photo

 Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to Traditional Home Magazine! It was such a surprise to be featured in their latest issue! Trad highlighted one of my dearest client’s kitchens  titled, “Stage Presence”- one that allowed me to design “outside of the box”. I am fortunate beyond measure to have amazing clients that become oh-so-much-more- than- that.  We had some serious fun along the way…so much so that project #3 has commenced in Scottsdale, Arizona :)

NolanKitchen

My client LOVES to entertain and often has 50 people over in a heartbeat! A mother of four, she often hosts holiday open houses, school and neighborhood gatherings, and pre-prom dinners for up to 80 teenagers!! That was the driving force behind this kitchen remodel. We tweaked the original layout to enlarge and add seating to the island. The wood table originally was supposed to be attached to the island, but we made it freestanding for flexibility. Now, when she entertains, she can pull the table forward to allow room for a bartender to stand between the table and island and serve bubbly.

Cube-shaped stools upholstered in turquoise tinged ostrich leather  provide additional seating and blasts of color that repeat blue-green accents from the adjoining family room. Vintage light fixtures from the landmark Chicago Theater dating to the 1920′s add texture, warmth, and complete the “Modernique” room. If only those lights could talk…..

Kitchens are always one of my favorite projects to design. It is where we often spend most of our time, so it’s impact is crucial within a home. This Traditional Home feature took me down memory lane of some of my most memorable kitchen projects throughout the last couple of years…..Hope you enjoy!

“Urban Sophisticates”

What a view in downtown Chicago to enjoy your morning coffee!! P.S. Awesome view of Barneys ;)

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“A Wave of Modern Luxury”

This high-rise project where we combined two units into one within the Aqua Building in Chi allowed us to mimic the undulating wave detail within the exterior architecture of the building. Kitchen by O’Brien Harris.

 

NessingerKitchen

“A Charming Escape”

This historic over 200 year- old Nantucket home was ripe for a kitchen makeover. Imagine it’s beginning with a green sink-and that was just about it!

Nantucket

“Young at Heart”

This Bucktown builder’s home needed some tweaking. The kitchen was designed and inspired by the couple’s love of the Northern California lifestyle. Think The Carneros Inn kinda inspiration where the outside meets the inside…

Hornbuckle


Hornbuckle1

“Modern Zig-Zag”

This residence within the Ritz Carlton in Chi combines “Mad-Men” + modern glamour. Petrified Wood island and Silestone perimeter sourced from the Cosentino Center in Chicago.

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“A Delightful Desert Escape”

Last but so very much not least, is my very own kitchen in our Phoenix, Arizona vacation home that we call “Casa Lantana”. Wearing my jeans and boots while relaxing in this-our dream getaway- is nirvana. I gather a terrific amount of inspiration and much needed rejuvenation while we soak up the sun here. Remember when I mentioned just how important a kitchen is integral as the heart of the home?

AZKitchen

If only it were always this clean!! I love unwinding here after a long day surrounded by my beloved hubs, our family and pals with a glass of Rombauer Chardonnay watching the sunset…

Night night to y’all and sweet dreams-don’t forget to manage your coffee makers now for the am :)

 

 

 





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Facade of one of my recent design projects in the heart of Lincoln Park in Chicago

If you know Chicago, then you know that its Lincoln Park neighborhood is one of the most beautiful and family friendly areas of the city.  Its streets are lined with stunning antique brownstones, lovely newly constructed row houses, and as its name suggests, a very substantial + gorgeous park or two.

One of my latest projects was for a fabulous young, active family whose taste was just as energetic.  The traditional facade opens up to interiors filled with bold hues, modern shapes and worldly elements.  Particularly when it is this “hazy shade of winter” (like it is today), a colorful home provides welcome positive energy. I get this vibe from merely hanging with these clients of mine :)

After living in the house for several years-where I had been working all along- and becoming decidedly more interested in adding color and their “personal” touches, we traded in the “traditional” wooden staircase railing for a more sleek and modern steel that outlines the modern interiors perfectly. That along with my favorite color (orange!) stair runner sealed the staircase deal.

We also gutted the kitchen to expand the space by eliminating an unused Butler’s pantry to enhance the storage space and overall functionality for a busy family with three young sons. Shopping one day for some modern goodies, I stumbled upon a dramatic mid-century textile art-piece that fit the dining room wall perfectly. Already equipped with the original modern lucite hanging accessories- this this made my client whoop with joy!  The addition of the mod yet antique Murano Chandelier (1920)..” made with a glass-forging technique developed to amplify flickering candlelight in the 17th century and produced on the island of Murano, it represents the grandeur of centuries-old craftsmanship.” Dramatic in its scale, color and delicate filigree, it complements the antique Chinese table and seating in a whimsical way adding some important design tension.

Out last design step was to create a powder room that literally “lit it up!’ Backlit art by a local artist was custom fit to illuminate this room. Colorful brick floor tiles….a-mazing, no?

As a “color-obsessed” girl myself,  I had a blast working on this project-to say the least!

