Monday, October 5, 2009

Barclay Butera at Washington Design Center

It’s hard to ignore California Designer Barclay Butera as you enter The Washington Design Center these days, with his fabric collection for Kravet front and center when you open the doors. Even better to find the man himself there on Tuesday, when Butera was in town to kick off this fall’s “The Business of Design” series with a lecture called “Decorating in a New Economy.”
Barclay Butera stands in front of his blue and white fabric collection in the Kravet showroom.

In addition to his lecture, Butera was also promoting his latest book.

The lecture was directed more towards designers and tips on running a design business, but he interspersed his comments with gorgeous pictures of his work, and his thought process when designing a room.
“I’m a huge pillow fan – huge,” he said. Indoors, or out.

As one can also see, he’s a huge fan of the blue and white combination – and of wallpaper. “I’m a wallpaper person. I wallpaper like crazy,” he said. This is Butera’s own living room. “I love my blues dropped in with a lot of different color schemes,” he added, such as the deep greens of live plants, and the browns from an animal print rug. “I always throw in an animal print.”

More plants, combined with dark wood furniture on top of a cool zebra-print rug, make this foyer look studied and natural at the same time.

Another important design rule for Butera is symmetry. “I’m huge in balance. I like my symmetry,” he said – right down to the corresponding teapots and orchids on each side of the huge (and perfectly symmetrical) bay window.

This great room exhibits more of that symmetry. On either side of the central fireplace, there are matching hurricane candles, topiaries, built-ins with similar accessories all in the same scale. In front of the hearth, opposing wing chairs and sofas (with Butera’s signature blue and white pillows) flank the central cocktail table.

And just when you thought you’d seen enough pillows? Rubbish, Butera would say. You can never have too many.

Note the nautical theme on the paintings over the fireplaces in the above pictures. This whole look comes from Butera’s “Beach” lifestyle. He’s come up with four lifestyles in his fabric, furniture, and wall covering collections – Beach, Town & Country, Mountain, and Desert – as a starting point for clients and customers: Choose a basic look, and then let him fill it in from there.

These fabrics and wall coverings combine Butera’s Mountain and City looks.

I wouldn’t mind having this Desert bedroom. Butera arranged found branches in huge zinc containers that flank the bed. “Have fun!” he told his audience of interior designers.

Butera designed this vintage-Hollywood guest suite for a designer show house in Bel Air sponsored by House Beautiful magazine in 2003. As he told Home Accents Today: “It had perfect balance and symmetry, represented an isolated era in time, and appealed to both the male and female aesthetic. It remains the most popular picture I have in my entire portfolio. It was a really fun project and was a defining moment in my design career.”
So, what’s he up to now? Butera just completed decorating a room for the 2009 Hearst Castle Overnight, which was just auctioned off to a lucky couple. The winning bidders will take eight friends there for the day to swim in the famed Neptune pool, play tennis, have dinner on the terrace, stroll the gardens, and watch a movie in the castle’s theater. Then the couple will spend the night in a bedroom designed by Butera, the first designer to work on a room there since William Randolph Hearst left the estate in 1947.

We don’t have a picture of the room yet, but will post when we do. In the meantime, here are some images from Butera’s Hearst Castle collection of pillows, for those of us who can’t have the real thing:
Thanks to Jennifer Sergent of Washington Spaces
for her review of Barclay's "Decorating in a New Economy" included as part of Washington Design Center's "Business of Design" Lecture Series!
See original post here.

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