Inspirational Women in Business #7 ~ Julie Chambers, The Interior Designer…

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A couple of weeks ago, I featured this beautiful beach wedding.  It focuses on the most radiant happy smiley Bride, looking pretty and having fun on the beach with her husband, having just got married.  The bride is Julie Chambers, and her wedding tells the story how she was working on the build and styling of her own wedding venue, Newton Hall, a project that all came together just on time for her big day…

From the feature 'A Relaxed, Rustic, French Barn Style Wedding By The Sea'
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012, Image Newcastle


From the moment I met Julie last year {her wedidng post explains how this happened} I've been a little bit smitten with this pint sized blonde haired beauty. There are few people you meet in life who you click with immediately in a 'it feels like we've been friends forever' kind of way, but Julie is one of those people. 

To recap briefly, Julie is a regular reader of Love My Dress and contacted me to compliment me on the blog last year and tell me that she was also a local Northern girl.  I could see in her email signature that she was also an Interior Designer, so I wasted no time (as one doesn't) in emailing her back to thank her and see if she'd like to hook up and discuss the styling for one 'Summer Soiree' that occured last August. The rest is history and Julie and I have been friends ever since…

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Julie  is a self-employed Interior Designer and a really good one at that.  She has been responsible for styling most of the uber-cool night-spots in Newcastle with her inimitable vintage meets city-chic style, including most of the properties and developments under Newcastle's The Apartment Group

Julie's story of becoming self-employed really inspired me and so I thought it might do you too, as part of my Inspirational Women in Business interviews. Let's say hello shall we? Throughout this interview features images of Julie's interior styling – above each image is a link to the property/development the images are taken from…

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Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Julie Turner, an Interior Designer running my own business Julie Chambers Design.  I'm head over heels in love with interior design.  I'm totally seduced by luxurious fabrics, fusion design and all things decadent or a little bit left of centre…



How did you get into interior design and how did you cut your teeth in the trade?

I always had an interest in art and design. My perosnal choices led me to an art foundation course, and from this I enrolled onto an interior design and architecture course at Newcastle College.

Later, I was given the choice between a work placement with Scottish and Newcastle to design some traditional bars or complete my course as a degree. I chose the former option, which I still feel was the best choice, as it has given me a strong work ethic.

I then started work for a local architects firm, which then gave me the opportunity to move to London. This is where I really learnt my stuff.  This was the start of a long love affair with London and design. It opened my eyes and I realised that ultimately in life, you can be whoever you want to be… 

Interior Design at As You Like It by Julie Chambers
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012,
The Apartment Group


Whilst in London, I worked for a couple of top interior designers and worked on high profile hotels and high specification residential projects.  But after four years, there was a dip in the market and I unfortunately was made redundant.

Within a week I saw an opportunity and sent emails to a number of TV and film companies to get some experience of set-dressing. Having gained that experience I was recommended to a film and design course and within a couple of months I was working for the BBC.


After working on a number of projects over a year I decided to come back home to Newcastle for Christmas. Once I was home I felt happy to be back, so I took an interior design job for a local firm, but soon realised I could do more through a chance meeting I had around the time.

I truly feel like luck has played a huge part in many of my big opportunities to date and especially after I met my main client Duncan Fisher. We instantly connected on all things design, he had just opened Apartment Newcastle’s first Luxe bar and he wanted me to do his new house…

Interior Design at Mr Lynch, by Julie Chambers
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012,
The Apartment Group


Mr Lynch 2

After this he pushed me to do As You Like It, even though I said I thought it was too big for little old me. It was such a loving project to do as we both put our heart and soul into every part of it. There is a story behind everything even down to each individual piece of furniture.

The bar was designed to make you feel comfortable and cater for lots of needs (but the biggest need for me was that my mam and dad could go and feel great there, as well as my friends). It was the beginning of long business relationship and above all friendship.

Mr Lynch

When did you realise you wanted to set up your own business?

Having worked in London, it gave me the independence and the confidence that I could achieve what I wanted. However, the reality of my situation was that there was little work and I didn’t have many contacts in industry in the North-East -but the chance meeting with Duncan Fisher forced the situation.

Did you have any business experience before setting up your own business?

No, other than working as part of a business in the industry.

