Friday, April 10, 2009

Visiting on Magazine Street

Blogging is an interesting business. We sit alone and write and our posts, we read other blogs and comment. And yet, what seems like such a solitary activity is actually very social. Over the past year, through Willow Decor, I have had an amazing opportunity to connect and make cyber friendships with several other bloggers. So what a thrill it was to meet two of them in New Orleans: Valorie Hart of Visual Vamp and Julie Neill of The Bayou Contessa. Valorie writes an great blog that keeps it all real. She has a great design sense and style. Her experience with design (and life) allows for her refreshing perspective! Visual Vamp is filled with interesting design ideas, as well as designer and artist profiles.

We met up at perch. - a fabulous must stop shop on Magazine Street. We only had time for a very quick visit, but I was able finally meet Valorie and to shoot some photos of the great items available at perch.
Entering perch. you are immediately impressed by the unique and beautiful inventory. Everywhere you turn in perch. you find another treasure.
I loved this zinc architectural piece - It would make such an interesting mirror. I also adore the antique door it was hanging on.
You know I love the Mora clock and the chair is so wonderful - I love its traditional lines with a contemporary twist! Isn't this a great little table? I like the way Valorie paired the more formal bust with the very contemporary mirror. Valorie called this the "girl-y room" - It really was! A gorgeous mix of watery blues and greens, and my amateur photos do not do this space justice. I wish Valorie and I would have had time for tea there! But, I was very late for a meeting with New Orleans' Bayou Contessa!
Julie was kind enough to spend some time and show me around her beautiful shop. It is housed a 120-year-old building with her showroom in the front and offices in the back. It is a wonderful old historic New Orleans building with 14-foot ceilings and separated into different rooms.When I walked in I nearly lost my breath. EVERYTHING was so beautiful.
And when I turned to the right, I was overwhelmed again by the beauty of another room.
This bed is a new item in Julie's furniture line. It is fit for king and queen and even has a crown on top! Notice the Hallie Chandelier hanging on the bed and the Arrow Sconce.Here is a collection of some of Julie's sconces and starburst mirrors. The patina on Julie's pieces can not be captured in photographs. There is a great depth and layering in the colors, creating a wonderful effect. Sconces pictured in the top photo are Danica and Michael; in bottom photo, Jodi.
Every one of Julie pieces was created for an individual client before they were added to the line. They are named after the person they were made for. If someone gets more than one piece, Julie names them after one of their friends or another member of their family. Of course Julie is best known for her chandeliers. Pictured above is the Madeleine.
Here is another favorite of mine - the Isabelle.
Look at this stunning chandelier named Juliette. I had to take a real close up so you could appreciate the workmanship and detailing.Julie also creates other beautiful furniture. Here is her Garland Vanity, complete with signature Julie Neill crown. Perhaps Julie's most interesting new development is her ability to cut metal into any shape she desires. This is allowing her unlimited options as to what she can create. Pictured above is Artemis Chandelier with crystal drops. The Meme Chandelier was stunning!
I was so taken with this brand new design that I forgot to write the name down. How about the Fabulous!
Here is another new design named Jeffery! And as luck would have it, you will meet Jeffery in my next post!
Another new item is the Chain Spiral. This is an innovative and decorative way to trail your Chandelier chain from the ceiling to your fixture. No more ribbon sleeves for me. So how does Julie ensure that her lights remain stunning? She makes them right in New Orleans. We had a chance to visit the studio and meet the artists, hard at work creating these custom pieces. They spend hours layering and layering to create the special finishes. Julie checks each and every one daily to make sure they all have her signature patina! We had such fun!! Here we all are chatting on the bed! From left to right: Me, Millie Gaines-Interior Designer, Julie Ponze-Director of Sales, and Julie Neill-The Bayou Contessa.
You may not be aware that Julie is also an accomplished artist and sells some of her work in her shop. Here is one of my favorites. The camera did not capture well the gold pattern or the watery teal blue color. I wish it had fit into my suitcase because it really spoke to me.
Finally, Julie does spectacular custom work. Here an entry way done by "Things that Inspire". Aren't Julie's custom sconces just perfect?!
.For more personal information on Julie read the wonderful interview by Ornamental Design. And, to see even more of Julie's beautiful work be sure to visit Julie Neill Designs or The Bayou Contessa.
Thanks Valorie and Julie-it was great to finally meet you!


  1. Thank you for such a beautiful post. It makes me miss "home" so much more, even though it has been a long, long time since I really "lived" there. Both Valorie and Julie embody what New Orleans is all about. I know you had a marvelous time and I hope that you return again soon.

  2. I keep commenting on blog after blog that all of the beauty in New Orleans is really calling to me...and I must say that every single day I look at my beautiful Julie Neill sconces and appreciate the craftsmanship and design that went into them.