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Living room filled with bold and eclectic elements-the soft and textural “Pebbles” rug is a fave. Fabrics by Romo.

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Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 1.23.50 PMModern Fiber Art, Murano Glass Chandelier alongside antique Chinese furniture.

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Ann Sacks tile gleaming with combination of metal and colorful glass. BluDot counter stools add a dose of color.

Can you tell that turquoise is a fave color of ours?

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Custom furniture pieces for a smaller “city” family room on top of a Jonathan Adler Lollipop rug. Orange mohair….so dreamy!

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 Crazy cool tile floor in the powder room along with modern art that makes me wanna sing!

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Lacquering an inherited vintage cabinet in a bright turquoise changed this landing forever!

I hope that you enjoyed a glimpse of one of my favorite client projects. As interior designers, we are only successful given the perfect storm of possibilities, humor, architecture, fantastic collaboration, trust and friendship with our clients- and a little love of color, texture, unique art and artifacts along the way. Cheers!





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My kitchen design for the CS Interiors Ritz-Carlton Residences Anniversary Home- mixing gold and silver!

Thank you to Kohler + to Albar for this dramatic impact within my kitchen space. Can’t resist a shout out to one of favorite tile resources, The Fine Line for my Missoni inspired custom backsplash-Heck ya!

We have vendor presentations at our showroom weekly and during these informative tete a tetes  we see the latest and greatest collections from some of our favorite lines-along with the new.  The other day, we had a presentation where I spotted several fabrics that mixed silver + gold….too many to be a mere coincidence.  Is this a “thing”?  If so, are you digging it?

Personally, I love it.  I am a metallics chick (what girl doesn’t like something sparkly?) and think if it is done carefully it doesn’t look disjointed but rather sophisticated and chic. Along with that is the idea that there are no longer any “rules” within design. Love this!

Let’s look at jewelry, for instance.  David Yurman has been mixing metallics for years!  Often paired with colorful gemstones, a Yurman piece is classic and lovely.

Silver  + gold David Yurman jewelry

I say same goes for interiors.  Here are a few of my favorite mixed metallic designs and spaces.

{via Lou Lou’s Decor}

{via Houzz}

{via House Beautiful}

{via Decorpad}

{via Fantabulous Design}





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As kids, we loved finding “secret spaces” around the home or in the backyard to call our own. Well it turns out those special spots are definitely not just for the little ones. Check out some of these very cool secret spaces for the home—and be sure to comment and let me know which ones are your favorite!!

Take this one for example: who would have thought to use steps themselves as storage?! Think of the endless options!

Last week I wrote a post about wine storage and how storage can be a part of your home’s design element and let me tell you, I found some very cool wine storage options. This secret space reminds me of a wine celler in my last post except a little more “undercover.”

Clever, clever!! You know that dead space under your cabinets that just collects dust? This is a very cool way to use that space in a bit of a mysterious way. Who would ever think to look under there? Now what would you put in these drawers?

Is this not Narnia or what?! I can just imagine how this would become a kid’s favorite space in the house. It would make for such a special reading room!

An ordinary looking dresser “magically” opens up to contain a hidden safe! My only question is: Don’t robbers usually look in drawers anyways? I wonder if this adds an extra security or if it’s just for fun!

A bookshelf that pushes back to reveil a secret room! The owner of this home has left the space unfinished for the moment, but wouldn’t that make for an awesome library or a home fitness space?

I know many people that use this little trick to their advantage already! Ordinary looking cabinets pull back to show numerous storage options. Clever and clean looking, don’t you think?

This has got to be one of my favorites and it reminds me of something I was discussing with my Facebook fans a few days ago.  Laundry rooms are a necessity, but not all of us necessarily want this space to be prominent in the home. This cabinet, turned laundry room is such a great idea to hide that little space away from the rest of the world!

Simple and clever indeed. For those of you with little ones running around, you understand the usefulness of this one!

The last one I found was another stairs option. What a great secret space, and a great way to use often-wasted space!

Which secret spaces are your favorites? Do you have any secret spaces in your home? Please comment and share your thoughts and experiences below!





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I am definitely what you may call a wine aficionado. And the design possibilities when it comes to wine! Wine can actually enhance your living space. Why hide your wine when it can be out and make a statement! Check out some of my favorite wine cellars and wine storage design ideas.

Daun Curry really knows how to make wine shine. The lighting shining from behind the bottles creates a subtle, warm glow. Notice how the storage travels across the adjacent wall to continue the design and highlight the wine as a central piece of art. Who wouldn’t want to lounge at this home bar with family and friends?!

How about this space? This spiral staircase leads from the kitchen to a “hidden” wine cellar below. If you have the space (and budget!), this could easily become the family’s favorite storytelling subject.

This other example of wine storage takes advantage of the dead space under staircases. This is the perfect solution for smaller spaces and it would be a fairly inexpensive project. Love that each bottle has its own cubbie!

