Chosen by Ace Hardware to serve on its panel of experts, Salem interior designer Julie Richard advises clients on all things color. By Kiley Jacques // Photographs by Fawn Deviney
Salem’s Julie Richard, owner of Shelter Interior Design, has proven to be a valuable asset for a panel of design experts recently assembled by Ace Hardware. Her role, she says, is “to help consumers navigate the often challenging color selection process by providing paint pairing tips and seasonal color picks from their Clark+Kensington line.” And she does so with real fervor.
Following the completion of a graduate degree at New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University, Richard worked with Boston-based Duffy Design Group to learn more about the industry from a reputable source. By 2008, she was ready to go it alone, and Shelter Interior Design was born.
“I’ve always been inspired by and gravitated toward visual aesthetics,” says Richard. “My goal is to marry form and function. I love creating beautiful spaces that reflect my clients’ tastes and fit their individual needs and lifestyles.” To do that, Richard looks at fashion, graphic design, and art trends to inform and inspire her own ideas. “My design philosophy,” she says, “entails layering one-of-a-kind new and old treasures.” She thinks about the big and bold, as well as the soft and intimate.
Incorporating classic elements and keeping a finger on the pulse of new trends, Richard contrives a timeless yet contemporary look with each design. As an artistic endeavor, Richard moves through projects by employing what she calls an “organic process”—one that pulls from various wells. She values collaborative efforts, which she feels offer a “clean slate.” By familiarizing herself with clients’ behaviors, preferences, and surroundings, she churns out designs full of individualized character. “One objective,” says Richard, “is to develop a cohesive design, but my ultimate goal is to create an environment that speaks to the homeowner.” By way of example, she describes a recent project: “I presented pale lavender bathroom walls with a bright white and parrot green window treatment…young and fresh—perfect for the client’s two teenaged girls.”
Room painted with Clark + Kensington Lamp Shade #3046.Richard says favorite objects and destinations should serve as inspiration when choosing paints.
To inject her projects with the same vitality that underscores all she does, Richard says she is constantly brainstorming ways to grow and refine her vision. “It’s very important to remain relevant, keep your eyes open, and stay involved with the design community. Evolution is about staying inspired and educated.” To retain her cutting-edge take on things, she keeps abreast of big-name designers’ work. She also travels; visits flea markets; reads fashion, art, and design blogs; and generates her own regular posts. Her sharp eye and savvy vigilance have paid off. “Ace discovered me through my interior design blog. They felt my experience and expertise were a great match for [them] and their consumers. I was thrilled to be chosen as one of three experts.”
Though her career is already flourishing, the forward-thinking Richard envisions growing her business to include a downtown Salem studio where, in addition to her design services, she’ll feature a furniture collection comprised of a rotating custom line and vintage finds.
Wherever the road leads, it’s bound to be a colorful journey full of interesting stops. Richard wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s important to take risks…that’s when something amazing, emotional, and unexpected is created.”