Sunny Side Up

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 30, 2011 | 10 Comments | Category: Decorating, Magazines

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

I can’t help but feel a little envious of my amazing communications assistant, Colette, who recently returned from a weeklong getaway to Palm Beach…coming back tanned, blonder than ever and regaling us with stories of to-die-for houses on the exclusive island. Not only did she frequently send us snapshots of the lush paradise,  but she also picked up a Florida Design Magazine to share with my office, and the sunny skies and glistening pools that fill the pages are a sharp contrast to the painfully long winter we’ve had this year in Chicago.

{Colette’s photo of the view from the beach at Mar a Lago Club, Palm Beach}

{Colette’s photo of the view from the pool at Mar a Lago Club, Palm Beach}

Florida Design Magazine unfortunately does not offer an online edition, but luckily for us Architectural Digest has not surprisingly featured several magnificent Palm Beach homes in their glossy pages.

In fact, the home featured in this post is that of Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, yes…of the Estee Lauder family.  It is one of the most prominent estates on Palm Beach’s tony South Ocean Boulevard, complete with a team of full time security guards protecting the stately mansion.  Once Evelyn became the matriarch of the home after Estee retired from the estate in the late 90’s, she embarked on a massive renovation project to infuse light and cheerfulness to the gracious home.  Designed by Marion Sims Wyeth in 1938, the preeminent architect to the socialite Palm Beach crowd of the early 20th century, Evelyn and interior designer Thad Hayes made every effort to modernize the home while paying homage to its historic heritage.  It took a massive effort, Evelyn recalls, for the home to be brought up to date, but the end result was surely worth the effort.

While I do have plans to visit Florida soon- Boca Grande- where my in-laws have a home, I am thrilled to get an early start to my spring trip living vicariously through this and other dreamy Palm Beach homes.

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

Bathing In Luxury

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 22, 2011 | 5 Comments | Category: Bed and Bath, Magazines

{Antonio Lupi ad in CS Interiors}

As I was flipping through the pages of the latest CS Interiors, I came across an ad for Antonio Lupi.  As Chicago is home to one of only two Antonio Lupi showrooms in the US, (the other is in Miami) I have always been intrigued by the Italian bath and home outfitter for my own projects.  I was particularly struck by the image used in the ad, which incorporates the eclecticism-old and new, antique and modern- which is essentially my mantra.  These spaces they’ve created are truly works of art, really pushing the limits of the conventional bath and home.  How do you feel about this look?  Would you rather soak in your traditional porcelain bubble bath or bathe in one of these oversize marble basins?

{Chicago Showroom}

{Antonio Lupi designed villa in Sardinia}

{Antonio Lupi villa in Sardinia}

Tags: ,

If These Walls Could Talk…

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 16, 2011 | 8 Comments | Category: Books, Decorating, Walls

Upon entering this Manhattan apartment, decorated by Timothy Whealon, guests are greeted by a theatrical mural of flowering vines.

Boy would they have a lot to say!  Florence de Dampierre’s aptly named new book, “Walls” takes the reader on a pictorial tour of some of the most exquisite walls throughout history that you have ever seen.  If you think walls are merely for framing artwork, hanging mirrors or supporting light fixtures, think again.  These walls certainly defy the laws of conventional decor!  Although walls are often the most underrated elements of a space (how many times have you pondered for days over that vase or rug and hastily picked a paint color out of a stack of paint chips?), this fascinating read makes abundantly clear that walls can be just as important a statement piece as any other feature of the room, if you give them the opportunity to speak up 🙂

Text and images courtesy of Architectural Digest.

{Florence de Dampierre’s “Walls”)

For this bedroom design, decorator Jean-Louis Deniot selected a warm toile de Jouy wallpaper to frame twin blue-and-white-striped beds draped with orange-trimmed canopies.

The faux pilasters and hazy landscape painted on the wood entrance walls of the 17th-century Sandemar Manor in Sweden recall the lapsed beauty of an abandoned folly.

Catherine Grenier chose a striped Osborne and Little wallpaper to enliven a room she designed in Cadiz, Spain.

France’s Château de Chantilly boasts a marvelous example of painted singerie, a fanciful style of 18th- and 19th-century French decor that incorporates playful monkey imagery.

Hydrangea-blue faux molding adds a touch of painted serenity to a bedroom in a Christian Bérard–inspired Manhattan townhouse, designed by John Barman.

The living room of Paris-based designer Jacques Garcia’s home in the Château du Champ de Bataille glows with luxurious paneling and gold-framed portraiture.

Neoclassical motifs border lavender faux marble walls at the Pavlovsk Palace, a former country residence of the Russian Imperial family.

A vibrant kaleidoscope pattern brightens a wall of Mexico’s Hacienda San Diego de Jaral de Berrio.

The Hall of Mirrors in Amalienburg, a hunting lodge in Munich, Germany’s Nymphenburg Park, is an exquisite example of the highly ornate boiserie popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.

