Pedigree Perfect

Think a purple and gem-tone explosion.

For renowned interior designer, Julia Buckingham, this North Shore home in exclusive Kenilworth, Illinois, was truly a labor of love. Her clients, both West Point graduates, were so busy with their work lives that they had put off the design work needed to make this historic house the home of their dreams. After researching the historic pedigree and reviewing original turn of the century photographs, Julia started from the outside in. “A different approach for me,” says Buckingham. The endeavor began with a modern yet timeless paint redo. Presto! The house was ready to be tackled inside. “The client’s orders included ‘Color! Texture! FUN!’ So ... I added my favorite color purple—in a huge way into the living room.”

Amazing and important art was added, along with custom hand-knotted rugs from Oscar Isberian. She also added diamond-shaped 3-D ceramic silver leaf tile to the fireplace surround. The lighting is a mixture of vintage gems, agate slices and blown glass balls.

The kitchen was gut-renovated with the assistance of Julia’s beloved colleague, O’Brien Harris Kitchens. Buckingham designed custom, French-inspired barn doors to close off the family room, as well as custom lead glass doors to separate the kitchen from the dining room. The result? “Painstaking and aesthetic details all the way,” Buckingham describes. “Clients approved.”

The dining room was embellished with side-to-side functioning Donghia fabric window draperies. “When you close the whole room off it feels like a magical salon,” the designer says.

Julia Buckingham

What I love about Julia is her attention to detail. No space goes without thought and purpose, which is perfectly demonstrated by the bookshelves in the family room which she lined in antique mirror to reflect the 3-D Romo wall covering which resembles quilted and tufted upholstery.


Interiors Editor Mike Ragan
Photography Werner Straube
Interior Design Julia Buckingham, Buckingham Interiors + Design