{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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A DeGiulio Kitchen in one of my Buckingham Interiors + Design Projects in Kenilworth, Illinois

While the title of this post is a nod to one of my favorite books (by Anthony Bourdain), the real reference here is to kitchen extraordinaire Mick De Giulio’s new book, “Kitchen Centric.” De Guilio is a veritable kitchen genius and is one of the most revered names in kitchen design not only in Chicago but throughout the country as well.  With over 25 years in the kitchen biz, De Giulio really knows what works.  With his versatility in design, De Giulio appeals to clients with almost any taste.  His projects have been featured in publications from Traditional Home, Better Homes and Gardens to House Beautiful, and his unbelievable showroom in the Chicago Merchandise Mart is definitely worth a visit.  De Giulio is a frequent speaker at industry events, but now his words are being immortalized in a beautiful book that I surely am looking forward to checking out!

Mick De Giulio’s new book, Kitchen Centric

De Giulio kitchen Glencoe, IL

De Giulio kitchen Glencoe, IL

De Giulio Highland Park, IL

De Giulio kitchen Highland Park, IL

De Giulio kitchen Highland Park, IL

De Giulio kitchen Atherton, CA

De Giulio kitchen Winnetka, IL

De Giulio kitchen Monte Sereno, CA

De Giulio kitchen Monte Sereno, CA

De Giulio kitchen Chicago, IL

De Giulio kitchen Chicago, IL

De Giulio kitchen Scottsdale, AZ





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{Mary Jeanne Kneen, owner of Kneen and Co., hosting a party of her own…lucky guests!}

Now that the traditional party season may seem like it is over, there are certain hostesses that are still going strong.  Mary Jeanne Kneen covers all your table topping needs so that throwing the party/giving the hostess gift doesn’t have to stop now.  Not only can this hostess with the mostest throw a fab fete (as featured in Chicago Home + Garden), but as the owner of the recently founded upscale Chicago-based tabletop company Kneen and Co., she’ll help you with everything from the perfect necklace to wear to the get together, exquisite crystal with which to serve your guests, and charming stationary on which to write thank you notes.

Check out some of my favorites finds from Kneen and Co.! And I just have to ask…Are you still all ready to party?

{Fferone design champagne flute set of 2,$70}

{Lobmeyr Sputnik Crystal Sconce}


{Snowflake Linen Cocktail Napkins, $48 each}

{Mandarin Border Linen Fingertip Towel, $65}

{Fancy Monkey Fill In Invitations, The Printery, $45}

{Lobmeyr Polka Crystal Water Glass, $104}

Although Kneen and Co. markets itself as a tabletop company, check out these amazing medallions that I couldn’t help but feature

{Nymphenburg Medallion with Skull in White Glazed Porcelain with Yellow Gold Clasp, $3269}





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{Buckingham Interiors + Design showroom, featured in CS Interiors}

Chicago has always held an important place in the design world, with not only the world renowned Merchandise Mart but also a plethora of international design showrooms within the Mart and around the city.  A new and exciting design trend to come to the Windy City is the combination interior designer showroom + shop.  I myself have decided to embrace this concept, with my newly opened Buckingham ID design space on Grand Avenue in the West Loop area of Chicago.  My plan is to showcase the multitude of talented local artist and artisans as well as those from across the country and globe in my space, changing it up on a regular basis.  And of course, most items are available for purchase. Right now, the space features art by local artist Marilyn Borglum, lighting by LA based Marjorie Skouras and furniture from various artisans at Outdoorz Gallery in Paris.

{feature article in CS Interiors}

My good friends from Scentimental Gardens are now my next door neighbors in this shop/showroom venture!  In fact, we bought the space together and then split it for our respective uses.  The West Loop area is the latest up and coming neighborhood in the city, so I’m excited to be on the cutting edge of this impending design boom!

Other Marjorie Skouras Pieces:

{Chandelier I used in my showroom}

Other Marilyn Borglum Pieces:

More pieces from Outdoorz Gallery:





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art : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination…

This season’s CS Interiors has opened my eyes to the fascinating work of Windy City-based knitter-photographer-artist, Michelle Litvin, who epitomizes the definition above in her “Mindscrim” creations.  Her one of a kind vision begins with meditiation and weaves intuitive intricacy… Litvin tells CS “I go into these meditative states and then I start knitting… There’s no predetermined design in mind, and I make up stitches as I go.”

Enjoy these compelling images and swing by Caste to experience Litvin’s sculptures and accompanying photographic collection live.

Mindscrim 1

Mindscrim 2

Mindscrim 4

Mindscrim_12_2_11_no_428

Mindscrim 6

Mindscrim 8

What I love most about art and design is that inspiration is everywhere… Michelle Litvin found a muse in kneedle and thread… What will inspire you today?





