Birds, like colors and shoe shapes, fall in and out of style. Flamingos were hot in the Depression and they came back in the Miami Vice era. Wood-&-copper mallard ducks flew across family room walls in the 1950s and a few years ago, we had a short, meaningless fling with owls (what was that all about?) but still, the list of birds used in decoration is pretty short. When was the last time you saw, say, a flock of crows used as a decorative motif?  It’s been a long time.

Let’s face it, certain birds are simply more popular than others.  I mean, its hard to think decoratively about birds that wreck crops or carry away cute baby bunnies for their midnight snacks! With that in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise that, this season, peacocks, the quintessential Art Nouveau bird, are having yet another one of their many moments, the same way they did in 1966, at the beginning of the Psychedelic era.  Like the poet says “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”.

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I spotted the beautiful mounted specimens above while treasure hunting for antiques in Paris last summer and when I got back to the studio, I found an addition (one of many!) to our recently renovated conference area: this incredible PEACOCK DARK rug  by English fashion designer Matthew Williamson, whose brand is known for incredible prints.  It was gifted to BID from our good friends at The Rug Company!

The Peacock designed rug is available in a light colourway as well as this dark one.

The Peacock Rug is also available in a light colourway.

And for those who might hesitate to put such such a gorgeous piece of art on their floors, I have good news! Matthew Williamson’s new Autumn 2013 collection of fabrics and wallpapers for Osborne & Little also features one of his signature peacock designs:  “The Eden Collection  is as heavenly as its name suggests: a riot of colours and patterns reflecting the British fashion designer’s diverse influences, from exotic birds to 1970s-style animal prints” - ELLE Decoration.  This richly colored jewel toned collection (filled with lots of deep emerald, cobalt blue, plum, and gold tones) will be sure to inspire you as we enter into late Fall. It definitely inspires me!

How insane is this wallpaper?

How insane is this wallpaper? And I love how the polished chrome of the furniture echoes the metallic sheen of the paper!

For years, there was a silly prejudice about combining certain colors.  ”Blue and green must never be seen” used to be a common saying.  Didn’t those folks ever see a bed of iris? Or blue hydrangeas against bright green grass? Or–hello!–a peacock? For people not so hemmed-in by arbitrary decorating rules, peacocks have served as the direct inspiration for a lot of  to-die-for rooms.

The Peacock Room at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The Peacock Room, now at the Smithsonian in Washington, has been all over the place, but it started out in London, as an 1870s collaboration between shipping tycoon Frederick Leyland, the English architect Thomas Jekyll (who designed the room’s walnut paneling and shelving to display Leyland’s collection of Oriental porcelain and panels of antique Spanish leather) and the American artist James Whistler (yes, that Whistler) who proceeded to gild Jekyll’s wood and completely paint over Leyland’s treasured antique leather panels. The big reveal must have been like the Victorian version of Trading Spaces–OMG!–and not in the good way, either.

Yes, the finished room was stunningly gorgeous–it is in a museum, after all!–but it wasn’t at all the what client asked for and the whole thing ended up in a nasty lawsuit. Quelle hot mess! So this room contains two important lessons for designers, one good and one bad:  1) Blue & green DO go together,  but 2) Ignore the client’s wishes at your own risk.

Driehaus Museum, photo by Steve Hall of Hedrich-Blessing Driehaus Museum, photo by Steve Hall of Hedrich-Blessing[/caption]

Fortunately, that kind of  disaster doesn’t happen very often. In fact, here’s another interior of the same period and with the same kind of richly glowing colors (this time, in glazed tile, not painted leather) and this time, the client loved the results! The room is in the Driehaus Museum in Chicago–just off Michigan Avenue, so don’t miss it–and if you visit in the next few weeks, you can see another peacock-inspired creation in the museum’s current Tiffany exhibit:  this iridescent gold-mounted Favrile glass vase.

