Happy Blues Bring Kenilworth Home to Life

Located blocks from the lake, this three-story house had been renovated and expanded by a prior owner, but the new residents wanted to make it their own.

“This house is very traditional, but it also has this really cool modern elegance,” says Buckingham Interiors + Design founder, Julia Buckingham Edelmann, of the turn-of-the-century home in Kenilworth that she designed for a family with four young children.

After interviewing several designers, they hired Edelmann to help them. “It was so obvious to us the second we met Julia that she was the clear choice,” the wife explains. “We really appreciate how she mixes old and new pieces.”

Creating layered interiors with a rich stew of influences has become a signature of Edelmann’s “modernique aesthetic. She approached this project in much the same way, combining antiques with new furnishings and custom pieces of her own design.

A vinyl wall covering from Elitis envelops the family room, which Edelmann furnished with a pair of custom sofas and a round leather ottoman with nail-head trim. “Julia did a phenomenal job of using wall coverings to create that designed feel within a nice neutral palette,” the client says. 

In the entry foyer, for example, the designer hung a large chandelier from Urban Electric over a modern pedestal table with a tobacco finish. A blue rug from Oscar Isberian lends the space a contemporary feel while the patterned grass-cloth wall covering straddles the line between antique and contemporary. “The pattern is a throwback to the turn of the century, but the color and texture give it a much more modern feel,” Edelmann says. “This space really needed to make a statement.”

In the adjacent formal living room, Edelmann selected a more traditional antique rug, which she juxtaposed with a contemporary concrete coffee table from Bradley and a custom sofa of her own design. To spice up a pair of her clients’ existing chairs, the designer recovered them with luxurious blue velvet. “There’s always one thing that sets the tone, and in this project it was color,” Edelmann says. “Blue is a very traditional color, so that made the owners feel safe.”


Edelmann carried the blue accents into the master bedroom, where an ikat rug with shades of blue, gray and white give the room a current sensibility without overwhelming the traditional furnishings. Behind the upholstered headboard, Edelmann covered a bank of windows with a wall of floor-to-ceiling draperies. “There was really only one option for the placement of the bed, which happened to be directly in front of a full wall of windows at the front of the house,” the designer says.


At the foot of the bed, Edelmann placed a vintage brass trunk with a sheared-lamb cushion on top. “Julia used her expertise to bring concepts, fabrics and color palettes that were very much what we wanted, but that we would have never thought about doing,” the client says. “She’s a pleasure to work with, and she has become a very dear friend of mine.”

According to Edelmann, the feeling is mutual. “There’s a certain energy that comes with working with both of the homeowners. It’s much more of a personal journey,” Edelmann says. “These clients are the most intelligent, elegant, engaging couple, and it was a joy to work with them.”


Photos by Eric Hausman

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