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


Orange and Tangerine


Pink Shorts Suits

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

Schuyler Samperton

Futuristic Prints

Kelly Wearstler



Metallic Basics

Aerin Lauder’s Dressing Room, Habitually Chic

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Prime Real Estate

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Jan 04, 2012 | 2 Comments | Category: Magazines

Lake Forest, Illinois

6 bedrooms, 6 baths

15,000 square feet

$6.95 million

Pedigree: Celebrated architect David Adler built this Tuscan-style lakeside villa in 1916. It is considered one of his finest residential estates, due to the classically symmetrical interiors, stately loggia, and stone-paved courtyard.

Property Values: The three acres feature an original sunken garden, conceived in collaboration with landscape designer Ralph Rodney Root, and direct access to a white-sand beach on Lake Michigan.

Talking Point: Watching over the grounds are statues of Neptune and the nine muses, among other mythical figures.

Contact: Coldwell Banker, 847-987-8517; coldwellbanker.com

Read more: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/homes/homes/2012/01/estates-for-sale#ixzz1gMgoVZbC

From time to time I love indulging in the Architectural Digest feature “Homes for Sale Around the World.” Having lived in many houses myself (and naturally as a designer), I have a fascination with houses.  Leave it to AD to feature some of the most glam, luxurious and decadent estates from around the world.  Although I am not sure that purchasing a $50 million private island in the British Virgin Islands is in many of our realms of possibility, but, a girl or guy can dream, right?  Check out some of the latest listings on “Homes for Sale Around the World.”  Maybe AD will be coming to your block next!

Text and listing information courtesy of Architectural Digest.

Peapack, New Jersey

31 bedrooms, 14 baths

60,000 square feet

$4.9 million

Pedigree: Designed by Carrère and Hastings, the venerable architecture firm behind the New York Public Library, this secluded Beaux Arts mansion was constructed in 1903 for financier C. Ledyard Blair. The house, which has undergone an incomplete restoration, still exudes Gilded Age grandeur thanks to bespoke mantels, elaborate moldings, and imported marble.

Property Values: The 34 acres feature Italianate gardens by James Lyle Greenleaf.

Talking Point: With its unique past—reclusive nuns owned the place for some 50 years—Blairsden, as the house is called, has long been the subject of local lore.

Contact: Turpin Realtors, 877-788-7746; turpinrealtors.com

Read more: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/homes/homes/2012/01/estates-for-sale#ixzz1gMeM4fPg

Ojai, California

4 bedrooms, 3 baths

4,300 square feet

$4 million

Pedigree: In 1959 architect Rodney Walker, best known for his three contributions to the Case Study House Program, erected this hilltop retreat as his personal residence. Modeled after an equilateral triangle, the ethereal structure merges indoor and outdoor spaces using glass curtain walls and pointed overhangs.

Property Values: The three-and-a-half-acre plot, accessible by a winding private drive, enjoys sweeping views of the surrounding valley.

Talking Point: Vintage linoleum and wood surfaces and a paint-box color palette lend midcentury cool to the open floor plan.

Contact: Crosby Doe Associates, 310-428-6755; crosbydoe.com

Read more: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/homes/homes/2012/01/estates-for-sale#ixzz1gMez2N17

British Virgin Islands

7 bedrooms, 8 baths

17,000 square feet

$50 million

Pedigree: Natural beauty abounds on Buck Island, a 43-acre private haven boasting pristine beaches, protected coves, and coral reefs. Presiding over it is a contemporary masonry compound, comprising a main building, a satellite master suite, and three guesthouses.

Property Values: An infinity pool, a helipad, and a cabana dot the land, while two additional villas occupy a base on nearby Tortola.

Talking Point: A partially built bridge adds archaeological intrigue.

Contact: Smiths Gore, 284-494-2446; smithsgore.co.uk

Read more: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/homes/homes/2012/01/estates-for-sale#ixzz1gMgDBwEi

Como, Italy

7 bedrooms, 4 baths

7,530 square feet

$34 million

Pedigree: Built in the late 19th century, this stucco-clad villa is perched on a superlative lot overlooking Lake Como, with views of the village of Bellagio on the opposite shore. Refined ornamentation, a grand scale, and neutral decor give an airy feel to the interiors, which have been restored by Milan-based architects Alberto Brugi and Elio Messi and are available furnished.

Property Values: The leafy seven-acre grounds include a gymnasium, a spa facility, a boathouse, and a pool.

Talking Point: A helipad allows for easy arrivals and quick departures.