Louis_Comfort_Tiffany_Peacock Vase_c1897-98_mounts_c1898_Photographed_by_John_Faier_©_Driehaus_Museum_2013

OK, this beauty isn’t for sale, but these are exactly the kind of colors I’m always drawn to, so if you see the show and decide you’re wanting a swirly glass piece in those colors–one that you could actually buy, that is, not just look at–we have the little piece below  in the BID Studio. With a coat of Tiffany Blue lacquer on your walls and a few feathers in a tall nickel-plated cylinder,  you can create your very own Peacock Room!  And if you do, send us a picture!

photo copy

Last stop: a rendering of a Peacock Room (painted for the Crane Company of Chicago) that doesn’t contain a single peacock reference, only the colors of its plumage. This subliminal approach is often the most interesting, because instead of stating a theme explicitly, it lets the room’s occupants discover it on their own. Sometimes, less is more,  although, considering the level of finish in this room, “less” isn’t quite the word. Either way, it’s a knockout!

Crane Roman Peacock Bath

The takeaway lesson is simple: inspiration is everywhere.  How you use it is up to you.





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Morticia

OMG!! Last time I checked in, there was just a hint of a chill in the air and the trees still looked like summer, and then, suddenly, it’s cold, half the trees are bare already–and tomorrow’s Halloween! How can that be? What happened to October? Or, for that matter, September? Oh, wait.  That’s right.  Since my last post…

Napa Show House

Buckingham Interiors + Design opened a brand new showroom next door to our Design Studio on Grand Avenue, we took part in Traditional Homes‘ 2013 Showhouse out in Napa Valley and we did those things at the same time that we were designing & installing several major projects for clients here in Chicago.  All that stuff  might have had something to do with my absence around here lately.  But, still: Halloween—tomorrow ? ? ? I just hope somebody else remembered to buy candy at home.

Guatemalan Ottoman

Speaking of sweets, though, am I the only person who looks at our way-cool Guatemalan ottomans and suddenly starts craving a snack? Say, iced donuts? With sprinkles? And, considering the season–apple cider?

Morticia Chair

And surely, other people besides me think of Mexican sugar skulls when they see our Morticia Chair–named after the seductive, black-gowned mistress of the decaying Victorian mansion on TV’s The Addams Family. Tell me they do! They have to.

Morticia Chair2

Morticia, of course, was the original Goth chick, and her slinky getup and dead-white makeup still inspires some people’s Halloween costumes, but let’s be honest: not everybody is (0r was) into black crape and seaweedy sleeves. I don’t need to tell you who it was that always went out trick-or-treating in a sparkly pink princess dress or a fairy godmother’s cape or a ballerina’s tutu. I am convinced that Material Girls are born, not made.

Halloween

Not me. Soooo not me, not even as a kid. I wasn’t even born in 1951. But Happy Halloween, anyway, and if you haven’t yet visited the showroom yet, do stop in.

Afrodite, Goddess of Candy keeps watch over the loot.

If the team hasn’t already eaten them all, you might even get a treat or two.





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Between the renovation and BIG MOVE next door, a couple of  fabulous new additions to the Buckingham I + D team, an upcoming project with Traditional Home Magazine (which I will be spilling about soon), and a trip to Paris with luxury brands expert, Steve Nobel, alongside 13 fellow designers from all over the country later this week- our office and studio are completely buzzing with the winds of change!

The big unveiling Gala of our new space will take place on Thursday evening, September 26, to usher in the annual weekend Design Harvest street festival on Grand Avenue in West Town – mark your calendars! This one of a kind fest features some of our favorite local furniture and home accessory makers, vintage and antique collectors, and home design stores. Grand Avenue will be closed from Wood Street to Damen Avenue for the fun and festivities!

1820 W. Grand

Come in, meet our design team, and peruse our new finds – we’d love to have you!





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How adorable is this water coloring rendering of the Hermes La Maison home line?

