This year, like any year, has been an eventful year for design.  New doors opening, familiar doors closing, that fabric you just had to have for that armchair that you just had to have even more, those mugs you probably should have returned, those hedges that your landscaper convinced you (and therefore you convinced your husband) would “revolutionize” your garden, that amazing find on Ebay/Etsy/One Kings Lane…the list goes on and on.

With yet another 12 months behind us, why not take a look back down design memory lane and check out what we had our minds set on in January, February, March, April…

Here’s what Material Girls Chicago was talking about, thinking about, laughing about, lusting over, dying for, surprised by and excited for from January-December, 2010.

For more details, click on the highlighted link to be directed back to the original post.

January

“Living in the Movies…Literally!”

{Evanston home that has major on- screen appeal}

When a home in the north suburban Chicago town of Evanston was featured in the Chicago Tribune for its “star power,” or rather the many films that can credit this house for creating a lovely set, I decided to poke around to see what other films that have captivated audiences not only for their plot but also for the fabulous homes that make them worth watching.

{Father of the Bride}

February

“Picture Perfect”

{Winning design by Eddie Ross, “Bloomingdale’s Big Window Challenge”}

When my good friend Eddie Ross won the highly coveted title of victor in the “Bloomingdale’s Big Window Challenge” in NYC, I was so impressed not only by the design of the whole, but was really captivated by the large orange and white piece of art he used.  Turns out Eddie got this piece from……

March

“The Bachelor Life”

{funky antlers in lieu of stuffed game animal}

I loved this home for its sophisticated, modern yet totally fun take on the traditional bachelor pad.  No stuffed deer heads in this place!  Chicago Home + Garden featured living the good (single) life in the issue from this month. Congrats to my pal, Darren on a truly remarkable pad :)

April

“You Say Indoor, I Say Outdoor”

{Trina Turk for Schumacher}

Coming from a place that endures the most extreme in weather climates, outdoor fabric durability is crucial.  However, you still want it to look good, right?  These indoor/outdoor fabrics have the ability to withstand all inclimate conditions-from 3 year olds to thunderstorms.

{I used this Holly Hunt indoor/outdoor fabric in a Chicago lifestyle salon-Buckingham Interiors + Design}

May

“It Takes Two”


Twin beds remind you of summer camp or your grandmother’s house?  Well…you’d be lucky to sleep in these swank beds out in a cabin or in your grandmother’s dusty house!


June

“Turquoise With Envy!”


It was the year of turquoise, literally.  Pantone declared “turquoise” to be THE color of the 2010, so naturally when the New York Times featured designer Ghislaine Vina’s picks for all things turquoise for the home, I had to share with MG.


July

“Homecoming”

{Buckingham Interiors + Design}

The big move!  July was the month that my design firm, Buckingham Interiors + Design, took up residence in Chicago’s hottest new design district, West Town.  Seems like just yesterday that  I was arranging (and rearranging, and arranging again), in our new space.

{Buckingham Interiors + Design}

August

“Kimmy K’s Swank New Digs”


As both a Kardashian fan as well as a design junkie, I was particularly excited to get a look at Kim Kardashian’s new Los Angeles home, which was revealed in August of this year.  I personally think that it looks very tasteful, but a tad monochromatic for my taste…what do you think?

September

“Fabric Lust”


I really fell for this Thom Filicia fabric (an Ikat, go figure!) when I came across it an ad for it on the back cover on House Beautiful from this month.  I still am a big admirer four months later and hope to use it at some point in the future! (Here we come, 2011!)

October

“Body Art”


I discovered the special edition Jeff Koon’s for Kiehl’s collection this month, a collaborative line from which proceeds go to the Koons Family Institute, an initative of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  This is a particularly personal cause for the artist, for his young son was abducted by his then wife, resulting in years of custody battles.

November

“Running Wild”


It seemed like everyone was getting in touch with their wild side this fall!  Animal prints were everywhere in fashion as well as interiors.  Elle Decor featured a piece on animal print design during this month.

December

“Got An Extra $50 Million Lying Around?”

The Bunny William’s living room heard round the world just so happens to be a part of a larger project, a $50 million dollar project that is.  The 2009 Kip’s Bay Showhouse (2009, I know a little bit off), happens to be for sale for a jaw dropping price tag.  Any takers? Name the date of the housewarming party, and I’ll be there! Hello, 2011 fete perhaps?






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That’s A Wrap!

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Dec 22, 2010 | 2 Comments | Category: Design Inspiration, Gifts, Holiday

I was wrapping Christmas presents today, and it dawned on me…I absolutely love wrapping paper and all the accessories that accompany the gift wrapping process.  I’m pretty picky about what I choose to wrap my gifts in, and no place has a better assortment of fun and unique wrapping goods than Paper Source.  I don’t believe that holiday presents have to be covered with Christmas trees, snow men and candy canes…plenty of room to get creative using the unexpected!  With innovative touches, your gift recipient is sure to appreciate the wrapping as much as the gift itself.  From start (scissors, tape) to finish (ribbon, gift bags, tissue paper), they’ve got you covered (pun intended).

