10 Questions for Designer Julia Chi

Privé Island – May 24, 2017

Meet the visionary behind Privé’s breathtaking interiors

Widely celebrated for her work at top residential and hospitality properties, Julia Chi—from Interiors by Steven G.—is the creative force behind the Privé interior design experience. She’s known for her ability to transform large-scale spaces with exciting materials and textures. We recently caught up with Julia to find out more about her background, discuss her design process and learn what you should know before starting a project of your own.

1. Tell us your background and experience as an interior designer.

“Today, I live between Boca Raton and Atlanta, but I grew up in North Palm Beach and graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Architecture and Interior Design. While I was still in college, I had the privilege of interning under the late architect Ames Bennet, working on beautiful properties in Palm Beach. I’ve also been very blessed to have worked on amazing public spaces, signature spas and restaurants for premiere hotel brands, such as the award-winning Guerlain Spa at ONE Bal Harbour.”

2. How did you develop such a distinctive style?

“My style begins with a dialogue, as each project tells a story. They all have their own unique narratives to share. I am sure that the architecture, fashion, international culture and fine arts that influence me impacts my design work, and hopefully this stimulates the audience’s senses in a memorable way.”

3. Can you tell us about your creative vision for Privé at Island Estates?

“Exclusivity is what makes this island a true gem. The amenities boast exquisite views throughout, with resting points to enjoy, ponder and contemplate. Its surrounding design elements suggest luxury, warmth and sensitivity to the use of materials, and I integrated these elements into a harmonious visual balance.”

4. What kind of materials and design elements are being used?

“Working in a space with so much volume, we had to be mindful of proportion and scale. I introduced layering by using materials such as texturized and polished stone, ceruse-treated solid wood and luxurious leather buck suede juxtaposed with a mixture of warm metals, and tinted glass coupled with hints of jewel-toned fabrics. These combinations create both contrast and intrigue, with a sense of timelessness.”

5. What first impression do you hope the interior makes?

“Each space offers its own unique identity, but in general I want people to say, ‘Wow this is special!’ I want Privé’s interiors to remind them of their favorite museum, symphony or private resort.”

6. This project was years in the making. What’s the most interesting thing that happened in the process?

“For me, it was recognizing opportunities. That was the key to making this project a success. For example, we activated unused spaces and converted them into hobby rooms for the future residents. We also raised the ceiling height on the third level corridor and elevator lobbies, which created a grander museum-like experience.”

7. How do you create spaces that are visually impactful, but also comfortable and interactive?

“I feel that strong geometry in lighting, furnishings and artwork balance well in large spaces, creating a great visual impact. I couple soft, classic undertones with lifestyle-focused design moves. The result a cohesive environment that is sensitive to my clients’ need for comfort.”

8. Privé commissioned original works from five leading artists. Tell us about your experience working with them.

“These artists are very special and uniquely talented. I loved the collaboration as we explored ideas and experimented with concepts, driven by the needs of the project and their particular perceptions. It was especially interesting to bring diverse work from as far away as Australia (Matthew Harding), Mexico (Pedro Reyes), New York (Ross Bleckner) and my backyard of Atlanta (Tom Swanston), and to have all these pieces play off each other and my designs so well. I don’t treat artwork as a decorative accessory; it’s a key part of creating the story. Having a variety of dialogues interacting within the same context will pique people’s interest and personalize the Privé experience.”

9. If a potential owner likes your work, they can work directly with you on their own residence. What does that process look like?

“Working with me is both a professional and educational experience. I value transparency in communication, and I always like to bring a bit of humor and fun to the process!”

10. What are the most important things an owner should know before starting an interior design project?

“Before you start any interior design project, you should have a general idea of your end goal and develop a clear budget. You also want to have a wish list and a hate list! That’s important. Knowing what you don’t want can help your interior designer guide you toward what you do what.”

For more information on Privé, contact a sales executive at to schedule a tour.

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About Privé at Island Estates

Privé is located on an eight-acre private island set between Williams Island and Sunny Isles Beach. The twin iconic 16-story towers designed by renowned architects Sieger Suarez, will be comprised of a total of 160 ultra-luxury residences ranging in size from 2,585 square feet to more than 9,500 square feet for select penthouse units– the pinnacle of Miami luxury real estate.

Every Privé residence will feature private elevator entry, flow-through floor plans with 10-foot glass on both eastern and western exposures, full 10-foot-deep balconies, expansive east/west water views throughout, European kitchens and bathrooms, as well as outdoor summer kitchens. First-class, resort-style amenities and services include a 10,000-square-foot gym and spa in each tower, private dining and social rooms, poolside café, wine and cigar rooms, kids’ rooms, tennis court, two pools and Jacuzzis, marina, private pier, jogging path, 24-hour gated entry and roving security, and full-time concierge