Now this is a hole in the wall that I could actually deal with! Again, this is a great use of otherwise dead space. Do you like how the color blends with the bricks or would you rather have a popping color to further highlight this unique wine storage option?

All you MGs KNOW that I love this one! A little mix of old and new, perfectly modern-ique(R).  Repurpose a vintage library card catalogue  unit to store your favorite bottles—and use the labels to easily find what you’re in the mood for! Use a little chalkboard paint instead of  labels and you add a sophisticated flair while creating even more usability—just erase and relabel after you drink up!

My oh my look at all that wine! Although the link doesn’t give much information on this wine wall, who doesn’t love a bit of mystery? It looks as if a the cooling unit was built into the wall with frosted glass to create glow and beautiful shadows. You would have to have quite the large stock of wine for this to work, but what a unique idea to create a magical space!

As you know, I love functionality and style. This island features convenient storage for your favorite wine! When you’re ready for a drink, it’s right where you need it! I love how you can fit up to 20 bottles of wine without taking up extra space in the room.

So many homes are cramped for space, so that little space between cabinets or in odd places around the kitchen becomes prime real estate. You will notice this dead space particularly around the fridge. If you have about 6 inches, this is the option for you. Although it doesn’t produce a lot of storage, it’s a great idea for the occasional red-wine night, or even just to store your favorite cooking wines!

And here is a wine storage area featured in one of my client’s homes. With just a little space, you can create your own wet/dry bar to create a splash in your living room. This intricate design can store a significant wine collection (and it looks pretty too!). Think of it as your own library of wine!

I like how this minimalist set-up sets the wine as a central design element in the room. The bottles are balanced on peg-like rods, easy to reach and easy to show!

This is an excellent wine storage idea for those who like to keep around a few of their favorite bottles in an elegant display. Love the modern teardrop shape  that accommodates the storage of wine necessities!

Which of these wine storage ideas would you use in your home? Do you have a large stock of wine or do you just keep a few of your favorites? I would love to hear what you’re currently doing in your home and what you would like to do in the future. Comment below!





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Charisma Blue

Green living is hot, hot, hot right now, and everyone seems to be looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint in any way they can, particularly in decorating.  One of my favorite environmentally friendly products is Vetrazzo, a surface manufacturing company that produces cement based slabs infused with recycled glass products.  100% of the glass is reused, coming from either curbside recycling or from post-consumer manufacturing, such as discarded bottles from the Skyy Vodka and Heineken factories.  If you get lucky, you might even get a piece of glass in your surface that contains a leftover bottle label!  Although it is technically a manmade product, 85% of the entire surface is recycled!  Whether you decide to use it for a tabletop, kitchen counter or backsplash, you can feel good about having a chic, beautiful and eco-friendly surface!

Thom Filicia and Artistic Tile’s table, using Vetrazzo, at DIFFA Dining by Design event

Alehouse Amber

Bistro Green with Patina

Cobalt Skyy with Patina

Hollywood Sage

Floating Blue

Cubist Clear

Some photos from various Vetrazzo installations…

 

 





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I had such a blast shooting a segment for Chicago Home + Garden’s “Bring It Home” series that was featured on WGN!  The host Rochelle Vayo Adkinson was such a doll-along with her assistant, Maddie Yastrow.  And, y’all know how much I love all my peeps over at CH+G Magazine.  The segment was all about how to create a functional and beautiful breakfast nook, and we featured a space in one of my North Shore projects in Evanston as inspiration.  This fun and active family has three young children, so the area had to be bright, cheery and kid friendly.  My “Modern-ique” mantra was a driving force here, as I brought in quite the mix of old + new pieces to create a feeling of layering and depth without overcrowding or cluttering the area.  Click here to watch the segment online and learn the tips and tricks to making a great breakfast nook in your home. And, not to miss the indulgence of a couple of Krispy Kremes for both of our teams. #loveagooddoughnut.

To see more photos from this particular project on the Buckingham ID website, click here!

Breakfast nook, pre curtains

Having fun at the shoot!





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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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Tags:

{Urban Smoke Ball Fixture}

Lighting has long been one of my favorite parts of any design project, but it can also be one of the most difficult and time consuming part of the process.  First off, lighting really comes in bulk.  In some of my larger projects, I have upwards of 100 fixtures!  Wattage, placement, dimensions, shades….so much to think about when choosing just the right lighting schemes.

When I was blogging about the 2010 San Francisco Elle Decor Showhouse, I realized that the various designers had one common lighting theme: Urban Electric.  I often use UE myself, for their diverse collection of fixtures can appeal to a broad range of clients’ tastes.  I really admired the pieces used in the showhouse, but I wanted to also share with you some of my personal favorites.  Enjoy!

{Anson Ribbon Fixture}

{Athena Fixture}

{Chisholm Hall Fixture}

{Diamond Fixture}

{Dover Ball Fixture- Elle Decor Showhouse}

{Gwendolyn Hang Fixture}

{Kings Road Fixture}

{Poppy Fixture}

{Morris Ribbon Fixture}

{Sprig Fixture}





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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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