How did you enter the design business?
I have a design degree from El Centro College in Dallas, where I originally thought I would be studying fashion design. I am fascinated with fabric-with the dramatic details you can create with a simple drape or an unusual knot of material. That translates beautifully to interior design-perhaps even stronger than with fashion.
Anything else in your background contribute to your uniqueness as a designer?
As a teenager, I worked construction. I know how things are made because I've done the work myself-I especially liked making furniture. I think that explains my ability to visualize a project in 3-D. Even in reclaiming a piece of salvage-a Chippendale sofa at Goodwill, for instance-I can see beyond the sags and the ripped, stained fabric to how the piece will look rebuilt and reupholstered with one-of-a-kind dressmaker details that are something I try to bring to each of my projects. I look for the form of a piece of furniture. If it's good and the price is right, I buy it, knowing I will find the right home for it with a client.
Of your designs that we've seen, traditional elements are certainly present, but the overall feel is light-very contemporary, though the style isn't modern. Can you explain?
Part of that is because I don't like to swallow a room in furniture. A few good pieces have more impact, and quiet details become more immediately recognizable. It's a clean look, not a heavy traditional style.
From talking with you, it becomes apparent you are a shopper extraodonaire.
I love browsing through secondhand furniture shops, at flea markets, and at antiques shops looking for unusual objects. They don't have to be major furnishings like a sofa. A wonderful old piece of fabric that can be created into a pillow or an amazing antique bronze Greek-key finial as part of a window treatment can be a stunning statement.
Julio Quiñones & Associates