Whether or not you’re a fan of HBO’s hit series True Blood, it’s hard to deny how gorgeous the set designs are and how elaborately cohesive they look. As the series heads into its fifth season, we’re introduced to new and intriguing interiors thanks to production designer Suzuki Ingerslev and set decorator Ron V. Franco. Each design is meticulously orchestrated to support character development. Here are some of the highlights.

Season 1 – A Sweet Home for Sweet Sookie
In True Blood’s premiere season, we view sweet Sookie Stackhouse in two environments: Sookie house (inherited from her Gran) and her workSam Merlott’s bar. Sookie’s house is enchanting, and surrounded by greenery. The interiors feature aged furnishings, antiques, delicate textiles and patterned wallpaper, clearly a distinctive, homey charm. The set design is warm, welcoming and representative of Gran’s personality-and that of many Gran’s that we may know ourselves.


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Merlott’s is another one of my favorite places from the showjust look at that fabulous chandelier! The bar’s interior is a mix of wood-paneled and slate-stone walls, creating the perfect pub setting. A bit too perfect for a small-town bar perhaps? I would have chosen that fixture myself for the space :)


(image credit)

Season 2 – A Royal Dayroom
Welcome to Queen Sophie-Anne’s dayroom. The 1920s beachside feel mixed with touches of modern royalty perfectly compliment her personalitya 1,100-year-old vampire longing for human luxuries, such as soaking in the sun. Dioramas were placed at each window to create the illusion of natural sunlight and an ocean view. Once again I was very intrigued by the chandeliers in this set, but couldn’t get a close look.  But I was able to find a shot of the original Malibu home where the scene was shot! Multiple chandeliers over water – this space truly makes a statement.


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(images source: http://trueblood.wikia.com/wiki/Sophie_Anne’s_Mansion)

Season 3: Mississippi Royalty
As one of the primary locations for this season, King of Mississippi’s Longwood Mansion was set in a National Historic Landmark in today’s Mississippi. True Blood set designers used antiques, teak wood furniture, handmade rugs and drapes to create a luscious and regal feeling.


(image source)

Season 4: A Royal Change
In season four the décor changed dramatically as Bill Compton becomes the King of Louisiana. Breathtaking changes were made to his plantation home. (Check out what his house looked like from season one!) A new Hollywood Regency vibe, along with the hints of Bill Compton’s masculinity, elegant and mysterious demeanor and authoritative powers, can be seen… Once again, chandeliers take center stage with H.D. Buttercup pieces in the foyer and a gorgeous, if not unexpected, chandelier above Bill’s desk. I may have hung the fixture in the foyer a bit lower for added drama…..


(image source)

Season 5: Authority
So where to go after 4 seasons of royal luxury?  New characters require new sets. Most prominent are the interiors of the Authority Headquarters and Salome’s bedroom. The Headquarters highlights a modern sensibility mixed with historic artifacts. I love how the  lighting completely surrounds this interior. The ancient columns, accentuated by the clean furniture lines and bright blue color shout Modern-ique™. This is-as most of you already know-my favorite compilation of modern and antique finishes and architecture.

(image credit)

Salome’s bedroom is another mix of styles with Oriental influences, hinting to a modern Scheherazade’s bedroom, lush with fabrics and color. I love how the designers used the bold print of the mural panels next to the subtle gold pattern. Very “Wow”, no?


(image credit)

What do you think of the interiors of True Blood and how they reflect the personalities of the characters? Which are your favorite design elements? Please comment and share your opinions all MG Peeps!





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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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Spring Trend Alert!

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 31, 2012 | 3 Comments | Category: Color, Fashion, Trends

As the story often goes, what hits the runways is often hitting the shelter mags and blogosphere as well.  I am loving this spring’s trends, especially the bold hue color blocking and of course, orange!  Orange has long been my signature color, so I’m glad it’s getting the recognition it deserves :)  These trends are accompanied by many other exciting ones as well, such as futuristic prints and pastels.  I love that there is great variety this season, proving there really is something for everyone to wear.  Oh, and to put into their home too!

Take a look at how runway translates to home!  Fashion photos courtesy of Glamour.

