portion of its profits to charity. Check out Tanya’s life as a business owner and take a look at her Park Slope studio.
Aug 2, 2017
Real Life Experiment: Is It Possible to Resist Temptation at Target?
Once I'm there, it's like, might as well try on some giant beach hats and pick up a paperweight shaped like a woodland creature and 25 sale yogurts. In other words, it gets weird.
Jul 17, 2017
A Charming 1904 Farmhouse in Atlanta for $619k
Located in an historic neighborhood, just one block from Grant Park (Atlanta’s oldest city park), this completely charming traditional American Farmhouse still shines with much of its original 1904 beauty. I love the respect for history reflected in this home—a home whose owners have taken loving care of the original features for over 100 years, including cast iron sinks, pinewood floors, wavy glass windows, and plantation shutters. And the kitchen.
Jul 11, 2017
An Artist’s Chic Compact West Village Apartment
Name: Carly Berlin Location: West Village, NYC Size: 700 square feet Years lived in: 3 years, renting Part home, part professional art studio, Carly’s long and narrow West Village apartment is outfitted minimally but filled with warmth and personality. Carly has a gift for seeing the beauty in the smallest of details, and her ability to set up her home from that perspective means she’s made a million small but successful decisions.
Jun 30, 2017
A Bright and Beautiful Spanish Tile Home for $700K in L.A.
Oh boy, this home is a real diamond. I love everything about it. Elegant simplicity, an abundance of natural light, gorgeous vintage details, large private outdoor living area, and a beautiful Spanish tile exterior to boot. This home is going to make someone very happy indeed. This gorgeous Spanish tile home is a fantastic mix of vintage and modern, with a a feeling of spaciousness and privacy.
Jun 27, 2017
Completely Charming 2,000-Square-Foot Portland Craftsman
I don’t know if it’s because summer’s here, but I am having a love affair with homes with porch swings lately. And this home has both a porch swing and an abundance of original Craftsman charm: woodwork on woodwork, leaded glass, and original hardwood flooring. Take a look at this vintage Portland gem.
Jun 27, 2017
An Art Deco Dream Apartment in Manhattan
Name: Devin VanderMaas, her boyfriend Ranga and Chelsea the cat Location: Murray Hill — New York City Size: 775 square feet Years lived in: 3 years, own When Devin first saw this apartment, it reminded her of The Great Gatsby. Full of charming Art Deco architectural details, this isn’t the dark and dramatic kind of Art Deco style you might be imagining, though. Big windows and Devin’s mastery of a soft, neutral color palette make the small space seem bigger than it is.
Jun 22, 2017
A 1,500-Square-Foot Houston Home with Timeless Updates
Relaxing on a porch swing, sipping sweet tea under a large shade tree… Sounds completely dreamy to me, which is why I absolutely adore this charming single family home in historic Houston Heights. It’s spacious while still feeling cozy, with a balanced mix of vintage charm and modern updates and serene outdoor space for days. This is a quintessentially storybook family home, complete with porch swing, shade tree, breakfast nook and huge backyard.
Jun 14, 2017
A Smart & Stylish New Bedroom for “Black-ish” Star Yara Shahidi
Yara Shahidi, who stars on ABC’s Black-ish (and an upcoming spin-off called College-ish) is living the dream—but she is also living at home, so she wanted her bedroom to reflect her personal style and to work as a functional place to study, conduct business and unwind. Because of her busy schedule, Yara turned to the online design service, Laurel & Wolf, to help make her goal of an organized and stylish bedroom a reality. Yara opened up her new bedroom for a room tour. Check it out.
Jun 11, 2017
EmergencyBnB: An Altruistic Spin on Airbnb
EmergencyBnB operates a lot like Airbnb: you enter a zip code, review descriptions and host profiles, and choose a short-term stay option. The difference? No money is exchanged. The hosts on EmergencyBnB offer up their spaces free of charge to refugees and victims of domestic violence. The site is currently operating throughout the U.S., Europe, and beyond. Take a look at this citizenship in action.
Jun 10, 2017
Beautifully Restored 3000-Square-Foot 18th-Century Colonial in Providence
Crushes are great, but for anyone who appreciates historic homes, this one may be love. Located on historic Benefit Street in the College Hill neighborhood of Providence, this gorgeously restored Colonial Zachariah Allen House dates back to 1772 and retains many original details while benefitting from loving restoration and updates. I mean, centuries old and as beautiful as ever? Be still my historic home loving heart…take a peek!
Jun 6, 2017
Empowering Design Lessons From a Stunning Rental Living Room (That Non-Renters Should Take to Heart Too)
Isabelle’s house tour is endlessly inspiring to me, for starters because it’s just flat out gorgeous but also because it so clearly illustrates how all of the small choices we make can add up to something wonderfully, personally beautiful. And for those of us who are renting, that is pretty damn empowering. Ok, first thing’s first: Isabelle’s rental living room is not exactly problematic to begin with. In fact, it has supermodel-level good bones for a rental.
May 31, 2017
Real Homes, Real Solutions: 20 Reversible Ideas to Overhaul Your Rental Bathroom NOW
The following are stellar examples from our House Tours of rental bathrooms done right. While I’ve broken down the images according to categories, a great thing about these bathrooms is that they all have a cross-section of ideas to steal (in a good way, of course), so steal away!
