Walking into Julie Murphy’s new home in Darien, recently featured in Country Living Magazine, is a little disorienting. It is both a walk back in time (to the beginnings of the home built in Rhode Island in 1780, and moved here 5 years ago) and forward to her decorating style, which is on the cutting edge and lies somewhere between a set for a Wes Anderson movie and the chicest country farm. Murphy, who trained as a fine artist and holds a BFA in painting from the University of North Carolina, lives here with her husband, a creative director at a major advertising agency in New York, her son and daughter and 4 heritage breed hens, Oreo, Amelia Earhart, the Dowager Countess, and Poulet who roam the property as if they own the place.
When Murphy started her company, Jack & Lulu (the names her now-husband gave the fictional versions of the couple while they were dating) in 1999 she supplied many of the local stores with her graphic paper products. In the past few years, she’s set her sights and creative talents on fabrics.
“I decided to pursue fabric design three years ago,” says Murphy. “I was ready to create something that could be distributed nationally and so I partnered with the fabric house Dear Stella. The first collection was inspired by the coastal aesthetic I was ensconced in when we lived in Rowayton.”
She puts her fabrics in the novelty category, one collection featured camp iconography for example (campfires, arrows, tents) and another a barnyard menagerie (chickens, cows, eggs). You’ll find these fabrics used for everything from children’s sleeping bags to tunics, dresses to bags. Murphy has spied them in cute boutiques from Bar Harbor to Provincetown. The fabrics are also sold at high-end craft purveyors, Purl in New York City for example and online at lemontreefabrics.com, among others.
Since the family moved to Darien a few years ago, she has presented several collections, including her latest “Seaworthy” which features nautical themes, from mermaids to anchors.
“I’ve found that the marketplace really responds to the nautical collections. I did one a while back called ‘All Hands on Deck’ which was really a graphic travelogue of some of our favorite places including Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Cape.”
When I ask Murphy what’s next, she’s got a gleam in her eye. She won’t say exactly but she is off on a pilgrimage to Brimfield, the massive outdoor antiques show in Massachusetts. Who knows what will inspire this artist next…she is now involved in flea in rowayton. Buying treasures
Photograph by Tom Murphy