Viva Las Vegas?

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Feb 28, 2010 | 9 Comments | Category: Decorating

What is wrong with this picture?  Well yes, the glue gun. And the fact that this room is named Faberge Room.

Ok you know something is wrong when you see a full grown man proudly pointing a….glue gun.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against being savvy with your funds and creating some do-it-yourself projects, but this Las Vegas home (dubbed a “Do-It-Yourself Versailles) featured in the New York Times Home and Garden section is wrong on so many levels.

Built by former minister Larry Hart in the run down neighborhood where Liberace once used to reside (what a surprise), Hartland Mansion boasts 32 chandeliers, 13 bathrooms, and rounding out at 25,000 feet, this home epitomizes all that Vegas is to me (sorry Vegas lovers): over the top and tacky.  I know, I know, Vegas has come a long way since its portrayal in “Casino”, (coincidentally, the the 33 x 57 foot living room was actually used in the film) but this stands as a mansion-sized memento to the decor and ornamentation that hotels like the Bellagio and the Wynn are trying to make Vegas-goers forget.  The architects and designers of these hotels surely weren’t toting glue guns, that’s for sure.

More faux plasterwork than I ever want to see again in my life…and swan planters? Really?

Detail of Master Bedroom bed, Larry’s handiwork.

It frightens me that this color carpet is actually produced. What has this world come to?

The Living Room, used in the movie “Casino”.  Note the extensive Nutcracker collection.

Indoor pool, where Larry performs marriage ceremonies.

Can you spot the toilet? Yes this is a bathroom…

Country club men’s locker room gone bad…very bad.

Well, MGs, this just goes to show that not all design is good design.  What do you think of Hartland Mansion?  Anyway want to speak in its favor? Any redeeming qualities that I have somehow overlooked?  Gotta say, it’s pretty hard to overlook anything when all things are kelly green, velvet, mirrored or royal blue.  Just sayin’.

Too Cool for School

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Feb 23, 2010 | 5 Comments | Category: Uncategorized

A few months ago, I did a post on the wonderfully “out there” work of British designers, Jimmie Martin.  In my previous post, I only featured their unique furniture.  I just discovered that Jimmie Martin also has a line of wallpaper which is equally as avante garde.   The wallpapers have their signature look and feature some of the same designs as their furniture.  In the right space, these papers could be absolutely amazing.  It would definitely take a daring client to spring for these though!  What do you think?  I also absolutely love how they let you preview the work on the site.  Aren’t these rooms so cool?  They really give you a sense of just what kind of room these papers are fashioned for.

As a former owner of an antique showroom and an avid collector of vintage furniture and decor for both myself and my clients, I am constantly on the hunt for vintage hotspots.  There are quite a few out there, some good and many bad, and frequently very pricey.  The Vintage Bazaar however, a self proclaimed “modern pop-up flea market” will feature over 40 vintage vendors selling affordable, one-of-a-kind, housewares, furniture, clothing and accessories.  The event will be held on Saturday February 27 from 12-5 at the Dank Haus in Lincoln Square in Chicago (4740 N. Western Ave).  Best of all…admission is free!  “Vintage” does not have to be expensive to be beautiful, and I will certainly be checking out this unique show.

The masterminds behind the show…Katherine Raz and Libby Alexander.

Check out their own antiques businesses: Back Garage and Alexander Salvage.


Posted By Julia-Chicago | Feb 18, 2010 | 7 Comments | Category: Decorating, Furniture

My intern Colette is an Art History student at Northwestern and recently reminded me about the fascinating history of the now legendary Barcelona Chair.  I am a big fan of the Barcelona Chair for its timeless design and the instant pop of chic it adds to a room.

The Barcelona Chair was actually designed by acclaimed architect Mies Van der Rohe himself for the German Pavilion at the Barcelona World’s Fair in 1928.  However, the chair was not designed by Mies alone…his partner and companion Lilly Reich also had a large part in the design. It is hard to believe this chair was designed over 80 years ago, for its design is not at all antiquated.  Rather, I think it still looks incredibly modern!

{The Barcelona Chair in the recreated German Pavilion}

The chair is said to have been inspired by the folding chairs of pharaohs as well as the x-shaped footstools of the Romans.  While the original design was made in stainless steel with ivory leather, the Barcelona Chair now has many variations and has inspired countless other furniture designs.

Check out some of today’s version of the muy hermosa Barcelona Chair!

{Barcelona Chair from Knoll}

{Shangri La Mondern Furniture}

{Hides and Co.}

{Hides and Co.}

{Modern Furniture Decor}

(Elle Decor}

{Architectural Digest}

{Architectural Digest}

{Architectural Digest}

{Architectural Digest}

Another Mies house- The Farnsworth House.  Right here in Illinois.

