Who said you can’t wear white after Labor Day (other than my mother!)? Well, I’ve never been one to follow the “fashion” rules and I tend to make up my own design rules too. As much as I love bright colors like orange and turquoise, I equally love a nice crisp white palette. I like to use white as a statement in and of itself. When I use white, it’s usually all white.

I like white to stand on its own instead of being used as a canvas. It has so much more to say!

White is an amazing way to showcase architecture.  I use white to unify unrelated spaces and to lift and bounce light.

This image is from one of my historic restoration projects in the Wicker park neighborhood of Chicago. The addition to the back of this Victorian Italianate manse was designed to be wholeheartedly modern while the front part of the home was restored to the original architectural splendor. A true seamless blending of old and new!

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These three dimensional architectural wall panels installed in my own home in Arizona shown below is one of my favorite images ever. White can have so much dimension!

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White feels crisp, clean and eternal—especially in the bath. Many of my past client bathroom projects have been in the color “white”–whether all white, mixed with a neutral grey, or for the classic contrast of black and white.

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Using white for kitchens and dining spaces instantly brightens up the space.

White subway tiles for kitchens are one of my faves….especially in unexpected sizes or with unique textures.

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White also rocks a as pairing with one of my other can’t resist elements–lucite.

It just instantly adds a glam ++ factor!

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And of course nothing gives you the the “Five-star Hotel” feeling like crisp white sheets. A white bedroom can be a most needed calming retreat.

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 Incorporated the right way, white can be the answer all year round-every day and in every way!

xx,

Julia

All images used here are from the archives of Buckingham Interiors + Design and photographed by Eric Hausman

 





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Happy September!

Can you even believe it?! I’ve been reflecting on my whirlwind summer, full of lots of travel and work=fun. In July, I was delighted to attend Thermador and Traditional Home’s 2nd Annual “Great Kitchen Getaway” event in sunny + beachy Southern California. I was joined by  a fabulous team of designers and lifestyle bloggers from across the country; Dana Wolter, Nancy and Eric Dalton, Karen Williams, Lisa Mende, Beth Le Manach, Jennifer Markanich, Karin Edwards, Kelly Morriseau and Courtney Price. We hung out at the Thermador Experience & Design Center where we learned about this leading luxury appliance brand, talked about what’s hot in kitchen design, and also got into a heated social media cooking contest……more about that later.

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We toured the design center learning all about the vast array of luxury cooking and refrigeration appliances offered by this innovative brand.  Thermador has been providing “Real innovations for real cooks” for more than 75 years and continues to do so with their evolving iconic line of products. The Smithsonian Museum has Julia Childs actual kitchen on display- I’ve seen it and it is interesting how truly timeless the kitchen feels. Think also of the Brady Bunch- Alice cooked within a Thermador kitchen as well!

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We were then able to get the true feel of the Thermador cooking and kitchen experience (also putting to the test our cooking skills!) during an interactive cooking lunch.

To make things a little bit more interesting, we had a fun social media contest which brought out all of our competitive spirit!

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We teamed up and took to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to share all of our culinary creations cooked up using the Thermador Pro Heater.

My lovely partner-in-crime was my friend, Nancy Dalton, Owner of Baywolf Dalton out of Seattle where she and her hubby create amazing kitchens and bathrooms for their clients. Here we are looking ever so fab in our Thermador aprons cooking up a storm!

Our finished product….An herb-crusted tuna with a carrot-ginger puree. Bon appetit!!

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It looks pretty delicious if I do say so myself….unfortunately we did not have the most likes/retweets/shares to win. Sigh…next time.  We all had a riot and dined together to indulge in each others divine creations.

Some other mouth-watering plates cooked up in the Thermador kitchen included  steam-roasted asparagus with warm irvine beets (the crowd winner by a bunch), seared diver scallops, zucchini blossom succotash and grilled chicken skewers with cumin scented rice. Yum.

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 It was a great trip learning all about latest in kitchen design with fab friends and food! What else could a designer ask for?

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Hanging with Lore McKenna from BSH Group and Kelly Morriseau as we head out to one of our FABULOUS beachside dinners

And, if you haven’t checked out the latest Traditional Homes Great Kitchens issue here it is. A must read!

                                          Thank you for including me in the festivities Thermador, Traditional Home, BSH Group + Finn Partners!!

xx, Julia

This trip was sponsored by Thermador and Traditional Home. Photo credit: Thermador.

All written content and insight within this post are my own.