I discovered the new Hermes La Maison home line when our wonderful Dedar rep came to our showroom and offices at the end of last year, sharing with us the most amazing textiles and wall coverings from this iconic brand. Now, it is not enough to swoon over their fashionable bags, scarves, throws, clothing, boots, sandals, watches (of which I am a huge fan) and baubles-more delightful goodies to ponder!

It wasn’t long after that I decided to recover an antique French chair in the Fil de Argents print (yes, I have a slight thing for chains) in the orange color way (I also have a slight orange thing, too).  This chair made its way to a recently completed Arizona design project, but my obsession with the Hermes home line had only just begun.

Not only does the Hermes La Maison collection include textiles and wall coverings, it includes furniture and rugs as well (obviously of the ultra luxurious sort).  I do not know the exact prices of all the items, but knowing the price point of Hermes,  I can only imagine how many zeroes follow that leather sofa…

Take a look at some of my favorites from the collection!

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3-seater Bench from The Pippa Collection

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Square Table from The Pippa Collection

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Occasional Table from The Pippa Collection

A bit about The Pippa Collection…

“This line of foldable and easy-to-move-around furniture was imagined by Rena Dumas and Peter Coles, in the Hermès spirit of “moving with elegance”. It combines the warmth and softness of wood (pearwood, ebonized maple or teak) with the suppleness and resilience of leather (fontanella cowhide, natural cowhide, clemence bullcalf, skipper buffalo).”

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Armchair for Reading and Resting in Fabric and Leather, from The Matieres Collection

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Fabric and Leather Sofa from The Matieres Collection

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Storage Coffer from The Matieres Collection

A bit about The Matieres Collection…

“In the Matières collection, Antonio Citterio highlighted once more the functionality of furniture, and prioritized conviviality, comfort and harmony. This collection also emphasizes the sensory of the materials: leather, fabric, wood, metal.
During his visit to the Hermès Conservatory of Creations, the designer was particularly drawn to a saddle rack whose proportions and volume inspired him for the design of his armrests. The reading chair reclines into a relaxation position.”

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2-seater Sofa from The Jean Michele Frank Collection

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Club Armchair in Sheepskin from The Jean Michele Frank Collection…swooning…..

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Folding Screen from The Jean Michele Frank Collection

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Low Soleil Table from The Jean Michele Frank Collection

A bit about The Jean Michele Frank Collection…

“Jean-Michel Frank is an iconic designer from the Art Deco movement. He was the most influentialial designer and decorator of the 1920′s and 1930′s. The lines are rigorous and emphasized, shapes are simple yet refined. The materials used are versatile, from the rawest to the most sophisticated.
Sofas are compact, well-balanced and truly simple, iconic of Frank’s style.”

 

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 Antique French Gilt Armchair that I recovered in Hermes Fil de Argent fabric!

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One of my favorite wall coverings from the collection- Les Sangles

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A panel of this wall covering within picture frame molding- genius!

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Stunning scarf-like textile, Couvertures et Tenues de Jour

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How fabulous are these drapes?

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Circuit 24 Textile

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More gorgeous drapery!

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I love the Circuit 24 pattern in the wall covering, too!

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Finish Wall Covering in Nattier Blue

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Finish Wall Covering in Kaolin

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Herringbone Wall Covering in Orange

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Herringbone Wall Covering in Nattier Blue

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Gribouill’H Wall Covering in Sage

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Gribouill’H Wall Covering in Mandarin

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Feuillage Imprime Textile in Etoupe

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Feuillage Imprime Wall Covering in Mint

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Wrapping presents in Hermes paper?  Doesn’t get more luxe than that!

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Biblioteque Wall Covering in Nattier Blue- I used this in the bathroom of my Arizona design project!

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Also love this pattern in the textile version (Biblioteque in Cognac)

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Biblioteque Textile in Indigo





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Josh Garrett’s work in my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom

I absolutely love the atmosphere of my office.  Not only does it serve as the working hub of my interior design business, but it also functions as a showroom and gallery space as well.  I have been an art fanatic for countless years, so bringing the best from the art world is part and parcel with my interior design work.

