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Designer Butera Shares Style Ideas

Having opened showrooms in both New York and Los Angeles in the past year and had his work included in a new book called Spectacular Homes of California, interior designer Barclay Butera has been busy. He took some time to talk to us about his aesthetic, where he goes for ideas, and what he thinks is spot-on in decor right now. His design outlook may inspire your event plans—or at least kindle some creative sparks.

What inspires you?

Everything. Right now I have four books in the back of my car. One is on Palm Springs modern, one is on island life, one is on Cuba, and I can’t even remember the fourth. So many things take me to a different place—travels, reading, sensory experiences. And then I design my interpretation of what I see. I love the movie Out of Africa, and it inspires me to do lots of animal skins, silks. In that movie, they took Danish and English [influences] and mixed it with sophistication and moved it into a tribal space. That clash of cultures is so interesting.

Who’s your favorite designer?

I get inspired by fashion designers a lot, because I feel like I interpret fashion for the home. So I look at designers from the past, like Bill Blass, and I like Ralph Lauren.

What’s your favorite thing in your showroom right now?

I’m a big fan of animal prints right now. Textured prints, like leopard. I’m liking quite a bit of chocolate brown and zebra. Dyed hides are big. The whole thing has kind of a vintage 20’s feel.

What was your favorite recent event?

I usually do great events at Sundance—it’s a really fun time for me. I get to throw parties and align myself with magazines. We did this lounge for Hollywood Life magazine last year—very retro 60’s with beaded curtains and a groovy feel. And I just did Diffa [Dining by Design benefit in New York], and that’s an incredible event, because you get all these designers under one roof and everyone gets to take their ideas to another level. It’s for a great cause, and there’s so much creativity under one roof.
Posted 03.19.07
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