I am looking really forward to my upcoming trip to the Big Apple this next week.  Traveling for design inspiration and for the latest things that rate for all that is design.

Although it will not quite be a relaxing vacation, it will be an exciting experience nonetheless.  I will be in NYC to attend the 8th annual BoD (Business of Design) Conference from August 30- September 2.  The theme this year is “Designing Happiness”…I’m interested to see how they will bring this concept to life as it feels right for how my design firm is navigated.

The conference, with a national roll call of high- end residential Interior Designer Firms,  will be my second year of membership. The conference will feature world renowned speakers, insight into innovative business strategies, extensive networking opportunities, and much more. We have been known to have a bit of fun alongside the biz work. Staying at The Peninsula Hotel isn’t exactly torture.

The conference is designed for Interior Design Firms (from 1-20 employees) with an emphasis on attention to client satisfaction and design excellence. After 8 years, it is now attended by an elite one hundred members within the  Interior Design world in the United States and Canada.  I will be there representing my firm, Buckingham Interiors + Design.

I am thrilled to have been invited to attend an alternative addition to this conference and to join 19 of my esteemed colleagues for a luxury experience with Steve Nobel. The LEO (Luxury Experience Option) will allow me to engage and meet:

  • Thomas Jayne, Author, “The Finest Rooms in America”
  • Judith Gura, NYSID Faculty, “Designers Through the Ages – an inspiring look at design influence”
  • Newell Turner, Editor, House Beautiful
  • Michael Calman, former chief marketing officer, Bergdorf Goodman
  • Nancye Green, co-author of “Home and Interior Design Among the Affluent”
  • Alan Siegel, Esq. Attorney to many Distinguished Interior Designers

With speakers who range from graphic designers, magazine editors, economists, psychologists and to interior designers themselves, I can’t wait to attend this bound to be enlightening conference.  Also looking forward to seeing my old friends from whom I find great inspiration on a daily basis.

Heading straight from NYC to Boston to move our son into his apartment in Brookline for his next year at BU.  He will have some groovy new stuff fer sure. All in CAD :)

Stay tuned for feedback from the conference!

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I was so honored to be selected as one of the nine designers for the coveted Merchandise Mart DreamHome exhibit, which runs from now until December 9, 2011.

My firm, Buckingham Interiors + Design, was chosen to design the foyer.  My goal was to incorporate different eras and textures- along with a visual “jolt” into the first room one sees upon entering a home. The pieces used for my space came from many of my favorite showrooms at the Mart- Holly Hunt, Bradley Hughes (the newest showroom at the Mart)  Dessin Fournir, Baker, Donghia, Boyd Lighting, Paris Ceramics, Lee Jofa, Summerhill and Richard Norton Inc. The showrooms play a huge part in this event as they graciously donate pieces to be on display for the duration of this 9th annual event showcasing design talent from the Midwest. Thank you all for being so magnanimous in letting me select and highlight your stunning pieces!

Here’s a little blurb about what inspired me to create this space…

I had so much fun working on this room, and I hope that Chicago area MGs can come out to enjoy the fantastic exhibit.  The Dream House is open Monday-Friday, 10 AM – 5 PM, and Saturday 10 AM- 3 PM. Photography of my Foyer by Hedrich Blessing and Eric Hausman.

Want more info on the Dream Home or need directions to the Merchandise Mart, click here!

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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.

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{Jamaican Wedding}

With the royal wedding just around the corner (ok, I may or may not be following the “Countdown to the Royal Wedding” on Twitter…) as well as my wonderful assistant, Paulina, tying the knot this summer- and one of my other fabulous assistant’s, Shannon, getting hitched next year,  wedding bliss seems to be on my mind these days.  While the Brits are keeping their lips sealed about the deets on Kate and William’s nuptials and Paulina’s big day several months away, I have been antsy to check out wedding styles for myself.

