contributed by Kathryn Waltzer, ASID [Certified Interior Designer / Founder of InterviewWithADesigner.com / California girl]
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you haven’t heard of interior designer extraordinaire Barbara Barry, then you’ve either been spelunking in Middle-earth, living your own personal version of Cast Away, or practicing your transcendental meditation for the last decade. Fellow ASID Los Angeles Chapter member, Kathryn Waltzer, was lucky enough to pin this talented butterfly down long enough for a quick Q&A, and we’re lucky enough to feature their casual conversation on P&C. For more interviews by Kathryn, check in with InterviewWithADesigner.com, her intimate look at how designers balance their creativity with business. Now back to the very, very Ms. Barry…
Kathryn Waltzer: Your restoration of the historic Savoy Grill is stunning. What were the constraints of such a project”
Barbara Barry: To retain the original bones of the place while making it updated for today. We had a limited budget and we were working from Los Angeles.
KW: Your philosophy radiates grace, fluidity, calmness and beauty. Does this world collide with the real-world drama of doing business”
BB: It is a challenge every day but I believe in beautiful process not just a beautiful product so we choose our jobs carefully and we have a wonderful harmony in our office where we conduct all of our business with calm and good manners. We feel fortunate and grateful for the work we have and take great pride in the way in which we perform.
BB: I have a great staff and we work very tightly meaning I control all of the design and we are extremely efficient! Not all jobs are running at once so we move from one thing to the next and that takes dexterity and trust.
KW: Your interiors and products celebrate restraint and order. To what/whom do you owe this influence”
BB: I just have my own thing that I am trying to do and that is to create harmony and beauty wherever I can. I need this in my life and so my life’s work has become about this. I strive to make my message very clear and that is done with intention and with a discipline. For me all good design, whether it is a garden, a room or a building, seems to me to have an integral code that is based on simplicity, order and grace. I am inspired by these timeless qualities.
KW: What is next on your design journey”
BB: I am working on a long rollout with Wedgwood and also launching my own sheeting line in January of 2006 and with everything that I have ongoing I would like to help affect the way furniture is bought and sold in this country and hope to create a tranquil and harmonious environment so that people can enjoy the process of purchasing things of beauty that they will live with for a very long time. I also like a bit of mystery and do not have a total agenda for my work or my life for that matter.
KW: The popularity of the design shows on TV has brought interior design into homes all across our country. If you had a show, how would you educate the viewers about interior design”
BB: Oooh, that is a tough one because I am not a fan of the way this is currently handled. I guess I would try to slow it all down and talk about the feeling and the mood that design can bring, show its influence, say from nature and show how that is manifested in concrete terms. I think it could be educational and inspiring and not all about fixing something up but teaching core values that could serve people in helping them make better choices.