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julie nolta design
Julie Nolta

Hi, I'm Julie, Chief Executive Empress

of my little apple green design studio.

Welcome to my blog!

When I'm not out visiting a client or searching for just the right  product for a project, I can probably be found in my happy little studio (painted the perfect shade of green), busy drawing up new ideas for a cool kitchen or a "spa-licious" bathroom. I like to share the fun stuff I find along the way!


apple green studio

Banquette sneak peak and the instant dress

Photo: The Anchor on Unsplash

I’ve just started a fun, new project and thought I’d give you a little inside peek as I get going on it.

My nice client, Miranda (which may or may not be her real name - - I’ll never tell!) needs help with a few things in her home. She does quite a bit of entertaining, and frequently has lots of folks over for family-style dinners. There’s not nearly enough seating at the dining room table, and she has this kind of wasted corner in her great room which she thought would be a perfect space for a built-in bench seat, (otherwise known as a banquette, if you wanna get fancy).

Cute red fainting couch, huh?

After looking at her Pinterest photos for some inspiration, and talking about a bunch of meaningless details like measurements and avoiding electrical outlets and the possible necessity of cutting out some floorboards, I sketched up this little plan to show her and the cabinet maker (who just happens to be my brother-in-law).

built-in bench seat

It was just want Miranda wanted (!), so next up was choosing fabric. I tend to go fabric shopping alone because the sight of a fabric store that’s larger than a football field can be overwhelming to many people.

Mill End

For me it’s all eye candy and it's fun to get distracted by stuff along the way.

All this green was like yelling “squirrel” at a dog.

And then I saw this stuff and did a double take.

You may remember, oh faithful reader, that last week I was talking about old styles coming back around again? This “instant dress” yardage comes pre-hemmed with smocking at the top so all you have to do is measure off enough to fit around you, sew up the side, and in a matter of minutes you have yourself a new dress or a skirt. Way cool back in the 70’s!

I hadn’t seen this fabric in years and it took me on a little trip down memory lane to Christmas morning 1972. My mom had made me a new “instant” skirt, and here I am in all my nerdy glory with Mom (on the far right), my aunts, and my Muggy, stylin’ in their holiday caftans.

Did I tell you I was easily distracted in the fabric store?

Eventually I got past the nostalgia of the instant dress and found some nice gray fabric options for the bench seat, and we've settled on these:

gray upholstery fabric

The solid gray for the seat and tufted back cushion, and the two patterned fabrics for accent pillows. It’s gonna be beautiful!

gray upholstery fabric
gray upholstery fabric

(You can read more here if you're interested in how and why you can use these two totally different patterns together.)

If you want to see the banquette After photos, you’ll have to hang around for a month or so while we wait for the cabinetmaker and the upholsterer to do their thing.

In the meantime: the Instant Dress. Retro chic or best left to history? I know MY vote! Leave me a comment below. And thanks for reading!



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