Spain enchants me……On my very first trip to this captivating country,  I had the opportunity to be swept off my feet and to travel to Spain courtesy of Cosentino, the makers of Silestone, Sensa and Eco products. Cosentino’s current production capacity is 700,000 square meters of engineered stone per year, making it the largest manufacturer of engineered stone slabs in the world. The opportunity to visit their quarries and manufacturing plant and to get an all exclusive behind-the-scenes pass of everything Cosentino was the highlight of my summer.  And what a trip it was.

Starting in Barcelona, my husband  (Edels) and I met up with a group of fast paced and trend-setting  people in the design industry who were also part of this “party”. No expense was spared to provide us with an intimate glimpse into the culture and traditions of Spain. Being in the company with other like-minded design aficionados really was a treat, and in Spain we all aligned and gathered some roots.  Salutations to my friends who joined me on the trip…Patty Dominguez-Field Marketing Director for Cosentino, the leader of our group and the one who treated us all like royalty; Lisa Henry-National President of ASID , Randy Fiser-CEO of ASID  ; Shawn and Edward Alshut  -Duo architects of Studio A2 in Atlanta; Amanda Zitlin  and Terri Crittenden – both designers at the Chicago Interior Design Firm of Susan Fredman. What an amazing time we had together and experiences that I will never forget. We laughed, learned and shared much.

Along with experiencing some of the astounding sites, restaurants, shopping and nightlife to be seen in Barcelona, we were able to visit a local Silestone dealer and to gather in their exquisite showroom. We were then zoomed off  to Almeria  where we were able to visit Cosentino Headquarters. Upon our arrival to the airport, is was apparent that Cosentino had had a hand unto the design.  Cosentino is a  global leader within its field, is devoted to the responsible and innovative development of top-quality surfaces and is the world´s major producer of quartz surfaces, it is a family business consortium financed entirely with Spanish capital. I greatly admire their values and hope to aspire to them all within my own business.

A modern interior all created with Cosentino stone…

The Cosentino Headquarters certainly were a sight to see.  A very memorable part of the trip was having the opportunity to check out Cosentino’s Silestone quarries. Silestone is a naturally beautiful, durable quartz. (As you can see below!) Silestone is the world’s leading natural quartz surface and features a range of more than 65 unique colors! Silestone is the one and only worktop made of quartz with anti-bacterial protection, giving it hygienic properties that are not to be found anywhere else on the market. All in all, I love their products-having installation plotted for my new home in Arizona and my Buckingham I + D Showroom!

A Cosentino quarry- a great view of it all….

Of course, all that walking around quarries got all of our shoes a little dirty!  And check out my nail polish-quite the popular color this summer- Essie Bikini So Teeny! I just can’t resist a nod to fashion which sets off a light bulb for daily inspiration. I have been using blue quite a bit lately within my client projects. Just an FYI-this color has been sold out FOREVER- this was my swan song-best place for that bad news. Inspiration quite literally never stops!

 I am SO excited to be adding Cosentino’s Silestone in the color Lagoon in the Buckingham I+D showroom! It was such a great experience to watch the entire process- and look at the gorgeous results. We are all simply drooling over this color-simple and timeless- and my team is impatiently waiting for the BI+D installation!


While we were onsite- an interesting part of our trip was watching the manufacturing of Silestone.  Love this group pic of us respecting the process of proper and safe protocol for one of the most environmentally sound products in the world.

We had some very special group outings during the trip, including a luncheon within the private offices of the heart of the Cosentino Headquarter’s. The beautifully catered affair was an intimate glimpse of the fortitude, intelligence and elegance of the family themselves. Let it be said that our day together was regal in feel. I have had a glimpse of what it feels like to exhibit core values on every level-and their embrace of the generations of family that will carry on these values for many more years to come.

Our castle- Luncheon with Paco and his exquisite olive oil at Castillo de Canena

Oh the architecture…historic and regal.  We were received as friends and left as such!And yes, we got to sample it! YUM!

John and me during our final night in Granada..Alhambra Castle in the background. A night to treasure forever.

Thank you to the Chicago Cosentino Center for the Prexury Petrified Wood on the island and Haiku Silestone on the perimeter countertop in my designed kitchen at the CS Interiors 5th Anniversary Showcase at the Ritz-Carlton Residences (Open House October 12-13). Purchase tickets here. You will love it all as the Chicago design community has again proven what we can do!

 And a nod of gratitude to all of the Cosentino Family for the opportunity to have been invited to travel to Spain and to have been embraced as a part of their larger family. My experiences there have peaked my keen design interest to see what new and innovative products Cosentino comes up with next. I think that we all should stay tuned!

