We stumble upon the most amazing people and places in our StyleBlueprint adventures, like Julie Couch, our featured FACE today. When we were on 8th Avenue recently checking out Salon NFuse and Koi, we discovered Julie’s true treasure of a store, just around the corner! Her love of design and painting began in childhood and has continued to grow. Julie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History. She then studied Interior Design in Atlanta, Georgia, at The Art Institute as well as in Franklin, Tennessee, at O’More College of Design and Nashville’s Watkins College. Julie founded Julie Couch Interiors (JCI in 2006) and expanded the business to include this retail location just mentioned in late 2011. Julie is passionate about creating livable, beautiful spaces that convey the homeowners’ personalities and tastes. Julie dreams of creating a line of products, which may include lighting, flooring, and decorative art — and if she does, we can’t wait to see it!

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Henderson, Tennessee, moved around a little during school years and finished high school in Jackson, Tennessee.

When and why did you move to Nashville?

Eight years ago I took the leap, quit my “safe” sales job in Atlanta and headed to Nashville to attend O’More School of Design.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have been given?

Growing up when my dad drove me somewhere, and I hopped out of the car, he’d always say, “Remember who you are.”

Do you have a mentor or someone who assisted you in your profession?

Unfortunately I don’t have mentor per se, but I do have a few close friends that have prayed for me through every step and transition I’ve made. Even though for the most part they have little interest in interior design, they know that it is my passion, and those prayers have kept me going when things didn’t quite go the way I’d planned.

What are some trends you are seeing in the world of interior design? What colors should we keep our eye on for next year?

For trends, gray is still the color of the moment! It’s absolutely everywhere and it’s a great complement to almost any other color. Geometrics are continuing to gain momentum, being prominently featured on textiles and flooring. Kitchens and baths are still being dressed in layers of white tile and marble, but antique brass is emerging as the new, chic fixture finish. Overall, I’m seeing interiors getting simpler and more casual in many ways. I think people are starting to understand the value of creating a home that draws them in. Our homes are truly an expression of who we are, how we live, and who we want to become.

If you could name one design faux pas that gets under your skin, what would it be?

There are a couple things that make me crazy. Fake flowers are just terrible because they can single handedly make any interior look dated and stale. And I don’t understand the need for colored candles when white and ivory ones are so beautiful!?

Do you have an irrational fears?

I am absolutely terrified of mice. The rational part of me knows they are tiny and harmless, but my body doesn’t understand that sentiment. I squeal and run at even the idea of one of those little creatures!

What books can be found on your bedside table?

There’s always a huge stack of Shelter magazines (which I can’t seem to throw away!) and a few books mixed in. Right now those books include The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and A Praying Life by Paul Miller

Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?

Having dinner with my husband and our close friends is always my favorite way to pass the time. If I can dream, I’d make it a fabulous dinner seaside starting with a champagne toast and ending with bananas foster.

Event most looking forward to attending this summer?

Our good friends, Eric and Ellie, are getting married the first weekend of August, and I’m thrilled about sharing the big day with the two of them!

What is your “must-have” purchase for summer 2011?

Every spring I buy the same “must haves.” For me, that always includes nude wedges and gold sandals.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Nashville?

Margot Cafe and Virago have some of my favorite dishes, but honestly, if I find any place with a nice patio and a great Savignon Blanc I’m completely content.

Favorite vacation spot?

I love the beach! Really any beach, any time. I love the sound, the sand, and the views. It’s such a peaceful and well-paced way to see the world.

Do you have a playlist for a dinner party or a great workout that you can share with our readers?

The perfect play list for a dinner party would be much longer than this, but I’d definitely include these songs…

  • “The World I Know” by Collective Soul
  • “Poison and Wine” by The Civil Wars
  • “Groove Me” by King Floyd
  • “Windows are Rolled Down” by Amos Lee
  • “Nothing Takes the Place of You” by Tab Benoit
  • “How Come” by Ray LaMontagne
  • “What Am I to You?” by Norah Jones

Name three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God):

  • Original art – especially paintings
  • My 10 year old Yorkies, Scout and Neyland
  • Under-eye concealer, and lots of it! It hides a multitude of sins…

Thank you Julie! You can see more about Julie’s business, Julie Couch Interiors, by clicking HERE.  Her blog is also delightful: http://decoratordozen.com/

Thanks to Ashley Hylbert for always taking such beautiful photos for our FACES of Nashville feature! For more photos of Julie, check out Ashley’s blog, here.