It makes sense that the line between fashion and home has become increasingly blurred, as often times I (as I’m sure you too!) will see a print or fabric coming down the runway or in a magazine that seems IDEAL for that ottoman in your latest project, and vice versa.  Many of the biggest names in fashion have capitalized on this notion of fashion/home interchange, including Trina Turk for Schumacher, Diane von Furstenberg, and Jean Paul Gaultier for Roche Bobois, just to name a few.

I recently came across this fantastic ad for Oscar de la Renta for Lee Jofa on the back of a magazine the other day, and I just had to share.  Although this collection isn’t new, it is definitely noteworthy.  This so perfectly captures all that is so alluring about this fashion to home trend…wouldn’t you just feel amazing either be draped in a gown in these fabrics or sitting in front of drapes in your living room in these prints?  Either way, I’d be happy to have anything Oscar de la Renta, whether it be a couture evening gown, or more feasibly several throw pillows in one of over 120 prints in his collection for Lee Jofa.

{My Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom at 1820 W. Grand Ave. in Chicago}

Finally, my belated addition to our MG stream of how we became Interior Design addicted practicing Interior Designer’s.

This is the story of a Chicago Material Girl…..

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love beautiful surroundings or crave to have things “just right” in the world around me.  I know that this sounds quasi-ethereal but for those of you who love interior design and fashion, I think that you will understand.  The desire to pick up a simple accessory and change it’s perspective- from one table to another- can be a pretty strong impulse sometimes.  Likewise in a fashion sense, the perfect pair of black boots can just “seal the deal” on an outfit when those brown sandals just don’t feel right.

The quest for more information and experience to craft and hone this interest in fashion and design had begun…….

After graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in Fashion and Apparel Merchandising, I set off for a long string of interviews to become a Management Trainee for either Bullock’s, Robinson’s, or The May Company in Southern California.  I couldn’t decide which company to begin my career with….and, as fate would have it, I decided to move back to my hometown of Chicago to begin a career with Neiman Marcus – and with a very special bonus, the man of my dreams as my fiancé! (Who, if you can believe it, was a kindergarten classmate of mine!!)

{My husband John and I in the same kindergarten class in Wilmette, Illinois. Can you spot me? Third row second from the  right.  Edels was the tallest boy in the class and he is in the fourth row second from left}

After several years with Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue and Ann Taylor on Oak Street, all the while living in a tiny Gold Coast apartment, where we had red and gray tool chests from Ace Hardware as side tables, my husband and I transferred to the Lincoln Park neighborhood. This is where we welcomed our first daughter.  The brownstone  walk-up condo was my first interior design project.  I can still remember that stunning black leather sofa  (LOL) and the built-in buffet shelf that seemed ingenious as we didn’t have enough space to hold a piece of furniture in it’s stead.  Anxious to own a piece of real “property” we moved to the North Shore of Chicago and our  son arrived soon thereafter. Funny how that happens 🙂

Our children in front of our second house.  Caroline, Alex and Madi

This first house was the most design fun that I had ever had!  I began collecting furnishings and accessories during all of our family travels and scoured any and all antiques markets for goodies whenever I had a free moment.  Soon enough, friends started requesting me to help find pieces for them.  What a blast!

Some interior shots from the various homes I have lived in- These first images were of my first Traditional Home publication…..

Another daughter, and yet another new house, allowed me to tackle my first gut rehab, along with DIY interior painting and a total redesign. It was an amazing experience and solidified my love for this thing called design. I couldn’t stop searching for another project- and my travels spent accumulating antique treasures and artifacts turned into entire House Sales, where I borrowed friend’s homes, removed all of their existing furniture and replaced it with collections from my world travels. Each room was staged and I sold entire “vignettes” and rooms.  People would ask me to place their new purchases into their homes- and guess what? My first design clients were acquired.

…and yet some MORE photos from the many homes I’ve  renovated and lived in.

Yet another new home in a neighboring suburb on the North Shore of Chicago- which was another entire gut/rehab project, was closely followed by a relocation to Cincinnati. This was at first a devastating event but ultimately turned out to be a wonderful twist to my dabbling in antiques and the world of interior design. Not long into my time there, I was approached by the three owners of an antiques store – one which I had become quite obsessed with and visited often (perhaps a little too often) – to join them as a partner.  Could I do this?  Did I have the knack for filling the store with things that people would purchase on a daily basis?  Would I be able to find markets and little spots to fill the space?  All of my doubt quickly disappeared as I entered the wonderfully crazy world of antiques and got to know the many dealers with and from whom I purchased glorious pieces from all over the country-all to this day.  My spaces were filled and sometimes people would ask to shop my Suburban when I picked my kiddos up from school. You can just imagine how much my children liked that!  A business entrepreneur must start somewhere and things were just beginning for me… I began several client projects for my shop regulars and my interior design passion was reaching a new level.  Then, with bittersweet emotions, we moved back to Chicago and onto my house renovation #5.

