For the second year in a row, I am honored to be selected- along with four amazing design colleagues from New York, Atlanta, Sacramento and Austin- as one of Silestone’s “Trendspotters”. The whole gang was blessed with the opportunity to be whisked off to Spain for an adventurous week. Nothing like being immersed in a vibrant new culture to get the creative juices flowing.

It was a week full of inspiration and some powerful trend statements- melding both past and present.

First stop was beautiful Barcelona where we spent 2 days exploring the town and taking in the sights. As is every single time that I visit this gorgeous city, I was blown away by the architecture and it’s timeless and seamless entry into the modern world. I found classic, modern- day inspiration around every corner…

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Greek Key staircases within The Hotel Catedral in Almeria, the architectural splendor of ceiling details of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, Spanish tile mania spied within an historic building-now a cafe near the beach in Barcelona (Love the colorful mix!) and simply the breathtaking views of the city.

Architecture even came to life in the sand! Spotted this elaborate replica of La Sagrada Familia as a sand castle on the beach in Barcelona.

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My travels to Spain reinforced my love for timeless color inspiration and the influence that color- alongside neutral earthy bespoke elements- creates architecture that has been shared and that has lasted throughout the ages. The patina of ages old color still hold their treasured elements and show that color and architectural shapes in design and architecture only age more beautifully with the passing of time. We take away a sense of history when we reuse and repurpose the elements within our modern day designs.
The aged become pure examples of modern art in many cases…
Look at this castle, Alcazaba, in Almeria where after an alfresco dinner in the city square we were feted by a modern violin concerto.
The long trek upward into the castle were steps upon steps of historic, architectural splendor that felt clean, sleek and timeless.
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Between the trend and style spotting my fabulous cohorts and I had a lot of fun and giggles. We managed to take a fair amount of selflies and group shots along the way. This is one of my favorite group snapshots from the trip as the backdrop of the amazing historic architecture was simply stunning.

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The pic was caught at precisely the right moment with the natural illumination of a gorgeous sunset on the rooftop of  this Moorish castle alive with Art Nouveau influences and touches within.

Sitting halfway up a mountain overlooking Barcelona, it is now the home of El Asador de Aranda- a fabled restaurant known for its Castilian cooking. The building has a “modernist” feel throughout the interior that enhances my intrigue, obviously, with the melding of the old and the new.

(Side note–I especially love this picture because the handsome guy standing behind me is my  son, Alex, who met us with a quick flight from his hometown of Berlin. This made the trip for me all that much more special. Huge thanks to everyone for welcoming him with open arms!)

After bidding adios to Barcelona, we spent two days at the  Cosentino global headquarter’s in Macael for exploration and inspiration into our designs for the “Designer Series” of color. We were able to view the first prototypes of our new Silestone Color Series which the product development team based off of our initial creative meetings in New York City a couple of months ago.  It was exciting and rewarding to see our colorful designs coming to life. The final reveal will be in January 2015 at The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (#KBIS) in Las Vegas. Exciting stuff!

Easy to “spot” us, yes? #orangevestsderigueur

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At the end of our trip while back in Barcelona, I was filmed sharing my latest thoughts on color and design trends amidst the color and excitement of one of my fave markets in the world…La Boqueria.

I was so energized by the buzz of all of my surroundings!

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 There was inspiration in all of our travels… included one of my favorites here. Spotted this amazing sphere of light in a Spanish courtyard in Almeria.

Love Modern Art in unexpected historic locales!

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Oh… the memories of Spain collaborating with my fellow Silestone trendspotters… Miss all y’all Kim, Courtney, Kerrie, Patty and Mark! And Nicole and Lorenzo too!

See you soon!

xx, Julia

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Spain enchants me……On my very first trip to this captivating country,  I had the opportunity to be swept off my feet and to travel to Spain courtesy of Cosentino, the makers of Silestone, Sensa and Eco products. Cosentino’s current production capacity is 700,000 square meters of engineered stone per year, making it the largest manufacturer of engineered stone slabs in the world. The opportunity to visit their quarries and manufacturing plant and to get an all exclusive behind-the-scenes pass of everything Cosentino was the highlight of my summer.  And what a trip it was.

