Talent Comes to Town

Cover of Barbara Westbrook's new book

The Architectural Digest Home Design Show opens tomorrow and the buzz is growing by the nanosecond. As I was going over the programming schedule, I came across Barbara Westbrook’s name, quite a lucky happenstance since I had just received a review copy of the Atlanta-based interior designer’s beautiful new coffee table book published by Rizzoli.

It’s a gorgeous representation of her work titled Gracious Rooms, which is so apt given her level of sophistication and timeless point of view. The designer’s talent for melding edgy patina and antiques with classically tailored elegance is showcased in the images I’m using to illustrate this post so you can see for yourself how adept she is at intermingling styles and periods.

Westbrook is participating in the panel discussion “Regional Style Defined” this coming Sunday from 1 to 2 pm, which book consultant Jill Cohen moderates as one of The New York Times Design Series events. Other design professionals on the panel are Martha’s Vineyard- and Cape Cod-based architect Mark Hutker, Dallas interior designer Jan Showers, and California-based home staging expert Meridith Baer.

Books will be available for purchase (this is an advance offering since they are not in stores until March 24th) and a book signing will follow the discussion so you can have your copy of Gracious Rooms personalized by the designer.

The new book Gracious Rooms from Rizzoli

In this dining room, French walnut chairs are slipcovered in ecru linen; the casual style of the chandelier and wood dining table add warm patina to the space while tempering the formality. Photo by Pieter Estersohn.

For a preview of what you’ll find on its pages, Westbrook opens the introduction of the book with, “Design is, by nature, a visual process. You look at site conditions, and at materials, colors, and textures. You keep an eye on size and proportion, and on light and views. All of these elements matter but none of them amount to much if an interior doesn’t make you feel, well, good—through and through.”

Rizzoli's new release "Gracious Rooms" contains talent

A giltwood bergère brings eye-popping beauty to this space. Photo by Erica George Dines.

Words to live by when searching for a designer to help you with or products to fill your personal spaces, don’t you think? If you feel inspired to sample a taste of her aesthetic leanings before you purchase the book, her blog, cleverly titled “Workbook by Westbrook,” has some nicely crafted posts on it that illustrate her cultivated eye.

The AD Home show runs through Sunday at Piers 92 and 94 on 55th Street at Twelfth Avenue in Manhattan. If you’ve never attended, the venue will be chock full of furniture, tabletop items, lighting, kitchen and bath products, textiles, and architectural elements so plan at least a few hours there, particularly if you are going to attend an event as well.

One of my favorite sections every year is MADE—a juried selection of limited edition, custom and one-of-a-kind artisanal products from around the country, which I’ll walk through when I go on Friday as I scout for products to feature here. Let me know your favorite find if you make it to the show by sharing it with me on Instagram or Twitter, would you? I’ll be sharing my picks through social media, as well. You can find Barbara Westbrook on Twitter and follow all of the show news by searching the hashtag #ADHomeShow on Twitter. Happy design-dishing, everyone!

Text of Talent Comes to Town © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here and Stranded on the Road to Promise. Saxon is also the co-founder of Sharktooth Press. She also produces The Diary of an Improvateur and is a columnist on Architizer.