Juliet Zulu's DIY Military-Inspired Office

Juliet Zulu's DIY Military-Inspired Office

Leela Cyd
Jul 8, 2011

Name: Juliet Zulu
Location: Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon
Size: 1,100 square feet

Juliet Zulu, a video production company based in Portland, Oregon has created a clean, inspired work space on a budget. Zak, Jason and their team DIYed their office in about a month, using irreverent, recycled materials and a whole lot of ingenuity. When describing the studio, the words "industrial" and "man-chic" just kept popping into my mind. Although not a traditional "home" office tour, this work space is full of great ideas to pull into the home or home office.

Zak and Jason, co-founders of Juliet Zulu, wanted to create an open, honest space that inspired great work. They create videos for a range of clients, from big corporations like Nike and Intel to non-profits such as The Mentoring Project and other videos featuring local food carts. Juliet Zulu is a creative force and their space reflects their artistic vision.

What's interesting to me is they achieved something I don't see all that often - they used a palate of heavy darks (black concrete floor, army green military tent material, etc) and bright whites. In a time where "fresh and new" seems to connote whitest of whites, they were able to balance darker tones with light, punctuated by the neutral colors (reclaimed wood, re-purposed army tents), and wacky use of particle board. Never have I seen particle board looking so good.

Another wonderful aspect of the space is the personal details. Every inch of the space is carefully planned to maximize flow of air/light, but it's also got personal items strategically placed in an uncluttered fashion. There are reels of film Jason shot in the 5th grade, old cameras, beloved old toys, tickets to sporting events, used thermoses and personal odds and ends that all breathe life into the office. This balance of clean design and personal history is very appealing, and would easily translate into a look for the home.

AT Survey:

My/our style: Military Industrial, Vintage, MCM

The inspiration for my home office/home theater: Video and film production is all about process. I wanted to design a space that was clearly a creative studio but also felt like a workshop, a place that screamed process. Also, production companies tend to be techie pragmatists. I wanted a space that said, "Yes we know how to work a C-Stand but we also know what good copy looks like."

Favorite element in your space: Military canvas walls in conference room is a fave. Having client meetings in an indoor field tent is a bit like a blanket and couch cushion fort, minus the wooden swords and newspaper hats.

Biggest challenge in designing our space: Stretching and attaching huge sheets of Pendleton Wool felt on our 300 square feet of walls. It was like stretching a canvas but with wool…which turned out to be more difficult. The exposed flashing was the answer

What friends say about the space: We do not allow speaking in our studio. We have a no cats, no speaking, no pirates policy. As a result, we no longer have friends or rampant plundering.

Area where there is room for improvement/future projects: Our bathroom (not shown here because of the horror) is our final area to improve. Bathroom thoughts?

Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project: Construction of Barn doors with old, reclaimed government windows. Each door took us two days to complete, which, if I am not mistaken, is almost as long as it took the Egyptians to build the pyramids.

Biggest indulgence with respect to our space: Eames compact sofa, re-upholstered with Pendleton Wool. Gold leafed bidet seat (if we had one it would be our biggest indulgence)

Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home: Robots are fun until they become autonomous, power up in the middle of the night and then lock you and your pets in the cellar.

Dream source for stuff: My grandfather's basement (it would be even better if my grandfather's name was Don Draper).


Home Tech Hardware:
• Apple computers
• G Raid 2TB hard drives
• Audio-Technica headphones
• MiniWatt Tube Amplifier
• Zeiss lenses
• Hook headphone desk holders (originally designed to be mobile, table, purse holders) designed by Philippi Design Germany and purchased through Canoe.

• Eames compact sofa
• Herman Miller Molded Plastic Chairs
• All long tables, conference table bars and counters made from 100 year old Oregon, dimensional Fir, reclaimed from a barn
• Most other furnishings vintage purchased at various antique shops in or around Portland Or.
• All higher-end vintage furnishings purchased from The Good Mod, Portland.

Accessories: No member of Juliet Zulu has ever shot an animal so it is fitting that we are utilizing our grandfather's heartlessness as taxidermy features. Most all accessories are vintage, antique.

Lighting: Barn pendant, warehouse lights. The most basic and practical I could find.

Organizing Tools/Accessories: clipboards for project management.

Additional Elements:
• Floors are sanded and buffed concrete, stained/painted with Miller concrete stain/paint.
• Exposed plywood is…exposed plywood.
• All beer served in the studio is Stiegl, all coffee is Coava Coffee, booze of choice is whiskey. Favorite name for a pet whale would probably be, Big Dawg.

Thanks Juliet Zulu for letting us tour your space!

Photos by Leela Cyd Ross

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