Her central goal and design philosophy is to have the interiors she creates reflect the client’s passions and lifestyle. She never wants someone to walk into a room and say, “Oh! This is a Barbara Buchanan design.” Instead visitors should feel that they know the owner better by viewing the room. Another pillar of her philosophy is “visual literacy.” Barbara read the term years ago in an article by a notable designer. It has stuck with her as encouragement to teach her clients the why’s of design. Especially after teaching college students, she learned to appreciate “Why?” questions. Instead of mandating a particular color or a particular material, she educates the client on why this choice is the best option to achieve the desired end results.
In a recent residential project, Barbara used a lot of tile! The client was Scandinavian by heritage and had the region’s love of bright colors. But the home itself was a Southwestern design. To satisfy the desire for color, Barbara used glass, ceramic and glazed tiles in various shapes and colors. The tile brought in intense, rich colors. Barbara also feels that tile adds a 3D effect and a depth of texture that can’t be achieved with paint or wallpaper.
Barbara cautions that we shouldn’t have pre-conceived ideas limiting where or how we use tile. She has used tile as wainscoting, on window sills, fireplace surrounds and other unique places. “Tile” Barbara says, “is one more material in your arsenal.” One particular concern that she feels has been eliminated over the years with improved materials is the problem of grout stains. Years ago you had to be cautious about where and how you used tile because there was a definite stain issue. Many people fought back by using dark grout colors. But you don’t want the visitor’s eye to go first to the grout color! You want the visitor to see the tile first. Today’s grout products have virtually eliminated the issue. Barbara recommends using a neutral grout that fades out of sight.
AnchorBayTile’s bamboo tile is very exciting for Barbara. “You get the benefits of tile” (easy installation, durability, easy maintenance) “plus the warmth of wood.” Glass tile is frequently used in Barbara’s projects. Recently, she worked on a bathroom to bring it up to ADA standards. She used glass tiles with their clear, water-like appearance to soften the institutional look of the metal grab bars and other ADA considerations. On a closing note, Barbara pointed out AnchorBayTile’s metal tile Hot Dots. The metal finished trim pieces are “just fun” to work with.
Coming soon! Barbara is launching a new online company to help all of us who are “design challenged.” She will provide color boards coordinating popular bedding collections with complementary paint, window coverings and accessories. Keep your eye out for www.GoodEyeForColor.com coming this fall!