I am thrilled to announce that we are now exhibiting the work of local Chicago artist, Josh Garrett, at my Buckingham I+D Showroom!  Josh works primarily with metallics (copper, steel, aluminum) that have been etched, painted or treated.  The results of his painstaking creation process are truly breathtaking.

Here is a little bit of what Josh has to say about his work:

“When I started in 2005, I wanted to make art with a perfect, machine-like quality. My first pieces actually revealed a rawness that was unexpected but inspiring. The LINES series includes symmetrical designs in metallic or black paint. Some of the lines are broken, as a result of the process done by hand. Other pieces of mine include a fire treatment to create texture and abstraction. The use of fire was inspired by those unexpected qualities I discovered early on. Choosing that medium became an exciting means to create visual complexity with minimal control.”

Did I mention that Josh is also an accomplished guitarist?  What a cool dude!  To check out Josh’s work and to see what other Modernique® goodies we have in store, stop by our showroom at 1820 W. Grand Ave. in Chicago.

Take a look at some of my favorites from Josh Garrett’s collection…





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Lafco New York Candles at Buckingham I+D Showroom

The holidays are truly the most wonderful time of the year…friends, family, and an occasion to eat as much food as you want without guilt?  Love it!  With Thanksgiving being last week, the official holiday shopping season has begun!  I am thrilled to announce that my Buckingham Interiors + Design Showroom is now carrying all sorts of goodies that will make just the perfect gift for your chic friends, coworkers, loved ones…whoever!

I am so excited to now be a vendor of Lafco New York Candles.  They are seriously some of the best candle fragrances that I have ever come across, and one of the best parts is that they are all named after rooms or types of houses!  Perfect for the design lover, don’t you think?  Not to mention, they have been listed as one of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” a number of times.  Gotta trust the O :)

We will also be carrying a variety of other gift-giving must haves!  Be sure to stop by our showroom at 1820 W. Grand Ave. in Chicago to say hello and check out our selection in person.  Don’t forget!  We’re now open on Saturdays from 10 AM- 6 PM.

Happy Festive Shopping Season to you all!

xx Julia and the B I+D Team (Colette, Brenna, Paulina, Leah, Marla, Nancy + Rebekah)

 

Vintage Fork Molds

Gold Urchin Object

 

Vintage Red Alabaster Grapes

Set of 5 Mini White Vases

Ombre Vase

Silver Nesting Bowls

Set of 3 Vintage Jacks

Turquoise Glass Vases

Green Glass Vases

Grey Glass Vases

Vintage Peruvian Mirror

Vintage Peruvian Candlesticks

Coral on Lucite Bookends

Vintage Van Briggle Pottery





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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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I am thrilled to announce that my Buckingham Interiors + Design showroom is now open on Saturdays from 10-5!  We are located in the bustling West Town design district- just west of the Merchandise Mart- and we would love to see some of our wonderful MGs for a gab and meet.  Our inventory is constantly being updated with the best of both modern and antique goodies (hence my registered trademark, Modern-ique®!), and we will be receiving soon many items perfect for holiday gift giving!

Our showroom is located at 1820 W. Grand Ave. in Chicago.  Take advantage of this beautiful fall weather and stop by…we’d love to see you!

xx,

Julia, Colette, Paulina, Brenna, Nancy, Marla, Leah, Linlee, Rebekah + our resident pet, Queen Victoria





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Buckingham Interiors + Design DIFFA Dining by Design Space

It has been quite a whirlwind past couple of weeks for us over at Buckingham ID!  We participated in the CS Interiors Anniversary Home at The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Chicago (my firm completed the kitchen/patio), and we also just wrapped up DIFFA Dining by Design!  We partnered with one of our favorite fabric/wall covering companies, Romo, to create our Dining by Design space, and I must say that I was thrilled with the results.  Not only was this a fun way to mix and mingle amongst the Chicago design community, it was also a wonderful way to participate in a very worth cause.  DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS), is such an amazing organization, and I am honored to contribute to its charitable efforts. My husband had absolutely no luck in restraining me from doing one of the things that I do best…bidding and winning some fabu silent auction items!

