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?!
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.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!
 
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