A Fabulous Visit with Gina & Millie, Brooke and Steve, 2 Julies and a Vamp! And I'm Hooked!

Last week was quite a week for design in New Orleans, and I was fortunate enough to have had to beautiful visits with wonderful design bloggers, Gina Milne from Willow Decor and Brooke Gianetti, the talented designer and voice behind Velvet and Linen, and her  architect husband Steve.

good steve brooke

Brooke and Steve came to our wonderful town to attend the Design Leadership Summit, which brought many design luminaries to to New Orleans, several of whom had a chance to visit our shop. Brooke and Steve arrived at Julie Neill Designs around 4 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, with tired feet from walking all the way from the Windsor Court Hotel! Despite the trek, they were both so alive with personality and design ideas, and fun  and friendship! It was one of those times when you meet  someone and it seems you've known them all your life.

good bed

I was very glad to show them my shop and tell them about how we make each and every piece to order, and can customize pieces in both size and finish and even create new pieces when the need arises.


Brooke and I both thought that Julie Neill lighting would work well as a complement to the gorgeous Swedish pieces she carries in her Los Angeles shop, Gianetti Home.


Brooke and Steve are such a dynamic couple, he creating exquisite, classically inspired buildings and she providing just the perfect complementary interiors.

We talked about our common design motivations and inspirations. We all are crazy for all things Venetian, and we share a deep and passionate attraction to the designs of Mariano Fortuny.


Here's a stretched silk Fortuny chandelier similar to one Brooke and Steve have in their office.

We talked about proportion  and scale and were blown away to find out that we all base much of our work on the Golden Mean.

davinci notredame

Brooke and Steve are clearly a talented couple who are very serious about design and the is very much evident in their work.

Steve's has completed some amazing architectural projects:


And Brooke often complements his work with impeccably appointed interiors:

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I love their work and look forward to collaborating on some projects.

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Brooke and Steve's gift for design collaboration is also very apparent in their shop, Giannetti Home. As anyone who's read Velvet and Linen knows, Brooke's love for Swedish antiques is counterbalanced by Steve's attraction for industrial pieces. This brings a dynamic  tension to the look of their shop and lends an air of relaxed elegance, much like the couple themselves.


brooke's shop 2 

They have a talent for display which makes the most of their concurrent design leanings.


Their home in Santa Monica is further evidence of their easy yet refined style and taste.


Brooke's use of white and pale colors in her sunroom are quite easy on my eyes.

her bedroom

I love their bedroom, with its pale natural fabrics, French and Swedish antiques, a salvaged architectural element, and a crystal chandelier.

her house

The gateway to their home also reflects their love of the classical and is quite the elegant welcome......

Well after a short visit to my workshop and the flagship Leontine Linens store,


we proceeded down Magazine Street to Perch, where we met up with Valorie, the famous

Visual Vamp!

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Here is the Vamp clowning around with a felt flower on her head.

val perch flower hat

Brooke and Steve fell in love with Perch, and were so taken with a print of a nude woman that they found, that they purchased it for themselves.

perch red couch mantle 

The Gianetti's truly adored Perch's fun and funky take on casual elegance, and the unusual finds the shop has to offer.


at perech

And then it was on to dinner at one of New Orleans's newest and most fabulous restaurants, Coquette.


Although Coquette has only been open for a few months, it is housed in a 130 year old building that was recently renovated after sitting vacant for many years. The combination of exposed brick walls, old storefront windows and elegant lighting provides an extraordinarily comfortable and visually pleasing setting for experiencing such amazing dishes as fried soft shelled crab with a red cabbage slaw and roasted cherry tomatoes, barbecued shrimp and brioche, and a chocolate mousse tarte.


Julie Ponze, Director of Sales for Julie Neill Designs, and Valorie the Vamp helped me entertain the Giannetti's in true New Orleans style. The conversation was warm, honest, at times intense, intellectual,  stimulating,and friendly. We stayed and talked long after the delicious meal was complete.

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I think that when it was over, we were all a bit sad to leave, and we all hoped that we'll be able to get together again soon. Of course Brooke and Steve had a 5am flight in the morning and were looking forward to getting home to their three children.

good group

I must say that a great time was had by all.

Earlier in the week, my shop was graced with the arrival of the famous author of Willow Decor, Gina Milne. Unbeknownst to me, Gina has had a long friendship with my friend, an up and coming very talented New Orleans designer, Millie Gaines.


It was so fun for Julie Ponze and me to show Gina around the shop and watch her get to know our things in person. She was quite blown away by the amazing hand  finished quality of all our pieces.

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It was fun to hang out on the over-the-top Desire Bed and have our picture taken. Gina was very interested in seeing our brand new workshop, so we walked down the block and she was quite taken with the care and talent that goes into the completion of each piece we do.


Gina, who is very interested in bringing her design outlook to the Boston area is quite a talent in design herself. As many of us who have followed the developments of her kitchen and butler's pantry renovations knows, she has a great ability to study the details which will take a project from ordinary to extraordinary.


Her beautiful renovated spaces show her talent for space planning, cabinet design and a pleasing use of materials.


I had such a good time hearing Gina's plans to continue growing her blog and her design business. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

It is a known fact that blogging is quite a phenomenon for bringing people who operate within the same fields together into a community. It's really an astounding way to network and to learn from others who share your interests and vocations. But I have to say that the most gratifying aspect of participating in the blogging world is the making of some very good friendships. I am so glad to have met in person some very wonderful people.

Thank you Gina, and Brooke and Steve for coming to visit us here in our home town, and for sharing your ideas, your inspirations and your friendship with us.

Today, I'm joining Julia at Hooked on Houses "Hooked on Fridays" party. I'm hooked on meeting and becoming friends with the amazing people who write all the wonderful blogs that  entertain and educate us and draw us together.

I am the owner of Julie Neill Designs in New Orleans where we create beautiful custom lighting. This blog is my love letter to the unique people, places and happenings which make New Orleans the amazing place it is.

Please visit my website to learn more about my lighting and our fabulous shop on Magazine Street.


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