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For the second year in a row, I am honored to be selected- along with four amazing design colleagues from New York, Atlanta, Sacramento and Austin- as one of Silestone’s “Trendspotters”. The whole gang was blessed with the opportunity to be whisked off to Spain for an adventurous week. Nothing like being immersed in a vibrant new culture to get the creative juices flowing.

It was a week full of inspiration and some powerful trend statements- melding both past and present.

First stop was beautiful Barcelona where we spent 2 days exploring the town and taking in the sights. As is every single time that I visit this gorgeous city, I was blown away by the architecture and it’s timeless and seamless entry into the modern world. I found classic, modern- day inspiration around every corner…

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Greek Key staircases within The Hotel Catedral in Almeria, the architectural splendor of ceiling details of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, Spanish tile mania spied within an historic building-now a cafe near the beach in Barcelona (Love the colorful mix!) and simply the breathtaking views of the city.

Architecture even came to life in the sand! Spotted this elaborate replica of La Sagrada Familia as a sand castle on the beach in Barcelona.

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My travels to Spain reinforced my love for timeless color inspiration and the influence that color- alongside neutral earthy bespoke elements- creates architecture that has been shared and that has lasted throughout the ages. The patina of ages old color still hold their treasured elements and show that color and architectural shapes in design and architecture only age more beautifully with the passing of time. We take away a sense of history when we reuse and repurpose the elements within our modern day designs.
The aged become pure examples of modern art in many cases…
Look at this castle, Alcazaba, in Almeria where after an alfresco dinner in the city square we were feted by a modern violin concerto.
The long trek upward into the castle were steps upon steps of historic, architectural splendor that felt clean, sleek and timeless.
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Between the trend and style spotting my fabulous cohorts and I had a lot of fun and giggles. We managed to take a fair amount of selflies and group shots along the way. This is one of my favorite group snapshots from the trip as the backdrop of the amazing historic architecture was simply stunning.

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The pic was caught at precisely the right moment with the natural illumination of a gorgeous sunset on the rooftop of  this Moorish castle alive with Art Nouveau influences and touches within.

Sitting halfway up a mountain overlooking Barcelona, it is now the home of El Asador de Aranda- a fabled restaurant known for its Castilian cooking. The building has a “modernist” feel throughout the interior that enhances my intrigue, obviously, with the melding of the old and the new.

(Side note–I especially love this picture because the handsome guy standing behind me is my  son, Alex, who met us with a quick flight from his hometown of Berlin. This made the trip for me all that much more special. Huge thanks to everyone for welcoming him with open arms!)

After bidding adios to Barcelona, we spent two days at the  Cosentino global headquarter’s in Macael for exploration and inspiration into our designs for the “Designer Series” of color. We were able to view the first prototypes of our new Silestone Color Series which the product development team based off of our initial creative meetings in New York City a couple of months ago.  It was exciting and rewarding to see our colorful designs coming to life. The final reveal will be in January 2015 at The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (#KBIS) in Las Vegas. Exciting stuff!

Easy to “spot” us, yes? #orangevestsderigueur

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At the end of our trip while back in Barcelona, I was filmed sharing my latest thoughts on color and design trends amidst the color and excitement of one of my fave markets in the world…La Boqueria.

I was so energized by the buzz of all of my surroundings!

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 There was inspiration in all of our travels… included one of my favorites here. Spotted this amazing sphere of light in a Spanish courtyard in Almeria.

Love Modern Art in unexpected historic locales!

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Oh… the memories of Spain collaborating with my fellow Silestone trendspotters… Miss all y’all Kim, Courtney, Kerrie, Patty and Mark! And Nicole and Lorenzo too!

See you soon!

xx, Julia

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 Twice a year, I head to High Point Market in North Carolina along with two partners in design from my office.  High Point  is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world which attracts more than 75,000 people every six months. Anyone and everyone in the interior design, furniture and accessories world can be found at High Point Market to showcase and shop all the gorgeous new product introductions. This past April, I was delighted to discover an amazing new company, Mitchell Black, and I was even more delighted to find out they were also from Chi-town!! They were only a few blocks away from my Buckingham Interiors + Design offices in Chicago this whole time! Well, hello neighbor!!