Sig Bergamin’s Sao Paolo home in Architectural Digest

Super Bold Prints

Houzz

Orange and Tangerine

Trendir.com

Pink Shorts Suits

…for the sake of this blog, let’s just abbreviate this trend to “Pink”

Schuyler Samperton

Futuristic Prints

Kelly Wearstler

Pastels

Pinterest

Metallic Basics

Aerin Lauder’s Dressing Room, Habitually Chic





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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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{Me and designer Jason Wu }

Things have been quite hectic for me lately!  I have been in New York (twice), Boston, Florida and Arizona all within the last month, and I feel like I hardly have had time to  sit down- except while I was in the air.  Can’t complain, though, because all of these trips were extremely worthwhile.  We moved our son Alex into his new apartment at Boston University-a charming vintage home in Brookline- was sprucing up a client’s home in the Sunshine State, visited our youngest daughter during the University of Arizona Parent’s Weekend, attended the 8th annual BoD (Business of Design) Conference and the Blogger 19 Event with Brizo and Jason Wu- both of which were in the Big Apple.

{Enjoying cocktails and conversation with the other amazing bloggers in attendance at the Blogger 19 event hosted by Brizo}

{Hanging out with other inspirational women!}

I blogged about the Brizo/Jason Wu Blogger 19 event beforehand, but I can’t believe how much it surpassed my expectations!  As I’m sure you gathered, there were 19 of us designers/bloggers all together, and as part of the event schedule we were split into five different teams.  Each team was given 3.5 hours and a specified area of Manhattan (my team’s designated area was Midtown), to create a proposed bathroom scheme for Brizo, the luxury bathroom outfitter.  Each team had the chance to create a concept board for the group, all of which was presented in front of the other bloggers as well as members of the Brizo company.  The guest judge was Michelle Adams, editor-in-chief of Lonny Magazine.  Brizo really knows how to throw a fabulous event!

{Our team-Team Solna- inspiration board}

Not only was the challenge amazing, but we had the opportunity of attending designer Jason Wu’s show during NY Fashion Week as well as a special cocktail party with the man of the hour.  Brizo has sponsored Wu for several years, and now he is collaborating with them on a line of faucets.

Although I was well acquainted with Brizo before this event, I learned so much about the company and their wonderful team through this experience.  Brizo has been sponsoring the talented, young Wu since 2006, several years before he was quickly launched into the fashion stratosphere with Michelle Obama’s iconic Inaugural Ball dress.  Remember that dreamy white, one shoulder creation?  That was a Jason Wu design!

Seem like an odd pairing?  Think again.  Both Brizo and Wu are very cutting edge in their respective fields, and fashion and interiors have always had a great deal of creative crossover.  Brizo is known for their whimsical ad campaigns, green initiatives and elegant designs.  Wu’s similar aesthetic of a seamless blend of timeless and classic lends itself well to the Brizo line.

{Wu’s collaboration with Brizo- unveiling this fall}

{At Jason Wu’s fashion show with fellow bloggers}

{Fabulous gowns by Jason Wu…I wish I had an occasion to wear them all!}

It was great to see old friends, make new ones and get to attend one of the most stylish and inspiring events I have had the pleasure of attending!

{Me at the Jason Wu event with fellow blogger, Kerrie Kelly}

{All 19 of us at the Wu after party}

{Amazing Q&A session with the designer himself}

I love blogging for MG so much and it was wonderful to be in the company of those who were equally as passionate about sharing inspiration with their audience.  I will be sure to follow the blogs of my new friends from now on and hope you will do so as well!  Here is where (in cyberspace) you will find them located…Miss you guys!





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Brizo Ad Campaign

I will be getting a big slice of the Big Apple in the next few weeks!  I will be in NYC attending the BoD Conference from August 31-September 2 as mentioned in my previous post, and then I will be a guest of Brizo during their Fashion Week Events.  If you are not familiar with Brizo, it is a brand of luxury faucets that specializes in bringing together eco-friendly and elegance.  I have come across Brizo in many projects, and I must say I am a big fan of not only their aesthetics but also their ethics.

Brizo Faucet Collections

I am very much looking forward to attending this multi-day event, which includes introduction to the brand, interactive sessions with the Brizo product and design teams, and even a sneak-peek into their upcoming concept pieces!  I couldn’t be more excited about this fantastic opportunity.

Brizo Faucet Collections

But there is more…

Brizo has been a sponsor of esteemed fashion designer Jason Wu since 2006, and they are now collaborating on a new line of faucets with Wu.  Because of this partnership, part of the Brizo event experience includes attending Wu’s fashion show during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week as well as a private cocktail party with Wu as the honored guest!  Ok then, I guess I could be more excited :)

I actually featured a post a while back about Wu’s amazing showroom.  I was so captivated by the sheer beauty of his collection and the sleek modernism that showcased it so well.

