Designer Friday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Barbara Lewis

Barbara Lewis was born to be in the interior design industry. Her father, a master furniture craftsman, fostered a passion and appreciation for design that led her to found The Lewis Design Group. Her 25 years of experience in creating timeless spaces gave her the opportunity to curate luxurious homes in Manhattan, Connecticut and Laguna Beach. She describes her style as “classic, yet current” and strikes a delicate balance between trendy design and timeless design. The Lewis Design Group has been featured in New England Home, AD Pro and has been acclaimed for the feminine and relaxing design of “Her Sanctuary” for Holiday House Hamptons. Introducing this week’s Designer Friday, Barbara Lewis.

This soft green and light aqua dining room was designed by Barbara for the Scarsdale Residence. It’s dripping in timeless and traditional pieces that encaptures the classic elements within the client’s home. Photography by Neil Landino.

Andrew Joseph: If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
Barbara Lewis: I love to have fun and be a little playful and mischievous so of course, I’m partial to monkeys. In fact, my amusement with monkeys extends to my design work. For Holiday House NYC I found this fabulous and funny wallpaper with naughty little monkeys drinking vodka from the bottle and puffing on cigars while hanging from branches with red brassieres dangling next to them. I remember scrolling the internet in the wee hours and when I found this monkey wallpaper I just started laughing and was instantly smitten. I wasn’t the only one that loved those monkeys. I heard that everyone who walked into that showhouse could not get enough of the naughty monkeys on the wall.

Andrew: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
Barbara: Maria Buattism! The Printz of Chintz is an icon and I have to admit that I am nostalgic for that “more is more” aesthetic that he executed so well. Colorful and unabashedly pretty design is starting to come back and I could not be more excited about that. It’s more challenging to design rooms when you have lots of layers and collections of unique pieces – it’s the mark of a great designer to have the vision to pull it all together. When done well it’s magic. As Lady Violet of Downton Abbey said, “Nothing succeeds like excess.”

The iconic Albert Hadley’s Southport home was turned into a space like no other for the Rooms With A View Show House. This space was designed by Barbara and features Lucy Clare Spooners watercolors and Image and Details Framing. Photography by Neil Landino.

Andrew: If you could live in any home in a movie or television series, what would it be?
Barbara: Diane Keaton’s house in “Something’s Gotta Give” is a favorite. I’m drawn to the effortless way it is put together. It’s not at all contrived, instead, it feels inviting and beautiful with luxurious yet comfortable layers — it personifies the home’s natural environment.

Andrew: What are your ideal weekend plans?
Barbara: I live for summer weekends in the Hamptons. Those perfect days start with relaxing in the soft sand at the beach, followed by chill time with friends. Lots of Wolffer roses are involved, naturally. Maybe somewhere in between beach and rosé, I’ll fit in a massage or some kind of pampering. I actually created “Her Sanctuary” at Holiday House Hamptons with this kind of ideal weekend in mind. The colors were drawn from the gorgeous pink-toned sands at the Hamptons beaches and I furnished the space with both a massage table and a rose bar. Pretty much sums up my weekend goals.

Andrew: What’s your design pet peeve?
Barbara: It is disappointing when you enter a house with magnificent architecture and stellar curb appeal only to come in and see that the interiors were never decorated. Stunning architecture deserves stellar interior design. Everything from art and throw pillows, to window treatments and lighting, work together to elevate a home to its greatest ideal.

Barbara’s inspiration for her space within the Holiday House Hamptons Show House was the idea of a “sanctuary to celebrate love,” It features artwork from Images and Details, an antique lamp from Madonia Antiques Design and a stunning bar cart from WakeField Design. Photography by JJ Jetel.

Andrew: Who is your dream date (alive or dead) and what would you do?
Barbara: Don Draper. Of course our date would be at a fabulous cocktail bar. I even designed one that is pretty much a tribute to him. Not sure if that would make the date awkward or more fun but I would be game to try it out! Of course, this is all fictional as Don Draper was never alive nor dead and I have been happily married to my dream husband for decades. But daydreams sure are fun!

Andrew: How would you describe your personal style?
Barbara: My personal style is Timeless and Layered, like my design. I start with a great foundation like a little black dress and then layer in the fun elements like a fur poncho, Hermes scarf and lots of bobbles and bangles. The fun is in the mix. I also firmly embrace the belief that one should be true to their own signature style instead of trends.

Andrew: How would you define your work in three words.
Barbara: Classic. Current. Timeless.

About The Designer | Barbara Lewis, principal and owner of The Lewis Design Group has more than 25 years of interior design experience. With a lifelong passion for design that dates back to her childhood (she is the daughter of a master furniture craftsman) and an early education from The New York School of Interior Design, Barbara continues to find inspiration from art, architecture and her travels throughout Europe. Her deep understanding and appreciation for fine interiors is reflected in The Lewis Design Group projects, which maintain the delicate balance between current trends and timeless style.

The Lewis Design Group offers a boutique, full-service client approach. In close collaboration with the client, Barbara Lewis is able to define the style of her client’s vision, whether it be classical, transitional, or contemporary. With a love for travel and finding the best sources for her clients, Barbara Lewis is able to create uniquely layered interiors with one-of-a-kind furnishings. Barbara Lewis understands that the design process should be enjoyable and inspiring, and her warm and caring personality ensures that it is.

The Lewis Design Group has designed private residences from Manhattan to Laguna Beach and has design studios in Stamford, Connecticut and Glen Cove, New York.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here.

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