Exterior of this North Shore home

All of my projects are special and unique in some way, but one particular project was unlike anything I’d done before. Well, it was exactly like what I’d done before…it was the same house, but a different client!  I had designed this particular North Shore home for lovely clients back in 2008, but they sold the home a few years later to an equally lovely couple, who wanted me to overhaul the home and take it in a completely different direction than I had done for the previous homeowner.  Make no mistake- they loved the home as it was designed before and fell in love with it “as was.”  It was a surprise to see their home on my website after being referred by a mutual friend. I like this kind of surprise :)

Although they did keep some of the same features and fixtures as the previous homeowner, their design aesthetic was driven towards a more colorful and layered feel. I knew that we were moving away the “French” feel after several consultations and Merchandise Mart visits with them proved. The look of the home under the previous homeowner had been very “French Country”, but my new clients wanted more of a modern, eclectic feel.  Very different, but equally as fun!  This is a wonderful home, and I am so glad that it has had such loving homeowners!  Welcome fabulous art that we sourced in New York together.  A nod to Indian and Chinese influences.

Take a look at the “then” and “now” photos…keep an eye out for the new owners pup making a cameo ;)

Photographs courtesy of Buckingham Interiors + Design.

Living room 2012

Living Room 2012

Living Room 2012

Living Room 2008

Dining Room 2012

Dining Room 2012

Dining Room 2008

Hallway 2012

Hallway 2008

Stairway 2012

Stairway 2008

Kitchen 2012

Kitchen 2008

Master Bedroom 2012

Master Bedroom 2008

Family Room 2012

Den 2012

Indoor Pool 2012

Backyard of house

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all.  I LOVE this day.  Hoping that you all have an amazing one! xx





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After I came across the much blogged about “Chatham House” project by interior designer Melanie Turner, I realized that I admired not only her style but also that of her builder husband, Stan Benecki.  Based in Atlanta, this Southern couple has joined forces to create some extremely beautiful, high-quality homes.  Reason I use the term “high-quality” is because new construction does not necessarily mean well-done.  Homes built today do not always stand the test of time, and in 10 years or so can turn out looking dated and weary.

However, these homes are exceptional…they are truly timeless and elegant without being bland.  Between Benecki’s eye for quality construction and Turner’s taste for clean sophistication, this duo is a design force to be reckoned with.

I recently installed two works by artist Todd Murphy, who created the elegant and incredible photography featured on the back wall in the image below, in my designed entryway and grand staircase at the Lake Forest Showhouse. The works ultimately were snatched up and will be installed in one of my all time favorite client projects in Winnetka. Lucky me AND my clients!

Recognize this home? (Chatham House, designs by Turner Davis Interiors)

Other incredible images from Benecki/Turner Davis





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Museum Worthy Homes

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Jul 13, 2011 | 6 Comments | Category: Designers, Home Exteriors

{A montage of Peter Gluck projects}

Almost everyday I drive by one of the last remaining vacant lots left along the lake on the North Shore.  However, it will not remain undeveloped for long, as the lot was purchased last year and construction has begun on the home.  I was curious as to who would win the coveted  commission of architect of this amazing building project, and it seems like Peter Gluck and Partners has won the lucky prize (I spied his sign posted on the construction fencing).

I posted not long ago about another lakefront home that Peter Gluck and Partners built on Chicago’s North Shore.  His signature ultra-modern, “glass box” construction is undoubtedly unique and only fitting for certain tastes, yet for those who desire a one-of-a-kind home that is more like a piece of art than merely a house, commissioning this New York based architect is certainly worth it.

Check out some of Gluck’s other unbelievable works…can’t wait to see what my new neighbors have in store for the street!

House I previously featured…another Gluck home (called Cascade House) on Lake Michigan outside of Chicago.

New York City Townhouse

Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

Floating Box House, Austin Texas

Possibly the coolest pool I have ever seen!





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Ever seen this movie?  Yes, it’s kind of creepy but the house is truly stunning.  When I came across this home in Chicago in a recent issue of Architectural Digest that very much resembled “The Glass House,” I couldn’t help but be blown away by it’s breathtaking beauty.  A waterfront plot of land in Chicago is the most coveted real estate in the area, so it would be a virtual crime to not take full advantage of the lake views.

