Since 1994 Barclay Butera has been the creative force behind his eponymous design firm and showroom in Newport Beach, California. His success in Newport prompted Butera to establish showrooms in Hollywood, California, and Park City, Utah. Butera is renowned for his approachable elegance and glamorous, West-Coast-chic interiors.
What inspired this career path for you?
Well, after a brief stint in law school, it became evident that I was destined for a more creative career path. I was very fortunate to work for my mother’s design firm at an early age, and boy did I learn the business from the ground up! But that starting at the bottom — sorting fabric samples, filing, tracking orders… really served me well. I launched my own design firm, Barclay Butera Interiors, over 25 years ago and never looked back. And I would have to say that early experience in the design business was truly the inspiration to branch out on my own. I had a very specific vision and had to see that through — seems things turned out pretty well, I am grateful for that.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
No question I am influenced by my global travels. Creating a wide range of designs from rugs and art to bedding and furniture, this product development process takes me around the world and, everywhere you look, the inspiration and ideas come flooding in. But I also find tremendous inspiration from fashion. I love attending the shows in Milan and Paris; one year I designed an entire collection of upholstery around men’s bespoke suiting after a visit to a London haberdashery. Once the spark flies, I lock onto the idea and just run with it…
Tell us about your creative process.
This changes with each and every project; I do not have a set process or preconceived notion about a design formula— there are no rules! Until I see the home and meet with the client, my mind is wide open. But I can tell you I definitely have respect for all the grounding elements of a room, the art, the textiles, and lighting. You have to think floor to ceiling and tell a story with a strong point of view; but the process is ever-evolving and can start with anything from a fabric swatch to a vintage find or a piece of art.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Fresh, traditional, glamorous, comfortable, timeless, sophisticated, and nod-to-coastal (from time to time!)
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
It’s no secret I am known for my blue and white love affair, and although I have a tremendously diverse portfolio, somehow that’s the look that always springs to mind for most people — and I am thrilled about that. It all started with a very high-profile show house years ago, and the demand for this look continues to this day. I love it! But my layering of textiles and mixed-pattern and texture applications are really my signature. And, animal print — with everything.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
As much as I love European sensibility, I am always drawn to classic all-American designers like Ralph Lauren and Bill Blass.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
Hands down, Tom Ford. He is such a perfectionist and taste maker, I would love the opportunity to create a spectacular home for him… maybe in St. Tropez???
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
Yours, mine, and ours. I have always said a good designer is really a therapist for the home, and this phrase is what I always think of when we are melding tastes and favorite possessions into a space. It’s about being a good editor on behalf of your clients!
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
I’ve currently been on a documentary craze so I’d be pretty lost without iTunes and Netflix right now. If you haven’t seen the documentary True Colors about DJ Zedd, it’s a must! Now that I’m using Instagram more for my business, I’ve also found fashion bloggers to be fascinating and interesting to follow. Classy Dapper is a great one for men.
If you are consigning: Share a little bit about the pieces you’re consigning on Viyet, e.g., do any have unique back stories, in what kind of space do you hope they end up, etc.?
My favorite item that I am consigning on Viyet is the Barclay Butera Davis Leopard Wingback Chair. This luxurious chair is a custom design I created for the Barclay Butera Home division of my company that focuses on upholstery. The chair itself is bold and sexy, yet sophisticated and timeless. The scale of the chair demands presence, making it a statement piece in any room. Anyone that knows my style and my signature look knows I always add a hint of animal print to my designs.
What do you love about Viyet?
Viyet is a great source for interior designers and consumers to find high-end, quality pieces at affordable prices. They have hundreds of thousands of products available to ship, no long lead-time hassles, no waiting forever for custom upholstery. And the Viyet team researches and vets its vendors well, so quality is never an issue!