Here are several start to finish combinations for wrapping presents.  Who knows, maybe gifts wrapped like this may end up under your tree! And remember, if you are “wrapping challenged” Paper Source does provide a wrapping service :)

Very Merry and Happy Holidays to all MG readers and their special ones…..

All items available at Paper Source.





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I really wish I were here and not in snowy, dreary frigid Chicago…here being the pictured Nantucket summer house of a Chicago family that I recently completed.  Located on this charming, historic island, I was looking to incorporate both the cozy, seaside comfort that is so characteristic of Nantucket with the contemporary style that the family also enjoys.  As the home is very old-circa 1830, I tried to honor its traditional character while updating it to a modern family’s lifestyle. The addition of some new space that perfectly blends into the historic part of the house as well as relocating the main staircase to allow a more functional staircase with fantastic natural light along with the inclusion of a decked out guest house was finessed by architects Lyman Perry and Scott Hutton. I visited for a final installation right before Thanksgiving and this town knows how to celebrate the season.  The hustle and bustle of centuries of tradition along with some gorgeous and charming holiday design made us all feel warm and fuzzy. I am sure that the 70 degree temperature had nothing to do with that :)

Can’t wait for the warm sunshine of summer to roll around (such a stark contrast to single digit temperatures in Chicago right now) and this home for family and many friends can be fully enjoyed along the seashore!

Images courtesy of Buckingham Interiors + Design, and stay tuned for more projects soon to come!





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Christmas On My Mind

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Dec 14, 2010 | 5 Comments | Category: Decor Accessories, Gifts, Holiday

{Ikat Bowls, Anthropologie, $14…featured these back in September of 2009!}

It’s most definitely that time of year again, but doesn’t it seem like last Christmas was just yesterday? Where did 2010 go?!  Beats me!  Anyway, Elle Decor is featuring a Best of 2010 gift guide (all under $100), all great ideas for that design junkie in your life.  But what really caught my eye were the Ikat bowls from Anthropologie, a cool find that I had previously featured (all the way back in September of last year, I guess we were ahead of the curve!).  It really was the year of Ikat, wasn’t it?

Take a look at what else you might be placing under the tree this year…

{Rwandan Baskets, Trading4Treasures, $48-90}

{Nautical Print Hammer, $26, Alice Supply Co.}

Postcards from Penguin, Penguin, $25}

{Patterned Books, Victoria and Albert Museum, $13 each $48 boxed set of 4}

{Grapefruit Muguet Scented Candle, Belle Fleur, $48}

{Postcard Holder, $48, Jayson Home and Garden}

{Cream Mugs, Ancient Industries, $22}





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A Day in the Life of Kelly

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Dec 11, 2010 | 2 Comments | Category: Designers, Magazines

There are certain designers that just seem to be everywhere these days, and Kelly Wearstler is definitely one of them.  From blogs to magazines to books to fabulous hotels and homes, this chic design diva is a hot commodity.  Ms. Wearstler was featured in Vanity Fair’s “My Stuff” section in the December issue, revealing her picks in shops, clothes, charities, movies and much more.  It’s always fun to get a peak into the inner workings of such a public figure, especially someone as glam as Kelly!





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Featured Artist

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Dec 06, 2010 | 4 Comments | Category: Art

Thank you Casa Sugar for tipping me off about this amazing artist, Samantha Hahn!  This New York based artist is as versatile as she is talented…wallpapers? prints? stationary? magnets? illustrations for Marie Claire and Conde Nast? Check, check, check, check…

Her work is chic, fresh, modern and whimsical.  No wonder she’s such a hot commodity!  I particularly love her watercolor and ink prints.  They are just so fabulously lovely and feminine.  They have such a cool, somehow mod feel that is ethereal yet still makes a bold statement.

Check out some of her work below!

Most of these prints are set on white backgrounds, so they are a little hard to discern from the background of the blog…but just try to imagine them against a colored wall!





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{Look familiar?}

If so…then it’s your lucky day!  I think most of us are probably familiar with the much blogged about Bunny Williams’ living room (turquoise? horn decorations? sound familiar?) that was a part of 2009 Kip’s Bay Showhouse in NYC.  If this room caught your eye, than you really must check out the many other rooms styled by other top designers.  And if you really can’t get enough, then you can have it all to yourself, for $50 million that is.

Sotheby’s International Realty is listing this home, a 21,000 square foot limestone mansion on the Upper East Side, at quite the price tag.  Although unfortunately only the select few can afford such a home in the mid 8 figures, you can virtually tour it all you would like at House Beautiful’s virtual tour (as well as check out more photos from the show house).  Enjoy!  Oh yeah, and if any of you MGs end up purchasing this home, I’d be more than happy to stop by for a visit ;)

Images courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

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