x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Designer Living: Barbara Barry's tranquil, Californian style

The American designer's simple and luxurious aesthetic is reflected in her Beverly Hills home.

"I love the property's ever-verdant garden," Barbara says. Photo by Victoria Pearson
"I love the property's ever-verdant garden," Barbara says. Photo by Victoria Pearson

Where do you live and how long have you lived there?

I live in Los Angeles and have for many years.

What made you choose the property you live in?

My home sits on a beautiful tree-lined canyon road in Beverly Hills. I fell in love with the natural light that fills every room and the property's ever-verdant garden.

What does your home say about you?

For years I lived with prototypes and leftover furnishings but with my current house I have finally decorated for myself and essentially created a sanctuary, a place of welcomed reprieve from my busy life. I believe my home embodies my love for tranquillity and harmony.

Is there anything you would change about it, or anything you wish you had done differently?

Everything is just right. I found the process of decorating for myself to be a bit daunting but with every design process there is ample reflection and I am very satisfied with the end result. There is a true melding of all of my favourite things in my home as well as a balance of tone, natural beauty and proportion.

What is the key to creating a happy home?

I believe a home should be an elegant backdrop for a well-lived life, a subtle coming together of simplicity and personal luxury. Our selves, our families and our pets are the star attractions - we shouldn't need to compete with our environment. With beauty-inspired interiors we are naturally put at ease and embraced by our surroundings.

Which item would no home of yours be without?

Stacks and stacks of linens.

Where do you like to shop for pieces for your home?

All over the world.

Do you incorporate elements of your work into your home, or do you like to keep your domestic environment separate?

Most of the furnishings in my home are of my own design. I use my life as my muse for my work. My passion for design is organically integrated into everything I do.

Are there any particular projects or products of which you are especially proud?

My new furniture collection for Baker Furniture. I love the Colin Cab Chair (I have four in my living room), the little Quarry table and especially my Oval X-Back Chair in linen lacquer finish with the "X" dipped in gold leaf. It's like the chair took a little trip to Versailles.

What are you working on right now?

In addition to launching the new furniture line, I have just introduced a new line of fabrics, trimming and carpets with Kravet called Indochine and I am developing new designs for my other signature home collections.

Residential projects at the moment include a custom vacation home on Lake Tahoe, an apartment on the Chao Phraya river outside of Bangkok and a private residence on the shores of Malibu, California.

What inspires your work?

Inspiration springs from every facet of my life, from a delicate leaf floating before me on a morning hike to my travels around the globe. My Indochine collection was influenced by my recent time spent in Asia, while my new Baker collection's colour palette is a response to the pale gemstone tints of John Singer Sargent's watercolours of Venice.

Who are your favourite designers?

John Dickinson from San Francisco and Michael Taylor. Both are iconic American designers and authors of the "California style". They held great influence.

How would you describe your interior style?

I am inspired by beauty: the grace of form, the simplicity of line, quiet colours and natural harmonies. Decorating for me is about mood and bringing life's complexities into balance.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I am still searching for the perfect, pristine lake or waterfront where I can build a simple wooden home incorporating all that I have learned and live very simply. This, I believe, is true elegance.

How do you like to relax?

Long luxurious baths and time in nature. I absolutely love being outside and as far away from noise and traffic lights as possible. I am deeply influenced by things that exist freely in the world: the colour of the sky, the sound of water, the single stem of a flower.

What is the best way to simply and instantly update a room?

A fresh coat of paint.