May 22, 2017
Overcoming an Awkward Space: Smart Solutions from a Charming Rental Bedroom
If your current rental bedroom situation is awkward, lacking storage, or just bland then check out how Erin Walsh turned her funny-shaped bedroom into a highly functional and relaxing oasis. In writing about the inspiring ways renters fix up their rentals, I will sometimes get dinged for featuring rooms that already “have great bones”—meaning the renters had a decent space to begin with, which I agree makes both customizing and decorating much easier.
May 17, 2017
1500-Square-Foot Eco-Friendly Modern Seattle Townhouse
This 3-bedroom/3-bath townhouse is part of a new build in Seattle’s Atlantic neighborhood. The townhouse is one of 28 units featured in the 4-Star, Built Green Community Holgate Townhome project.
May 16, 2017
An Essential Shopping Guide for the Best (Stylish!) Sofa Slipcovers
I've rounded up some of the best options on the market today to help you find slipcovers that are high functioning in both style and practicality. No easy feat!
May 10, 2017
A Mix of History & Modern Comforts in a Converted Chicago Church
This 3-bedroom duplex is a gem of a find in Chicago—a family-friendly home that is a gorgeous mix of history (the unit is situated in a converted church) and modern comforts. The unit itself is modern and bright without feeling sterile thanks to the abundance of hardwood floors and exposed brick as well as a wood-burning fireplace.
May 10, 2017
A Gorgeous Two-Bedroom Duplex in Park Slope
There is so much to love about this lovingly rehabbed Park Slope duplex, from the location one block from Prospect Park, to the spacious, sunny rooms with original features—hardwood floors with walnut inlay, working fireplace, and stained glass bay window. This property is a beautiful mix of vintage and modern in a prime Brooklyn location with access to additional basement storage and a private deck. In other words: a dream scenario indeed.
May 2, 2017
A”1965 Meets 2017″ One-Bedroom in Los Angeles
This one-bedroom condo offers a fantastic mix of mid-century LA style and modern amenities, not to mention the fact that it’s located in an historic LA neighborhood—minutes from shopping, dining, attractions, and major expressways. If you’re looking for a bright, hip, centrally-located property with a pool and treetop views, take a peek at this gem!
Apr 25, 2017
3 Stylish & Practical Ideas to Improve Your Bland Rental Kitchen
We’ve talked a lot about rental kitchens being “you-get-what-you-get-and-you-don’t-get-upset” zones because we’re typically limited in the changes available to us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have kitchens with good functionality and great style; we just need to be creative! Check out this cheery kitchen from our home tours that showcases do-able and stylish ways to improve your rental scenario.
Apr 16, 2017
Apartment Therapy Great Debates: Do You Insist on a “Shoes Off” Policy at Home?
There are some debates that loom large in the annals of Apartment Therapy, and this is one of them.
Apr 10, 2017
How Real Life Renters Made The Most of Their Totally Vanilla Kitchen
Renting often means you have to live with an apartment’s finishes, for better or for worse, though it doesn’t mean that the “worse” part has to be all bad. Though the kitchen is often the room in a rental home that needs the most TLC, it’s amazing what a little creativity can do to help the space, like in Bianca and Craig’s rental California home.
Apr 10, 2017
Marie Kondo, Take the Wheel: I’m Trying to Part with Sentimental Clutter and it’s HARD!
I have some things that have been sitting in drawers and closets for years and—while I don’t need or use these things—I am pained to part with them. Some are inherited, some were formerly important, some never made sense, and a lot are scraps: of papers, events, good days, and really amazing trips. They’re little material bits of my life that sit in drawers or the back of closets. And I’ve never figured out how to part with them.
Apr 3, 2017
Beyond Mainstream: 14 Indie Magazines to Read for Endless Life Inspiration
Long live indie magazines for smart content, innovative style, and an often fearless approach to navigating the editorial waters. Whether its art, design, travel, fashion, or lifestyle, these magazines explore topics in ways that are exciting, honest and a little sexy (because to me, being original is sexy). And these magazines are very original.
Apr 1, 2017
The Modern Farmhouse Style and How to Get It In Your Home
The Modern Farmhouse aesthetic is incredibly popular right now for its bold mix of high contrast elements: black and white, rustic and modern, warm and industrial, pretty yet unfussy. If you’re into the Modern Farmhouse style (and apparently a lot of us are), we’ve put together four complete rooms (using beautiful designer rooms as our jumping off point) to help you shop the look.
Mar 30, 2017
A Bright & Charming Condo in San Francisco
I set out to find a two-bedroom condo for sale in the heart of San Francisco (that wasn’t a total fixer-upper) for under a million dollars, thinking it wasn’t possible—because the city is just that expensive. But then I found this gem, and got completely lost in San Francisco day dreams for a good while.
Mar 28, 2017
Survey Says: This is the #1 Design Trend of 2017
In a survey of over 1,000 Americans, the team at Next Day Blinds found that the #1 home trend of 2017 was “Modern Farmhouse” with one-third of respondents listing this as their favorite style. So what exactly is this style? Short answer: think Fixer Upper. And for those of us who are less familiar with the show (*cough* me *cough*), think matte black + soft white + wood + a minimal mix of vintage and modern pieces. And a massive vessel of hydrangeas.
Mar 27, 2017