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Monday, February 10, 2014

Barbara Gilbert Interiors – Interior Design Stories

Interior Design Stories is a segment on my blog
 
where interior designers give us a glimpse into their lives and their work.
 
I ask the same five questions of each designer and share some of their work with you.
 
Barbara Gilbert of Barbara Gilbert Interiors is joining us today.    
 

1. Were you always interested in interior design?

Interior Design has always been a passion for me. As a child I was always rearranging my room and thinking of ways I could make our house look better. The first time I received confirmation for having a talent for design was when I was a teenager and my aunt and uncle purchased a collage of artwork and asked me to help them arrange it because they said I was good at that type of thing! Interior Design is actually a second career for me, for 22 years I owned and operated an insurance agency, I know how totally different is that?? During the time I had my agency I had many hobbies that satisfied my need to be creative. I would paint china, make porcelain dolls from scratch, do ceramics and knit. I loved working with color and creating different color palettes. I’m sure that’s what helped to train my eye for color.
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My favorite hobby was helping friends and neighbors decorate their homes and doing my own home. I didn’t plan to get into the Interior Design business it just happened! I had just sold my insurance agency and was at a neighbors house checking the paint colors I selected for her when the painter I referred a lot of business to came in and I mentioned that I sold my agency. He said “hey, why don’t you help my clients pick out their paint colors you do it for free all the time, why not make some money at it”?
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That started the wheel turning and I discussed the possibility of doing that with my friends and family and all of them were very encouraging but I lacked the courage I needed. I decided to enroll at my local community college and took Interior Design 101 and a Color class. I felt so weird, I was the oldest one in the entire Interior Design program! I think my teachers felt sorry for me thinking that I would be to old to do Interior Design work if I spent my time getting a degree and suggested that I could really just do some “decorating” without a degree and so I did! I tell you that I am the most blessed person on this earth because I started picking out paint colors for the painter and wound up with interior design jobs! Here I am 7 1/2 years later and have an award winning Interior Design firm, my worked has been published and I have two full time employees. I have been told many times that I am both right and left brained, and I think that true, sometimes I wonder if the middle part of my brain is missing, LOL!  
 

2. Tell me about you and your work.

I truly love every aspect of interior design. I love doing a project from concept to completion, it’s such a thrill to see my clients’ dreams come to fruition. We mostly do residential and small commercial interior design projects and can do any style our clients desire. We love doing different color palettes and thinking outside of the box! I love it when a client says “wow, I never would have thought of using those colors.” I find that most people want to be moved slightly out of their comfort zone and are willing to try new things, however, it only happens when they trust us.  
We usually have about 10-12 projects going at one time and we love the diversity, it never gets boring. We are currently working on an High Performance Demonstration Home. My team and I are very excited about this project and have learned so much doing research on products and furniture. This house is just under 4000 Sq. ft and the heating and cooling bills will be $40-$60 per month. We are selecting all of the finishes, furnishings, window treatments, art work and accessories and are constantly looking for new items to showcase.
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A recently completed project and one of my favorite’s is a remodeled bathroom. My client called me and I could hear the desperation in her voice. After 35 years of marriage she found herself getting a divorce. She wanted to wash every memory of her husband out of the master bedroom and bathroom, so we did! We created a relaxing yet glamorous master bathroom retreat and turned his closet into a shoe closet for her! This bathroom has won two first place awards, one from ASID Legacy of Design award the other from IDS Designer of the Year award for bathrooms. I love my work! Imagine having great clients, creating great spaces, getting paid to do it and winning an award, it doesn’t get better than that.  
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A few details about this bathroom: 
 
This client loves color but she wanted a soothing yet glamorous master bathroom retreat.
 
We installed faux slate tile to add some color,
 
and placed Swarovski crystal knobs on the cabinetry,
 
then we recycled an antique chandelier which also has Swarovski crystals
 
and we painted it brushed bronze to match the other hardware,
 
the wallpaper we hung has a sand texture,
 
mosaic glass tile was used around the base of the tub and inside of the shower.
 