Antiquing with Eddie Ross

Gut rehab #5 was complete, and shortly thereafter a family dropped by with their realtor one afternoon and asked us if we would sell.  “Yes” was the answer and we moved around the corner to gut rehab #6. Phew! I was getting lots of great experience and my antiques and interiors work was gaining momentum. I took the HUGE plunge of opening design offices and a showroom in the city. I was also exhibiting my antiques, art, and artifacts at several big shows in Chicago and New York. My design projects were getting bigger and publicity started coming in via word of mouth and some great press.

{Another one of my own homes on Chicago’s North Shore- photo courtesy of Traditional Home}

In 2008, I was a guest blogger on Material Girls, and shortly thereafter, invited to join as a permanent member of their team – what a thrill! I still love planning and writing the blog and have met so many amazing people through it – it has opened up creative doors that I never knew existed. From the Material Girls themselves, to other design bloggers, to the readers, and to the many clients that have found me through my posts, each one of you continually inspires me.

My current house circa 1910

{My current house now in Wilmette, IL}

Fast-forward to house #7- (an 1870’s Queen Anne), which is a home that I have wanted to inhabit since I was a little girl- 5 blocks away on the same street as my childhood home and 8 blocks from Edels childhood home.  Note the nod to our eldest daughter’s alma mater, the University of  Southern California-  I cannot live at home without acknowledging the Boston University of our son and our alma mater (Yay!) that our youngest daughter has decided to attend in the Fall, University of Arizona. Flag photo’s do exist here but due to short content cannot be included ;).

Almost a year ago, I opened another design office and Showroom, now in the West Town neighborhood of the city. And this year as thrilled to be invited to participate in two amazing Chicago Interior Design coveted venues  – DreamHome at the Merchandise Mart, and the 2011 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens – I have truly reached a place in my career that makes me take pause. I will always remember my first projects, contacts and clients fondly as they have all been a part of my “dream” business journey.

{Buckingham ID Foyer at the Chicago Merchandise Mart DreamHome}

{Buckingham ID Grand Entrance at the Lake Forest Showhouse}

What a fantastically convoluted journey this has been! I feel so thankful to have reached this point in my career – as you can see, there are a number of ways to “become” an Interior Designer, many of which are non-traditional. How lucky I am to be working in a field that embraces the different and unique, as well as encourages people to create their own paths. I can’t wait to see how the next chapter in my book will read. The best part is that I have my family and my Buckingham ID Team along for the ride.  Couldn’t do it without you all…John,Caroline, Alex, Madi my beloved Fam- Nancy, Paulina, Colette, Shannon, Whitney, Amy, Marla, Christa and Rachel my beloved BID team. And of course to my beloved clients that have shared their homes and families- you are my real inspiration. We have had an amazing ride!

Home Alone No More!

Posted By Julia-Chicago | May 21, 2011 | 8 Comments | Category: Movie/TV Sets



Well, looks like the McCallister family is finally moving out!  Ok, this might not be the actual owners, but this Winnetka, IL home was forever made famous by its depiction in 1990’s Home Alone.  As any Kevin McCallister fan knows, a lot of sh*t went down in this house, so owning this home is truly owning a piece of movie history.

The late, great producer/director John Hughes set many films in his hometown of Chicago, including Home Alone, Ferris Buellers’ Day Off, Pretty In Pink and The Breakfast Club. As a lifelong Chicago resident myself, I might be a little biased but I must say that Chicago is one of the best places to shoot a film, especially when architecture is involved.  Whenever anyone mentioned “the Ferris Bueller House,” you know exactly what they are referring to, right?  Cameron’s sterile, mausoleum-like glass box of a home.  And now for $2.4 million, you can be the proud owner of the “Home Alone House.”  While the home doesn’t come complete with overgrowing green and red Christmas decorations and a house full of frazzled relatives, it does boast 4 en suite bedrooms, a screened-in porch, and a coveted east Winnetka address.  If you moved in, I’d be happy to redecorate for you and throw a little housewarming party!

If you’re interested, contact Marissa Hopkins at Coldwell Banker for more info.

Listing photos courtesy of Coldwell Banker, original movie photos courtesy of Hooked On Houses.









If I had the means to aquire a fully furnished chateau in France, I’d take it!  Well, I guess I’d have to think of the logistics first.  A 16th century manor home filled with dusty old furnishings would require a lot of TLC, but this British entrepreneur was up to the challenge, as documented in Architectural Digest.  Having owned a weekend home for many years in the English countryside, the Brit was ready for a move to the agricultural region of La Beauce in France, 70 miles from Paris.  Although the wealthy, art-collecting owner has many homes throughout the world, including Ibiza and Paris, this home became a particularly special project.  Chateau de Fontenay was a moated dream castle, and its location in a quiet village provided anonymity and removal from the owner’s social scene.

The owner and friend/principal of prominent design firm Mlinaric, Henry & Zervudachi, Tino Zervudachi, went to work overhauling the grand home.  Notably, the extensive taxidermy throughout the house had to go, as the owner explains that it was inappropriate as his daughter was an avid vegetarian.  They set out to redecorate the home, keeping old pieces yet updating the manor with many new pieces.  “It was meant to feel like an amalgamation of over generations,” notes the homeowner.

