Designer Crush: Julie Rootes
1. Who is your biggest role model?
I’ve had several role models along the way, so picking one is tricky. Growing up. it was my parents for their hard work in raising a family, and my grandmother for her style and flair. Today, it’s women like Aerin Lauder, Palmer Weiss, and Amanda Nisbet for being able to run successful businesses while still maintaining a family. It’s a constant challenge in my world, but I love doing both.
2. Which movie or play do you wish you could have designed the set for?  
The Sex And The City movies. Who wouldn’t love to design Carrie and Big’s apartment?
3. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?  
Whether or not they ask you to remove your shoes! Outside appearances are one thing, but I really try and ask a lot of questions and establish an open dialogue from the beginning. A good design relationship takes trust and helping your clients understand you are their advocate during the design process. It’s hard sometimes for them to turn over the reigns in the beginning. They are all so different. You need a degree in psychology to decipher all of the different personalities and quirks.
4. What new design trends are you excited to integrate into your work?  
I try not to follow trends (someone once told me “trend ends in e.n.d."), and stay true to my design sense and instincts. That said, I am loving all of the mixed metals I’m seeing lately. It keeps it more interesting when you mix nickels with brass and different textures. I’m also loving all of the '70s influences in fashion which will easily translate to interiors.
5. How do you completely unwind?  
By traveling...definitely near the water with a cocktail and good book or magazine in hand. 
6. If you hadn't become a designer, which career would you have pursued?  
Working for a fashion magazine or in the fashion industry.
7. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why?
I had a horrible boss right out of college in advertising sales. I learned how not to treat your employees.
8. What’s your favorite recipe?  
I love the avocado bruschetta from Picco in Larkspur and a good margarita in hand. Keep the margarita simple: good tequila, fresh squeezed lime juice, and agave. The simpler the better.
Here’s the bruschetta recipe. Picco doesn’t do the lemon and garlic, and you can do an 8-10 year balsamic and not have to reduce, but this is the gist of it, courtesy of Marin Magazine


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Sea salt

  • 2 slices levain bread, 1/2 inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled, partially smashed

  • 1 ripe but firm Hass avocado

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Combine the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and a pinch of sea salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer until the vinegar reduces by half and has a thick syrup consistency, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  • Preheat the oven broiler or a grill pan. Lightly brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil. Toast in the oven or on the pan until golden brown, turning once. Transfer to a plate and rub with the garlic clove.
  • Trim the tip of the avocado. Run a knife vertically around the center of the avocado, cutting into flesh until knife meets the pit. Gently twist the avocado open and remove pit. Carefully remove the skin, keeping the avocado intact. Thinly slice each half crosswise. Arrange the slices on the bread, overlapping. Brush with the balsamic syrup. Season with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.
9. Create your perfect playlist for us.
This is a tough one.  I love so many different types of music from all genres and it depends on the mood, but here’s a start.
Lightning round!
10. Would you rather shop new or vintage?  
Both! Custom pieces with some vintage sprinkled in. It’s all about the layer for me.
11. First celebrity crush?  
Tom Cruise. 
12. What’s your hidden talent?  
I’m tough to beat in thumb wrestling.
13. Best restaurant in your area? Where is it?  
Farm Shop at Marin Country Mart. The menu always changes depending on the season.
14. SF or LA?
I’ve lived in both, but definitely SF for its beauty and culture. I love LA for its warmer weather, beaches, and shopping.