With a passion for colour and a love affair with flowers, interior designer and founder of Blueberry Living & Co, Ju de Paula, is a joy to behold. We spoke with Ju at her technicolor home to talk colour (naturally), pattern and bold designs.
We just love the way you embrace colour and pattern! When did you first discover you had such a bright interior eye?
I was raised in Brazil and grew up surrounded by colour. My mum loved bright colours. Our house was very colourful, so it’s been in my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved interiors. I used to create furniture for my Barbie doll house when I was child!
What’s your philosophy when it comes to good interior design?
Be true to yourself and create a space that reflects who you are. I think interior design is about a feeling. When I work with a client my overall goal is to create a space that makes that person feel good. This can only be achieved by understanding the personality of the person.
You’re from Brazil. How has that influenced your interior style?
My love for strong colours definitely comes from Brazilian roots. We are a colourful nation and embrace colour. We are also blessed with an abundance of sunshine and I love the sun. I always try to add yellow into my designs as, for me, it’s a way of bringing the sunshine in.
What’s the key to getting colour and pattern right?
If there is a colour and pattern you like then go for it, there is no key to getting it wrong if it’s something you love. Decide on how you want the space to feel or what mood you want to create and then choose a colour and combination of colours. Understanding the colour wheel is great for bringing shades together. Pick different tones of the same colour and layer them or contrasting shades, such as blue and green or green and pink can look fantastic together.
We’re as passionate about reclaimed wood as you are about bright interiors. What advice would you give to combine your colourful style with reclaimed wood furniture?
I love mixing aged and reclaimed wood furniture with colour. For me it's a wonderful combination. Reclaimed wood adds soul and character to a piece, which is how I feel about colour too. If you’re working with a new or modern space, reclaimed wood and colour gives it an instant personality.
Name three Modish Living products you are lusting over and how would you style them?
1. I love the simplicity of the Chelwood Reclaimed Wood Dining Table. It's all about the beautiful wood. I would style it with some large plants inside jewel coloured crackle glaze pots.
2. I also like the Portobello Oak Console Table. I would style it with a pair of colourful ceramic table lamps, some plants and add a large ottoman upholstered in a floral fabric under it.
3. The Sabrina Curved Velvet Chair in canary yellow is gorgeous! I would style it with a patterned fuchsia cushion and a floor lamp beside it.
How important is sustainability and eco-friendly principles to you and how do you aim to incorporate them into your designs?
I’ve spent my life upcycling, repurposing and reusing old furniture and fabrics, so it comes naturally to me. I believe we should reuse what we already have and change it to fit with the space or room. Sometimes you look at a piece and it just isn’t right, but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it; you can change it. This principle is not only good for design, but the environment too.
What makes you happy?
Simple things make me happy. Like holding a hot cup of tea, eating ice cream on a summer’s day or carrying a bunch of flowers.
Talking of flowers, what’s your favourite flower?
Dahlias! They have such a beautiful shape and I love the different layers and colours.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
To see your fears as arrows pointing you in the direction you should go. Many of the good things that have happened to me in my life have been as a result of following this advice. It’s how I got a place on Interior Design Masters. It was a cold February day and I had just launched my new online interior design course. I looked up at the sky to ask the universe to give me a sign to help me get my course in front of people. I picked up my phone and an advert popped up on Instagram asking for interior designers for a new TV show. Now, I’m an introvert and the thought of putting myself out there on TV was frightening, but I didn’t want to be ungrateful. I had asked for direction and been given it, so I had to follow the arrows.
Being on the show opened up so many doors and opportunities for me professionally. I can now do what I love and help more and more people learn how to design homes that make them happy.
If you could be anyone for one day, who would it be?
This is a tricky question! I try not to compare myself with others, so there isn’t really anyone I’d rather be. I quite like me.
What’s your mantra for life?
It’s a quote from Brazilian poet, Mario Quintana - ‘Don't chase the butterflies, look after your garden and they will come to you!’
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