We used Kirkby Spectrum plaids for the chairs as well as for framed art, Romo Kingfisher Hexagon wall covering, a mid-century marvelous lighting pendant (that we fondly refer to as “the gummy fixture”) to anchor the space, oversized Richard Kooyman “food” art, and recycled glass objets d’art on stands as part of the tablescape.

I was also inspired by a current Arizona project that I am working on (will share photos with you soon!) to add unique vintage leather Western belts to the back of the chairs.  It was an unexpected touch but I am delighted by the eclectic effect.  After all, what fun is design if not unexpected?

I cannot forget to mention our centerpiece (and new BID showroom pet), Betta Fish Queen Victoria.  She is a true looker and beautifully complimented the scheme.  Nature is the greatest inspiration for design, after all.

Many thanks to H. Bloom for providing the stunning floral arrangements and to Werner Straube Photography for the fabulous photos.

Stay tuned for more Buckingham Interiors + Design news to come…never a dull moment over here at BID headquarters-we have just begun the design for our David Adler designed Lake Forest Showhouse in the “Original Party Room.” How perfect is that for me? :)

Buckingham Interiors + Design DIFFA Dining by Design Space

Buckingham Interiors + Design DIFFA Dining by Design Space

Buckingham Interiors + Design DIFFA Dining by Design Space

Buckingham Interiors + Design DIFFA Dining by Design Space

Buckingham Interiors + Design DIFFA Dining by Design Space

Belt Detail from our DIFFA Dining by Design Chairs

BID girls (L-R: Paulina, Brenna and Colette) with President of Romo USA Frederic Henry at DIFFA Dining by Design Cocktail Party

BID gals (L-R: Shannon, Colette, Paulina, myself and Brenna) at the DIFFA Dining by Design Gala

Team BID (plus hubby John) acting silly at the step and repeat with the Romo girls at DIFFA Dining by Design Gala

L-R: John, Shannon, Paulina, Colette, Julia (me!), Catrina, Maria, Christi, Brenna, Heddi

Yummy signature cocktails at DIFFA Dining by Design Gala (by one of the event’s sponsors, EFFEN Vodka)

Our guest of honor at the Buckingham ID/Romo table- Betta Fish Queen Victoria!

Kehoe Designs display at DIFFA Dining by Design, always a stunner!

Jonathan Adler + Kravet

Ethan Allen showing off preppy chic

Classic Charles Eames quote





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“Nathan Turner’s American Style: Classic Design & Effortless Entertaining”

I had such a wonderful experience as a Style Spotter at this month’s High Point Market, and one of the many highlights of my trip was connecting with the fabulous designer/entertaining extraordinaire Nathan Turner.  Of course, I was familiar with Nathan’s chic interiors and his acclaimed event planning, and I was thrilled to learn that he has a new book out!  Aptly titled “Nathan Turner’s American Style: Classic Design & Effortless Entertaining”, this new publication is sure to impress.

As if Nathan weren’t enough of a gem, he is generously giving away a couple of his new books exclusively on Material Girls!  Simply comment on this post to enter.

If you are a Chicago area reader, be sure to stop by Pottery Barn in Lincoln Park (1000 W. North Ave. at Sheffield Ave.) this Wednesday, October 24 from 6:30-8:30 to meet Nathan Turner and yours truly for a book signing of “Nathan Turner’s American Style: Classic Design & Effortless Entertaining.

Be sure to RSVP with your full name and number of attendees to chicagorsvp@potterybarn.com.

Cheers!

The lovely and talented Nathan Turner

Some of Nathan’s fetes…can I please be invited to the next one? ;)

Beach Party

 

 

Moroccan Dinner Party

 

 

Baby Shower

 

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