Now we are talking…

As a writer and designer it is important to push your perspectives. It is crucial to allow yourself to see not just what is but what is possible. Looking to others for inspiration is not only encouraged but a necessary fuel for the creative drive.

Questions and Answers


Excerpts from,”Furniture That Fits: What makes a piece comfortable?”

Interview by Jeanne Blackburn, fall 2006

From his home and studio in Virginia hunt country near Washington, D.C., Designer Barry Dixon enjoys a clientele for whom he often creates custom furniture. Usually what sparks such pieces is the specific needs of his client, whether they’re centered on the room or on the person.  Furniture that fits-a personality, a lifestyle, and a space-is the result.  It’s also the defining element of the Barry Dixon Furniture line for Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth that’s handcrafted in the United States.  To view the entire collection, visit


Barry Dixon

Barry Dixon, designer

How should people choose the style of furniture for their home?

Furniture is best when it’s not always discernibly pigeonholed.  A piece that blends two or more styles together becomes timeless.  For instance, the silhouette of a Georgian chair whose upholstery is accented with nailhead trim is presenting a fresh look at something very traditional.  Quirky pieces that tie things together in a room make them all seem custom.  It’s what makes the space unique to the people who live there.

What three accent pieces are most
important for developing a style?

If you think of the three things we just mentioned-seating, lighting, and a table-as the “primary colors” of a room, then these are the “secondary colors” of the space: An ottoman, so you can put your feet up.  Then some pull-up seating-small scale chairs or stools, things that can easily move around.  Next are accent tables-those little things that hold just one drink or one book and your reading glasses.

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Darrly Carter

Darryl Carter, designer

Excerpts from,”Calming Influence: Darryl Carter is the new traditional”

Interview by Jeanne Blackburn, summer 2009

In his recently released book, The New Traditional (Clarkson Potter, 2008, $45), designer Darryl Carter offers guidance for reinventing, balanceing, and derining your home. Full of gorgeous photos, the 208-page volumne tells houw to achieve an environment that suits your family’s lifestyle and gives you comfort. To explore Carter’s furniture line with Thomasville, visit For more information about Carter, his design company, and his products, visit

You made a belated career change from law to design. What lessons did you learn from that transition?

The business of design is perhaps misunderstood in that it is thought to be purely driven by creativity. In reality, much of successful design is reliant upon information, management of the crafts and trade business, plus an ever-volleying psychology that results in a trusting relationship with the client. One lesson I have derived over the course of growing my business is the value of my analytical training as a lawyer, which arms me with capacity to view conversations from both sides. This, in concert with my penchant for the creative, maintains an open mind.

Does an interest in history account for your preference for classically inspired furniture?

I would not characterize myself as a history buff because this would imply knowledge far beyond my own. I am absolutely intrigued with history as it relates to the evolution of design, both in terms of the utility and the aesthetic. Much of my furniture design is inspired by traditional forms rooted in historic foundations. Generally, I approach these with a modern sensibility.

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Excerpts from,”Hues for You:Increase your color quotient”

Interview by Jeanne Blackburn, winter 2006

Clients who seek New York City interior designer Jamie Drake to decorate their homes have to be OK with color.”No one comes to me for beige,” he says. If they did, he would soon convert them. Known for bold and luscious color schemes, this palette master shares his philosophy-and answers common questions about getting comfortable in rooms with color.

Jamie Drake

Jamie Drake, designer

You are fearless about color. How did you get so brave?

My mother was a painter and my father’s business was printing, so those glossy, viscous printer inks clearly influenced my love of color. My delight in the marvelously mushy, shiny inks at my father’s factory has never waned. No”misty water-colored memories” from my childhood. Only full-throttle saturated hues.

Why is color important in our homes?

When I design I naturally go to color first. Color isn’t an element in design; it’s fundamental to it. It’s one of the building blocks that shape a room. Take it away and what are you left with? Those minimalist years from 1991 to 1997! Color establishes mood and tone, be it regal, whimsical, sophisticated, or serene. It’s an immediate conduit to emotions.

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