In moments like this I ask myself... WWBD?
What would Barbara do? Barbara Barry, that is. You see, I have a counter filled with fabric samples and finishes as well as a few thumbed through product catalogs. If this were for you I could easily assign a perfect match 1, 2, 3 easy peasy and we'd be done. It's simple: determine what you want, choose what you love.. badda bing, badda boom. But when the client is me... it's nearly impossible. And I'm a busy wife and mother who loves impractical things. Creamy interiors, plush fabrics, light finishes. Because really, you only live once and today's textiles are actually pretty durable.
This is when you need a mental "in case of emergency, break glass" routine. Fortunately for this scenario I so have such a practice. I ask myself, "What would Barbara do?" and nine times out of ten then answer is crystal clear. If I had to sum up her aesthetic in one word it would be "inviting." Touchable textures, ample seating, generous proportions, navigable spaces. Nothing looks too precious or perfect and everything has the slightest bit of sheen. More importantly, the design isn't so high minded or random that I'm left trying to piece it together in my mind. This isn't to say it isn't thoughtful or predictable.
In the sample above there's a curved sofa, an odd swirl patterned fabric on the Bracelet chair in the foreground and an oddly shaped cocktail ottoman.
Would I choose the same pieces, the same finishes, the same fabrics? Not at all. I'm not interested in copying her room, but I do seek to borrow from the mood she creates in her design. The resulting energy in every Barry space is a bit dreamy. It goes back to that word: inviting. The rooms say, "come on in and stay a while, I've got all the time in the world for you." And isn't that a nice message to send to family, friends... and yourself?
Maybe it's the California sunshine streaming in through the dupioni panels or maybe it's her strict adherence to a subtle color palette (yes to both, I'm sure) her rooms are undeniably welcoming. In the end, she chooses clean lines that don't leave must to translation, and her mix of textures gives an otherwise straightforward room considerable depth. And then there's the art... always the focus.
So I'm breaking the glass today to solve my internal design dilemma. With any luck I'll have my decisions made here soon. Do you have your own mental emergency escape hatch for problem solving? Something that clears things up for you?