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Mitchell Black is a lifestyle brand that celebrates the aesthetic from the past through modern living (Um, how perfect to fit my trademarked Modernique mantra??)  In 2012, Mitchell Black was created from a collection of vintage copper and silver plate etchings. These etchings have taken on a new life as a luxurious line of lifestyle products designed for those who covet exquisite trappings to accessorize their lux lives. The brand’s trademark designs are displayed throughout tabletop, wall art, stationery and fragrance product lines. Mitchell Black effortlessly amplifies the way we live, entertain and celebrate.

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As we settled back in Chicago, we quickly arranged a visit to talk business, and soon it evolved into a perfect collaboration. The custom wall art studio offered so many options for my interior design clients!

With over 200 images to choose from ranging from anything architectural, modern, sweet, sexy, masculine, romantic, or royal and over 18 designer color choices, the options are endless.

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It was hard to narrow it down, but take a look at the newly installed Mitchell Black art pieces inspiring my design team in our design studio!!

“Float” in color Midnight

Lucite frames give this broken up image a modern, edgy feel. The art is also accented my two of my other fave accessory lines Dunes and Duchess (another deal struck up at Market!!) and Global Views- which is very dear to my heart!

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“Phonograph” in Royal, Periwinkle, and Midnight

We loved the statement of the repetition of 3 in ombre colors!

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Of course I couldn’t resist the “Crown England” in Violet….My last name is Buckingham after all and purple IS our BID color!

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“Columns” in another ombre color combination: Mitchell Black, Charcoal, Moon, and Ghost

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How perfect are these Metallic Mini’s again the glimmering wallpaper?? Loving this assorted collection of crowns, keys, hilts, scissors, and chess pieces!

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I’m thrilled to showcase this ultra cool line and look forward to a long-lasting business partnership!

Can’t wait till the next High Point Market in October where I will be speaking at both The Antiques and Design Center and the High Point Theatre!

xx, Julia





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I love, love, love COLOR–So when Peachy Magazine recently asked me to select my fave finds in home decor all focused in one color, of course my answer to was an immediate “YES!!!”

The only tough decision was just “What color to choose??” 

I went with one of my all-time faves….my birthstone and a tie to my Southwestern Arizona roots….Turquoise!

I knew right away some ah-mazing turquoise accessories to highlight from some of my best vendors that I showcase at my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom in Chicago.

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I was joined by some fabulous designer friends of mine who had some stand-out design picks of different hues!

The dynamic duo Tami Ramsay and Krista Nye Schwartz of Cloth & Kind were inspired by all shade of pink–from blush to raspberry….

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And the talented Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room had some vibrant finds of my other fave color, orange!

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Thank you so much Peachy Mag for including me in this fab “Color Wheel” feature!!

Xx-Julia





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Happiness, longevity, good luck, success, strength, pride, and honor. Those are just a few of the symbolic meanings of elephants. In many cultures, the elephant is considered a sacred animal. In others, it is regarded as the most wondrous creature ever created and is greatly admired. Many have come to use elephants in their homes as a form of feng shui–depending on the placement in the home, it can symbolize different things. Placing a statue of an elephant at the front door brings good luck, protection and strength to the household. In a bedroom, it can symbolize love, faithfulness, and fertility. In a children’s room, it can serve as a symbol of promoting knowledge and success.

In my travels and antiquing, I have always been drawn to elephants. Above is one of my favorites that my daughter, Madi, actually spotted for herself in the antiquing fields of Brimfield (like mother, like daughter!) We had to pry it out of the hands of many a visitor to our Showroom until I sent it home with her. #NFS I guess :)

I recently found this fun lil’ brass elephant….After a very brief stint in my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom, one of my fabulous Design Assistants quickly snatched it up for herself!

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I just came across this elephant lamp that I may have to buy….I love it’s simplicity.  So darn cute!

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Elephants have found their way everywhere. I’m loving this wallpaper from Cole and Son–echoing the beautiful French scenic wallpapers of the eighteenth century, this wallpaper in fresh pink, chartreuse, and lime is just stunning!

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You can incorporate an elephant as a small accent piece to your room….

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In the form of art, a table, or a sculpture….

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Decorate your bathroom and even shower!

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Besides holding symbolic meaning and feng shui, elephants have certainly become a trend in home decor.

A door knocker, trinket or jewelry tray, rug, or candleholder, elephants come in all forms!

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Try one today in your design space! After all, if it’s a symbol of good luck and the grantor of wishes, why not??





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The city of Chicago is chocked full of remarkable young talent and I’m always thrilled to find something and someone a little bit different to showcase in my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom! The white brick walls of the showroom are a revolving exhibit of beautiful paintings and photography. Our newest exhibit was just installed this week and adorned with the beautiful work of Chicago Artist Allison Osborn!

