Remodelista's EIC Shows Us Her Digs

We have seen our fair share of inspiring casas in the past, so we are being totally truthful when we say this home, belonging to Julie Carlson of Remodelista, is one of the coolest we've spied in a long while. And, it makes sense: As editor-in-chief of the decor site she was bound to have aspirational digs — and some solid intel on interior design, too.
The charming Mill Valley abode is a curated compilation of personal relics, designer furniture, and a feisty cat named Jojo. We talked interiors and beyond with the pro and got the scoop on how she helms the site, keeps her pad looking lovely, and kicks back in Marin. You can click ahead to read all about it; we'll be packing our bags to move in.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Tell us about your role at Remodelista and about what motivated you to start the site.
"I founded the site several years ago with a trio of design-minded friends; I had just gone through a series of remodels — three, to be exact — and I knew there had to be a better way. This was the early days of the Internet, and it wasn't pretty. I spent far too much time on plumbing sites trying to figure out which faucet to spec in my kitchen.

"Julianne Moore sums it up best in her introduction to our book, Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home. 'The internet changed everything for me,' she says. But, she goes on to say, 'It's mind-numbing to plow through 81 pages of bathtub fillers only to find out that the one you like is the sole piece custom made in Italy. With a 12-week lead time.' Our goal from the start has been to narrow the choices for like-minded remodelers; to sift through all the options out there and to come up with a curated portfolio of can't-go-wrong choices."

Julie hangs out in a Japanese Indigo shirt from Mill Mercantile and Ann Louise Roswald clogs.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
The adorable exterior of Julie's Mill Valley maison.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Tell us about your background. Have you always worked in editorial and what about it inspires you?
"I've been an obsessive media and design junkie forever. And, when I moved to New York after college, my dream was to work at The New Yorker. I spent three years there, as a copy editor — I am fascinated by punctuation and sentence structure — and then moved to the Bay Area with my husband. I worked at San Francisco Magazine as a food and style editor and then freelanced after I had children. Just before I started Remodelista, we lived in London for a year, and I scoured the city for design ideas. I still have a weakness for all things British."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What do you love about working at Remodelista?
"It doesn't feel like work, to be honest. Sometimes we look at one another in the office and say, 'Can you believe this is a job?' We've been lucky enough to assemble a team of design geniuses with varied backgrounds: a columnist for the New York Times, floral designer, travel editor, graphic designer, and Harvard-trained architect."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Why did you choose to live in Mill Valley?
"After I had my second child, it was time for us to think about where our children were going to go to school. I wasn't keen on fighting our way into the S.F. private school scene, and I knew Mill Valley had good public schools. It's also absurdly beautiful; with redwood forests, hiking trails, streams, and it's only 11 miles from S.F. The fact that there are still Grateful Dead band members living in town keeps it from feeling too suburban."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What's your most treasured item in your closet?
"I'm currently in love with my Sofie D'Hoore silver pumps from last season; I found them at Jack Straw in Seattle. The owner, John Richards, has a great eye. I love that he uses real people (including himself) as models in his photo shoots."

Julie in her living room in a Sofie D'Hoore jacket and silver pumps, and a Margaret Howell scarf.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Is Jojo admiring the vaulted ceiling? We can't blame her.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Like a work of art. And, an actual work of art.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Your home is stunning. Tell us a little more about the thought that went into decorating it?
"It's a bit of New England — I grew up on Cape Cod — with a California influence; all very informal and ad hoc. The whitewashed interior is reminiscent of East Coast summer houses, but I've added bits from California, including vases and pottery pieces from Richard Carter in Pope Valley — he's a mainstay at our Remodelista markets. My favorite things are pieces I bring back from trips: pottery from Italy, linens from Merci in Paris, tiny glass vases from Hay in Copenhagen."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
A collection of relics on Julie's coffee table.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
We wouldn't mind a kitchen like this.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Jojo catches some sun. We experience a twinge of mixing-bowl envy.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What are your favorite features of the house?
"The fact that we can have big parties in our living/dining room. We cobble together a long table down the center, drape it in painter's drop cloths, wrap string lights around the rafters, and throw open the doors. We've done this more times than I can count."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
An Eames lounge chair adds a touch of midcentury to Julie's home office.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
So pin-worthy.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
How would you describe your personal style?
"Simple and straightforward. I gravitate toward navy blue and black, and I've been under the spell of Belgian designer Sofie D'Hoore for the last few years. There's only one shop in S.F. that carries her line (MAC, owned by the fantastic Ben and Chris Ospital) and I slink in every couple of months to see if there's anything new. I have several of her classic, beautifully tailored dresses. She makes the best winter coats and great, boxy jackets, too. She's very focused on the quality of the fabric and the simplicity of the cut. It's all very classic and timeless and seasonless."

