How Barbara Barry Achieves Serenity

by Karen Harris | Print This Page

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I’ve been a fan of Barbara Barry for ages.

No matter what she is designing, her style is classic and timeless.  As a furniture designer for Baker, I envision chichi martini parties and witty banter. As a luggage designer for Hartmann, I envision grand tours of the capitals of Europe. As a fabric designer for Kravet, her soft colors and patterns beckon me to caress them and wrap myself in their softness. As a rug designer for Tufenkian, I want to take my shoes off and splay my toes through the wool and silk. She also designs for Ann Sacks Tile & Stone, Boyd Lighting, Global Views, Henredon, McGuire and Wedgwood.

I believe that beauty is healing and inspiring; I want to help others see beauty in all areas of their lives.

Her soothing colors, her luxurious fabrics, her sophistication have always impressed me, so when I was given the opportunity to have breakfast with her (alright, there were a host of other writers and designers there) to see her new collection for Baker, I jumped at the chance to talk with her about how she achieves serenity in her own home.

What is your color palette for the new collection?

I used celedon, sage, paprika, cream, gray, lavender, amethyst, chambray and chocolate. All soothing and natural colors.

Your style is very simple yet sophisticated, very soothing. What is your design philosophy?

I believe our surroundings are as important as what we eat. I believe in the power of our surroundings. We use them and need them to get healed. Light, space and air are all important. You need to fill based on structural harmony. Nothing lives alone: no table without a chair. There must be harmony and calm. I love to engage the senses. It is through them that we perceive our world and our sense of well being.

How do you achieve this?

It takes discipline, just like eating right. I use solids with subtle patterns. Color can bring complete renewal. If you are drawn to crazy wild fabric, use it  in a pillow or scarf so that it isn’t overwhelming, it doesn’t agitate.

Many of our readers have a chronic illness and we want them to be able to create a sanctuary for themselves. What are some suggestions?

I think what you are doing is wonderful. For me, quiet shapes and simple forms are the antidote. Simple forms, simple fabrics. I would suggest the bedroom. Keep it fresh. Think of calming colors found in nature. Pale celedon, parchment, wet sand, seashell. Nature is my most inspired source. I truly believe there is something we yearn for in a home. Safety and comfort.

What colors are your bedroom?

Pale lavender and gray. The colors compliment the view outside. (Barbara lives in LA.)

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