Starting in Barcelona, my husband  (Edels) and I met up with a group of fast paced and trend-setting  people in the design industry who were also part of this “party”. No expense was spared to provide us with an intimate glimpse into the culture and traditions of Spain. Being in the company with other like-minded design aficionados really was a treat, and in Spain we all aligned and gathered some roots.  Salutations to my friends who joined me on the trip…Patty Dominguez-Field Marketing Director for Cosentino, the leader of our group and the one who treated us all like royalty; Lisa Henry-National President of ASID , Randy Fiser-CEO of ASID  ; Shawn and Edward Alshut  -Duo architects of Studio A2 in Atlanta; Amanda Zitlin  and Terri Crittenden – both designers at the Chicago Interior Design Firm of Susan Fredman. What an amazing time we had together and experiences that I will never forget. We laughed, learned and shared much.

Along with experiencing some of the astounding sites, restaurants, shopping and nightlife to be seen in Barcelona, we were able to visit a local Silestone dealer and to gather in their exquisite showroom. We were then zoomed off  to Almeria  where we were able to visit Cosentino Headquarters. Upon our arrival to the airport, is was apparent that Cosentino had had a hand unto the design.  Cosentino is a  global leader within its field, is devoted to the responsible and innovative development of top-quality surfaces and is the world´s major producer of quartz surfaces, it is a family business consortium financed entirely with Spanish capital. I greatly admire their values and hope to aspire to them all within my own business.

A modern interior all created with Cosentino stone…

The Cosentino Headquarters certainly were a sight to see.  A very memorable part of the trip was having the opportunity to check out Cosentino’s Silestone quarries. Silestone is a naturally beautiful, durable quartz. (As you can see below!) Silestone is the world’s leading natural quartz surface and features a range of more than 65 unique colors! Silestone is the one and only worktop made of quartz with anti-bacterial protection, giving it hygienic properties that are not to be found anywhere else on the market. All in all, I love their products-having installation plotted for my new home in Arizona and my Buckingham I + D Showroom!

A Cosentino quarry- a great view of it all….

Of course, all that walking around quarries got all of our shoes a little dirty!  And check out my nail polish-quite the popular color this summer- Essie Bikini So Teeny! I just can’t resist a nod to fashion which sets off a light bulb for daily inspiration. I have been using blue quite a bit lately within my client projects. Just an FYI-this color has been sold out FOREVER- this was my swan song-best place for that bad news. Inspiration quite literally never stops!

 I am SO excited to be adding Cosentino’s Silestone in the color Lagoon in the Buckingham I+D showroom! It was such a great experience to watch the entire process- and look at the gorgeous results. We are all simply drooling over this color-simple and timeless- and my team is impatiently waiting for the BI+D installation!


While we were onsite- an interesting part of our trip was watching the manufacturing of Silestone.  Love this group pic of us respecting the process of proper and safe protocol for one of the most environmentally sound products in the world.

We had some very special group outings during the trip, including a luncheon within the private offices of the heart of the Cosentino Headquarter’s. The beautifully catered affair was an intimate glimpse of the fortitude, intelligence and elegance of the family themselves. Let it be said that our day together was regal in feel. I have had a glimpse of what it feels like to exhibit core values on every level-and their embrace of the generations of family that will carry on these values for many more years to come.

Our castle- Luncheon with Paco and his exquisite olive oil at Castillo de Canena

Oh the architecture…historic and regal.  We were received as friends and left as such!And yes, we got to sample it! YUM!

John and me during our final night in Granada..Alhambra Castle in the background. A night to treasure forever.

Thank you to the Chicago Cosentino Center for the Prexury Petrified Wood on the island and Haiku Silestone on the perimeter countertop in my designed kitchen at the CS Interiors 5th Anniversary Showcase at the Ritz-Carlton Residences (Open House October 12-13). Purchase tickets here. You will love it all as the Chicago design community has again proven what we can do!

 And a nod of gratitude to all of the Cosentino Family for the opportunity to have been invited to travel to Spain and to have been embraced as a part of their larger family. My experiences there have peaked my keen design interest to see what new and innovative products Cosentino comes up with next. I think that we all should stay tuned!

Adios amigos! xx

 

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