Favorites from Wu’s Pre-Fall 2011 Collection

Stay tuned for lots of feedback and hopefully lots of pretty pix from my NYC whirlwind extravaganza!





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It makes sense that the line between fashion and home has become increasingly blurred, as often times I (as I’m sure you too!) will see a print or fabric coming down the runway or in a magazine that seems IDEAL for that ottoman in your latest project, and vice versa.  Many of the biggest names in fashion have capitalized on this notion of fashion/home interchange, including Trina Turk for Schumacher, Diane von Furstenberg, and Jean Paul Gaultier for Roche Bobois, just to name a few.

I recently came across this fantastic ad for Oscar de la Renta for Lee Jofa on the back of a magazine the other day, and I just had to share.  Although this collection isn’t new, it is definitely noteworthy.  This so perfectly captures all that is so alluring about this fashion to home trend…wouldn’t you just feel amazing either be draped in a gown in these fabrics or sitting in front of drapes in your living room in these prints?  Either way, I’d be happy to have anything Oscar de la Renta, whether it be a couture evening gown, or more feasibly several throw pillows in one of over 120 prints in his collection for Lee Jofa.





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On the Cusp

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Apr 17, 2011 | No Comments | Category: Fashion, Shops and Showrooms

{Cusp, Northbrook IL}

On a very gloomy day yesterday in Chicago, (it’s April and it’s SNOWING?! 1#@#dkasl!@$@$@!!) I headed indoors to find some relief in the form of retail therapy after a long day at the office with three of my favorite clients and with a potential new client whose project sounds AMAZING.  One of my favorite stores these days- thanks to my daughters Caroline and Madi, is Cusp, an offshoot of Neiman Marcus that is essentially their contemporary department on steroids.  Not only do I just die over their clothes, but the decor inside the store is also extremely cool.  I snapped a few pictures (very stealthily, as I don’t think paparazzi are really welcome inside Cusp) to share with you!

Some great looks from Cusp…





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Tags: ,

{In Style}

Then you’ll LOVE her home!  Designer Tory Burch has taken the fashion world by storm in recent years with her bold prints, fresh take on classic styles and cornering a niche of chic day to day wear.  Burch’s Upper East Side apartment is featured in the March issue of In Style magazine, and I must say I am really feeling the vibe she has going in her pad!  Gotta admire a fellow orange devotee :)   And this is no mere Manhattan fourth floor walk up…Burch’s 9,000 square foot apartment is comprised of 3 apartments remodeled into one in the Pierre Hotel.  Modern day Eloise, right?  Burch fills her home not only with orange, but with a variety of other statement colors as well (color schemes not all that much different than those found in her clothing line).  Her eclectic mix of furnishings, art work and accessories creates the perfect balance between luxury and comfort (Burch has 3 boys, after all, so ease of living is paramount!)

{In Style}

Check out these images from the In Style article (was unable to find the images on the magazine’s website, so pulled these off of Tory’s fabulous blog!), and also images from her Spring 2010 fashion shoot that took place in her apartment (courtesy of The Well Appointed House) and an article from Elle magazine.

{In Style}

{In Style}

{In Style}

{Elle}

{Elle}

{The Well Appointed House}

{The Well Appointed House}

{The Well Appointed House}

{The Well Appointed House}

{The Well Appointed House}

{The Well Appointed House}





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Casablanca

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Feb 24, 2011 | 8 Comments | Category: Designers, Fashion, Magazines

After having done a recent post on the most enticing warm weather destinations featured in the Travel and Leisure 500 Best Hotels of 2011 issue, I came across this remarkable Moroccan home in Elle Decor that I would be more than happy to visit and soak up some rays.  As the home of fashion designer Liza Bruce and artist Nicholas Alvis Vega, the home was destined to be remarkable from the start.  The home is brimming with color and light…a perfect combination of antique, honoring the home’s Moroccan heritage, and modern touches.  Check out the kitchen…who would have thought that a tree trunk would work in a space!?  In such an exotic locale, bending the rules of convention may be permitted.  While the home may be in Marrakech rather than Casablanca, I couldn’t help but dream of Humphrey Bogart  whispering “we’ll always have Paris” to Ingrid Bergman in this sensual abode.

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