Designer Profile: Barclay Butera

Designer Profile: Barclay Butera

Designers Today: How long did it take you to develop your design signature design aesthetic?

Barclay Butera... Designer. Author. Licensee.

Not long. Very early in my career I realized what look I loved, what I gravitated towards. I have always worked with pattern on pattern, glamorous yet comfortable furnishings and décor. Symmetry makes me happy and animal prints of course! I do think my look has evolved, but the instincts and basic taste were there from the beginning. And I think we all know I have been a champion of blue and white my entire career. Some things never change…

What were the biggest challenges in transforming that aesthetic to: a) different projects; and b) a licensed product lines?

Projects always pose challenges, but I have been able to seamlessly weave my look into every basic genre and architecture. I love traditional, transitional, and contemporary alike. I think if you are true to the architecture and your clients’ wishes and then put your signature spin on it, the project will sing.

Depending on the type of product, that process can really vary for licensed lines. I have been very blessed to have a myriad of licensed collections and I can tell you my approach to rugs is vastly different than to furniture, lighting, bedding and more. But I definitely approach each category with the express intent for it all to work together, so again, I’ll layer texture, patterns, and infuse signature colors into each collection.

What do you think will be the biggest cultural, architectural, technological or product influence on consumer interiors over the next couple of years?

Interesting… technology is changing at the speed of light. We do so much online today that used to be done in showrooms and trade shows and I see advances every day on internet shopping sites and even the trade sites. So technology will be omnipresent no question.

But I think, I hope, that the real surge in global design influences continues. There is so much character, depth and authenticity to using a Paris flea market find in a slick contemporary home, a Turkish carpet in an all-America room, a vintage British flag as art in a West Coast pied-à-terre. It’s all about layering and using what you love.

What could designers do better to make themselves indispensable to consumers?

The more intelligent, sophisticated and signature your style the more they need and want you.

What was the first thing you ever designed?

My first gig was designing model homes with my mother’s firm. So, I did a model home and that was that. It was freeing in a way, I was able to begin to find my voice. But I honestly did not care for the budget!

Where do you go to channel inspiration?

Travel travel and fashion fashion. And if you combine those two — nothing gets me going more than a Paris or Milan fashion show. I once designed an entire furniture collection around bespoke men’s haberdashery. It was pinstripe, tailored gray flannel, crisp seams and plenty of navy, gray and charcoal — killer. One of those sofas made the cover of my third book Getaways and Retreats! So if I am feeling a tad bored or stale, I book a trip. I come back energized and ideas flowing.

What’s your favorite thing to do on non-work days/hours?

Ok, I am going to bore you to death. I travel non-stop, appearances, panels, client projects, licensing meetings; it can be brutal. So nothing is more inviting to me than a lazy Sunday at home with family and friends. A good barbecue, a couple of Cadillac margaritas, and early to bed. Keeps me sane.

Describe a typical work day.

I think this is a funny question! No such thing.

Prior to her role with Designers Today, Cindy attended markets as both a consumer home furnishings editor and interior design client. She has written about the design industry for more than 15 years and still finds editorial inspiration in every corner of the world, from Italian villas to Atlanta urban lofts to country escape tiny homes.