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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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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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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You Can’t TRUMP This Giveaway!

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Oct 05, 2011 | No Comments | Category: Contests

{That really tall one? Yes, that’s the Trump.  Expect anything less from Donald?}

How have I not heard about this until today?!  A friend of mine saw a commercial for, get this…an HGTV giveaway of a ONE BEDROOM CONDO IN CHICAGO’S TRUMP TOWER!  I am not kidding…although this does sound too good to be true.

For those of you who aren’t from Chicago or have just never seen the Trump Tower (although it’s pretty hard to miss), the building is truly spectacular.  Part super luxe hotel, part incredibly chic condominiums, the Trump Tower is the place to be.  It has an amazing restaurant (Sixteen) and a spa that is hard to rival.  Who wouldn’t want to live in this paradise in the heart of the Windy City?

{Sixteen}

{Spa at the Trump}

Downside…the giveaway ends in 2 days!!  Sign up fast for your chance to win your new home in Chi Town!

Photos of model condo at the Trump Residences





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Glamorous Elysian lobby…love the mosaic floors, oversized sculptures, but would love to see more of the light fixture of which we only get a small glimpse!

Chicago has no shortage of luxury hotels, but the addition of the Elysian Hotel really raises the bar in the Windy City.  From the moment you step out of the car in the elegant courtyard to entrance into the chic lobby and your arrival in your luxurious guest room, the Elysian will wow you.  Furthermore, its not one but two critically acclaimed restaurants, Balsan and Risa, and its “it bar” Bernard’s are only steps away from your accommodations, adding to the deluxe experience.  You may end up loving the Elysian so much that you never want to leave, and if that is the case you actually don’t have to!  Luxury condominiums are being built, but starting at $3 million might set you back a few dollars.

Can’t you just imagine yourself here?

Mere steps to Chicago’s prestigious Oak Street and Magnificent Mile shopping areas…spy Barney’s in the background?

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