Where I Work: Jules Wilson

Interior designer Jules Wilson is the principal designer of her eponymous, San Diego-based firm, Jules Wilson Design Studio, that she launched in 2005. Her studio’s ever-expanding portfolio includes a wide array of high-end projects, from luxury residential homes to multifamily apartments to commercial spaces, in California, Utah, Hawaii, Texas, and Tennessee. In this month’s Where I Work, Wilson brings us into her light-filled creative studio that’s designed with modularity and inspiration in mind. Along with a look into her work environment, she’s sharing a bit about her creative process and how she and her team design their clients.

Photo by Jenny Siegwart

What is your typical work style?

I believe in work/life balance. I come in around 8am and work very hard until 6 or 7pm at night, try to take Friday afternoons off, and do work here and there from home throughout the week.

Photo by Jenny Siegwart

What’s your studio/work environment like?

We have a very collaborative environment. It’s important to me that creatives on my team are thinkers and solution hunters. We have tons of internal design sessions and charrettes throughout the week.

Photo by Jenny Siegwart

How is your space organized/arranged?

We work in an open studio with open cubby bookcases compartmentalizing areas like ideation, library, and my desk. All of our meeting tables are on casters, so we are constantly moving them around for clients and ourselves. We use large white-framed canvases to pin up design ideas and presentation progress sheets. Tables are used for designing, meetings, or laying out samples. We always have a big screen nearby to pull up Sketch Up and Revit so that we can make design updates in real time, or spin around study models.

Photo by Jenny Siegwart

How long have you been in this space? Where did you work before that?

We’ve been in this space for 6 years. Before that, we were down the street in a smaller loft space.

Photo by Jenny Siegwart

If you could change something about your workspace, what would it be?

I would have one enclosed room for privacy.

Zoila, the dog

Is there an office pet?

We have one house dog that comes in from time to time. We all love her and secretly feed her behind her dad’s back.

Do you require music in the background? If so, who are some favorites?

Yes, we definitely have music playing in the background. It ranges from alternative, hip hop, lounge, and salsa/Caribbean beats.

Photo by Olivia Hayo

How do you record ideas?

I carry around a toolkit (markers, highlighters, tape pen, scissors, scotch tape, and my special stamps) and sketch with my team on trace paper or printed drawings.

Photo by Olivia Hayo

Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?

My inspiration board right now is mostly based on my new mid-century house. I’ve been dreaming of a pool, projecting out into the landscape aiming at my distant ocean view.

Photo by Jenny Siegwart

What is your creative process and/or creative workflow like? Does it change every project or do you keep it the same?

It definitely changes from project to project, but has a common flow. Usually we prep by reviewing client goals, plans and structural considerations, location, target market/demographic or other general objectives for the project. From there, we go to our top two kick-off questions: what’s our big move? And, what’s our vibe?

Photo by Olivia Hayo

What kind of art/design/objects might you have scattered about the space?

We have a small sailboat full of bouncy balls for a relaxation refuge, although currently we have a dog statue hanging out in the boat that we stole from a beloved nearby restaurant that is now closed.

Are there tools and/or machinery in your space?

The espresso machine is probably our most important one.

Photo by Olivia Hayo

What tool(s) do you most enjoy using in the design process?

Fat markers and highlighters. Although I also love to cut and tape things together in a collage.

Photo by Olivia Hayo

Let’s talk about how you’re wired. Tell us about your tech arsenal/devices.

Relative to everybody else in my studio, I’m the low tech one. I love technology, but I am not the best operator. We are having fun exploring virtual presentations for our work.

What design software do you use, if any, and for what?

Sketch Up for design and custom items
Enscape for real time renderings
Revit for construction documents
Bluebeam for on-line presentations and construction admin

Is there a favorite project/piece you’ve worked on?

Photo by Erica Bodzin

I don’t have favorites – the next one is probably my favorite.

Do you feel like you’ve “made it”? What has made you feel like you’ve become successful? At what moment/circumstances? Or what will it take to get there?

I never think about whether I’ve “made it” or not – what’s the point? I don’t think about being successful. I just think about the next thing I want and stay focused on it.

Photo by Erica Bodzin

Tell us about a current project you’re working on. What was the inspiration behind it?

Currently, I’m working on a new project in Silicon Valley, located in a former orchard. I’m excited that our “big move” is to create a modern and architectural grand orchard for the arrival experience.

Photo by Jenny Siegwart

What’s on your desk right now?

A bunch of trace paper and piles of notes.

Do you have anything in your home that you’ve designed/created?

My happy place in my home is my dressing room – perfectly organized, all my clothes surrounding me, a Ligne Roset Togo lounge chair and ottoman in the middle with a sparkly light above, a calf skin rug on the floor, and a big full length mirror. One of my cats hangs out on my Togo, and every morning we get ready together.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.