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How fun are these painted “Rolling on the Decks” skateboards and just how cute is she??!?

Her work here, entitled “Pastel Cracks” is another fave of mine.

Allison Osborn grew up on the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana. With views of inspiration always around her, she naturally gravitated to the visual arts. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting with a concentration in Curatorial Studies from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where she graduated Cum Laude in 2011. I have had the opportunity to mentor and work beside another MICA Grad, Jessica Williams, within my firm before she relocated to NYC with her uber talented hubby, Luke. Sorry…I digress :)

In her career, she has participated in several group shows and has had five solo shows. In 2010, she exhibited at Chicago’s Harper Gallery. In 2012, Allison was voted Best Visual Artist in Chicago and was a National Finalist when competing in the RAW Artist Competition. She exhibited in 7 group exhibits at Robin B Gallery in Chicago in 2013-2014. Allison has collectors both nationally and internationally, including West Africa and London, and has been commissioned for custom pieces by NHL player, John Michael Liles and New York Yankee’s Owner, Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal.

A pretty impressive resume I must say for a young artist!! I am so thrilled to share her work…we have already sold a work of hers!

“Blue Dream”

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This piece took my breath away!! Simply stunning. It was a perfect fit in the showroom.

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In the Artist’s Words:

“The relationship between the fluidity and rigidness within my paintings is meant to cultivate a feeling of the unknown – mixed with an emotional connection to color, texture, and chance. Just as one can find himself or herself lost when traveling without a map, it is my hope that one can become lost in my work while enjoying the colors, texture and shapes they encounter as their eyes roam the canvas. My paintings let the viewer decipher what is happening.”

“Crocodilly”

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“My work is created with a variety of paint colors mixed with a special admixture. When the paint and agent begins to dry, a unique reaction occurs. This reaction allows the surface of the painting to interact with the mixed media and creates a new surface all of its own. I utilize specific color palette combinations that I think best suit the landscape of the canvas. The medium, when complete, creates an explosion of color, allowing the viewer to see the uncontrolled and undulated work.”

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“Seafoam & Silver”

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A trip to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium inspired this masterpiece!!!

“Jellyfish”

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“The unexpected nuances that result recreate the landscapes of my early childhood – still waters, rolling hills, green pastures. I create my paintings for the love of solitude and exploration. They are my escape, a release of my emotions. It is my hope that my work creates a world on the canvas that both mirrors and exudes, the beauty of the world in which we live.”

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The depth and texture created in Allison’s work is truly remarkable.  Photos can’t begin to capture it!! Her work will be on display for the summer…Please stop by 1822 W Grand to check it out!!!

Hope to see y’all soon! xx





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Happy SUMMER!!! As of June 21st, the summer season is OFFICIALLY here!! After an extremely excruciating winter, we are all so looking forward to an amazing summer in Chi-town. One of the many things that I love about summer, besides the warm weather, sunshine, family holidays and eating outdoors- of course, is that it marks the “nautical” season. Living on the shores of Lake Michigan, we take our boating very seriously. We have to pack a lot of it into the few short months that we actually can. There are many nautical inspired pieces in my closet from anchor prints to my new fave navy Chanel espadrilles (nautical doesn’t always have to be so overt :)

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With summer arriving, I couldn’t help but reminisce of a fave historic restoration client project of mine….my client’s gorgeous 200+ year old retreat in Nantucket that fortunately called for a hint and a nod to a pared down nautical theme all year round. My client and I (along with her daughter who I am lucky enough to have as one of our three summer interns at BI+D) shopped arose the Northeast and accumulated some crazy cool pieces. It was so fun working on this project!

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The family room is “literally” anchored by a pair of cocktail tables fashioned from old brass portholes!

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The mantle art is a found lead seahorse architectural staircase remnant.

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The “Smooth Sailing” sign is from an old tavern while the antique carved whale was found in the fields of my fave Brimfield Antiques Market.

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Did you notice the “wave like” detail of this restored antique mahogany bed that was placed in the master bedroom?

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A collection of antique whaling tools and a harpoon adorn the kitchen hearth. Also, an array of the families collected shells sit within an antique tray centered on the kitchen island. This collection is ever changing….

Here are some additional shots of this gorgeous home located on Orange Street- you should see the hydrangeas in season!

