Who says that just because you are an adult means you must have a “Grown Up House”?  I have always loved using bold, bright colors, patterns and textures throughout my projects, bringing a sense of fun and whimsy that is not just limited to children’s quarters.  In the darkest days of the bitter Chicago winter, its always nice to have a warm, cozy place to go home to. When I can take a design risk that evokes a smile- I am there. Add to that a lighting frenzy that allows a mixture of fixtures and moods alongside multi media nationally acclaimed art.  Whoa!

One of my recently completed projects, a modern brownstone in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, incorporates this fun, eclectic mantra in a family home.  Adults and children alike can enjoy the house…after all a house is not a home unless you can have fun in it! The family that inhabits it is amazingly awesome. The perfect client’s…lucky me.

It is a great time to be thankful for the wonderful design that I have been allowed to share this year with my fantastic client’s and my BID team- Paulina, Shannon, Whitney, Amy, Colette, Nancy and Marla. You all rock it.

Happy Holiday’s to all!





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{Kitchen in my recently completed Bucktown project}

Funny I stumbled across this article in Chicago Home + Garden, as I was just sporting my winter white coat today!  I did a post not too long ago entitled “White After Labor Day,” which featured the season-less elegance of monochromatic, white kitchens.  Once again, I want to emphasize that white should not be limited to spring and summer, especially when it comes to home decor.

There is something dreamy and elegant about incorporating a wintry shade of white throughout your home.  Softer than stark white yet still very neutral, winter white is extremely versatile.  I love creamy colored walls, buttery settees, even white roses will do the trick. What are some of your favorite ways to “beat the winter blah’s” with white as a design element?

{Living room in one of my North Shore projects}

Chicago Home + Garden has some great ideas of how to brighten up with your winter with  white!





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Pushing the Limits

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Dec 12, 2011 | 2 Comments | Category: Art, Material Girls Projects

One of my assistants said to me the other day, “through decorating my own apartment I realized how much fun it is to push the limits of decorating,” and I couldn’t agree more!  While I respect and admire the historic and traditional (I have lived in many historic homes myself and I have a major obsession with antiques, after all!), infusing my projects with a modern flair is central to my design mantra.

One way I love to incorporate contemporary style in my projects is through art.  I often find myself juxtaposing the traditional (18th Century Colonial Oil Portraits which I found antiquing in Boston) with some of the most cutting edge artist’s out there today.

Right now, one of the artists who is inspiring me the most is Marilyn Minter. Her provocative, beguiling work left me captivated from first glance.  To me, her work is just as much a conversation piece as the 18th century oil portrait hanging in the next room. I have coveted a book of her work that was given to me by one of my intern’s as a gift over a year ago.

To quote a recent blurb from Artinfo

“If you missed Marilyn Minter‘s most recent show at Salon 96 in the Bowery, which closed on December 4, you missed one of the purer pleasures of the fall season. The show featured a few of her large-scaled, hyper-detailed paintings — she hates the term “photorealist,” so we won’t use it — of some of her signature themes: close-ups of women’s mouths and high-heeled shoes, all rendered with her signature atmosphere of dirty glamour.

The real stand-out of the show, however, was the new video work. Minter’s long-time interest in video has been receiving increased attention, since her short clip “Green Pink Caviar” — a closeup of a mouth smearing colored caviar on glass — was unveiled in 2009. The standout new work at Salon 94, “Play Pen” (2011), features toddlers splashing around in a pool of viscous silver liquid, presented in super-slow-motion, so that the dynamics of the goo — and the looks of mixed joy and confusion on their faces as they discover these dynamics — are captured with dream-like emphasis”.

I can’t wait to place a work of Marilyn’s intensely mesmerizing work-it is only a matter of time!





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Photo via Freshome

A holiday that revolves around decorating?  Of course I love Christmas!  Oh yes….there is that gift giving aspect too :) The ways to trim your Christmas tree are endless.  Of course, little children love their fun, colorful ornaments, but for a more adult look monochromatic ornaments and white lights are very sophisticated.  Big tree, small tree, multiple trees, to even wild and crazy trees…got to love them all!

Check out some of my favorite Christmas tree ideas from around the blogosphere.  These trees show that there really is no right or wrong way to trim your tree!

Photo via Freshome

Photo via Freshome

Photo via Freshome

Photo via Freshome

Photo via Freshome

Photo via Freshome

Photo via Freshome

Photo via Better Homes and Gardens

Photo via Better Homes and Gardens

Photo via Homedit

Photo via Homedit

Photo via Homedit

Photo via Homedit

Photo via Homedit

Photo via Homedit

Photo via Homedit

Santa inspired tree!  Photo via Better Homes and Gardens

Snowman inspired tree! Photo via Better Homes and Gardens





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Upper Pacific Suite- Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, CA

May be the most beautiful!  Well, at these hotels at least….. the bathrooms give the rooms themselves a run for their money.  Ranging from sanctuary like retreats to provocative, funky spaces, these bathrooms are truly sights to be see in and of themselves.  You will pay a premium for a “deluxe” bathroom (or more like bath suite)…the Presidential Suite at the Mandarin Oriental in New York will set you back $18,000 a night!  Tempting…that does look like a very nice tub…

Thanks to Conde Nast Traveler for this great article!

The Terrace Suite- Maritime Hotel, New York, NY

Told U So Yacht by Molori Private Retreats

Men’s Lobby Bathroom at 25Hours Hotel, Frankfurt, Germany

Deluxe Garden Room One- Barnsley House, Cirencester, England

Lifestyle Suite, Le Royal Monceau Raffles, Paris

Presidential Suite, Hyatt on the Bund, Shangai

Amber Suite- The Tides Miami, South Beach

Presidential Suite- Mandarin Oriental, New York, NY

La Suite- Clos de Lethe, Languedoc Roussillon, France

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