Designer Crush: Hawkins Interiors


Julie Hawkins, founder of Napa-based Hawkins Interiors, knew from a very young age that she was destined for design. She started her career in high school—yes, high school—working at design firm in Connecticut which led her to pursue a degree in design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Her career then took flight at the highly respected firm Backen & Gillam Architects where she led the interiors department for over ten years. Now, on her own, Hawkins has developed a dynamic portfolio of eloquent work that is both functional and inspirational. Here, the shares more on designing in Wine Country, her mentors and a few of her personal favorites.

-What inspired  you to become a designer? When I was a kid, my parents gave me a collectible dollhouse, which I furnished and decorated over time. I’ve always loved design, and these early experiences really encouraged me to pursue this career. Now, my favorite part about my job is working with architects, landscape designers and other trades to design the perfect space. We also take pride in listening to our clients’ needs and collaborating with them throughout the process so they end up with a finished product that feels like them.

How does living in Napa influence your style? Napa has a unique style which blends with our aesthetic perfectly. Clients tend to like the California casual vibe that feels warm and inviting, and we love to add a lot of texture and natural light whenever possible. Oftentimes we design outdoor spaces for clients since it truly is an extension of their indoor living areas. 

Which other designers or creatives inspired your career the most? I have loved John Wheatman ever since I received his book A House is Never Done as a gift when I was in college. This is my motto at my house. I am always trying to perfect it and love changing it around! 

Also, Howard Backen and Jim Gillam have served as great inspiration. Upon getting hired at Backen & Gillam, I was always impressed with these two brilliant minds and continue to be inspired by both. 

-Any brands or decorative artists you are obsessed with?  I have a love for ceramics and would love to own this ceramic wall piece someday by artist Michele Quan. For furniture brands, I love and adore Egg Collective. Their design is brilliant, simple and perfect. 

How have you shifted your business during the pandemic?   We’ve been working from home, so in order to collaborate and continue our design work, we’ve had regular phone calls both internally and with clients to help everyone stay on track. Zoom has been our go-to for larger meetings, which is great because you can see everyone’s reaction to our design ideas. It seems like our productivity has increased during this time, and we’ve even taken on a few new projects! Although most are local, having this experience has made us realize that we can take on projects that are further away. 


Favorite local winery for design?  Mira Winery! I may be biased considering our team completed the design, but it is my favorite. 

Must-have fashion label and why?  Raquel Allegra, her pieces are so soft and beautiful, but look so effortless!

-Last concert? Lyle Lovett, he is the best in concert, I love him! 

-Favorite design book? Still: The Slow Home. This book is so beautiful, the photography and the messaging is something I very much relate to. 

If you weren’t a designer, you would be? A perfumer. 

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