Decor Pad

I confess…it is not over for me.  I love the heartfelt messages from my oldest brother, our daughters, and hearing that our son liked his edible fruit bouquet. I thought that he would mock but he and his roommates dug in. Healthy choice, no?.  Thank you boyfriend’s of my girlz that you provided amazing flowers and dinners and gifts:)

What better way to perpetuate and  to celebrate the holiday of love than by featuring red and pink interiors?  As seen from the photos below, red and pink can be used in virtually any space, from a small scale to a large scale.  Floors, walls, doors…you name it, red and pink have got it covered. Did I mention that my gift of choice was a bevy of Lush bath bombs? I am addicted!

Pairing red and pink with white or black are traditional combinations, but I love the unexpected color combinations- pink + gold, red + yellow, red + light blue, pink + blue, pink + yellow.

Take a look at some of my Valentine’s Day inspired picks below! I am hoping that we can keep the day going for awhile here…..

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My very own kitchen.  Images from Rue Magazine .

Photographer Werner Straube





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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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White After Labor Day

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Sep 29, 2011 | 11 Comments | Category: Color, Kitchens

While the “official” season of rocking those white linen trousers or pearly leather pumps may now be over, who says you can’t flash your fab light side in the kitchen?  All white (or primarily white kitchens) are so serene and calming, which can help to offset the clutter and chaos that often take place in what tends to be the hub of the house.  White kitchens come in all shapes and sizes, from classic to modern, large to small.  While summer may be on its way out, white kitchens are here to stay!

Photos courtesy of Decor Pad.





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{Chinchilly, Essie}

{Buckingham Interiors + Design}

Fall has officially come to Chicago, and chilly it is!  Today it barely broke 60 degrees and what does cooler weather mean besides boots, scarves and jackets?  Autumn nail polish, of course!

Today was the first time I got my autumnal manicure/pedicure for the season, and what better color to choose than Chinchilly by Essie!  I discovered this color around this time about two years ago, and it has been a cool weather staple ever since.

Here are some of the colors that I am look forward to painting my nails this fall, and in the spirit of MG, here are some cool interiors to go along with them!

{Carry On, Essie}

{Lonny Magazine}

{Very Structured, Essie}

{Elle Decor}

{Glamour Purse, Essie}

{Rue Magazine}

{Power Clutch, Essie}

{Lonny Magazine}

{I Break for Manicures, OPI}

{Architectural Digest}

{Suzie Takes the Wheel, OPI}

{Decor Pad}

{Roadhouse Blues, OPI}

{Decorpad}

{I Eat Mainely Lobster}

{Architectural Digest}

{Are We There Yet}

{Decorpad}





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You may have picked up by now that I have a slight (ok maybe more than slight…) obsession with orange.  Not only have I used this punchy hue throughout my own home, but it has also made its way into many of my projects, both commercial and residential.  Something about this color really strikes my fancy, for it has both a lively vintage quality yet also a sophisticated modern feel.  Furthermore, it can be paired with many other colors to create a dramatic effect (my favorite combos are orange and gray, orange and purple, orange and pink, orange and brown and orange and cream).

{Orange in my own home}

{Orange in Buckingham Interiors + Design space at Merchandise Mart Antiques Fair}

I was browsing Lonny’s online photo gallery and I was pleased to see just how many spaces used orange in some way, either big or small, and in many different rooms, from bathrooms to workspaces.  Check out some of my favorites!





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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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Paint My Life With Color

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Oct 20, 2010 | 2 Comments | Category: Color, Decorating

Powder-coated recycled-brass Wharf Light comes in more than 180 colors, $900 to $1,125, at Urban Archaeology, Merchandise Mart, 312-527-4627, urbanarchaeology.com.

The gloomy days of winter might be swiftly approaching, but that certainly doesn’t mean your life has to become drab.  This month’s Chicago Home + Garden offers a variety of color-ific options for to brighten up your home.  I have always been a huge advocate of color in my own designs (…recently just did a special for WGN on how to incorporate color in the home actually).  From lighting to chairs to throw blankets to even a mini grill, there is something for everyone in the following array of brightly hued items.

Descriptions courtesy of Chicago Home + Garden…thanks guys!

Mondrian-ian cashmere throw made in Italy, about 51 by 71 inches, $995, at Barneys New York, 15 E. Oak St., 312-587-1700, barneys.com

Auden sheer drapery fabric, created by Rodarte for Knoll Luxe, features wide bands of soft color inspired by the fashion house’s dip-dyed ombré gowns. From $130 a yard, at Knoll, Merchandise Mart, 312-454-6920, knoll.com


Party-in-a-glass color-swirled blown-glass tumblers are three inches high, $45 each, at Barneys New York.

Bodum’s cheerful Fyrkat portable charcoal grill, 13 ½-inch diameter, enamel-coated steel, $65, at Space519, 900 N. Michigan Ave., 312-751-1519, space519.com

What do Kartell’s Dune trays by Mario Bellini bring to the table? Ripples of vivid color, for one thing. The thermoplastic dazzlers come in two sizes, $83 and $113, at Luminaire, 301 W. Superior St., 312-664-9582, luminaire.com.


Wegner Wishbone chairs now come in four lovely blues and a zippy orange, as well as black, white, and oak finishes. Beech frames, woven-papercord seats, $830 to $930 each, at Room & Board,roomandboard.com


Ligne Roset’s Pumpkin armchair in eight shades of red wool, inspired by the 1971 original designed by Pierre Paulin. Offered in a 150-piece limited edition, $2,100, at Ligne Roset, 440 N. Wells St., 312-222-9300, lignerosetchicago.com

Space-smart foldable stepladder, by Karl Malmvall for Design House Stockholm, comes in red, white, or black lacquered rubberwood, $329, at I.D., 3337 N. Halsted St., 773-755-4343, idchicago.com.