How did you go about setting up your own business?

I registered with the Inland Revenue and picked up my pencil.  I have no business loans and funded everything myself, just bought things little by little…

Interior Design at Newton Hall, by Julie Chambers
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012,
The Apartment Group


What would you say are the fundamental basics required to establish your own business?

Drive, willing to work harder and longer then your peers.

What would you say are the essential skills required to run your own business successfully?

Staying motivated; you have to above all else love your job because that’s what makes you get through the hard times. And there will be hard times…

Interior Design at Newton Hall, by Julie Chambers
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012,
The Apartment Group


What is your biggest business lesson learned so far?

Sort out your taxes and accountant asap!!

<I couldn't agree more Julie!>

What's the best advice you could give to anyone looking to take a leap of faith and set up her own business?

Do it!! Try it! if you fail try again!  Keep on going…

Any obstacles or limitations you have had to overcome, particularly being a woman in business?

I don’t think being a woman has ever stopped me in anything I've done.  I am under 5ft and look young for my age and do feel that at times this has held me back in certain situations.

Interior Design at Tokyo, by Julie Chambers
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012, The Apartment Group


What tips do you have for balancing work/personal and family time?

I'm still trying to figure that out myself! It's a constant struggle, however my biggest challenge, I think will be becoming a mother later this year!

What/who inspires you/how do you stay inspired?

Travelling, antiques, design books and London.

My Mum, she brought me up to think I could be anything or do anything I wanted.

My Dad, as his work ethic is outstanding.

And my husband, who inspires me to always be better…

Julie on her wedding day
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012, Image Newcastle


How do you go by setting yourself apart from your competition?

I don’t advertise so all my work comes from word of mouth. So a lot of people see my work and seek me out.  I hope my work speaks for itself.

What are your career highlights to date?

As You Like It tested me to the limit but it got voted the seventh sexist place to eat in the world…

Interior Design at As You Like It by Julie Chambers
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012,
The Apartment Group

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My most recent project Newton Hall and cottages has a special place in my heart as I designed it for my wedding

Interior Design at Newton Hall, by Julie Chambers
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012, The Apartment Group


Newton hall


Another project is the Town Wall, which I’m also very proud of, but most of all over hearing my mam and dad telling other people what I’ve done ☺

Interior Design at Town Wall, by Julie Chambers
Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012, The Apartment Group




Any career/business lows, and how did you overcome them?

When there was a slump I didn’t have work for couple months. That hit me hard.  But I now know that this experience has toughened me up and I would approach future difficult times as an opportunity to take stock and reevaluate my business.

Any books/magazines you would recommend?

I always read house interior magazines, and design books.

If you weren't a super star designer and business owner, what would you be?

I think I would have persuade the film design route. I would have loved to do a peiord drama.


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I hope you enjoyed this interview and learning more about a lady who followed her own path. You can read more Inspirational Women in Business interviews here.

Thanks so much Julie for taking the time to share your experience with my readers 🙂

I'd love to hear back from any readers who are looking to become self-employed and from other self-employed women who have found success in setting up their own businesses.  Drop a comment below and let's get some chit-chat going 🙂

Pop back soon for more inspiration this Friday.

Much love,



Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.

11 thoughts on “Inspirational Women in Business #7 ~ Julie Chambers, The Interior Designer…

  1. ‘ultimately in life, you can be whoever you want to be’
    Such wise words, great to read on a sunny Friday morning. If I teach my children one thing I want it to be this.

  2. Love your interview series Annabell, they give me hope and guidance as once our wedding has taken place, my husband and i plan to go into business together. it’s scary but so comforting reading these interviews seeing how other people have coped.

  3. Julie has done some great designs, as do the photographer of her wedding ;))). Amazing blog to read. I like the artistry added to the writing and the design of your beautiful website!!!!

  4. I’ve been in several of these venues without realising that it was the work of a single designer and I’ve loved them all. Julie is an incredibly talented lady and absolutely and inspirational woman.

  5. I too have been in several of these venues, what vision! fabulous to read about the woman behind it all. Stunning on her wedding day too. Think of all the people who have enjoyed the spaces created by julie, wonderful x

  6. Thankyou glad you like the venues more to come this Year Garden Kitchen in Eldon Garden opens next week x

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