Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 27, 2010 | 7 Comments | Category: Decorating

Recognize this quote?  It’s the notorious smoking caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland.  With Tim Burton’s adaptation of the 1951 Disney classic now in theaters, I thought it was only fitting to feature this chair from Anthropologie.  The dramatic “Shadowy Chair” is described as throwing “shadows this way and that,” but frankly I think it bears an interesting resemblance to the mushroom/leaf configuration that the iconic caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland sits upon.  What do you think?

In Vogue

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 23, 2010 | 5 Comments | Category: Art, Celebs

{via Coco Perez}

I am obsessed with the Vogue documentary “The September Issue.” Anna Wintour is so incredibly fascinating, and don’t even get me started on the clothes.  It is an hour and a half feast for the eyes.  It truly is such a captivating film.

Artist Alex Katz captured the trademark look of Anna Wintour in his signature, poppy style.  As reported on Coco Perez (yes, yes, I am a fan, especially of the fashion offshoot Coco Perez), Katz asked Anna to remove her wardrobe staple- her sunglasses- because he loved her eyes after seeing them in the film.

I think Katz did a remarkable job of capturing the essence of Anna, which if any of you have seen the film, is particuarly rigid and cold.  Always impeccably groomed, not a hair is out of place in Katz’s portrait.  Somehow though, Katz has managed to show glimmers of vulnerability and intimacy in this painting, which makes Anna ever the more intriguing.

With a career spanning over 50 years, Alex Katz has created an endless number of stunning works.  Take a look at some other favorites:

{Blueberry Field, 1968}

{Orange Interior, 1968}

{Poppy, 1968}

{Gray Umbrella, 1979}

{Samantha, 1987}

{Black Shoes, 1988}

{White Hat, 1990}

{Orange Hat, 1990}

{Grey Dress, 1992}

{Marina Del Ray, 1993}

{Margite Smiles, 1994}

{David and Janet, 1995}

{Eleuthera, 1999}

{Unfamiliar Image, 2001}

{Sharon, 2009}

The Bachelor Life

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 18, 2010 | 9 Comments | Category: Decorating

I don’t often think of young 30 something bachelor pads as having much more decor in their apartment or house beyond a futon, pool table, and Cubs flag (Sorry Sox fans).  But then I came across my friend Daran Puffer’s chic bachelor pad that somehow remains friendly to both genders without looking bland or effeminate, and certainly evades the afore mentioned stereotype or the other “ideal bachelor pad”…dark paneled wood, leather seating, and an ashtray full of cigars.  The developer’s Wicker Park home featured in Chicago Home + Garden not only has eye catching interiors, but also has a breathtaking outdoor deck that is an astounding 1,550 square feet. (the same size as the condo itself!)  Hey, it wouldn’t be a true bachelor pad without a grill, now would it?  I am very impressed with Daran’s subtle yet chic color palette and his uninhibited use of unusual pieces, like the bright orange dining  room drapes…so impressed with his style that I have purchased several pieces from him  and his shop, Den, to furnish my own home! It doesn’t take a pool table that doubles as a dining room table (remember this idea from “The Breakup”?) to create a bachelor pad for a cool guy and his buddies.  Let’s just hope this warm weather in Chicago sticks around to put such an amazing outdoor space to good use!

As an orange fanatic, this room belongs in my “Orange Fantasy” post!

This color palette in the bedroom reminds me of the interiors in the restaurant Otom I featured in a previous post.

(Interiors at Otom}

Can I join? I spy a grill… 🙂

Movin’ On Up

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 13, 2010 | 6 Comments | Category: Magazines, Material Girls Projects

If a staircase were a room, it would probably be one of the must utilized rooms in a home.  Well, at least in my home, where dogs, kids and even myself are constantly on the move from one floor to another.  A staircase does not have to be strictly utilitarian these days.  Rather, a staircase can be as much as a statement piece as a work of art.  The following staircases are prime examples of the variety and ingenuity of the modern staircase.

These next few staircases were featured in Chicago Home + Garden.  All are from Chicago area homes that really take it to the next level.

And here are some examples of staircases from projects of our own at Buckingham I + D.

Here are some other interesting examples I found on the Elle Decor/Met Home website.

This is actually from a Chicago area home I featured in a post a few months ago!

Alright, Punxsutawney Phil, where’s spring?  As the calendar page is quickly turned to March, spring’s “light at the end of the tunnel” is no where in sight.  As I’m sitting here in this literal hazy shade of winter (the constant gray cloud coverage…remind me why I live here again?), my mind is drifting off to the sweet, poolside lounging days of summer.  How I crave the warmth of the sun, or a dip in a pool.  Seeing a  beautiful pool house in an ad this month was just sucker bait.  While the reality of winter here in chilly Chicago is inevitable, a girl can dream about lounging poolside in her lovely outdoor abode, right?

Orange Fantasy

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 08, 2010 | 16 Comments | Category: Color, Decorating, Design Inspiration

If it isn’t already abundantly apparent, I have a mild (maybe a little more than mild…) obsession with orange.  One of the most prominent features in my house is an oversized orange vintage leather wingback chair that sits next to a vintage Audrey Hepburn print, in which she proudly sports orange garb.  It is one of the first things that greets visitors upon their arrival into my home, firmly establishing that orange holds a special place in my  heart and in my interiors.

{Orange lovin’ in my own home}

Well needless to say that when I dined at the chic Fulton Market restaurant Otom the other night, my heart was aflutter with the orange themed interior.  Simple yet beautifully modern, Otom serves up delicious dishes that are as fresh as the orange and white interiors.  My eggplant and tomato gnocchi followed by mahi mahi with beluga lentils was heavenly, as were the orange and chrome chair I was sitting in.

{via Zagat}

Members Only

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 04, 2010 | 6 Comments | Category: Commercial Spaces, Trends

{via Michael Robinson Photography}

Are you a young, hip Chicagoan looking for the next “it” spot to spend your cocktail hours or late night rendezvouses?  The Violet Hour is the place for you.  Well, if you can get in, that is.  Located in Wicker Park, the unassuming facade marked only by a single lightbulb may not impress the passerby, but modeled like a modern day speakeasy, it is as exclusive as Chicago’s infamous speakeasies of old.  Dark, sexy and mysterious, admittance to The Violet Hour is not easy, and once inside, patrons are obliged to follow a specific code of conduct.  No cell phones.  No reservations.  No jager bombs, o-bombs…bombs of any kind.  Oh yeah, and don’t bring anyone you wouldn’t bring to your mother’s house for Sunday dinner.  The Violet Hour means business.  If you aren’t cool with these rules, The Violet Hour really just doesn’t care.  Judging by the perpetual line of hopeful lingerers outside, there is a person- or five – more than willing to take your baseball hat wearing place inside (oh yeah, baseball hats are strictly prohibited).

The name proves to be deceiving, for there is not a trace of violet inside.  Rather, the walls are covered in a striking shade of cornflower blue with matching velvet curtains, constantly drawn.  The highback chairs and dimmed lighting further promote the aura of mystery and exclusivity. Elegant yet understated, The Violet Hour will make you feel like a real somebody….if only for an hour or two.

The Violet Hour

1520 N. Damen (Bucktown/Wicker Park), Chicago


{via Star Chefs}

{via Yelp}

{via Wine and Spirit Magazine}

{via Focus, Balance Create}

The Violet Hour’s strict set of rules.

{via Yelp}

The unassuming, even disheveled looking, exterior.  Definitely recalls the incognito facades of prohibition era speakeasies.

{via Metromix}

Do you think this passerby has any idea what lies behind that muraled wall?

{via Metromix}

{via Metromix}