Image captions courtesy of Architectural Digest.

Zervudachi converted the rustic library into a billiard room. On the walls are paintings by, from left, Hurvin Anderson, Anke Weyer, and Alejandra Icaza. The curtains are made of Algiers silk by Robert Kime, and Claremont’s Toile Chevron stripe covers chairs and a bench; the kilim is from Galerie Triff.

In the television room, the overstuffed armchair and the Louis XV–style bergère are upholstered in a Charles Burger print and a Georges Le Manach chenille, respectively.

Framed herbarium pages bring nature into the entrance hall.

Claremont fabric covers matching sofas in the paneled living room. The curtains are of Ashoka linen by Robert Kime; slipcovered ottomans serve as cocktail tables.

The kitchen’s neo-Gothic millwork was installed by the previous owners.

A corridor is paved with encaustic tiles.

The pool is hidden behind hedges and flower beds.

An inventively rustic veranda stretches across the rear of the house—its columns are made of tree trunks set on stone bases.

A breakfast table on the gravel-covered veranda.

A guest bedroom’s curtains are made of Concini cotton by Georges Le Manach.

A carved-wood chandelier adds an element of fantasy to a guest bath. The chair, upholstered in needlepoint, is Victorian.

An old-fashioned hot-water tank serves a claw-foot tub; the wallpaper, added by the previous owners, depicts neoclassical urns and statues.

Antique Zuber wallpaper hangs in the Chambre aux Oiseaux.

The Chambre Indienne is enlivened by a Madeleine Castaing print by Edmond Petit, available at Clarence House.

lit à la polonaise is the focal point of one bedroom.

Bergères are pulled up to a fireplace.

These past few months have been extremely chaotic over here at Buckingham Interiors + Design, but in a good way!  I have so many new clients that I absolutely love, and several commercial projects that have been extremely fun to work on (yes, albeit time-consuming).  In addition to recently completing the foyer in the Chicago Merchandise Mart’s Dream Home, I also designed the foyer in the 2011 Lake Forest Showhouse.  Located in the leafy, historic Chicago suburb that is known for its graceful estates and stunning homes, this really was a pleasure to work on.  Designed by the esteemed architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1916, the 25 room Thorndale Manor was commissioned by railroad tycoon Darius Miller, and originally sat on an astounding 19 acres.  Although the house was in much need of some TLC, it still retains its original architectural details that were so meticulously crafted by Shaw.

The Lake Forest Showhouse benefits the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, and is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 showcase homes in the nation.  Having visited many of the LF Showhouses before, trust me when I say they are definitely worth seeing.  If anything, you’ll get a little taste of what Buckingham ID has been up to these days 🙂  Going on now through May 22!

For more info, how to buy tickets, and location visit the Lake Forest Showhouse and Gardens website here!  Also, not only does this event benefit a worthy cause, it is also a great way to showcase this house, literally, because it is for sale!  If you are interested in spending $4.1 million, that is.  Contact Jean Anderson at Prudential Properties if you are interested.  And if any of you are the lucky new owner of Thorndale Manor, I’d be happy to lend a hand decorating the other 24 out of 25 rooms.

All interior images here are of my designed spaces throughout the Grand Foyer,  Staircase and Second Floor Hallway of the Manor Home.  All images were photographed by the amazingly talented and all around great guy,  Werner Straube, the favorite photographer of Traditional Home and Renovation Style Magazines.  I am always lucky when I get to work with Werner!

Thank you to my dear friend, Marjorie Skouras, who collaborated with me to custom design the gemstone chandelier hanging in the stairwell and whose pieces are represented in my showroom throughout the Midwest. Kudos to you for your new line represented by Currey and Company!  Thanks also to Oscar Isberian Carpets (Oscar and my husband and I grew up together- what a great claim to fame) for assisting me in my “crazy vision” to reinterpret the staircase first introduced in Lake Forest by Frances Elkins in the 40’s for one of her brothers’, famed architect- David Adler– pet projects down the road.

Many additional thanks go out to all who made this vision possible, Holly Hunt and Fromental, Bradley Hughes for their levity in allowing me to design poured lacquer consoles in my FAVORITE Ben Moore color, Nocturnal Gray, to blend with the stunning Dufour Wallpaper Screen circa 1815 from Richard Norton Inc, which was the first piece that I selected for this whole endeavor.  It was the inspiration- if you will- Farrow and Ball for their paint and wallpaper, Remains Lighting, Dessin Fournir,  Jim Thompson fabrics- thank you Tim Johnson,  and how could anyone not love the work of Todd Murphy featured on the second floor-available also through Buckingham ID, a pair of glass lamps by Swank Lighting added the finishing touch …also to the women of the Infant Welfare Board who made it extremely easy to enjoy this many months together.  Thank you for all of your hard work Lanie, Marcia, KK, Suzanne et all.