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A Room of Her Own

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Designer Julia Leach – the genius behind the clothing line Chance – has a living room that you want to, well, live in. Here, we chat about her art, books, and secret movie wall …

In your bookcase, the shelves of books look like waves. What’s the story?

I have this right-brain-left-brain combo, so when I was putting books on the shelves, I wanted to organize them. So I chose to group them by subject and then by height. It felt meditative and was an accomplishment.

Are those Monopoly pieces?

Monopoly pieces, at the end of the day, are very emotional. The shoe, it’s so simple, but you think, awww, Monopoly.

What do you do in this room?

Having friends over for movie night is one of my favorite types of entertaining. I’ll just say, “Hey, come over next Wednesday…” and someone will bring the wine, someone will bring the movie. I have a movie projector, so I’ll just take the big painting off the right wall, spin the chairs around and make popcorn. We’ve watched Badlands, A Man and a Woman and John Cassavetes movies…

Who are these three men?

The one in the engineer’s cap is my dad. The Paul Newman look-a-like was my mentor, Jay Chiat. The tall man is my dad’s best friend and like a crazy hippie uncle to me. These three people influenced how I think about creativity and they set amazing examples in terms of work ethic and integrity.

What a fun room. It feels so lived in.

Spaces are so emotional. You feel like it’s individualistic, but it has a lot to do with your parents and family.

What were your parents like?

My parents are artists. My dad was a potter, and my mom was an art teacher and docent, and she was always drawing vegetables from her garden. The salon-style wall is a personal passion because I grew up with art around me. But nothing too grand or provocative.

Do you change the art around a lot?

Five years ago, I had been living in this apartment for a year, and my dad was coming to visit. I had collected all these pieces, which were framed and leaning against the wall. Suddenly, I was like, “Oh my god, my dad is coming, I have to hang these.” So I got on a stepladder, hung one piece, and just collaged around it. I barely thought it out, but now it’s still the same.

Did your dad like it?

Oh my gosh, yeah. He was just quietly proud, like all parents are, when you come into your own and have your own space.

Photographs by Brittany Ambridge

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