Adios amigos! xx

 





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One of my lovely BID girls, Paulina, tied the knot last year-and another BID gal Shannon is doing the same this month- and I have to say that I have always had a soft spot for weddings.  With two daughters (and a son) myself, I can’t help but dream about dresses, bouquets, cakes, shoes…(I am admittedly design obsessed, after all).

I was very excited when Chicago-based blog “The Every Girl” asked if they could use my Buckingham Interiors + Design showroom as the backdrop for their “Wedding Week” special!  This week long event highlighted budget conscious wedding decor, and I must say that I was very impressed!  Their styling was excellent and I was thrilled with their incorporation of antiques at my BID showroom.  Although they primarily used my bare white painted brick walls at the showroom, we certainly do have quite a bit on display…definitely stop by if you are in the Chi!  Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom is located at 1820 Grand Avenue, Chicago. We have sold quite a few pieces in our latest exhibit of local artists-with day jobs-so the walls will be refreshed soon…I promise!

Every Girl co-founders, Danielle Moss and Alaina Kaczmarski





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Amazon from the Elements collection

 

I am constantly on the hunt for the new, the different, the bold and the often times daring to bring into my projects to give them depth and enduring interest.  I was in the Artistic Tile showroom at the Chicago Merchandise Mart when I spotted the incredible work of artist Ellen Blakely.  I was familiar with Blakely before, but had never really gotten a chance to take a close look at her work.  Blakely began her career as a ceramist, however she was inspired by shattered glass from a bus shelter to create innovative mosaics defined by clear glass that reveals treasures below its surface.  Literally anything can be used in these amazing mosaics, from family photos to leaves to scraps of newspaper.  You name it, Blakely can do it!  Her work comes in tile form, but can also be molded into sink basins, sculpture or used for tabletops.  If you can dream it, Blakely can do it!  I hope to be using Blakely’s work in projects in the near future.  Nothing says personal and unique like crafting a table or a counter from your treasured photos and memorabilia!

 

Moss from Elements collection

 

Fall Leaf from the Spotlight collection

 

 

Spring Leaf from the Spotlight collection

Black Lace from Core collection

Blossom from Core collection

New Yorker from  Core collection

Degas Dress

 

Degas Dress detail

 

 

Degas Dress detail

 

“My Girls” mosaic

“Heartwood” sculpture

“Meredith” sculpture

“You Are Here” sphere

Blue Bowl

“Dot Calm” gold sink

Sink, Wild Mango





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Leaping, Ocean, 1994
Todd Burris
1994

I have always loved 1stDibs, but since recently opening my own shop (check it out here!) on the site, I have been all the more intrigued by their incredibly amazing selection of all things beautiful.  Their tag line is after all “The Most Beautiful Things on Earth.”

One of my favorite parts of decorating is adding art to the space, and 1stDibs is one of my favorite places to go for inspiration/purchases.  It is like having the most fabulous gallery right at your fingertips!  Take a look at some of my picks from the 1stDibs fine arts collection.  Stay tuned…you might see some of these popping up in upcoming BID projects soon!

By the way, can you tell I have a thing for abstract?

 

La Femme aux Bijoux (The Bejeweled Woman)
Joan Miro
1968

The Princess Mnemosyme
Max Gimblett
2011

Untitled (Blue Tank Top) LM c17
Laura Craig McNellis
2010-11

Studio
John Baldessari
1988

DUST STORM, RAJASTHAN, INDIA, 1983
Steve McCurry

Convergence II
Sheila Hicks
2001

One World
Ayad Alkadhi
2011-2012

COURTYARD OF THE ZAYOUIYA, FEZ, MOROCCO, 1993
Bruno Barbey

VENICE BEACH ROCK FESTIVAL, CALIFORNIA, USA, 1968
Dennis Stock

Untitled #5
Thomas Nozkowski
2012

31-1/4
Frank Bowling
2011

FS3187CT12
Cecil Touchon
2012

PDP542CT12
Cecil Touchon
2012

Sleeper
Dan Christensen
1998

Atlantic Explosion (Diptych)
Conor Mccreedy
2011





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Cubist Woman
Judith Deim

I love sharing my modern + antique finds with my clients, MG followers and shelter mag readers.  Now, I am so thrilled to say that I will be sharing my favorite pieces from Buckingham Interiors + Design with 1stdibs members too!  I loved being a part of the One Kings Lane Design Blogger Tastemaker Tag sale, and now I have been asked to be a dealer on one of my other favorite sites.  I will have my collection up and ready for viewing tomorrow at 12pm CST!