Contact: Christie’s International Real Estate, 011-44-20-7389-2631; christiesrealestate.com

Read more: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/homes/homes/2012/01/estates-for-sale#ixzz1gMgV4cjf

Hickory Creek, Texas

6 bedrooms, 6 baths

36,630 square feet

$35 million

Pedigree: Just 15 minutes from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, this attention-grabbing mansion—built in 2002 for CellStar founder Alan Goldfield—continues to linger on the market despite huge price cuts. It was modeled after Vaux-le-Vicomte, a 17th-century château that inspired Versailles, and overflows with baroque flourishes.

Property Values: Ninety acres with a lake, tennis courts, a pool, and a cabana.

Talking Point: Over-the-top amenities include a two-story Chanel-themed dressing suite, an indoor pool, a hair salon, a home theater, and a bowling alley.

Contact: Briggs Freeman, 214-350-0400; briggsfreeman.com

Read more: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/homes/homes/2012/01/estates-for-sale#ixzz1gMhA03Wk

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Keep It Cool

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Jul 28, 2011 | 2 Comments | Category: Uncategorized

With record breaking temperatures sweeping the country, there really isn’t much you can do to beat the heat than either stay inside or jump into some sort of body of water.  Whether it be a pool, lake or ocean lazy river at the local water park, try to keep cool.  And if you have the luxury, head out onto your boat to cruise around and make all the non-boaters jealous.  If you have one of these super luxe yachts, you are sure to illicit the envy of all those on shore.

I am sending this post from the Island of Maui. Been tending to the heat a bit myself here.  Aloha!

Photos courtesy of Architectural Digest.

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If I had the means to aquire a fully furnished chateau in France, I’d take it!  Well, I guess I’d have to think of the logistics first.  A 16th century manor home filled with dusty old furnishings would require a lot of TLC, but this British entrepreneur was up to the challenge, as documented in Architectural Digest.  Having owned a weekend home for many years in the English countryside, the Brit was ready for a move to the agricultural region of La Beauce in France, 70 miles from Paris.  Although the wealthy, art-collecting owner has many homes throughout the world, including Ibiza and Paris, this home became a particularly special project.  Chateau de Fontenay was a moated dream castle, and its location in a quiet village provided anonymity and removal from the owner’s social scene.

The owner and friend/principal of prominent design firm Mlinaric, Henry & Zervudachi, Tino Zervudachi, went to work overhauling the grand home.  Notably, the extensive taxidermy throughout the house had to go, as the owner explains that it was inappropriate as his daughter was an avid vegetarian.  They set out to redecorate the home, keeping old pieces yet updating the manor with many new pieces.  “It was meant to feel like an amalgamation of over generations,” notes the homeowner.

Image captions courtesy of Architectural Digest.

Zervudachi converted the rustic library into a billiard room. On the walls are paintings by, from left, Hurvin Anderson, Anke Weyer, and Alejandra Icaza. The curtains are made of Algiers silk by Robert Kime, and Claremont’s Toile Chevron stripe covers chairs and a bench; the kilim is from Galerie Triff.

In the television room, the overstuffed armchair and the Louis XV–style bergère are upholstered in a Charles Burger print and a Georges Le Manach chenille, respectively.

Framed herbarium pages bring nature into the entrance hall.

Claremont fabric covers matching sofas in the paneled living room. The curtains are of Ashoka linen by Robert Kime; slipcovered ottomans serve as cocktail tables.

The kitchen’s neo-Gothic millwork was installed by the previous owners.

A corridor is paved with encaustic tiles.

The pool is hidden behind hedges and flower beds.

An inventively rustic veranda stretches across the rear of the house—its columns are made of tree trunks set on stone bases.

A breakfast table on the gravel-covered veranda.

A guest bedroom’s curtains are made of Concini cotton by Georges Le Manach.

A carved-wood chandelier adds an element of fantasy to a guest bath. The chair, upholstered in needlepoint, is Victorian.

An old-fashioned hot-water tank serves a claw-foot tub; the wallpaper, added by the previous owners, depicts neoclassical urns and statues.

Antique Zuber wallpaper hangs in the Chambre aux Oiseaux.

The Chambre Indienne is enlivened by a Madeleine Castaing print by Edmond Petit, available at Clarence House.

lit à la polonaise is the focal point of one bedroom.

Bergères are pulled up to a fireplace.

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Sunny Side Up

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 30, 2011 | 10 Comments | Category: Decorating, Magazines

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

I can’t help but feel a little envious of my amazing communications assistant, Colette, who recently returned from a weeklong getaway to Palm Beach…coming back tanned, blonder than ever and regaling us with stories of to-die-for houses on the exclusive island. Not only did she frequently send us snapshots of the lush paradise,  but she also picked up a Florida Design Magazine to share with my office, and the sunny skies and glistening pools that fill the pages are a sharp contrast to the painfully long winter we’ve had this year in Chicago.