{New York City Wedding, Cipriani Restaurant}

Weddings surely have come a long away from the days of big frills, veils and a zillion tier cakes.  There is such a wide variety of wedding styles these days, and there really is no “right way” to do it anymore.  Weddings have become so much more personal and therefore meaningful to the bride and groom, lovingly capturing their personal tastes and relationship; it no longer requires a 20 foot train or a monumental bouquet toss to create the perfect wedding.  Non-traditional is all the rage!  Wedding planners phones must be ringing off the hook.  After perusing Brides Magazine’s website, I found sundry wedding inspirations (even if a wedding in my own family may be a ways away, a girl can dream, right?).

And if you can’t tell, I’m kind of into the whole “al fresco” wedding thing right now :)

{Bahamas Wedding}

{Seaside Wedding}

{New York City Wedding}

{Greece Wedding}

{Wedding at New York’s Fig & Olive Restaurant}

{Palm Springs Wedding}

{Wedding reception created with $10,000 and eBay materials!}

{Guatemala Wedding}

{Malibu Wedding}

{New York City Wedding}

{Beach Wedding}

{Oheka Castle, Huntington New York Wedding}

{New York City Wedding}

{New York City Wedding, Hill Country Barbecue Restaurant}

{Lake Placid Wedding}

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Skrebneski exhibit at my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom

…to the exhibit I am hosting at my Chicago showroom of world renowned fashion and celebrity photographer Victor Skrebneski The exhibit, Homage Magritte, featuring never before seen works,  will run through May 13, so I’d love to see ya’ll stop by to check out this iconic artist’s incredible work.

Skrebneski exhibit at my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom

Skrebneski’s love of photography began at an early age, and at the age of 70 the prolific artist is still actively practicing his craft. His broad body of work includes portraiture, fashion shots and beauty photography, all imbued with a non-traditional twist.  Some of the most famous names in fashion, film and art have been immortalized in his portraiture, and celebrated brands and magazine publications have employed Skrebneski to create works of art through editorial and advertisement photography. As a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the artist began his career as a painter and sculptor, yet a chance encounter with a friend’s discarded dark room equipment would forever change the course of his life and career.

Although Skrebneski’s early career objectives included a relocation to New York, an assignment for Marshall Field’s in Chicago called him back to the Windy City, eventually influencing him to settle permanent in the city where it all began.

Skrebneski’s work has been featured in countless museums, periodicals and books, most recently including an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and in the publication of Skrebneski: The First Fifty Years.  With no plans to slow down any time soon, the artist has embarked on a new project to create 33 portraits of Steppenwolf actors to commemorate the theater’s 25th anniversary.  The lively artist is a true inspiration both in his artistic practices and his life experience whose work is both captivating and revolutionary. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with Victor and delighted to call both him and Dennis friends of mine. What gentlemen and a whole lot of fun!  What’s next you two?  Count me in!

Skrebneski exhibit at my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom

Skrebneski exhibit at my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom

Portrait of Andy Warhol. Skrebneski Photographs.

Portrait of Audrey Hepburn. Skrebneski Photographs.

Portrait of John Malkovich. Skrebneski Photographs.

Portrait of Carolina Herrera. Skrebneski Photographs.

Portrait of Dennis Hopper. Skrebneski Photographs.

Town and Country Magazine. Skrebneski Photographs.

Chanel advertisement. Skrebneski Photographs.

Florida International Magazine

Florida International Magazine

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Although the forecast doesn’t predict 80 and sunny, I am excited to leave Chicago for Los Angeles for a few days for a reason other than weather…the Design Bloggers Conference!  Taking place at the Sofitel in LA from February 28-March 1, the 3 day long event will include a keynote speech from Jan Showers, presentations by Paloma Contreras (of La Dolce Vita), Ann Sage (executive editor of Rue magazine), Loren Ruch (director of original and special event programming for HGTV), Ann Omvig Maine (editor in chief of Traditional Home) and Michelle Adams (editor in chief of Lonny)…in addition to many others!