I have long been virtually obsessed with 1stdibs, aka “The Most Beautiful Things on Earth” (love their tag line).  As a site dedicated to the highest quality of all things furniture, fashion, art…you name it, I feel strongly that 1stdibs has maintained the integrity of high end products while still making it all accessible to an internet audience.

Here are some of my current favorites on 1stdibs now-  from the only place where one can view “Storefronts” of 1200 of the most respected antiques dealers in the world!

Lip Streaks (Donna Mitchell), New York, 1967
Melvin Sokolsky
1967

Pair Of Hans Wegner ‘Halyard’ Chairs , Denmark 1957

 Silas Seandel Free Form Coffee Tables





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Greetings from the City of Lights!  I am here with my hubby John to attend the Maison & Objet Home Fashion Showcase, and we couldn’t be having a better time eating, drinking, sightseeing and shopping our way through this magnificent city!  Although the weather has been a bit dreary at times, that hasn’t stopped us from taking in all that Paris has to offer. Also a blast meeting one of my Chicago client’s at the flea market to find goodies for her new home.  I am so excited to bring the best of European chic back to the U-S of A for my clients and showroom!

Here is a look inside what we have been up to…

Hotel Plaza Athenee…our amazing hotel!  So Paris chic.  Lavish glam to the max! The Gallerie and Night Club were elegant and happening.  The Dior Spa and Fitness Center was one of my favorite haunts during my stay. Fitness was much sought out after foie gras intake daily.

Beautiful nighttime at our lovely hotel with the twinkling lights of the Tour Eiffel in the background. There is an ice skating rink in the courtyard of the hotel with children skating daily to the tunes of french music.

Restaurant Le Jules Verne at the Eifel Tower

Hands down the best meal and views of our stay in Paris.  I highly recommend for lunch, sipping champagne of course!

Clignancourt Flea Market…I was like a kid in a candy store even though I have visited many times….

My client and I trying to wrangle best prices while amusing the crowd :)

Vanves Flea Market…another endless world of treasures!

The main attraction of our trip, Maison & Objet Home Fashion Showcase.  Five days of the most amazing home furnishings and decor in the world!  What is it about Paris that makes everything so oo-la-la?

Check out these chairs…j’adore!

Some exhibitors and me in the Hall of Garden and Home Furnishing’s………..

A few little treats from Laduree to end the perfect day in our hotel …These are mostly gifts I swear!





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Here’s to another great year for MG!  Where has this time gone?  It seems like just yesterday that I was blogging about the Business of Design Conference back in August or debuting my space at the Chicago Merchandise Mart Dream Home back in June.

I did this post at the end of 2010, and I can’t believe the time has already come to do it again!  Here’s to you, 2011!

What MG Chicago and my firm Buckingham Interiors + Design were up to these past 12 months…

Wishing all MG readers health and prosperity in the new year!

December

“Fun for the Whole Family”

This post was about a very family friendly project I recently completed in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood.  I wanted to showcase bold colors, textures and patterns in a space that is just as whimsical for adults as it is for children. Look for this home being featured in the January issue of CSInteriors on bookstands January 19th. Written by Tate Gunnerson and photographed by Anthony Tahlier, this should be a very good read.

November

“The Luxe Life”

This is a post about a project I recently completed in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood that was featured in Luxe Magazine.  I tried to play up the homeowner’s love and appreciation of fine art as well as the unparalleled views from this stunning modern high rise.

October

“Affordable Modern? Sign Me Up!”

CB2 did a promotion called “Unlock Affordable Modern” throughout the country, and while it has since ended, my affinity for CB2 certainly has not.  As a lover of all things modern and antique, it was around this time that I coined the term “modernique” to define by aesthetic. I was asked to speak at the  High Point Antiques Market to elaborate on my visions of design nirvana achieved by the mixture of using antiques and modern furnishing’s within each space that I design. Thank you Karen and Amanda!

September

“Totally Wu-ed”

The month of September was a busy one for me!  I was here, there and everywhere, including the Brizo event for Jason Wu in NYC during Fashion Week.  I was invited to the Blogger 19 event (as you can see, there are 19 of us) and had a fabulous time mingling amongst some of the blogosphere’s finest!  Not to mention being up close and personal with Jason Wu’s stunning couture creations was worth the trip in itself! I made some amazing new pals- we are connecting again in February of this year for the 2nd annual Design Blogger’s Conference in LA. So looking forward to seeing them and friends who will be speaking and presenting this year.

