Barbara Barry: Understated Simplicity


Elegance and simplicity are the hallmarks of Barbara Barry’s designs. Inspired by nature, her interior design projects, fabric and wallpaper collections and numerous home décor lines grace our world with their beauty and harmony.

We had the opportunity to interview Barbara on the influence of her newest Chalet collection for Kravet, her signature look and how she has evolved as a designer over the years.

Barbara Barry Austrian Alps Long Shot Vacation for Chalet Inspiration

Kravet Alpenrose nordic blue fabric Kravet Snowflake Flax fabric Kravet Bever Linen blue heron fabric Kravet Wood Frost Black Wallnut Fabric

Barbara Karpf: What is the source of inspiration for your new Chalet collection for Kravet?

Barbara Barry: Every year I head to Austria to take in the beauty of the mountains. The green Alps and blue skies are a spectacular backdrop for a simple but refined lifestyle. An all day hike is rewarded by the return to soft pine floors, fine linens and a glass of crisp Austrian Riesling. This magical lifestyle and beautiful surroundings inspired this new collection, Chalet.

Barbara Barry Kravet Chalet Collection Watercolor

Kravet Rustic epingle prussian fabric Kravet Chalet Border blue frost trim Kravet Snowhaven Icecap fabric Kravet Lech Banding Alps Trim

view all of BB designer fabric and wallpaper

BK: How would you describe your signature style?

BB: Understated. I create tranquil spaces leaving room for the “stuff of life” to unfold in a quiet way.

Barbara Barry Interior tranquil color living room

BK: How would you describe the evolution of your style over the years?

BB: Less is more. I have come to want less personally and see that reflected in my clients needs as well. The pace of life has picked up over the years along with technology and I see interior design not so much as a fashion statement but as a calming, supportive backdrop for our lives.

Jean-Michel Frank Interior Inspiration
Jean-Michel Frank
Ruhlmann drawing art deco inspiration
Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann

BK: What are the design styles that have influenced your work?

BB: I have been influenced by 20th-century architect/designers such as Jean-Michel Frank, Andre Arbus and Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann. Their modern interiors broke through the yoke of heavy-handed historical interiors and paved the way for a new language of honest materials, elegant sparseness and a new sense of scale.

Barbara Barry Baker Furniture Sketch McGuire chair
Barbara Barry Baker Furniture Sketch McGuire chair

BK: Many of your products and your interior design work have a soft and sensual look. How do you bring this into your designs?

BB: Well first I am a woman and I design with a belief that we all want to be nurtured and comforted. I am drawn in by the feminine curve, which is always evident in all my work. I believe the body responds to inviting shapes and forms and I design with that in mind.

Barbara Barry Beverly Hills Interior Projects Simple Neutral tones throughout space

BK: Many of your projects are in neutral shades. How do you work with this color palette?

BB: I am a Californian designer and am inspired by the clear and constant light that illuminates the subtlety and nuance of texture and color. Like the multitude of shades in the grains of sand on a beach, I like to mimic nature by using many tones of one hue throughout a room.

Barbara Barry Corona Del Mar California interior design timeless

Kravet corvara silver grey fabric Kravet Packed powder vapor fabric Kravet Schuss frost fabric
Kravet snow queen burlap fabric Kravet Bettina boucle slush fabric Kravet dirndl snow mist fabric

BK: What advice do you have for creating a timeless and refined home?

BB: Have a sense of the mood you want to create in the beginning. If it is a calm mood then your direction is set: simplicity must reign! I know it’s hard when everything seems sexy and fun and new and attractive, but, if you want to come home to calm, to be renewed and restored then you must have a certain discipline.

Photo Sources: Kravet | Barbara Barry | Remodelista

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