If you’re anything like us, running a creative  business is definitely high up on the bucket list. Doing something you love, sticking close to family, and challenging yourself creatively is a dream come true. Thus, we are SO excited to introduce you to someone who is not only doing just that, she’s also juggling a gaggle of little ones to boot! Boston based interior designer Julie Richard of Shelter Design has partnered up with the equally fabulous Bellini Portrats to give you guys a behind the scenes look at all things Shelter. Oh, and there’s a gallery if you need just a bit more pretty!

From Stephanie of Bellini Portraits… I’m a portrait photographer south of Boston and feature local “mamaprenuers” on my blog a few times a year.  This is Julie Richard of Shelter Design, an incredible interior design company.  I spent a morning with her and her two beautiful kiddos capturing shots of a normal morning routine and details around her home. I had the pleasure of interviewing this talented woman, and here’s a little re-cap of our time together:

How long have you been in business?
Four years

Please explain a little bit about your product/business and how you developed the concept behind it:|
I obtained my master’s degree in interior design in 2004 and worked for a number of elite firms in Boston before branching out on my own. I knew I had the passion, ideas, training and experience to launch my own firm.

Shelter is a full service interior design firm that specializes in residential interiors. I work on an array of projects with small or large budgets. I want my clients to feel that great design is accessible. I try to incorporate not only high-end items into my projects, but also include artwork from sites like Etsy, vintage pieces from flea markets and shops and archival fabrics. I view the designer-client relationship as collaborative. My vision is infused into each design, but only if it reflects my client’s style, tastes, and needs.

Design is all about the art of transforming environments, but you also need to know how to execute your ideas. I have established relationships with a number of craftsman and workrooms in the Boston area and feel that these collaborations bring a quality to my work that sets Shelter apart from other firms. I believe that good design is all about the details. It is my role to introduce items, concepts, color schemes and ideas that the client may not have considered.

Tell us more about your business, Shelter Design?
My goal is to create dynamic spaces. Many of my clients know what they like but often have trouble creating a cohesive design. That’s where I come in. I work closely with clients to create the perfect space for them. It is also my role to introduce them to new sources and ideas. I usually design custom pieces for every project. I. I am in the process of creating a furniture line of upholstered pieces. When I cannot find the perfect piece for a job, I just design it! I really want my clients’ homes and projects to feel personal and unique. I try to stay away from anything that looks contrived, overdone, or predictable.

What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business?
Making time for everything!! I would love to fit more design related travel into my schedule. Sifting through all the paperwork and accounting is extremely time consuming. I could spend half my week on those tasks, but I would much rather be designing, sketching, and finding new product sources.

How many children do you have? 
I have two children, a three-year-old son named Colby and a one-year-old daughter named Emerson. I was pregnant with my son when I began my business.

What are some of the creative ways you have found to juggle being a woman, a mother, and a business owner?
Most days are very busy. I try to keep the kids and myself on track with a routine, but I am also open to deviating from our daily routine. Children are bright little people and can sense when you are stressed out. I try to keep them engaged with creative play. We draw, dance, sing, play outdoors etc.
I also need down time, so I make time for myself. I exercise, and meet friends for a glass of wine. A happy mother makes for a better mother and a more efficient business owner. Writing my blog is time consuming but it is also an escape. I love to read other design blogs. They are very inspiring. Daily:
– I keep a detailed to do list. I do this for all personal and professional “tasks.”
– I write down all my professional and personal appointments on my day calendar.
– I enter them into my I-phone, too. I cannot rely solely on my phone. There is something reassuring about writing them down.
– I am constantly sketching ideas in my sketchbook and tearing inspiring ideas from magazines. I have a huge inspiration board in my office, so when I sit down to design my creative space is engaging.
– I note weekly appointments, reminders and inspiring quotes on a large chalkboard wall in my kitchen. If it’s on the wall, it absolutely will not be missed!!
– Finally, exercising at least three times a week helps me keep a clear head!

Who is your biggest inspiration?
Personally, my immediate family, my parents, and sister are. They are very supportive, hardworking, and creative! Professionally, designers from the past inspire me. My short list includes Dorothy Draper, Frances Elkins, and Coco Chanel. These women took risks, pushed societal boundaries, and were creative geniuses during a time when many women didn’t work. Their designs remain classic today. And for the men, I often look to David Hicks, Albert Hadley, and Warren Platner for inspiration. As far as current icons, I am continually in awe of Kelly Wearstler. She breaks the rules and is a master with color. I’m drawn to her unique and glamorous style. She has done an amazing job branding herself and her products. Design is my passion. I could talk for days about inspiration and admired icons.

Photography: Bellini Portraits | Interview: Julie Richards of Shelter Design