{In Style}

Then you’ll LOVE her home!  Designer Tory Burch has taken the fashion world by storm in recent years with her bold prints, fresh take on classic styles and cornering a niche of chic day to day wear.  Burch’s Upper East Side apartment is featured in the March issue of In Style magazine, and I must say I am really feeling the vibe she has going in her pad!  Gotta admire a fellow orange devotee 🙂  And this is no mere Manhattan fourth floor walk up…Burch’s 9,000 square foot apartment is comprised of 3 apartments remodeled into one in the Pierre Hotel.  Modern day Eloise, right?  Burch fills her home not only with orange, but with a variety of other statement colors as well (color schemes not all that much different than those found in her clothing line).  Her eclectic mix of furnishings, art work and accessories creates the perfect balance between luxury and comfort (Burch has 3 boys, after all, so ease of living is paramount!)

{In Style}

Check out these images from the In Style article (was unable to find the images on the magazine’s website, so pulled these off of Tory’s fabulous blog!), and also images from her Spring 2010 fashion shoot that took place in her apartment (courtesy of The Well Appointed House) and an article from Elle magazine.

{In Style}

{In Style}

{In Style}



{The Well Appointed House}

{The Well Appointed House}

{The Well Appointed House}

{The Well Appointed House}

{The Well Appointed House}

{The Well Appointed House}

Personal Touch

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 10, 2011 | 4 Comments | Category: Decor Accessories, Website News

{Customizable Plates}

With the seemingly endless number of internet sites out there that let you customize everything from baby diapers to a computer mouse, it’s hard to know where to even begin looking for just the perfect personalized item to fit your needs (and lets be honest, to fit your wants is more like it).

Stop your aimless wandering now, and welcome to Iomoi! It is a fantastic site for all things personalized….totes (Lauren posted about these last month as one of her faves), coasters, trays, paperweights, stationary….you name it!  And with everything so exciting and colorful, it is a true feast for the eyes!  These items would make the ideal hostess, bridal shower, birthday or holiday gift, not to mention a fun treat for yourself! I have given the lucite trays as client gifts and the paperweights make the perfect “little something”- one to my assistant Amy for the holidays 🙂  The only problem with Iomoi is how in the world will you ever be able to choose between the “Muffin the Zebra Orange Plate” and “Turtle Cay Chino Orange and Purple” coasters?!

{Muffin the Zebra Orange Plate}

{Turtle Cay Chino Orange and Purple Coasters}


Paper Coasters

{Set of 25 Heavy Square Paper Coasters}

{Set of 25 Heavy Square Paper Coasters}

Ice Buckets

{Ice Buckets}

A few out the wide selection of customizable patterns for ice buckets…

Lucite Trays

{Lucite Trays}

A sample of the customizable patterns for lucite trays…

Glass Coasters


{“Michael is a stickler about details, insisting, for instance, that the sofa be edged with French flanging. ‘This has been a very regal room for 100 years,’ he says. ‘I felt that was what the room deserved.’ To the right of the windows are three framed Hermès handkerchiefs, an ‘art installation’ he created for his first apartment. Michael is so proud of paying just $50 for the antique console table that he kept the price tag on it. The wrought-iron railing, now restored, is original.”}

Something, (or many thing) about this prewar duplex in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood really caught my eye…the breathtaking coffered ceilings in the living room, the elegantly simple color scheme with strategic pops of color (orange Hermes throw pillow, yay!), and that blue lacquered ceiling in the den, too good for words.  Although many descriptives come to mind, the most prominent most definitely is…WOW!

Chicagoan Jay Michael spent a year and a half meticulously renovating this gem of a house (as captured in Chicago Home + Garden), paying careful attention to not only fulfill his visions for the home but to also honor the its historic character.  The owner before Michael had resided in the duplex for over 50 years and had done little to the home during that time.  Therefore, it took a patient, creative and willing visionary like Jay Michael to restore the home to its original splendor.  However, this home isn’t all glamour and no comfort.  While the home is replete with one of a kind antiques and pricey accessories, Michael makes clear that he is not one to pass up a bargain. (nestled amongst the costly Hermes pillow are $30 pillows from CB2!)   Now if that doesn’t deserve a “wow”, I don’t know what does!

All quotes from article in Chicago Home + Garden.

{“In the study (formerly the dining room), walls covered with grass cloth, an antique sofa upholstered with men’s suiting fabric, a tufted otto­man, and a hide rug create an enveloping, richly textured space.”}

{“Homeowner Jay Michael in his Christopher Peacock–designed kitchen. Knocking out a wall where the island now stands allowed for the creation of a spacious room. A walk-in pantry with refrigerated drawers and shelves stocked with Champagne hides behind natural-finish wood doors from Peacock’s Refectory line.”}

{“An eclectic mix of vintage chairs from Brimfield surrounds the dining table. Tucking the apartment’s HVAC system into the soffit meant not having to lower the ceilings anywhere else in the home.”}

A lot of heart and soul (and lots and lots of time and patience!) goes into a successful renovation.  The completion of one of my projects on Chicago’s North Shore was a long time coming…over a year from start to…voila!

Collaborating with a client during a restoration is an exciting project, allowing both the homeowner and the designer to start from scratch on every detail.  Furthermore, as a sucker for a historic project (I myself have renovated/lived in 6  historic homes!) this was a truly phenomenal opportunity.  Not only is this a beautiful home by any standard, but it is a very historically significantly one to boot.  Built by George W. Maher, one of the fathers of the prairie school of architecture, the complete overhaul of this home has brought it up to date while restoring it to its original splendor. I loved the whole process!

Check out the photos I recently added to my website of this home.  And check out the De Giulio kitchen, which I just featured in another post 🙂