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Haute Lighting

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Aug 28, 2009 | 6 Comments | Category: Decor Accessories, Lighting

Shell Pendant Lights

Who knew that Neiman Marcus had such an interesting array of lighting, not unlike their chic and varied array of clothing, shoes and accessories? Although I am a big fan of both NM and it’s wonderful kid sister store Cusp, I really do not pay much attention to their home decor.  However, a NM lighting ad popped up on the side of an online tabloid I was reading (hey, a girl’s gotta have her guilty pleasure!) so I had to click!  Sure enough, Neiman Marcus has some very cool lighting.  Take a look!

Pieced Metal Pendant Light

Glass Ball Pendant

Comet Pendant Light

Milk Glass Chandelier

Upside Down Chandelier

Drops Light

Globe Pendant Lights

Orbit Shade Lamp

White Driftwood Lamp

Marais Lamp

Sea Urchin Lamp

Bare Branch Floor Lamp

Mirrored Sconce

What are your thoughts?  Do these light fixtures and lamps live up to the illustrious Neiman Marcus reputation?  Or should they stick to what they do best, outfitting stylish women?





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Cool Finds at Etsy!

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Aug 06, 2009 | 5 Comments | Category: Furniture, Lighting

Light Fixtures

Before bed I like to curl up with a good book, a new design magazine, or get lost on etsy.com.  Kind of like eBay but with really cool (well actually not everything is all that cool…it takes some dedication and major sifting to find the true gems) artisan creations, vintage and refurbished pieces.  Etsy is comprised of hundreds of thousands of sellers from all over the globe and features products ranging from furniture to clothing, art to jewelry.  You name it, someone on Esty probably sells it!  There is even a section titled “Weddings” that features jewelry, hair pieces, artwork….all sorts of artisan creations pertaining to weddings!  No one in my family is getting married though, so I focused my search on furniture.  266 pages of furniture!  I could only get through about page 75 before I started doze off, but here are some of my cool finds!  Click on the picture to be redirected to the page on Etsy and be sure to read their fascinating stories!

Arm Chairs

Blue Chair

Quartz Light

Vintage Aluminum Folding Desk

1950's Slipper Chairs

Mid-Century Barstool

Light Fixture

Conga Lamp

Camel Chair

Vintage Club Chair

Simone Victorian Chair

Vera Vintage Bench

Light Fixtures

Rocking Chair

Have you MG readers ever been to esty.com before?  And if so have you ever made a purchase?  I’d love to hear about your cool finds!





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Italian Gems

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Jul 28, 2009 | 3 Comments | Category: Lighting, Shops and Showrooms

Barovier and Toso

The new Artistic Tile showroom at the Merchandise Mart is just fabulous.   What really catches my eye every time I pass by is the incredible chandelier in their front window (pictured above).  I did some research, and found out that it is made by an Italian company called Barovier and Toso.  The intriguing story of Barovier and Toso dates back to 982 AD on the island of Murano with the inception of glass blowing, and in 1450 Angelo Barovier invented “crystalline glass,” a diaphanous film of crystal.  The rich history of Barovier and Toso that dates back to the Renaissance adds to the splendor and character of these individual, hand-crafted pieces. I have been browsing through their online catalogue, and all I can say is…WOW.  Such an incredible assortment of unique, glass light fixtures and lamps.  They come in the craziest colors, too…liquid yellow, liquid green, liquid orange, red, violet….so cool.    Here are some of my favorites:

Barovier and Toso

Barovier and Toso

Barovier and Toso

Barovier and Toso

Barovier and Toso

Barovier and Toso

Barovier and Toso

Barovier and Toso

Oh my,  I am in love.

History has it’s advantages.

So much good design began so long ago..

Barovier and Toso





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The Power of Overhead Lighting

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Dec 05, 2008 | No Comments | Category: Lighting






Ever walk in a room and feel as if something magical is happening? You cannot place your finger on it but it just feels right.  Such is the power of the perfect placement of unique lighting.

It is my greatest victory when a client or guest will say, “Wow!  That light fixture is gorgeous.” They come out of nowhere but make the greatest statement in an environment just in front of wall paint color.
Here are a few of my favorites from the BID archives… Simple industrial fixture in a dark teal room next to an edited french chair and lovely peonies from belle magazine. An incredibly large and strong piece over a silvered shell form and a feathered beauty that feels like spring from the most recent issue of Metropolitan Home.
Two years ago in the December edition, Met Home featured an o- so- dramatic stairway fixture that cries out as the most unexpected departure from the somewhat traditional surroundings. The creme de la creme of the most spectacular ceiling drama is from Elle Decor.  Awwww …..

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