How do you define your style?
I don’t feel I have a style as much as I have a philosophy and a discipline. The philosophy is that nothing stands alone, so every small choice matters. Stylistically, I am not interested in making an interior do anything except feel good and relieve the senses from the chaotic world, and this comes through a strict discipline of simplicity – of form, line and color.
What is the biggest challenge you face when you design a space or new product?
To make it balanced and not about decoration. In a room, to make it feel fresh and open with potential for living in it – inviting, never intimidating and always soothing. With a product it is again about the supporting role and understanding the material.
Which designers have influenced you most?
Albert Hadley, Andree Putman, John Saladino.
What do you think of Atlanta’s style and do you see it evolving?
I see Atlanta style as timeless because it is rooted in history, yet very fresh because it is about today and not the past, and so are my furniture and accessories and tableware and sheeting and fabrics. I think Atlantans want to free themselves from the cookie-cutter traditional and embrace the ‘warm’ modern more than the ‘cold’ modern, and my furniture speaks to that. You have one of the best living designers, Nancy Braithwaite, as your own.
What is the most important element in a room?
Color and the balance of it.
Your favorite room in your house?
The bedroom because we start and end our day there and our most important thoughts take place there.
The most common mistake people make in their homes is …
Buying too much stuff and misuse of color.
Is there a habit would you like to banish forever?
Trying to be perfect! And any complaining of any kind. I think this means people should have a growing appreciation of the joy of being alive and grateful.
Tell me about your current projects.
I just bought a new house, and as I have never decorated for myself before I find it very challenging. I am looking forward to growing through the experience. I am designing flatware, stemware, fabrics, residential furniture, contract furniture, lighting, crystal and fragrance.
Do you have a favorite fabric in the Barbara Barry for Kravet line?
Yes! Lots of them! I feel this new collection is my best work yet. I love Celestial and In Bloom and Cobble Path and on and on. It is a real painter’s palette and there is so much for the designer to play with. It goes together in infinite ways.
What are your plans for the future?
To continue to refine my way of working with the people, clients and companies with whom I work. And to eventually bring it all together in a beautiful space for others.
Do you have a dream project?
Yes, to design a shoe salon and the shoes that go in it!
How did you get into the design business?
Did you always want to be a designer? Through my mother’s influence in the home. It was a natural progression for me. I grew up feeling anything was possible, and I don’t mean that in a financial way but more a psychic way. It has a lot to do with the vote of confidence our parents gave us more than the education they may or may not have provided. My mother was, and is, a true artist so that everything she touched took on a special meaning and beauty, if only the arrangement on the table.
If someone is on a tight budget, what should they skimp on? Splurge on?
Skimp on the notion of getting it all done and splurge on quality, first in the finishes and second in the furnishings, because once bit, you will have the patience to wait for only the best because quality is tangible.
Barbara Barry’s latest furniture collection can be found at Henredon, (770) 698-7699, and Oliver Walker & Co., ADAC, (404) 262-1408. Barry’s fabrics can be found through Kravet, ADAC, (404) 816-7941, and her bed linens are available through Bloomingdales and Macy’s. For more information on where to find her collections of lighting, tile, china and rugs, visit barbarabarry.com.