Julia Atkinson-Dunn - Studio Home


After beginning life as NZ’s very first design blog in 2008, for 9 years this site has tracked a path exclusively focused on connecting you with the work of talented NZ/AUS creative brands/people/products and projects.
The intimate, casual reporting and interviewing style used by many early bloggers has slowly been adopted by the media at large to profile makers and artists in the own environments, free of overtly staged imagery and revealing the humans behind the work. We LOVE this right? And it’s TERRIFIC news for our local design industry!
But for me (mostly operating as a one-man-band) …I no longer felt the drive to compete or try to better the output of those sites. What’s more, its become common place for brands and retailers themselves to produce really interesting content in their own promotion, interviewing of their muses and connecting with like minded audiences through social media.

I just felt like the concept of Studio Home had become tired and was no longer even offering me the type of unique, rich content that I craved.


In late 2017 I redirected Studio Home to a place I could continue my passion for creativity but produce useful information based on my personal views, ideas and ponderings around HOME. 

With a background in interior design, 10.5 years of creative based blogging business behind me, a solid art addiction and an undying passion for making a space my own – I’m hoping to bring you content that will feel new and welcome to you!
You will find juicy, link heavy, curated edits, a blow by blow account of the beginnings of a gardening obsession and guided discovery of finding your own nesting and decorating style – ultimately a common theme of posts exploring everything HOME. 

This all comes as I embark on a new stage of life in Christchurch, New Zealand (read more on this below) and coincides with the launch of some personal design based projects I am super excited to plot with you all. The blog will also be sprinkled with pieces specifically aimed at small businesses with whom I continue to work with via my Social and Strategy Sidekick service – to be followed by the launch of my workshops online later this year.

I am really excited about all this PLUS the freedom it gives me to really get back to the type of sharing I enjoy, all with the continued aim to be of service YOU and by way of sharing, remaining a great advocate for those I have supported over the years.

In late 2018 I have gone on to realise a personal dream of presenting curated art exhibitions from my own home. The Studio Home ART HOUSE has the soul aim of presenting normal people the chance to learn about, appreciate and buy art in a friendly domestic environment. It is both an art sale with a side of home and garden tour, hopefully inspiring others to fill their walls with visual goodness to ping the heart strings!
Explore the most recent ART HOUSE HERE. 

Some bits and pieces to help you understand the new site launched September 18 2017: 

  • In the true nature of a fresh start, I have deleted content from Jan 2008 to mid 2012 to lighten the load on my new hosting. Everything from there I am proud, of so please do explore!
  • There is still plenty in the archives for you, however there may not always be a preview image to view before clicking into each post in full – don’t worry the imagery is there! Older posts can get a little weird when viewing on mobile so maybe save them for computer time!
  • To avoid missing out on posts you can follow Studio Home here on Facebook, Instagram or subscribe here to the weekly newsletter. If you are keen to connect more closely with my home life and collecting of ideas you can follow my personal Instagram here and my Pinterest here.
  • You will always be told when a post has been supported by a partner and you can certainly rest assured; these will only ever be offered to you based on my genuine interest in them!
  • If you miss Studio Home’s previous format featuring introductions to NZ/AUS brands and people one post at a time, I would love to direct you to some great online hubs developing beautiful, LOCAL content similar to us before:

If you are keen to learn a little more about ME you might be interested in:

Writing for Others

I have been very lucky to work with brands and publications that share my point of view and like my conversational style of writing.

Collaboration + Partnering Opportunities

Over the years Studio Home has worked with brands such as iRobot NZ/AU,  Fuji Film NZ, Dulux NZ, Etsy AU, Jetstar, Jucy, Seagate, The Arts Foundation, Farmers, Glassons, Ezibuy and Chaos and Harmony to name a few. On top of this, in 2015 I launched my own collaboration project named TEAM.WORK, which has seen the production of joint products with Trestle Union, Mushama and Me, Radical Yes!, ALAS and New Lands.

I am always keen to discuss new ideas, writing opportunities, joint ventures and partnerships so please don’t hesitate to contact me here. 

Behind the Keyboard

Wedding of Tena Dunn and Julia Atkinson-Dunn of Studio Home // Photography by Charlotte Sowman

Our backyard wedding ceremony in Christchurch, Feb 2018. Beautiful shot by Charlotte Sowman.

I’m Julia Atkinson-Dunn. I live in Christchurch, New Zealand with my husband; T in an old blue villa with great bones. The brilliant work done by the owners before us means we are plodding through the fun bit of repainting, decorating and making changes when we can afford it, to make the place our own. What’s more, the beautifully set up vegie and garden beds guilt tripped me into making use of them and I find myself in the midst of a full blown (VERY unexpected!) gardening obsession!

