Virginia-based interior designer and quintessential Southern Gentleman, Barry Dixon, talks about his personal and professional inspirations and the trends he sees for the upcoming year.
When did you first recognize your love for design? As a child in the second grade realizing that I was unreasonably upset when my mother made appointments with her interior designer, Miss Pate, while I was a way at school. I felt I needed to be at those meetings!
Where do you currently find your design inspiration? Via the pantheon of design successes in the history of aesthetics…and in the ever-inspiring natural world around me.
How would you describe your personal design aesthetic? A complex layering of favorite things. In the best instances, timeless.
Your designs are so thoughtful, with a real focus on the details. How can the DIY designer bring that professional aesthetic into their home? By using details to avoid sameness in design. Our homes should reflect us, and not look like everyone else’s!
Each homeowner has a different style; how do you make sure that you capture their personality? Listening. And watching! what lights up their eyes? What colors make them glow? Every designer needs to understand the psychology of color, and how this applies to each individual. We’re all different in the end.
What trends are you seeing this year? PATTERN WISE – Larger scale prints and patterns. COLOR WISE – Bold or muted, fewer “in-between” tones. FINISH WISE – Lots more lacquer. People are loving a “high gloss” shine.
There are so many details to manage in large design projects. Do you set aside a specific time to dedicate to the creative process? What does that process look like? It hits when it hits…often when you’re not distracted by myriad interruptions. For me, usually late at night or early in the morning. Or in the shower! Or on a long drive or flight.
In what environment do you feel most creative? At home in my creative “lair” – my atelier in the attic levels of Elway Hall.
Aside from design, what else inspires you? Well, nature, of course, and film, especially old, silver screen classics with delicious, stylish sets. Books. Art. And fashion! A retrospective such as the Met’s “Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty” or “China: Through the Looking Glass” can stay with me for years!
Describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why? Mahatma Gandhi, Kahlil Gibran – they make us think. Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Cary Grant – they make us laugh. Alexander McQueen, Mark Rothko, Walt Disney – they make us dream.
You are a seasoned traveler. Where have you not been that you would like to visit? The farthest cliffs of Nepal.
Who would play you in your feature film biopic? If I could go back in time, I’d choose Gregory Peck. Or Gary Cooper!
If you were given the opportunity to create a reality-type design TV show, what would it look like? One where the designer would help people find their own, completely unique design style. A more soulful approach to design.