Just saying the name Barbara Barry brings several words to mind – design icon, legendary designer and industry trailblazer. Behind her graceful elegance is a powerhouse who never allowed the ebbs and flows of interior design to compromise her aesthetic or her voice. Her workhorse ethic and unwavering beliefs about design have made her a household name in the interior design industry and beyond.
I had the honor of meeting Barbara while attending High Point Market 2017. It suffices to say that when you enter a space she inhabits, you immediately know who Barbara is. Even with such a magnetic and alluring presence, Barbara has mastered the art of making you feel welcome with her approachable, fun hearted and insightful nature.
I am extremely excited (and Mark is over the moon) that Barbara took time out of her outrageously busy schedule to share her new collection at Baker Furniture and her sage wisdom with Tastefully Inspired.
Your current line is a bit of a departure from your previous ones. What was the impetus for the direction you took with this particular line for Baker?
I am living more simply now and more relaxed and so are my clients. It’s not about how much money we have as much as we want comfort and support in our homes…we need it! And we want style and that seems, for me, the reason behind good design.
Do you have a piece from the collection that is a personal favorite and why?
I love the VERVE swivel chair because you chill out in it. I think when we can have a little movement we relax more…and I love its modern profile.
You’ve had such an illustrious career. Can you think of a moment you are especially proud of?
I am proud of the connections I have made through my work to people all over the world. It is like one big extended family and I cherish those relationships.
What is one thing you would say to your younger self when you were just starting out in the industry?
To stand up for what you believe in. What separates you from others is your opinion and that is what you are selling. Don’t worry about blending in…develop your own voice.
What is a motto you personally live by?
Getting to know myself and knowing that I need:
Time for reflection
I am a busy person and I need the balance of a long walk in nature, time with my dog and reflective time because I am interested in what is behind design…behind many of the things that we feel compelled to do. I love thinking that through.
Aside from nature, what gets your creativity flowing?
I get creative once I am all caught up. At first I kind of panic, then I settle down and read or do housework and when I start cleaning out closets I can feel that creative energy rising and I head to the kitchen table where there is always a stack of clean white paper and a sharpened pencil.
What is your favorite place in the world and why?
I love Austria…the green of the Alps and the deep blue sky. There life (in the summer) is fresh and new and one can take long daily walks in the mountains. The memory of those walks fills me up for a whole year and they inspired my last collection of fabrics and trims for Kravet called CHALET.
How do you recharge your batteries?
Being in my all white room, in white PJs looking out to nature and with a good book!
You have a passion for mentoring newer designers, what advice would you give to less seasoned designers?
Look inward…not outward where trends are distracting. Try to understand what it is that YOU have, uniquely, to offer the world and build on that. Put words to it, define it and take it forward. We want to hear what it is.
On that same note, what is one mistake you wish new designers would stop making?
Looking outward and mimicking…but rather to pick up a pencil, a watercolor brush or even a pair of scissors and make a collage…maybe not about anything in particular but something beautiful because beauty it at the center of design, always.
You’re an accomplished designer, an author, a mentor and you have a number of licensing deals. What is next for the Barbara Barry brand?
What is next for me is more quiet time and to be able to work with smaller companies producing smaller collections alongside artisans all over the world.