My own style of living is imperfect, casual, layered and homely. I’m all about texture, odd treasures mixed in with meaningful ones and natural elements – I gain a ridiculous amount of satisfaction from viewing corners of my home at their best times of day and year. My attention to detail is pretty loose, so a manicured magazine set you will not find here!
The pink in our bedroom first thing in the morning, the view down the hall to the back garden on bright sunny days, the magic light that slinks into the living room around 5. Maybe that’s a tad over romantic but I’m into it …
Family and friends time at bachs, lakes and ski fields are the tops! Boats, rivers, wines in late afternoon light, South Island high country, old buildings and homes, new buildings and homes, peoples homes in general ….. are all things that spin my wheels. I love Art MORE than I love a healthy bank account (and yes this has proven to be a problem!) and have even started playing around with my own. I love to write, read and over the last year, focus both those loves into the pursuit of gardening knowledge!
Gardening has been the biggest revelation to me in adult life and I am totally consumed in the positive effect it has on my day to day brain, body, creativity and patience. MUCH more on this to come.

At the moment I am really enjoying getting stuck into the careers of my clients with who I act as a Social and Strategy Sidekick. Small business and “one man bands” are my favourites and who I can contribute to best.
My background swings through the snow industry (ski instructing and marketing/sales) and back through the design industry (furniture sales and independent interior design consultant). Aside from just one salaried job, I have always worked for myself and as a result learned some business lessons the hard way! With 10 years developing and practicing skills in online promotion combined with the genuine, effective use of social media I developed a series of workshops that I traveled up and down the country in 2016.
“A Demystifying Guide to Facebook and Instagram for Small Business” as well as shorter classes in “Pinterest for Brands” AND “Pitching to Media” will all be available online soon.

Below you can find some snaps of life at home in Canterbury and some silly questions I found to answer in the hope you might get to know me more as the person bringing you some ideas.

Ju xo

#thebluehousenz life // Studio Home HQ // Christchurch New Zealand

What is your middle name?: Adrienne after my maternal Grandmother.

What was favourite subject at school?: English, History and PE (Art too before a terrifying teacher steered my right off it!)

What is your favourite music at the moment?: Spotify is good at throwing up newbies! Loving anything by The Vaults…and have Lorde’s latest on repeat. (But Dolly Parton, the Dixie Chicks, Roxette, Florence and The Machine, Elton John and Taytay will always have a special place in my heart. As you can see I have no highbrow tastes here….)

What is your favourite food?: Mexican. I was most definitely a well fed Mexican soul in another life.

Current magazines on your coffee table?: I will ALWAYS love magazines! At the moment my favourites are Country Style, GREEN, New Zealand Gardiner, Gardens Illustrated, Together Journal, NZ House and Garden,  NZ Life and Leisure and Homestyle.

Favourite book of all time?: Emily of New Moon OR The Juniper Game by Sheryl Jordan OR Tomorrow When the War Began.
Teen fiction is where my heart lies!

Favourite Colour?: Blues across the spectrum but dodging too much turquoise. Olivey/foresty green everytime too.

Do you have any pets?: Tonka the Tonkinese cat who was given to us as a wedding present!

Favourite Perfume?: Diaphanous + Pablo by Curio Noir

Favourite Holiday?: I have VERY fond memories of Japan and The Maldives, but my honeymoon to UK, Copehagan and Italy in 2018 probably takes the trophy.

Are you married?: Nope but in loved up, cohabitation with my man T. UPdate Feb 2018: YESS!!!

Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?: Yes! Australia, America x 3, Canada, Japan x 2, Singapore, Maldives, UK, Denmark, Italy

Do you speak any other language?: Only a handful of dirty Japanese words…not remotely helpful…

How many siblings do you have?: One younger sister, Caroline.

What is your favourite shop?: Practically an impossible question…post to follow soon of my “must visits”!

Favourite local restaurant?: In Christchurch – Chillingworth Road, Shop Eight (now reborn as the Grey Robin), Bessie, Mexicanos, Madam Woo, Francesca’s and…. well, we are SO lucky here as there are new places opening every week!

When was the last time you cried?: Any sightly hungover day…even cheesy ads on TV will get me going.

Favourite Blogs?: While Instagram is my most busy point of contact with those that inspire me, bloggers that I have followed and loved over the last 10 years are (in no order): DesignLoveFest, SF Girl by Bay, Design Sponge, Emily Henderson, The Design Files, Wit and Delight.

Favourite TV shows?: Just finished up Ozark and other Netflix favourites are a Chef’s Table, Vikings, Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why, Orange is the new Black,  Shameless, Broadchurch, Anne with an E…basically the ones popular culture bring us (but NEVER The K*********ans)
Non Neflix – GOT and The Walking Dead. I love nothing more than a sneaky episode of Say Yes to the Dress! (I know….) and if in doubt am scouting around the Living Channel and HGTV.
The world of tele is my most favourite relaxer and un winder and sometimes, source of inspiration.

PC or Mac?: PC

What phone do you have?:  iPhone 7 Plus (and I know purists will find this confusing given the answer to previous question! Just how I roll!)

How tall are you?: Not high – 159 cm

Can you cook?: Look, I can, however I don’t take much pleasure from it…..it helps that T is a magnificent home cook!

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