A Q&A with Interior Designer Barker Design

Barker Design are a team of 4 whose aim it is to create homes that reflect the owners passions and style, with a design philosophy of ‘interpreting the clients brief to create original, eclectic interiors that surpass trends’. 

Having worked across many, both commercial and residential, projects over the years, these guys know a thing or two about wallpaper and how to work pattern and colour into a space.

After spotting a few of our designs in some of Barker Designs recent projects, we got chatting to Creative Director Justine about the inspirations behind their interior designs, why they chose Woodchip & Magnolia and even some interior design tips... 

lush green/pink wallpaper
Manor house project featuring Lush Green/Pink wallpaper and Lush Green/Pink velvet fabric. For a similar look pair with 010 Moss paint and 013 Coal paint

How would you describe your signature interior design style?

Our signature style is always created from a very specific prescriptive brief. The key ingredients being the client’s personality, their lifestyle and how they use the space. We assess their practical needs for now and the future, then design considering the fabric of the building in which they live and landscape around them.

A common thread that runs through all our projects is how we create laid back uncontrived spaces, curating pieces from different eras.

How do you know when an interior design is ‘good’?

When we hear that our clients family and friends have commented saying ‘this is so you!' on seeing their completed home.

Otherwise, it’s about originality, mixing new designer finds, high street and vintage. One elevates the other and altogether it just looks like it’s always been there. 

What inspires your work?

My clients rich history and property they’ve asked me to interior design!

I also draw great inspiration from travels and architecture, especially old buildings. I love the work of Ilse Crawford, Thomas Heatherwick and Kelly Wreastler too.

My recent trip to Copenhagen 3 Days of design was incredible. Not just for the products but the architecture and even their road mapping and overhead lights were industrial cool!

Do you have a certain design formula that you use?

Something old, something new, something re-purposed, something made only for a few!

broadhead forest sage wallpaperArchitects cinema room featuring Broadhead Forest Sage wallpaper on the ceiling

Where do you start when choosing colour and pattern in a room?

I often say, ‘interiors are a sum of all its parts’.

Colour and pattern become a balanced mix of everything specified around it. I tend to throw everything at a design then pair back accordingly. It’s not rocket science but the skilful part is knowing where to dial up or dial down and to know when less is more and which pieces work to together ergonomically.

oasis muralGeorgian Villa project featuring Oasis mural. For a similar look pair with 003 Pink Cloud on adjacent walls and 015 Gorse paint on the ceiling

Please could you tell us a bit about your projects in which you used Woodchip & Magnolia...

The Manor House project brief  was such an exciting brief. My clients were happy to be bold and colourful. To balance the rooms according to how and when they were most used, we gave more of a maximalist approach i.e. the grand stairwell and orangery have a bolder design whilst other rooms like the formal dining room and sitting room are more paired back with layered lighting, creating a magical fun atmos­phere in the evening. We mixed pieces from arts & crafts, mid century, refined in­dustrial pieces, retro, art deco and LA/Palm-Springs. 

The Georgian Villa is a Grade 2 listed building, they love their original features and a lot of items we sourced were of the same era but with some Mid Century and edgy contemporary finds. It’s got a loved and lived in family home feel to it with a mix of contemporary, period pieces and a distinct French vibe. 

lush green pink wallpaperManor house project featuring Lush Green/Pink wallpaper and Lush Green/Pink velvet fabric. For a similar look pair with 010 Moss paint and 013 Coal paint

What drew you to Woodchip & Magnolia for these projects?

The quality is excellent and so is the customer service! There’s such a wide selection and the colourways are pitched perfectly right

Do you have a favourite Woodchip & Magnolia wallpaper?

Personally, stripes every time! But I know for my clients that love floral too, you do the best edgy designs.

Are there any classic design rules you’re happy to break?

All of them depending on budget and what you decide to hero.

oasis muralGeorgian Villa project featuring Oasis mural. For a similar look pair with 003 Pink Cloud on adjacent walls and 015 Gorse paint on the ceiling

Top interior design tips?

It’s been said before but will never change:

  1. Buy what you love, start with the art but then consider everything at once, never in isolation.
  2. Layer layer layer, then pare back
  3. Scale is a game changer!

Trend predictions for the next year?

Oh goodness, I try not to think about that. The only predictions we tend to do is in future proofing spaces for our clients, whether that be how a family grows into a space, or if commercial spaces, then how a business may evolve. Client-led design will always result in timeless interiors. Having said that, do I like to visit industry events and exhibitions. It’s good to keep your finger on the pulse but never be a slave to it!

What’s next for Barker Design?

Keep delivering personality led designs, mixing it up and sourcing sustainably as we’ve always done by buying antiques, vintage and re-purposing existing pieces. Sticking to our lane as it works and most importantly kept delivering quality projects whilst always making time for family and friends.

All photography by Kasia Fiszer

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