{Colette’s photo of the view from the beach at Mar a Lago Club, Palm Beach}

{Colette’s photo of the view from the pool at Mar a Lago Club, Palm Beach}

Florida Design Magazine unfortunately does not offer an online edition, but luckily for us Architectural Digest has not surprisingly featured several magnificent Palm Beach homes in their glossy pages.

In fact, the home featured in this post is that of Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, yes…of the Estee Lauder family.  It is one of the most prominent estates on Palm Beach’s tony South Ocean Boulevard, complete with a team of full time security guards protecting the stately mansion.  Once Evelyn became the matriarch of the home after Estee retired from the estate in the late 90’s, she embarked on a massive renovation project to infuse light and cheerfulness to the gracious home.  Designed by Marion Sims Wyeth in 1938, the preeminent architect to the socialite Palm Beach crowd of the early 20th century, Evelyn and interior designer Thad Hayes made every effort to modernize the home while paying homage to its historic heritage.  It took a massive effort, Evelyn recalls, for the home to be brought up to date, but the end result was surely worth the effort.

While I do have plans to visit Florida soon- Boca Grande- where my in-laws have a home, I am thrilled to get an early start to my spring trip living vicariously through this and other dreamy Palm Beach homes.

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

{Lauder Estate, Palm Beach}

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If These Walls Could Talk…

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Mar 16, 2011 | 8 Comments | Category: Books, Decorating, Walls

Upon entering this Manhattan apartment, decorated by Timothy Whealon, guests are greeted by a theatrical mural of flowering vines.

Boy would they have a lot to say!  Florence de Dampierre’s aptly named new book, “Walls” takes the reader on a pictorial tour of some of the most exquisite walls throughout history that you have ever seen.  If you think walls are merely for framing artwork, hanging mirrors or supporting light fixtures, think again.  These walls certainly defy the laws of conventional decor!  Although walls are often the most underrated elements of a space (how many times have you pondered for days over that vase or rug and hastily picked a paint color out of a stack of paint chips?), this fascinating read makes abundantly clear that walls can be just as important a statement piece as any other feature of the room, if you give them the opportunity to speak up :)

Text and images courtesy of Architectural Digest.

{Florence de Dampierre’s “Walls”)

For this bedroom design, decorator Jean-Louis Deniot selected a warm toile de Jouy wallpaper to frame twin blue-and-white-striped beds draped with orange-trimmed canopies.

The faux pilasters and hazy landscape painted on the wood entrance walls of the 17th-century Sandemar Manor in Sweden recall the lapsed beauty of an abandoned folly.

Catherine Grenier chose a striped Osborne and Little wallpaper to enliven a room she designed in Cadiz, Spain.

France’s Château de Chantilly boasts a marvelous example of painted singerie, a fanciful style of 18th- and 19th-century French decor that incorporates playful monkey imagery.

Hydrangea-blue faux molding adds a touch of painted serenity to a bedroom in a Christian Bérard–inspired Manhattan townhouse, designed by John Barman.

The living room of Paris-based designer Jacques Garcia’s home in the Château du Champ de Bataille glows with luxurious paneling and gold-framed portraiture.

Neoclassical motifs border lavender faux marble walls at the Pavlovsk Palace, a former country residence of the Russian Imperial family.

A vibrant kaleidoscope pattern brightens a wall of Mexico’s Hacienda San Diego de Jaral de Berrio.

The Hall of Mirrors in Amalienburg, a hunting lodge in Munich, Germany’s Nymphenburg Park, is an exquisite example of the highly ornate boiserie popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Living Like a Star

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Feb 05, 2011 | 7 Comments | Category: Celebs, Decorating, Living Rooms

{Brad, Angelina and the kids racking up the frequent flier miles}

Don’t we all love getting a glimpse into the fabulous lives of celebrities?  US Weekly, People, even Star, there’s something so addicting about getting the inside scoop on the stars.  Not only do we like to see them at their “finest” (how can we forget Britney’s little getting out of the car mishap, Lindsay’s many lovely party pics, or the Olsen twins glued to the Starbucks and oversized shades), but we also love to see the way they live in their homes.

As I was browsing the Architectural Digest website, checking out what the recently appointed editor-in-chief Margaret Russell is doing for the magazine, I came across the “celebrity living room” feature.  And like any juicy deets about celebrities, I just had to take a peak.

{Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, Beverly Hills}

{Angelica Huston, California Central Valley}

{Sting and Trudie Styler, London}

{Joshua Bell, Manhattan}

{Jennifer Aniston, Beverly Hills}

{Elton John and David Furnish, Los Angeles}

{Kimberly and Dennis Quaid, Los Angeles}

{Diane Keaton, Beverly Hills}

{Gerard Butler, New York City}

{Patricia Heaton and David Hunt, Los Angeles}

{Cher, Los Angeles}

{Sheryl and Robe Lowe, Santa Barbara}

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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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