Who We Are
Julie China is an interior designer passionate about making beautiful spaces that are both functional and comfortable for her clients. This passion began at an early age with a strong interest in art, design and drawing. She studied interior design with a full scholarship to the Art Institute of Philadelphia where she was awarded 'Best Portfolio' at graduation in 1995. During her time in Philadelphia, Julie began her career designing high end corporate office interiors for a well-established Philadelphia firm.
After relocating to New York City, Julie received a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree in interior design from Pratt Institute in 1999. Julie spent a summer abroad at the Denmark International Study program in Copenhagen where she was exposed to Scandinavian design and architecture, which still influences her work today.
Julie spent the next fifteen years in New York City designing luxurious high end residential interiors for projects in NYC and the Hamptons as a senior designer and project manager with a noteworthy Manhattan firm. During her tenure there Julie was responsible for the design of numerous residential projects including a historical renovation of a five story 19th century brownstone townhouse on the Upper West Side.
With her breadth of experience, the natural next step was to partner with Darren at Idea Space Architecture + Design where she develops both the interior architectural aspects of their projects along with the decorative elements resulting in cohesive, well planned interior environments.
Darren’s exposure to architecture and construction began very early in life. As the son of an architect one of his earliest memories was accompanying his father to a construction site. With hard hat in hand he climbed up on to the heavy machinery and “operated” a front end loader. His continued exposure to art, drawing, buildings, making, dismantling and fixing translated into his studies at Iowa State University where he earned a degree in Architecture which included a stint in Rome, Italy and an award for Practice Excellence. Upon graduating he moved back to the East coast where he was employed in various design firms as lead architect on projects for luxury residences, public buildings, and Fortune 500 companies.
As a highly respected architect with a vast knowledge of design and construction, Darren tapped his entrepreneurial side founding Idea Space Architecture + Design (formerly known as Studio China Architecture + Design) in 2006. In doing so he has been able to pursue his creative instincts while bringing an intensity and passion for design to his clients throughout the New York City metropolitan area.
Darren is a licensed architect in New York and New Jersey and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
Darren and Julie met on a blind date in Brooklyn, NY on which they spent the afternoon at MoMa PS-1 exploring its contemporary art installations and sharing their mutual interests in all things creative. Three years after getting married they bought a 1926 fixer upper home in Maplewood, New Jersey which together they redesigned and built with their own four hands. They now live in that house with their two young children.