Watch the transformation of a house into an elegantly playful castle

Chicago-based designer Julia Buckingham is the ultimate decor multitasker and a popular author on the blog Material Girls. With a style all her own, she creates strikingly contemporary interiors, fronts an eponymous line of home furnishings and accessories, and acts as official style-spotter at the prestigious International Furnishings Market held yearly in High Point, N.C. 

She caught the decorating bug early in life, while accompanying her mother on antiquing forays that eventually led to her becoming an antiques dealer herself. For years, the back of her truck seemed forever loaded with different antiques and artefacts for clients. “I would pull up to get my kids after school, and people would say, ‘What did you get today? Show us!’” she recalls. 

Buckingham has made a name for herself by adapting antique furnishings into contemporary environs to create a look she  calls “modernique.” Her boldly coloured, confetti-like rugs and bohemian Moroccan-inspired tea light chandeliers illustrate how adeptly she puts playful twists on classics. “I will stop at nothing to create the perfect environment,” she says.

Julia Buckingham’s Picks

Designer Julia Buckingham doesn’t wait for a special occasion to wear her multi-coloured Valentino sandals. “I feel like sunshine is in the house each day I sport them!” Her go-to jewellery is vintage from Chanel, “especially my latest 1980s piece with globes,” she notes. Her beauty essentials are refreshingly down-to-earth: anything from Kiehl’s. Her appearance at “What’s New, What’s Next” in NYC in September called for something spectacular: a new Oscar de la Renta Elephant Dress. When it comes to indulgences, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, frozen yogurt and coconut, and a trip to her family’s Arizona oasis, Casa Lantana, fit the bill. While she describes Studio Gang Architects’ Aqua Building in Chicago as a work of art, not surprisingly, she enjoys populating her favourite spaces with witty items like the Wiggle Chair  from her own Julia Buckingham collection for Global Views. Packing up is a reason for celebration when accompanied by a Louis Vuitton weekender (“We’ve travelled the world together!”) and a kelly green Céline bag that packs a punch.