After relocating from Connecticut to California, celebrated tabletop designer Julia Berger is finding inspiration in the Bay Area’s abundant natural beauty. Here, the Julia B. founder shares her story.
What prompted you to move from the East Coast to California?
Moving to Northern California was, in many respects, a wonderful return home. Until I went “back east” to college (Brown class of ’91), I spent roughly 50 percent of my childhood there. The decision to move from Connecticut to Healdsburg was based on a desire to be close to natural beauty. We wanted to seek out new creative inspirations and stimuli while also embracing the wonderful climate and lifestyle.
From the beautiful Pacific coast to the redwood forests to the abundance of agriculture, Sonoma County offers an incredible palette of beauty that is hard to match elsewhere. In Healdsburg, there is a growing focus on local, artisanal foods, organic farming and a surprisingly large community of artists and artisans.
How did you start designing linens?
I was a single mother, and I needed to support myself and my daughter. I started selling linens out of my car in and around Greenwich, Conn., and quickly gained the confidence to design and produce my own products.
How has your aesthetic and work changed over the years?
Today, I am embracing bolder colors, more modern designs and a range of nature-inspired tones that were not part of the collection a few years ago. Now, in addition to beautiful linens, we feature ceramics, crystal and silverware, all coordinated to work together.
What are some of the standouts in your latest collection?
This fall, we are launching more new products and designs than perhaps ever before. After last year’s huge success with Quattro Mani: Le Belle Città—our Beautiful Cities collection—this year we are excited to launch Quattro Mani: Le Belle Donne, the Beautiful Women collection, that features glassware, flatware and linens.
What’s next for you?
After all that we have done to move, to design and launch these exciting new collections, as well as embark on a cross-county road show, I am actually contemplating catching my breath—for a week or two at least!
Originally published in the October issue of Silicon Valley