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Classic Home with Punched-Up Style

2013 New Trad designer Julie Goldman revamps a Cape Cod-style home on the West coast

Written by Darra H. Baker
  • Michael Garland

    When a documentary filmmaker wanted to revamp his shingled Cape Cod-style house after an amicable divorce, he turned to Los Angeles-based designer Julie Goldman. Seeking a relaxed-yet-vibrant style, he desired a home that would suit his classic sensibilities and his newly single life with his two daughters.

    “[My client] wanted a space where he and friends could watch television or enjoy a barbecue and relax,” Goldman says. “He wanted to be able to entertain both kids and adults.” Goldman, who launched her J. Latter design firm in 2000 after years in production design, started with color.

    To make the 2,100-square-foot house feel alive and younger (it was built in 1922), Goldman chose punched-up colors with a masculine twist in the living and dining areas. She darkened the hardwood floors and changed the staircase banister.

    “In general, we gave the house a more classic feel,” says Goldman.

    Goldman, an art history graduate of Tufts, as well as an artist, designed clever laundry and storage areas and an art room converted from a former sleeping porch. The room is an artist’s dream with lots of natural light and space for paints, markers, papers, and—best of all—wild imaginations that can thrive in a classic house with plenty of comfort.

    Photography: Michael Garland

  • Michael Garland


    Right inside the door, a campaign bench from Serena & Lily offers handy storage. A colorful rug from Lawrence of Labrea adds a welcoming air.

  • Michael Garland

    Family Room

    Comfort is key in this colorfully patterned space. Goldman replaced a collection of chairs and sofas with one clean-lined, comfy sectional sofa. Blue-gray tints the family room walls in contrast to bold curtains in a primitive earthy orange pattern.

  • Family Room Details

    Curtains in a fabric from Manuel Canovas mingle with pillows from Mecox and Katie Ridder. 

  • Michael Garland

    Kitchen Banquette

    Goldman makes a point of using sentimental-yet-chic pieces from clients’ collections, like the Cleveland documentary film festival poster promoting the event in her client’s hometown. Goldman, as a mother of two girls, understood the need to provide as much comfortably functioning space for the family as possible. She laminated the breakfast room banquette for unfussy life around the table. 

  • Michael Garland

    Lively Dining Room

    Goldman chose Farrow & Ball’s lively yet masculine “Babouche” ochre shade to enliven the walls. 

  • Michael Garland

    Dining Room Detail

    Curtains in Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s “Kaba Kaba” pattern and ebony and ivory accents in the rug and mirror continue a subtly exotic yet festive mood.

  • Michael Garland

    Master Bedroom

    Layers of blue and bold pattern add a masculine quality to this collected-over-time ambience. Shaggy accent rugs are from Woven Accents, and the primitive quilted pillow and vintage desk lamp are from Hollywood at Home. Art behind the bed is from Natural Curiosities, and the indigo quilt is from Serena & Lily.

  • Michael Garland

    Girl's Room

    A chartreuse-and-cream throw (on the foot of bed) from Nickey Kehoe and Julie Goldman’s own fine-art watercolor canvas pillows (available at Harbinger) add a touch of artistic hip to the happy turquoise polka-dot comforter from Garnet Hill.

  • Michael Garland

    Cute Curtains

    “Petticoat Lane” window shade fabric from Osborne & Little was a great jumping-off point for this girly room.

  • Michael Garland

    Designer Julie Goldman's Tips of the Trade

    • Use classic shapes in new or unusual materials or colors.
    • Mix old and new. Display things meaningful to you: a stone found on a beach vacation, a postcard you received. New traditional style mixes across eras, too.
    • Bring life to a room. Something alive—fresh flowers, a potted tree, a goldfish in a simple container—infuses a sense of animation. Rooms need to feel inhabited—not staged.
    • Don’t skimp on the paint job. Hire a good painter, or—if you’re DIY-ing—don’t rush to paint. It’s all in the prep. Spend extra time sanding and smoothing.
    • Dress windows fully. Proper window treatments must be full, so buy more panels than you think you need. Err on the long side. Nothing gives away design on the cheap more than improper window treatments.