A Glamorous Traditional and Modern Mix

published Jan 8, 2015
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(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

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?

(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

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. 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.

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.

(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

Resources of Note:


  • Foyer: Sherwin Williams Folkstone – SW6005
  • Hallway: Sherwin Williams Functional Gray – SW7024
  • Office: Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black – SW6258
  • Master Bedroom Walls & Ceiling: Sherwin Williams Gale Force – SW7605
  • Master Bath: Farrell Calhoun Paternoster
  • Great Room / Kitchen: Sherwin Williams Alpaca – SW7022
  • Dining Room Walls: Sherwin Williams Anew Gray – SW7030
  • Dining Room Ceiling: Sherwin Williams Malted Milk SW6057
  • Guest Bedroom: Farrell Calhoun Paternoster
  • Shop: Farrell Calhoun Paternoster

  • Louis-Phillipe Mirror: Gaslamp Too Antique Mall
  • Lamps: Wayfair
  • Lampshades: Target
  • Console table: base from Wayfair; table skirt made by Gina
  • Rug: Abbas Oriental Rugs

  • Sofas: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
  • Drapes & Drapery Hardware: West Elm
  • Coffee Table and Corner Table: designed by Gina
  • Wood End Table: Craigslist find
  • Pillows: Little Design Co., Ikea and Arhaus
  • Black & Brass Lamp: Vintage from estate sale
  • White & Gold Lamp: Flair Vintage Decor
  • David Bowie Art: Original piece created by Gina
  • B&W Canvas Art: Original piece created by Gina
  • Silver Tray: West Elm

  • Light Fixture: Jonathan Adler Meurice Chandelier
  • Dining Table: Jonathan Adler Bond Table
  • Chinese Chippendale Chairs: Jonathan Adler
  • Bamboo Side Chairs: Vintage Phyllis Morris chairs found on Craigslist
  • Pagoda Mirror – Vintage LaBarge found on Craigslist
  • Brass Pheasant: Family heirloom

  • Shelves: IKEA LACK high-gloss shelves
  • Counters: Superwhite Quartzite
  • Black/Gold Highball Glasses: Vintage from MAKE + MODEL
  • Lion Door Knocker: Vintage from Pinson Projects
  • Canvas Art: Original piece by Dorna May via Art & Invention Gallery
  • Pen Drawing: Family heirloom
  • Persian Rug: Family heirloom
  • Gold Gilt Mirror: Family heirloom
  • Brass Barstools: Craigslist find

  • Light Fixture: Barbara Cosgrove
  • Headboard: DIY project made by Gina
  • Navy Greek Key Pillows: Caitlin Wilson Textiles
  • Red Pillows & Bolster: Little Design Co.
  • Louis XV Writing Desk: Vintage from MAKE + MODEL
  • Desk Chair: Lillian Russell chair made by Gina’s grandfather
  • Draper Chest: Craigslist find
  • Feather Juju Hat: MAKE + MODEL
  • Console Table: Family heirloom
  • Stools: DIY project using Target ottomans upholstered with faux fur
  • Gold Tree Trunk Lamp: HomeGoods
  • Palm Tree Lamp: Vintage Frederick Cooper from MAKE + MODEL
  • Brass Bamboo Tray Table: Vintage Craigslist find
  • Drapes: JCPenney


  • Light Fixture: Barbara Cosgrove
  • Headboard: DIY project made by Gina

  • Headboard: Purchased at a moving sale
  • Duvet: ZGallerie
  • Pink Euro Pillows: Little Design Co.
  • Other Pillows on Bed: made by Gina
  • Drapes: West Elm ready-made panels customized with Chiang Mai Dragon banding
  • Settee: Family heirloom (reupholstered)
  • Gold Gilt Side Table: Vintage Craigslist find
  • Console and Bedside Tables: Family heirlooms
  • Feather Juju Hat: MAKE + MODEL
  • Ceramic Greyhound Statue: Vintage from MAKE + MODEL
  • Art Above Settee: Kristi Gammill and Cat Seyler
  • Art Above Console: Family heirloom, artist unknown
  • Rug: Family heirloom that was over-dyed in teal

  • Cabinetry: IKEA BESTA units with black glass tops
  • Lamps: Nate Berkus for Target
  • Chanel Art: Original piece by Brian Tull
  • Desk: Wisteria
  • Chair: Vintage from MAKE + MODEL
  • Console: Vintage Craigslist find
  • Mirror: Vintage estate sale find
  • Brass Giraffes: Vintage Craigslist find
  • Arc Lamp: HomeGoods

  • Cabinets and Workbench: Geneva
  • Shelving and Wall Organization: Elka units from The Container Store
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)

    Thanks, Gina and Michael!

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