{Architectural Digest}

{Architectural Digest}

{Architectural Digest}

{Metropolitan Home}

Westerly Wind

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Feb 14, 2010 | 1 Comment | Category: Furniture, Shops and Showrooms

It’s about time West Elm came to Chicago!  With locations all over the country, it seemed rather strange (almost hurtful?) that West Elm lacked a Chicago outpost.  With the abundance of young, working professionals and inundation of modern high rises popping up all over the city, it seemed almost blatantly obvious that Chicago ought to have a West Elm.  But the day has come when the Williams-Sonoma owned retailer opens its doors in the Windy City.  Located at 1000 W. North Avenue in Chicago, West Elm is conveniently located to its sister store, Pottery Barn (both are owned by Williams-Sonoma). I sent my crew to the Grand Opening last week and after asking them about all of the goodies surrounding them I was told that the place was sooo jammed that they couldn’t see most of the pieces. But, the food was excellent and abundant!  With its look that I like to equate to a sort of higher quality blend between Ikea and Pottery Barn, West Elm suits the needs of those who want fun, stylish pieces without spending a fortune, but without the short life expectancy of certain other unnamed retailers (hint: assembly required…)

And Branca is too!  Our favorite queen of red (white and black too, of course) is Alessandra Branca, and for Valentine’s Day weekend all red items in her Chicago boutique are 30% off!  What a nice way to show someone (or yourself!) that you care.

Even if you don’t find any LOVE-ly crimson hued goods to bring home, the store itself is quite a treat.  Be sure to check it out 17 E. Pearson, Chicago.

If you think maps are only hung on the wall of your 6th grade geography classroom, think again.  This month’s Elle Decor features a great article about using maps as inexpensive wall art, and I couldn’t agree more.  Hanging a map (or a collection of maps) on a wall or using map wallpaper in virtually any room adds a sense of sophistication and instantly makes the room feel more personal.  I would love to dedicate a wall to vintage maps of all of the various cities I’ve lived, locations of my children’s colleges, and countries of ancestral origin. I have used an historic map of all of Paris as the backdrop of an entire living room wall- and just installed a vintage 1950’s school map of the United States in a young pair of brothers playroom.  Both made a huge impact and sparked a yearning for more information- and travel 🙂

There are so many websites devoted to vintage maps as well as reproductions, not to mention the endless selection to be found by simply typing “maps” into the search on eBay.  Check out the gallery of Elle Decor’s map art.

Here are some great resources for map art given in the article:

Ward Maps

Natural Curiosities

Argosy Bookstore

V & J Duncan

Rand McNally

National Geographic

Ahh…the difficult task of pairing fabrics for a room.  There are just so many I love (and hate) that picking just the right combination can be extremely tricky.  The sheer volume of textiles on the market can make this essential task seem very daunting…fabrics can really make or break a room!  This month, Chicago Home + Garden gave its readers some takes on this ordeal with designer Annika Christensen sharing some of her favorite pairings. Above and below-  check out a couple of her favorite combinations.

And here’s a look at  fabric selection that I recently proposed for the salon- style study and office of a city client.  It is a fun albeit difficult process, but finally seeing your hard work come to life in a room is so exciting!

The knack of matching neutral “now” grey colored fabrics with a three dimensional quality using texture along with a “pop” of vibrant scarlet red makes this lounge and home office feel utterly elegant- and functional.  I mentioned to my client that she will want to work from home more now than ever when we finish this room!

The unusual sheen, texture and unexpected colors of the leather accents mix this classically inspired space with a dollop of whimsy.  I am all about mixing it up in an uncluttered way.

Sofa; Fabric by Donghia – ” Cashmere Velvet Herringbone”- Light Grey

Side Chairs; Fabric by Mokum– ” Etoile”- Twilight

Desk Chair; Leather by Edelman– ” Rattlesnake”- White

Ottoman; Leather by Edelman– ” Demi Cow”- Solid Silver

Throw Pillows; Fabric by Holland & Sherry – ” Chamonix”- Scarlet

Drapery; Fabric by Brochier – ” Indochine”- Siam

Available at Holly Hunt

Picture Perfect

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Feb 04, 2010 | 7 Comments | Category: Art, Design Inspiration

After falling in love with the orange and white mod print (above) in Eddie Ross’s winning room in the Bloomingdale’s Challenge, I decided to do a little investigating.  Turns out, this piece is actually from a website!  That’s right…anyone can buy it at the click of a button! In addition to the piece that Eddie used, this website- Artaissance– has thousands more works to choose from.  Most works come in a variety of sizes and are relatively well priced ($119 and up).  I was pleasantly surprised to find such an interesting inventory.  Check out some other cool finds I stumbled upon from the convenience of my computer…