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Barbara Barry on Around Beauty

Around Beauty by Barbara Barry

I had thought a long time about writing a book.
I had talked and talked about it — to editors, to friends and to family — but it just never seemed to happen. When I finally got around to writing it, I wrote a very different book than I thought I was going to write.
I decided not to write a book just about my work or to preach about design.
I decided instead to share my process, and some of my thoughts when it comes to design.
I wrote this book from my heart…not my head.
I wrote it in small stories recalling thoughts and ideas the images invoked.
So this book isn’t a treatise on design, nor is it a monograph of my work.  It is instead a window into my brain and my heart.  It is a love story, really, a love story of my life, my work and the magic and joy they bring to me.

I wanted to share what inspires me. The most simple things…from an egg to an onion to the color of water in my bathtub…the things that make up so much of our daily lives.

Peony

Photo by David Meredith

It is a book about design, but more about how design delivers a way of seeing and of being in the world.

In writing I was able to observe and reflect on the madcap life I have, and my circular process.  Through writing and exposing these thoughts I realized I’m like all creative types who are trying to make their mark in the world:  driven by beauty, and driven a bit crazy by it along the way.

Barbara Barry Console Moment

Photo by David Meredith

I realized that stories are how we pass things on… to our friends, to our children, and to each other. I find I more easily remember something if it is embedded it in a story.  And so I thought I could embed a design belief or philosophy into a story as a way of sharing rather than dictating.

I called my book Around Beauty because I believe that beauty is that essential ingredient of our well-being.
It is a part of our human experience.
It’s the way we experience our world and our joy.
As designers and architects we know when we’re inspired, when we’ve made a beautiful presentation, because it begins a beautiful conversation.

Barbara Barry living room

Photo by David Meredith

When we observe beauty, when we really stop and take it in, I believe it has the ability to transform our lives.
Beauty can transform the way you see the ordinary.
Beauty can restore our faith in the mystery of our universe.

Beauty is a healing force.
And that, right there, is what my career has been about — and what Around Beauty is about.

In my life, in which I’m constantly rushing, the world can seem harsh and overly complicated.  I’ve noticed that at times like these when I’ve encountered beauty, it has had the ability to stop me, to bring me out of the rush, to pause, to see what’s in front of me more clearly…and to appreciate it.

A beautiful moment

Photo by David Meredith

Beauty helps me to become centered again.

The memory of beauty holds me over in tough times. When I’m traveling I can recall the beauty of my own home, my own bed, and feel grateful and sure that I will return to it.  Beauty is my antidote to life’s harshness.
And maybe what I love the most about it is that beauty can make us smile.

Beauty is what motivates us.

Beauty is the essential element in design, and I am often surprised how rarely it is mentioned. We are asked about trends, colors and styles that are “in.”
To me beauty is always in.
We know it when we see it, and we long for it always.

Beauty is what we have in common.  It is the connection to each other.

In practicing design all these years, whether it has been interiors or product, I have been on a very solo journey…searching for what I wanted, what I saw in my head. I believed in those thoughts and ideas and I endeavored to put them forward into the world.

Barbara Barry Interior Design

Photo by David Meredith

But it is because of designers like you reading this blog that I have become a success.
For that I am very grateful. And I thank you sincerely from my heart for the support.
I am grateful for the work I have, for the relationships that have sprung from that work.

Every day that you can live around beauty is a good one.
I hope this book will help you find a touch more beauty in your own life.

Thank you!

Barbara Barry’s new book, Around Beauty, is available in stores now. 

Video: Barbara Barry discusses her inspiration behind Around Beauty

15 Comments

  1. My home suffered a devastating propane explosion and I was in it. In re-building my home, my home, and my self; it became more than apparent that I must be surrounded by beauty to be sustained on a daily basis. Why? To be nurtured and healed. This now pervades all aspects of my life with no apologies for it. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us:)

    • Baker Furniture says:

      Brenda – Thank you for sharing your story with us. We’re heartbroken you had to endure that painful experience. But we’re glad you are persevering with the power of beauty. Good luck!

  2. Nydia yvette rivera says:

    I have never,ever in my entire life have won anything and I would really would like to win such beautiful chair amazingly beautiful.

  3. ………..Inspired to read the rest…………I am aligned with the concept of beauty, ……….and its creative driving force…… ” Beauty Never Gets Old” …. Love that
    your delightful insight is inspiring…so thanks Barbara for paying it forward, and “congrats”………….. on a beautiful new book……….

    Jan Angelillo
    Angelillo Design Studio
    19580 Dinner Key
    Boca Raton Florida 33498
    561 251 3669

  4. It would be nice to go into “normal” peoples homes and see what a great job they have already done. Not a makeover. A celebration. These photos are all staged. I’d be afraid to drink wine or eat a PBJ in any of these rooms. Beautiful to the eye, but not to the part of the soul that likes to feel “family”

  5. Dear Barbara,

    You have been my inspiration for so many years! When I think of Barbara Barry I think of beauty and I think of serenity. I admire and respect how you use shape to give the tranquil – Pop! Best wishes on your book, I will be purchasing a copy.

  6. Deidre Mercer says:

    I love the quietness of your room. I comforts & cuddles you.
    Love it!
    Deidre Mercer

  7. What is the price of the book?

  8. “When we observe beauty, when we really stop and take it in, I believe it has the ability to transform our lives.” This says everything. Says what’s needed. It is the honesty of words and deeds and appreciation of beauty in all it’s wonder that truly propels. ~best

  9. Thanks for sharing. These photos were really cool and quite gorgeous. All these rooms look really cozy!

  10. Combining proper things will bring a new environment at home. That’s a beautiful idea. :)

  11. Regina Le Loux says:

    What I see ist so beautiful – never before I saw this style here in Germany. This book is helpful for me. Thank you!

  12. Lovely lines and serenity. A longtime admirer.

  13. home design is a really imaginative and magic work. Thanks for sharing about your book.

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