{Sofitel, Los Angeles}

Topics to be covered include:

Interior Design Trends of 2011

The Impact of Blogging on the Design Industry

Blogging With the Stars: Snapshot of Four Successful Blogs

Leveraging Social Media to Build Your Business

…and the list goes on!

I am so proud to be representing Material Girls at this extraordinary event, and I cannot wait to be in such good company with my exceptional (cyberspace) neighbors.

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Chicago Home + Garden is hosting their first ever “Chairs for Charity” event that I as well as 13 other Chicago designers/design teams will be participating in.  The gist of the event is that each design team has refurbished a vintage chair to be auctioned off that night.  I know I’m very excited about it (and gotta say proud of our chair :) ) The charity event will be taking place on November 3, 6:00-8:00 pm at the Tile Gallery (555 N. Franklin St. Chicago).  Tickets are $32.50, and auction proceeds/portion of the ticket proceeds will be going to Designs for Dignity.  Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails to be served…sounds good to me…a little retail therapy here.  Would love to see some MG out there to check out the Buckingham Interiors + Design chair as well as to support a great cause.  Thank you to Romo for the amazing fabric, Burchell Upholstery for the custom handiwork, Craig’s List for the fab chair- what an amazing previous owner story here- and to Ballard Design for the ultra secret surprise that we are keeping from the paparazzi until the event :)

{Buckingham ID chair!}

{our chair!!}

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While 60 Minutes may be CBS’s longstanding news show, 60 seconds is the length of the micro Skype interview that I will be doing for an online media project that launches today, October 28!  The mini interview will be conducted by Hana Kamm, who is curating and hosting the digital media series on her site called “She’s Next.” The She’s Next project will be a “24 hour vigil on October 28, 2010 which will include 60 second video segments from inspirational women each hour, and be followed up by a 60 second interview each day for the rest of the month.  The entire series will be focusing on what it means for a 21st century woman to find happiness, cultivate leadership, and help change the world for the better….” words straight from Hana’s mouth!  Doesn’t it sound like an amazing, unique and fascinating project?  Kudos to her for dreaming up such a fabulous idea!  I will be watching and listening feverishly!

Hanna is a recent transplant to Chicago from NYC, so I am excited to be representing her adopted hometown :)  I’d love if all you MGs out there checked out at least one of the interviews….after all, they are only 60 seconds each!

My inspirational image for today……

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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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Two of my favorites in the design world, Eddie Ross and Debra Phillips, the owner of Geneva, IL Scentimental Gardens, come together on June 17 for an event not to be missed.  Debra Phillips is an old friend of mine, and I always enjoy browsing her unique store that includes superb antiques, furniture and garden goods.  I have picked up many items myself to use in my own home and homes of clients. And, to share a little bit of GREAT NEWS- Debra and I will become neighbors later this month when I open my Interior Design Offices and Design Showroom in the city at 1820 W. Grand Avenue,  and she opens SGGrand next door at 1822 W. Grand.  Now, I can shop her shop much more easily!

If you have not yet become acquainted with Eddie Ross, I tend to rave about him on MG!  Check out some prior Eddie posts…”Congrats to Our Main Man Eddie Ross” and “Eddie Ross Brings a Sense of Style to a Chicago Flea Market.”  His brilliant concepts for home, garden and entertainment never cease to amaze me.  In fact, he recently won the “Big Window Challenge” at Bloomingdales in NYC back in December. I’m so proud of him!  He beat out Apartment Therapy and Elle Decor in this cool challenge.  An afternoon with the two is a match made in heaven.  If you are in the Chicago area on Thursday June 17, checking out this event is definitely worth your while.  They will be discussing how to make magnificent tablesscapes and arrangements out of  that which already exists in your everyday.   Check out some of the images below for a preview of the magic transformation of a table into a work of art, courtesy of Eddie Ross.

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