Design Idol : Barbara Barry
Barbara Barry believes in living graciously. Owing equally to her remarkable design acumen, tenacity, and palpable passion, the interior design firm she started in 1985 has since grown to embrace residential, commercial, textile, furniture, and product design for the likes of Brooks Brothers, London’s Savoy Hotel, Baccarat Crystal and Eli Broad. Barry grew up in Southern California, in a family of painters. She remembers long afternoons watching her mother paint on the beach, confessing that she often spent more time looking at the palatte than the canvas. To this day, she creates color schemes for projects with paint, and uses watercolor for sketches. Her mother remains her most vibrant mentor.
“I’m still inspired by what exists feely, always finding beauty in the natural world," she says. “No matter where I go, if I can hold still long enough I will find something to inspire me."
In the hallmark moment of Barry’s residential and commercial design relationships, she presents each client with a “palette" for the project; a shallow tray arranged with unexpected but related objects (from shells to matchsticks, swatches to macramé) that express the forms, colors and textures that form the framework of the design.
She’s in love with the design process. She’s in love with the materials. She’s in love with the people who help bring her visions to life.
She maintains style has nothing to do with money and everything to do with confidence, and encourages aspiring designers to “live unabashedly for beauty and believe in the power of design."