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Sneak Peek: Julia Okun of Rennes

by Shannon Grant


Growing up, Julia Okun’s friends would comment that her bedroom looked like a shop or a museum filled with carefully arranged knickknacks or fossils, and she still has a tendency to do that. This tendency has extended to her home, located in Jamaica Plain, Boston, with tiny curiosities scattered about, such as a small handmade robot or Dorothy’s ruby slippers brought all the way from Kansas. Among these collected objects, Julia and her husband, Jesse, manage to keep things simple and functional with pops of color mixed in sparingly. Four years ago, Julia started the accessories line Rennes after a search for the perfect bag left her empty handed. She does all the drafting, cutting and sewing, creating beautiful bags, pouches, wallets and occasional knitwear pieces. Thank you, Julia! — Shannon

Image above: My parents gave me this Japanese Noren curtain as a gift. As soon as we started decorating, I knew that the curtain would be a perfect divider between the kitchen and the pantry. It lets lots of light in, and the color gives it an airy feel.


Image above: The kitchen didn’t have any cupboards when we moved in, so we decided to put up wall shelving. It’s since become a home for bowls, cups, tea, and pictures.

See more of Julia’s Boston home after the jump . . .


Image above: I love the living room because it has our couch in it and a beamed ceiling. The room had no overhead lights, so we recently hung some over the couch. I made the striped pillows, and my friend Kim made the button ones. We always have a blanket on hand — my favorite is this Christmas quilt that my aunt made. It’s older than me, and it’s so soft. The basket under the coffee table I found via my friend, Caitlin, who runs metrode.


Image above: Jesse built this robot last spring from Let’s Make Robots. When you turn it on, it rolls around and senses when there is a surface in front of it. Once it’s found a chair, it will start drumming on it. It records itself and then plays it back as it keeps adding more beats.


Image above: Before I moved Rennes into a studio space, I worked out of our dining room. It was packed with so much leather, fabric, and tools. When I moved out, I knew I wanted the room to be empty and spacious: It seemed like the perfect opportunity to start a plant room.


Image above: The print on the wall is from a woman who runs one of my favorite blogs, Sunken Treasure. You may have noticed we also have one hanging in our living room. I say when you like something a lot, you can never go wrong having two of them.


Image above: We get most of our furniture at antique shops — this dresser is from a shop near where I grew up in Connecticut. The gingham pouch is one of my favorite things I own; I found it on a trip to Kyoto.


Image above: We have family in Kansas, so one time my mom brought me back this door stop. It makes me laugh every time I see it!


Image above: After sewing leather pouches for four years, you start to accumulate quite the collection. I always have a few in my bag, and I like to alternate, so I keep them right by the door. My favorite is the dot pouch I made with Caitlin last spring — we’ll be making some more for the holidays. If you know me, you probably know my biggest vice is shoes. You can never have too many pairs of shoes. I’ve also found that wellies are the perfect places to store umbrellas!


Image above: After seeing so many nice terraces in Montréal and Québec City, we were inspired to eat out on our porch more. In the summer, we try to do it at least once a week.

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