    Great post!

  3. Oh Gina, It was such fun to spend good girl-blogger-design time with you and Millie! I'm so excited about your bringing your talents and eye to your neck of the woods. Thanks for the lovely tour of my shop. Please stay tuned to Bayou Contessa for more! And come on back to NOLA real soon!

  4. What a truly wonderful blog showing the some of the best of New Orleans. Thanks!

  5. I just discovered your blog through your informative post on butler's pantries. What a wonderful aesthetic you have--very Euro-old-world. (Much like, which focuses a similar aesthetic on family lifestyle.)

    Love it. Will be visiting here again soon!

  6. As always Gina, you are a class act! Thank you for sharing your beautiful sense of style with us! I am already looking forward to your next post!

  7. I love New Orleans! I only live 3 hours away in Orange Beach. Some friends of mine have been thinking we need a girl's shopping day...I haven't been shopping on Magazine Street in 2 years. I think it's time for a trip! Thanks for the beautiful pics!

  8. Hi Gina,
    Thanks for the shout out to me, and to the fabulous shop perch.
    We appreciated your whirlwind tour, and how you really captured the essence of New Orleans.
    Hope to see you back soon!
    xo xo

  9. Hurray! Thanks for directing some much needed and appreciated attention to New Orleans' wonderland, Magazine Street. Thanks for these posts while you're traveling Gina.

  10. New Orleans is such a designers heaven! Each of your pictures is filled with such treasures!

  11. super duper post !

    happy bunny day !

  12. This trip just gets better and better! How lucky and wonderful for all of you to hook up with one another and see the beautiful shops of bloggers you know and in such a fabulously beautiful city. I have to say I'm a bit jealous :) and grateful that you all have taken us along via photos and through your words! Such delicious stuff!
    Have a lovely Easter, Gina!
    xo Isa

  13. Thanks so much for your visit to hill country house. I loved your tour and seeing the pretty faces behind the blogs! Isn't it amazing how people are connecting through this often solitary past time we have all become addicted to! What talent is out there!! I loved seeing both Valorie's and Julie's shops - I want to go to New Orleans!!

  14. I have had so much fun reading yours, Julie's and Brookes blogs on your fabulous trip to NOLA. I used to live there and there is so much that I miss. Thanks for sharing all the fabulous pictures.

    Blessings to you...

  15. What a wonderful treasure trove these New Orleans designers have - glad you had the chance to meet some fellow bloggers. Happy Easter and have a wonderful weekend, xv,

  16. Julie's shop is just gorgeous! So is Perch. Can't wait to go see them myself!

  17. you must have had a ball in all of those beautiful shops surrounded by very creative Women. Love all of your photos.
    Ness xx

  18. Thanks for sharing your visit to Magazine Street with us :-) So many beautiful pieces in all your pictures :-)

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  19. LOVE the Artemis chandelier. Thanks for sharing your trip and photos.

    Cheers to all of the intrepid designers that were in New Orleans two weeks ago!

    - Alixe

  20. Oh my goodness, such stunning shops and a feast for the eyes. I wonder what it must feel like to have a shop that gorgeous.

    I was also thrilled to see another blogger from Wellesley. My family still lives there even thought I am now in Marrakech

  21. Just had to wish you a Happy Easter and thank you for this amazing post. It's like a good magazine that you quickly look at all the pictures and then put it aside for later to savor and read, slowing way down to catch every detail!
    Also I got the pillow & just love it. Told Kym too! Look for my post soon.
    Have a great rest of the weekend.

  22. As you know, Julie and Valorie were the highlight of my trip to New Orleans. Two incredibly strong and talented women. It was odd, but I felt as if I had known them for my whole life. Julie's shop is beautiful. I was so impressed when she told me that she was designing new lights that were in a completely different design direction. She is such a courageous artist.
    Although Valorie is so different from Julie, I would describe her as courageous as well. She is not afraid to be who she is. Of course why should she be? She is amazing!
    Thank you, Gina for spreading the word about these two wonderful bloggers.


  23. Wow, so much eye candy! Great post!

    By the way, I had emailed you a while back regarding your butler's pantry cabinet color. Well, I did decide to go with that on the hutch I found on Craigslist. I even got a piece of Calcutta marble to put on it too as I loved your counters so much. I'm going to post about the hutch next week on my blog, so stop by if you have the time.

  24. I just loved seeing your images...I got to meet those precious ladies last Thursday. Doesn't it make you just want to find a cute little place near Magazine Street to rent for a bit and take in all the the artisans?

  25. What a marvelous post - thank you for all the lovely images! I'm big fan of Valorie, her blog lead me to yours and I'm so glad to have found your blog.


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