Architecture firm Peter Gluck and Partners created this modernist masterpiece, dubbed “The Cascade House,” as it is literally tiers of glass boxes that cascade towards the water.  Although the family originally commissioned the architect to design a townhouse in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, they soon realized they would need more space to accomodate their growing family.  Even though the home is family friendly, its sophistication and elegance is undeniable. With a pool, half basketball court and expansive outdoor space, the Cascade House is a kid’s paradise.  While the North Shore is full of glorious, historic estates, this home bucks tradition yet truly honors the most splendid of all design elements: Lake Michigan.





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Garden Fit For a Sting

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Jan 15, 2011 | 9 Comments | Category: Home Exteriors, Magazines

{Margaret Russell, now editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest, formerly editor-in-chief of Elle Decor}

I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the January issue of Architectural Digest since the fall.  Why?  Because Margaret Russell, former editor-in-chief of Elle Decor, is now the head honcho at Architectural Digest.  Elle Decor has long been one of my most favored shelter mags, and although AD has been losing my interest in recent years, I think that Russell’s arrival will really breathe new life into one of the industry’s oldest publications.  Margaret Russell will be replacing AD’s longstanding editor-in-chief, Paige Rense (who held the position from 1971-2010).

I was very impressed with the January issue, particularly the feature on the unbelievable Tuscan estate of Sting and Trudie Styler.  Villa Palagio, built in the 16th century as a hunting lodge for the dukes of San Clemente, is now used by Sting as a vacation home, working vineyard, and also hosts private yoga retreats (I’m in!)

The feature focused on the fabulous gardens, designed by landscape architect Arabella Lennox-Boyd.  Arabella, you have a standing invitation to visit my garden anytime!





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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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{Absalom Boston House…epitome of Nantucket style}

I recently just got back from a trip to Nantucket to put the final touches on the vacation home of a client that I have been working on (from my Chicago office) for quite some time.  I have to say…I am in love.  So quaint, charming and beautiful, Nantucket really takes your breath away.  One gets the sense that not much has changed on this island in generations, taking comfort in the tradition and steadfast dedication to its way of life as a simple retreat. Furthermore, the homes in this intimate community have retained the classic look so associated with the island….shingled structures of muted grays, blues whites and soft neutrals.  While I was adding a modern spin on my client’s 1800′s classic charmer, many of the homes still retain that rustic,old world feel that so many of the beach getaways of the East Coast (Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod….) are known for.  Take a look at some of the images from Lisa McGee’s book, “A Home in Nantucket” and feel the instant comfort and ease of the Nantucket life.

Stay tuned for photos of my spin on the Nantucket home!





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Green Thumb

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Jun 28, 2010 | 5 Comments | Category: Design Inspiration, Home Exteriors

If it takes a “green thumb” to bring life to the ordinary garden, then it takes a green arm and a leg to maintain the pristine splendor of this Lake Forest home, featured in Chicago Home + Garden.  One of the most prestigious names in Chicago landscaping was brought on board to translate the look of this French country villa onto a horticultural canvas.  Before undertaking this horticultural challenge, the homeowners had been dissatisfied with the wild, prairie look that the initial landscapers had created.  As Europeans themselves, the homeowners knew they wanted the look of more formal European gardens.  Although almost completely absent of any color other than green, the variety of plants and trimmings provide an impressive array of variation in itself.  Upon passing through its gates (or as experienced through the following photos), one feels as though they are whisked away to the south of France.





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Green Thumb

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Jun 27, 2010 | No Comments | Category: Home Exteriors

If it takes a “green thumb” to bring life to the ordinary garden, then it takes a green arm and a leg to maintain the pristine splendor of this Lake Forest home, featured in Chicago Home + Garden.  One of the most prestigious names in Chicago landscaping was brought on board to translate the look of this French country villa onto a horticultural canvas.  Before undertaking this horticultural challenge, the homeowners had been dissatisfied with the wild, prairie look that the initial landscapers had created.  As Europeans themselves, the homeowners knew they wanted the look of more formal European gardens.  Although almost completely absent of any color other than green, the variety of plants and trimmings provide an impressive array of variation in itself.  Upon passing through its gates (or as experienced through the following photos), one feels as though they are whisked away to the south of France.





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Alright, Punxsutawney Phil, where’s spring?  As the calendar page is quickly turned to March, spring’s “light at the end of the tunnel” is no where in sight.  As I’m sitting here in this literal hazy shade of winter (the constant gray cloud coverage…remind me why I live here again?), my mind is drifting off to the sweet, poolside lounging days of summer.  How I crave the warmth of the sun, or a dip in a pool.  Seeing a  beautiful pool house in an ad this month was just sucker bait.  While the reality of winter here in chilly Chicago is inevitable, a girl can dream about lounging poolside in her lovely outdoor abode, right?

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