August

“Staying in Style in NYC”

One of my assistant’s stayed at the Surrey Hotel in NYC in August and came back to Chicago raving about it.  Of course, I had to check it out for myself! I must say I was very impressed!  Sleek, modern, sophisticated yet so comfortable and livable…I didn’t ever want to check out when I was staying here!

July

“A Gift for You, A Gift for Me!”

I became obsessed with Layla Grace when I had to purchase a birthday present for a friend in July.  While I bought her a monogrammed lucite tray, I inevitably found many things that I was obsessing over for myself! Needless to say that the BID Team has been on the wire many times since then sourcing for our client’s galore.  This orange side table being one of my faves…

June

“Dreaming Big at the Merchandise Mart Dream Home”

I was thrilled to be a part of this year’s Dream Home at the Chicago Merchandise Mart!  Above is an image of my space.  Many thanks to my wonderful team and vendors at the Mart-Bradley Hughes, Baker, Dessin Fournir, Boyd, Paris Ceramics, Holly Hunt, Cai, Jim Thompson, Joanne Trestrail, Richard Norton and Lee Jofa…couldn’t have pulled this together without you! I am looking forward to seeing what next years chosen Chicago designer’s do with these spaces.

May

“Come out to See the Lake Forest Showhouse!”

May was the month of the highly anticipated biannual Lake Forest Showhouse.  My firm designed the foyer, front staircase, and second floor front hall.  May was a fantastic, albeit very busy, month for me.  All worth it because I love what I do!

April

“Victorian Era”

I finished this Lincoln Park Victorian in April.  I loved this project because like many of my projects, this was a historic home that had unbelievable architectural details beneath the surface of some subtle digging and that we were able to bring back upon restoration.  It was amazing to see the history of the house come alive while being updated with modern furniture, art and finishes.

March

“Sunny Side Up”

Spring break month!  One of my assistant’s spent a week in beautiful Palm Beach, Florida and sent me this article about the Lauder Estate there.  Can anything top this view?!  Aerin…I will come hang out anytime ;)

February

“Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful!”

February is truly is the doldrums of winter, and during this time nothing looks better than a blue sky, crystal clear ocean and tropical drink.  Included in Travel and Leisure’s 500 Best Hotel issue were many beach resorts, and I couldn’t resist indulging and fantasizing that I was was lounging on this chaise above.

January

“No ‘Breaking Up’ With This!”

“The Breakup” is one of my favorite movies because a. I love Vince Vaughn b. it takes place in my hometown of Chicago and c. it features my good friend and wonderful artist Francine Turk!  I use Francine’s work all the time (and exhibited her work in my showroom as seen above) and wanted to share with MG just how talented and amazing she is! Hopefully Francine will be joining me this month at Maison et Objet in Paris. Can’t wait for that- not just Paris but to see and learn the latest and greatest in design for the upcoming year.  More to share with y’all!





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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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After a whirlwind travel tour this past week- to High Point North Carolina for my speaking gig at High Point Market, and to Florida to check in on a client project- I am finally able to get back to working, and blogging, at my office in Chicago.

I was so happy to see a copy of the latest Luxe Magazine on my desk upon my return, not only because I am a big fan of the magazine in general but also because one of my recently completed projects is a featured spread.

I had such a great time decorating this Gold Coast home for the clients, who also happen to be good friends of mine-which can be a different and special gig.  The building is new and features unbelievable views of the city-Barney’s being a major highlight- and the wall space that wasn’t taken up by the floor-to-ceiling windows we filled with some really fantastic pieces of art.  I am bubbling over with the results and so excited to see it in both the local Chicago edition- and was notified by the Luxe team that it was also chosen for the national edition of Luxe Magazine this month.  To say that I am flattered to be among the projects’s of Phillip Gorrivan, Jay Jeffers, James Magni, Laura Umansky and the team of Andi Pepper and Stephen Jacobs would be a huge understatement. The talent surrounding me is crazy inspirational.

Check out the images from the feature below!





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I wish that it was every day that I had the chance to work on a Michigan Avenue project-right in the thick of things.   Add to that description a swank  apartment project in the city.  Many of my clients live in single family homes, but when I was presented with the opportunity to work on a pad in a posh Gold Coast high-rise (one of Chicago’s most beautiful neighborhoods) I immediately said “Heck yes!”

This was such a great project for me in that the client also shared an appreciation for art, antiques and artifacts- the 3 A’s which I live by.  In a smaller space like an apartment, every square foot must count.  No detail was overlooked, however I had to be careful not to “over decorate” the home.  No matter what objects or artifacts I put in the space, the finest piece of art will always be the phenomenal views of my beautiful city :)

It doesn’t matter that my phone doesn’t work here….kinda like a work oasis when I am here.

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