Transitioning from music to interior design is not a regular switch, but for Julie Crochetière, it made sense. “When I look at a blank piece of paper and when I look at an empty room, I see the same thing: a story waiting to be written.”
Before, Julie was a successful singer, songwriter, and pianist. Her debut album, A Better Place, was the eight most downloaded R&B album on iTunes Canada. In 2015, her album Counting Dreams was nominated at the Juno Awards for Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. Her voice is captivating: mellow, yet powerful.
Her transition to music began when her and her husband, Chris, bought an old house in Toronto that needed a complete renovation. It was then that she took her first trip to TUBS, picked out tiles, paint swatches, finishings, and fell in love with the process.
In music and in design, she says she pulls her inspiration from opportunity. “It’s all about seeing what’s there, what the space can give you.” For her, the opportunity to begin a career in interior design full time was there, and she knew she had to take it. She got her contractor license, and together with her husband, they founded Waterfront Home Improvements.
Today, Waterfront Home Improvements does renovations and design all over the Greater Toronto Area. Sometimes, all it begins with is a piece of land and a client’s Pinterest board, but it always comes together into something beautiful. “Like in music, I need to trust my instincts and dare to do things differently,” Julie says. “That’s how I get the best results.”
“Like in music, I need to trust my instincts and dare to do things differently,” Julie says. “That’s how I get the best results.”
Bringing light to an old space. Pictured above: A transformative before & after.
Julie’s interior design style revolves around modern, clean lines, but also takes inspiration from more traditional and vintage styles as well. But the most important part, she says, is being versatile. “You don’t know what the client will like and you need to be adaptable to that.”
She always asks her clients to populate a Pinterest board first, so that she can understand their vision completely. Then, she will ask her client to take her on a walk through of the house and point out everything they don’t like. “It’s from there that I can know what we really need to change,” Julie says
“TUBS makes it easy to fulfill our client’s vision completely,” she says. “The Rubinet line, for example, is fully customizable.”
Once she has a full idea of what the client is looking for, she looks at how the space can be manipulated. “Maybe it’s a wall that makes the space feel small, or a pillar that blocks natural light.” This is where her experience as a general contractor helps her the most, as she and her husband can make these changes themselves. “Once the space has been moulded into what will best serve the client, we can begin to make the exciting decisions.”
Those exciting decisions are finishes – the perfect vanity, a brass sink, unique tiles. “TUBS makes it easy to fulfill our client’s vision completely,” she says. “The Rubinet line, for example, is fully customizable.” Right now, Julie is working with a client that may want red cabinets and a rusty, red faucet to match. “We can do that,” she says.
Small space? challenge accepted! Pictured: before & after of small bathroom
For Julie, her favourite part of any renovation is once the cabinets come in. “It’s when the client can really see what’s happening,” she says. “The feeling that everything is clicking into place, and their dream is coming to life.” It’s that same sense of opportunity, the rewarding feeling of knowing that risks paid off, that taking the leap was the right thing to do.
Julie has come a long way over the years, but it all led her to where she’s supposed to be. “I’ve always been a hustler, I’ve always had to be a hustler,” she says. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”