Farmhouse style, de-rusticated: The 95-inch Walker table has a cherry-red lacquered-wood top, powder-coated steel base, $999, at Crate & Barrel, crateandbarrel.com.

Basket-like glazed stoneware fruit bowls by Eucalyptus come in tasty colors, three sizes, from $43, at Les Tableaux, 131 Marion St., Oak Park, 708-524-8200, les-tableaux.net.





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{Article from Chicago Home + Garden, on sale now!}

Everyone has a favorite color.  Although I have many, one of my most favorite is orange.  However, color is truly personal, and furthermore is something that can define a space.  Although everyone has a color of choice, pairing hues can be a tricky task.

{Chicago Home + Garden editor, Jan Parr}

This coming Wednesday (October 13) I will be a guest on WGN’s midday show at noon, chatting with Chicago Home + Garden’s editor, Jan Parr, about adding/using color in the home.  With virtually any color in the rainbow at a homeowner’s disposal, those who crave the bold or those who prefer the subdued will find tips and tricks on color schemes during this segment.  Whether color is incorporated in a big way (a brightly colored accent wall) or a more subtle way (a few brightly colored books and nicknacks in a bookshelf or a bowl of lemons on the kitchen counter), mixing up hues can make all the difference.  So kick that color fear to the curb and tune in Wednesday!

All images courtesy of Buckingham Interiors + Design.





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How Silly

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Aug 25, 2010 | 5 Comments | Category: Color, Decorating, Design Inspiration, Fashion, Trends

Kids of all ages are sporting the latest craze to sweep the nation: Silly Bandz.  These small, pliable pre-formed rubber band bracelets come in all shapes and colors, each pack individually themed.  If you’re into baseball, princesses, even the Chicago Bears…there’s a pack of Silly Bandz for you!

With my daughter recently sporting her own variety, I realized the color ways of each pack are pretty well paired.  After reading the September issue of House Beautiful, the main theme being color, I decided to take a look and see if the Silly Band color ways correlated with interior color ways…and sure enough they do!  Check out some of the matches below…not so silly after all!  But don’t at all feel limited by these selected color ways; google Silly Bandz to see many more collections and colors of this crazy trend.

{Silly Bandz Fantasy Shape, $4.95}

{Jeffrey Bilhuber}

{Silly Bandz Beach Pack, $1.85}

{Steven Gambrel}

{Silly Bandz Baseball, $3.39}

{Silly Bandz, Wild West $3.49}

{Kathryn M. Ireland}

{Crazy Bandz Neptune, $3.99}

{Miles Redd}

{Silly Bandz Sea Creatures}

{Bunny Williams}





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I was poking around the App Store in search for some “design app” inspiration after rediscovering the “Ben Color Capture” app from Benjamin Moore that I downloaded on my iPhone sometime last summer.  Trying to sort through the melee of over 200,000 apps got to be quite tedious, so I took my query to Google. The top search result for “iPhone interior design apps” was none other than “15 iPhone apps for home design” from Apartment Therapy!  Looks like they beat me to it.  If you’re an iPhone user, check out these and other apps which are like having an arsenal of design tools literally in the palm of your hand.  And if nothing else, they are just simply fun to play around with.  Here are Apartment Therapy’s 15 best apps and their descriptions about each.  All available at the App Store on iTunes (or on your iPhone).

1. Color Capture by Benjamin Moore: “lets you snap a photo of anything at all and find a color match among Benjamin Moore’s many paint chips. Wow! Plus, it’s free.”

2. Sherwin Williams Color Snap: “gives you a color match, too, along with a complementary palette and a Sherwin-Williams store finder. This one’s free too.”

3. Mark on Call: “created by interior designer Mark Lewison, has tons of helpful features, including shopping lists, measurement tools, layout planners, and the like. All for $2.99.”

4. I.D. Wood: “is a pocket guide to woods, including information about durability, sustainability, and color. Also includes helpful info about cutting techniques and a nail size reference. $2.99.”

5. Home Sizer: “calculates square footage and construction costs for $2.99.”

6. Convert: “a unit calculator, comes highly recommended. Helpful for converting from metric when shopping for imported furniture. Costs $.99.”

7. iHandy Level: “s just what it sounds like. It turns the iPhone into a level. There are many level apps available, but this one comes recommended by friends. Great for hanging art! Free.”

8. eBay Mobile: “of course, allows you to track your auctions easily from your phone, so you won’t miss that perfect vintage kilim rug again. Free.”

9. Craigsphone: “is Craigslist’s mobile version for the iPhone, new this year. Would be great for garage sale weekends. Free.”

10. SwedeShop: “helps you stay organized on your Ikea shopping trips. Take photos, make notes, and tab the locations of all the items you’re considering. Given how frustrating it can be to navigate that store, this app seems well worth the $.99.”

11. Christie’s: “auction house has an app for those following auctions of their valuable big-ticket items. Great for serious collectors. Free.”

12. What the Font: “will identify any typeface. Just snap a pic of a poster, sign, or any other source for type, and you’ll get your font. Great for DIY projects! Free.”

13. EverNote: “an all-purpose organizational app, can become a great replacement for your giant design binders. Snap pics of fabrics, rooms, and furniture; make recordings and notes; map locations of your favorite stores and sales. Free.”

14. 3rd Whale: “helps you shop green. Find businesses, services, and contractors who focus on sustainability. Shop by categories, like “Garden and Landscaping” or “Green Power.” $1.99.”

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