Julie rests on her staircase in a black tunic dress from Margaret Howell and oxfords by Jil Sander.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Where do you draw home and style inspiration from?
"World of Interiors magazine. It's the most fascinating interiors magazine ever, and it fills me with despair every time I flip through a new issue. It makes you want to start all over again — as a minor English aristocrat living in a crumbling house in the countryside with an Aga range."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What is the most treasured item in your home?
"My family photos — everyone says this, I know. I have beautiful black-and-white photos from the pre-digital days; I'd grab them first in a fire."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What are some of your local hangouts in the area?
"Mill Valley Beerworks in downtown Mill Valley has a Brooklyn hipster vibe — the owners used to live and work there — and the food (and people watching) is fantastic. Last time I ate there I spotted Alice Waters, which gives the place instant culinary cred. A new bakery/lunch spot called M.H. Bread and Butter recently opened in the next town over. The owners worked at Tartine in S.F. and they make the best bread in Marin, easy. The food is great, too. They'll go far."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
How did you find this place?
"I'll never forget our realtor saying, 'This won't be your house,' as we walked through the gate. But, I was drawn to the neighborhood because it's flat and our children could walk to school — much of Mill Valley is built on the steep hillside. And, even though the house had zero charm, I could see the potential. We wanted a house with a good floor plan centered around one large, high-ceilinged room for entertaining. The first thing we did was paint the interiors white. Everything instantly improved."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Where did you find your key pieces of décor?
"Over the years, I've bought a lot of pieces at auction: a set of Thonet dining chairs on eBay, an English roll-arm chair from Butterfields (I covered it in off-white cotton duck), a small oak side board with a marble top, also from Butterfields. I think the first new piece of furniture I bought was my tailored sofa from Paris designer Catherine Memmi. It was a floor sample at Bee Market, a San Francisco furniture store. Lately, I've added a couple of modern classics into the mix: a black leather Eames lounger and a black leather and chrome Eames executive desk chair. They're both incredibly comfortable and functional."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
You are very tapped into the interior scene here, what are some of your favorite sites or shops for décor?
"Locally, I like Summer House in Mill Valley. The owners, Jane Walter and Robert Adams, have a great eye. Whenever I need to give a present I make a beeline to their shop — I'm a big believer in supporting local businesses. We also have a new shop in Mill Valley called Mint; owner Cecile Ruby Wong, she worked in NYC for Maria Cornejo, is a genius.

"Mjolk in Toronto has been a Remodelista obsession for a while. The owners, John Baker and Juli Daoust, source the most refined mix of housewares from Scandinavia and Japan — it's where Julianne Moore found her flatware when she was working in Toronto. If I had to move into a store and spend the rest of my life there, it would be Merci in Paris. Or maybe Tiina the Store in East Hampton."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Julie thumbs through her book surrounded by plush bedding.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Plush bedding and luxe accessories.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What places are you looking forward to exploring this year?
"I'm dying to go to Berlin; that's on my radar. I'm trying to figure out an excuse."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
How do you balance work and life?
"My family would say not very well. When you work in digital media, you're never far from your computer. You can't just leave work behind. I'm trying, though."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
"My mother was fearless when it came to the work world. It wasn't so much that she gave me advice — she was too busy plotting her next move — it was more that I observed her recreating herself multiple times and forging ahead. She gave off the vibe that anything is possible with hard work and charm."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Tell us more about the awesome outdoor shower.
"When we were remodeling our house, we were only able to add 300 square feet to the footprint, and we couldn't figure out how to fit a shower in the upstairs master suite. Our architect, Jerome Buttrick, came up with the brilliant idea of building a small deck with an outdoor shower and soaking tub off the master bedroom. It's like having a mini spa in your house."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What are some exciting things you’re working on right now?
"We're gearing up for our second annual Considered Design Awards in late spring. Last year, we had more than 500 entries and more than 40,000 voters. And, this year, we're adding a roster of guest judges. It's in the works, stay tuned."
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