A hand blown Rondel hangs on the wall and a hand blown vase sits on the tub.
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My business has been in a growth mode and I couldn’t be happier. I am always looking for new ways to be more efficient and give my clients the ultimate experience. There are a few things that make us different from other design firms. We pride ourselves on customer service and staying in budget. Our approach is very professional, before we start the project we know what our client’s like and don't like and we know exactly what the budget is. We use a project management system that our client can interact with and there are never any surprises for them. I consider myself a “furniture specialist”. Our office is a design studio and we work very efficiently because we have a great resource room. We don’t have to run all over town looking for furniture and fabrics. I have a a partnership with one of my designer friends that was created for buying purposes only. By pooling our buying power it enables me to give my client’s custom made furniture for the same price that they would pay at a local furniture chain store. They receive a great value and furniture that they won’t see at a neighbor’s home.
 

3. What drives you, motivates you, excites you and keeps you in this business?

I truly love the interior design business, I love seeing everything that’s new and fresh and I love the challenge of figuring out what my client’s will like and what it is they are trying to express to me that they want. The expression on their faces when their project is finished is something that stays with me. I believe that everyone should live or work in a beautiful yet functional space that speaks to them and creating those spaces for my clients is an addiction for me.
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4. What is one piece of advice you would offer to anyone about decorating or furnishing their home? 

Buy furniture that will stand the test of time in quality and design. I strongly recommend hiring an Interior Designer because the money they save long term by not making mistakes is huge. People don’t realize how important or even know what the principles of design are and how they impact a room. If they want to do it themselves I would recommend using neutral fabrics on the large upholstered pieces of furniture and add pops of color with pillows and accessories. By using this decorating technique it makes it inexpensive to update the room 5-10 years later.
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5. If you could no longer be an interior designer, then what would you be doing? 

I can’t imagine myself not being an interior designer, ever!
 
There is an interesting story about the last two photos you see above.
 
The first one is the “Trophy Room,”
 
and the second on is the “Dream Kitchen.”
 
The husband is an avid hunter and he and his wife went on an African Safari where he um.. got some animals.
 
One of them a Zebra that was made into a rug.  
 
The chandelier in that room was made from Gem Stock Elk and the shades are actually ostrich eggs.  
 
The trophy room was built to house his “trophies” and the wife said if you get to build the trophy room,
 
I get to remodel the kitchen, and that’s the dream kitchen!
 
I think I like this couple, especially the wife!
 
 
 
Barbara can be found at her website: Barbara Gilbert Interiors
 
and from there you can find her everywhere
 
including on Houzz.


If you are an interior designer and would like to be featured on my blog please contact me at prumaker@gmail.com.

Linking to:
The Dedicated House
A Stroll Thru Life
Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Our Home Away From Home
Savvy Southern Style
DIY By Design
French Country Cottage
My Romantic Home 

57 comments:

  1. Neat post. Always great to hear how someone works. Love the story about the story about the trophy room.

    Thanks for your visit.

    - Alma, The Tablescaper

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  2. The only thing I can think of is STUNNING! Great post. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Gorgeous rooms and a great interview. Thank you so much for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fabulous interview Patty! Love the story about the bathroom and that trophy room (ostritch egg shades?!)! Truly a great designer like Barbara can weave her magic into any whim an owner wants and still make it look gorgeous!

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  5. This was really an interesting post! And heating and cooling bills for $40-$60 a month? Yes, please. :) That's amazing! I love that dream kitchen too. So pretty! It's so nice to hear how much some people love their jobs.

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  6. Wonderful interview, Patty. I noticed a lot of stone in the architectural design, which always warms a space, in addition to providing interesting pattern and texture. The kitchen in the last photo is very pretty and inviting, as well. Thanks for sharing!

    Poppy

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  7. The rooms are just magnificent...yes, I guess you can say the owner is an avid hunter...love the beams in the room...Barbara is obviously a very talented and gifted designer. Thanks for the interview and gorgeous pictures!

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  8. I am in love with that bathroom. Absolutely gorgeous. What a talented designer. I would love for you to come and link this up to my Winter Blues Wednesday party going on right now. Hope to see you there. http://diybydesign.blogspot.com

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  9. All of these rooms are just amazing. I can see myself in that tub! So gorgeous!

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. Such gorgeous rooms. I will be featuring the bathroom tonight at my Winter Blues Wednesday party that opens at 8pm EST. Please stop by and pick up an I've Been Featured button. Thanks. http://diybydesign.blogspot.com

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  12. I could live in some of these rooms :) That bathroom looks like the perfect oasis to escape the day! Thanks for sharing- following you on facebook and google+!

    Sandra
    www.notesfromtheslife.com

    ReplyDelete
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