California-based designer makes summertime blues look beautiful.
Barclay Butera is the creative force behind his Newport Beach showroom and prestigious design firm. In 1994, Barclay established showrooms across his home state. Barclay’s passion for decorating in blue and his trademark look of easy elegance are well-known. Barclay also designs products to reflect his chic-meets coastal style. We caught up with him to discuss his thoughts on blue – his favourite hue and an all-time summer classic.
KL: Your design work uses a lot blue. Are you attracted to the California coast and big skies?
BB: It was a great idea! California was where I was raised and coastal living is ingrained in me. I have always been drawn to the blue skies and beaches of California. Also, I consider blue to be the perfect palette for any style – traditional, transitional and contemporary alike.
KL: Are you a fan of a contrasting colour? You might also consider a neutral that would go well with the combination.
BB: Lately, I’ve been using a lot of sophisticated neutrals with beautiful textures. We create environments that are both glamorous and inviting. The use of neutrals allows us to paint on a wide range of surfaces. Sand, driftwood, rich bark shades make blue and white pop.
KL: How is it possible to decorate rooms in four seasons without looking like a summer vacation house?
BB: Combining blue and white with dark wood, and on-trend gold accents in lighting or hardware transforms a room from coastal to classical. And I would advise you to reach for deeper, more heritage shades like Benjamin Moore’s Everard Blue. I tried this color in a library setting or stately office, and it was definitely not nautical.
Everard Blue cw-575, Benjamin Moore
Iced slate 2130-60 Benjamin Moore
KL: What can I do to make a big impact in a space using blue? Is there a blue you think is classic?
BB: For me, this is a big impact [making] Blue walls require a lot of commitment. This includes glossy white trim, shiplaps, wainscot and tongue and groove. I consider soft skyblue a neutral. It can be used with nearly any color palette and creates a beautiful background for any room in your home. Another fabulous way to combine blue with neutrals is to use wallcovering – I like geometric patterns to give a modern edge and grasscloth to add texture.
Barclay Butera’s Empire Wallpaper, MDC Interior Solutions, mdcwall.com
KL: Can cool and warm blues be mixed together in one house or should all cool tones be used?
BB: I typically don’t mix cool and warm. It is important for a home to flow well from one room to the next. One of my favourite go-to shades is Benjamin Moore’s Iced Slate; it’s a soft grey blue that is very sophisticated and can be used throughout an entire home as a neutral. It also goes with so many other colours – it’s always a winner!
Ryan Garvin, Photography
KL: You’ve designed furniture, fabrics and books. What’s next for Barclay Butera? Are future projects likely to include blue?
BB: I think it’s obvious! My next furniture collection for Lexington Home Brands’ Laguna has strong blue influences, beautiful natural woods, cane and warm hardware. It’s cottage-meets-sophisticated charm with casual tones of denim blue and soft neutrals. It will absolutely resonate with my clients, but also with American and Canadian homeowners who don’t live on the coasts.
Barclay Butera’s Marble Cove Lamp, Bradburn Lighting, bradburnhome.com.
Barclay Butera’s Nantucket chair, Lexington Home Brands, lexington.com.