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Meanwhile back at the ranch, we are loving our collaboration at my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom featuring fabulous pieces by Dunes and Duchess…they are available in an array of custom lacquered colors, but when done in their “Commodore of the Yacht Club Blue” (gotta love the name!!), these candelabras and light fixtures are given a cool shoreline vibe. In the classic white, their appropriately named “Lakehouse Chair” is definitely going in my next beachy project!

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Nautical doesn’t mean just anchor prints and blue and white. There are many ways to incorporate a subtle theme into any space. Loving these bespoke rustic wood painted art pieces and the ship portholes adorning this nautical inspired bathroom. I like that idea :)

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Nautical is of course a repeating big trend in fashion each summer. Here are some of Princess Kate Middleton’s revolving classic nautical looks….

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And how some other fashion bloggers and stars interpret the trend!!!

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 I’ll be rockin’ my nautical stripes and prints all season!

Happy 4th of July y’all!! xx

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What used to be so “unheard of” in both design and fashion was the mixing of metals–either you did silver or gold. Not both. These days-thankfully and finally- I am spying a turning of the tides and a generous dose of mixing metals. To me the mixing of unexpected pairings is what keeps things interesting and unique.

Speaking of interesting, how about a dose of gold sprinkled here and there in your next home project? I love, love, love adding in a gold element within my design projects. The metallic and luminescent qualities of gold adds an instant element of luxury and warmth.

In my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom in Chicago, we have these fabulous pillows from Pyar and Co shown here on this equally fab Adrian Pearsall mid-century sofa. These soft, cotton-linen pillows feature hand-block-prints in metallic gold foil. I especially love the whimsy of the gold foil kites! How about our gold metallic ostrich eggs :)

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Another pillow line that we share within the Showroom is Kari Fisher Designs. Kari specializes in contemporary hand blocked textiles. The process begins with high quality solid white or natural linen. Inspired by design history and traditional printing methods, she designs each pattern thoughtfully and carves each block by hand in her home studio in Atlanta, GA. Each step of the process is completed by Kari herself. My favorite,  of course, is the gold!! Love this hand-blocked chevron print!!

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While at High Point Market this past Spring, gold was all the rage! Natural Curiosities had some AH-mazing gold art like these “Wings of Love”, “German Krystalle”, “Cartier Heart Strings” and the “Gilded Arrow”.

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While I love the simplicity of gold and white…I am also obsessed with incorporating gold with bright hues like orange, my fave! Loving this “Sunset” series.

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Tommy Mitchell also has these gorgeous gilded gold accent tables….one was just delivered to a client’s home in Michigan on Monday while I was there for an installation!!

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I am ga ga over gold in wallpaper….

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My Design Director is expecting TWIN boys any day now…can we just stop and admire this adorable nursery she designed with the gold stars??!?


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And- oh my- lets not forget about the tried and true power of gold in jewelry and fashion!

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Anything when given a gold makeover just automatically ups it’s luxury meter. Gilded gold bath tub? Um, yes.

Who isn’t sporting something gold at this very minute?! Sparkle away y’all!

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I love trend watching and enjoy it even more so when I see the trends trickle across various categories from interior design then into furniture and then trending into the world of fashion!  One hot thang that I love a whole lot is lucite. Lucite, or acrylic resin, brings an instant dose of glamour to any space….or outfit!

Lucite is great to use in small spaces where you need the function, but not the heavy visual weight. It’s clear quality just adds a touch of lightness and luminescence to any room. In some of my favorite past design projects, I have incorporated lucite in various ways.

As counterstools in this stunning kitchen of one of my favorite clients….

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 Seating in dining rooms….

I loved using lucite in contrast to the darker, industrial pieces in this project of ours on the Mag Mile

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Or even just a simple, small touch of lucite as a stand in an entry hall can make all the difference in how an artifact is displayed

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Currently at my Buckingham Interiors + Design showroom in Chicago, we’ve got quite a few cool vintage lucite finds including candlesticks and one of my faves that I can never ever  resist…lucite grapes!

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  Lucite can be used in so many different formats….in lighting, accessories (Love these amazing antlers shown below)…or even in cribs!

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Lucite also is everywhere in fashion, from jewelry….

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To shoes!

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Even Hollywood is jumping on the lucite bandwagon. Leave it to Miley C to make a major Lucite statement!! Hmmmmm…

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Just remember that a little goes a long way with lucite. Test it out in one of your rooms or your wardrobe- or maybe both!

 

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