Barbara, in D.C.

BARBARA FRANCESKI has vaulted into 2011 with not one, but two major design features, in Washington, DC’s Home & Design and the Spanish publication Casa Claudia. Recently named the “Up and Coming Interior Designer” in Home & Design’s 2011 Designers’ Choice Awards, Barbara is no stranger to Zavvi Rodaine readers, her design work has been featured twice on Zavvi Rodaine most notably for the beautiful guest sitting room that Barbara designed for last year’s DC Design House.

Dorothy Draper once said “Decorative styles are indications of a manner of living.”

And for Barbara that implies a nuanced, but classic style with contemporary twists, as seen in these savory photos of Barbara’s Virginia home. There is also a studied European sensibility to her work that is informed by Barbara’s passion for travel to countries like Italy. However, it is Barbara’s honed eye for editing that brings about the trademark luxe and sophistication that her clients love and that secures Barbara’s status as the designer to watch in 2011.

One of the joys of editing Zavvi Rodaine is having the opportunity to champion new design talent who are on the cusp of becoming household names and “B” is no exception. Getting to know Barbara has been such a welcomed gift because she is living her dream and her sense of discovery is so infectious that you just can not help but smile when engaging with her.

Barbara At Home

Barbara, when did you decide to become an interior designer?
The long-running story is that I declared at 6 years old that I would become an interior designer. But truth be told, I’m not sure I can definitively say I decided it…nothing else consumes my attention the same way as interior design does, so I really didn’t have a choice. I’ve taken a round-about journey to get to where I am today, but I think the path ultimately pointed in one direction the entire time. I also knew pretty early on that I wanted to be a business owner.

Do you have a signature style?
I have over-arching principles that guide my work: An informed eye enhances the joy of living; Your interiors should tell a story–your story; Design is an interactive process (refining and editing are our friends). Following these principles can’t help but culminate into pared-down, uncluttered designs that most people find desirable to live their interesting lives in. I typically love one-of-a-kind or found objects and art mixed in with a blend of modern and traditional furnishings, which has caused some to describe my work as whimsical or fanciful. Whatever the word, my ultimate aim is to create elegant, dynamic environments.

On Barbara’s Inspiration Board: A Mexican Family Tree

Who or what are your style & design inspirations?
Certain things rivet me: works by Jean Dubuffet and Cy Twombly, experiencing the Palace of Fountainbleau, watching “Man Shops Globe” featuring Keith Johnson, any interior by Frank Roop, international shelter magazines, the watercolors of Jeremiah Goodman, to name a few.

What inspires your creativity when beginning a new design project?
It’s three-fold: the space and it’s architecture, where the residence is located, the client. Sometimes all three have an epic presence, sometimes it’s up to me to nurture.

Barbara’s Living Room

How has technology impacted your interior design business?
In many wonderful ways: From the obvious essentials-email, digital camera, software that allows me to draft floor plans on my computer–to Twitter and Facebook. I’ve always been a voracious reader with a deep-set thirst for knowledge. I use Twitter to fulfill my Maven need to share what I think is interesting and hope others will find so as well. My @bfranceski account serves as my personal global news wire for all things design-related.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with in design?
I think it would be amazing to collaborate on a house with either architect Bobby McAlpine or architect Daniel Lee.

Barbara’s Cherished Destination: Italy

Understanding your love for travel, which cities are the most inspirational for you?
Pretty much anywhere in Italy, but especially Florence; Hong Kong; New York…really I could list anywhere I’ve traveled, because I think putting ourselves in new environments shapes us in ways we can’t foresee and that’s hugely exciting to me!

Name one unforgettable place that you’ve traveled to.
Positano on the Amalfi Coast of Italy…the trip was one of those perfect combinations of a new adventure around every corner, gorgeous scenery, terrific travel companions, and incredible food and drink.

Name one place you would like to see before you die.
I have a hard time limiting myself to one. Both of these answers came to mind immediately. At the moment, I’d like to shop the souks of Morocco and experience Cappadocia in Turkey. Closer to home, I’d like to visit the John Day Painted Hills [in Oregon].

Barbara’s Bedroom

One word…

What advice do you have for younger women?
Never let fear stand in your way. Develop an unwavering sense of self. Continually observe and read. Go make the world a more beautiful and interesting place.

If asked to write your memoirs, what would the title be?
Strange to think about memoirs at this point in my life, but Tell Me More! might fit the bill. On the journey so far, I’ve been quick to think and say, “tell me more!”, because I’m always up for new experiences, learning is a life-long passion, and opportunity begets opportunity.

Interviewed December 2010 by Yolanda, editor of Zavvi Rodaine.com
© Zavvi Rodaine.com 2010. No part of this interview may be used or reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the Editor of Zavvi Rodaine.com.
Photos © Angie Seckinger/Barbara Franceski.

Design, Life + Style 1 Comment

One Response to “Barbara, in D.C.

  1. 1
    Ursula B. says:
    January 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Barbara is a very talented designer and a wonderful person. Glad to see her being recognized and fun to learn more about her. Thanks.