Meet Celebrity Home Designer Chris Barrett
What do Charlize Theron, Sean Hayes and John Stamos have in common? All three Hollywood stars are past clients of Chris Barrett, Zillow Digs Designer of the Month for July 2013. And, the media is taking note as well. Receiving House Beautiful’s “Kitchen of the Month” award and features in Architectural Digest and InStyle for her work, Barrett is painting, upholstering and draping the entertainment industry one room at a time.
Zillow: As a former television and commercial actress, you’ve grown up in the Hollywood spotlight and now have the opportunity to design for several celebrities and industry heavy weights. Who was your first major client in the entertainment industry?
Barrett: My big break really came from designing an office for Jerry Moss, co-founder of A&M Records and Rondor Music. When he moved from the A&M office to Rondor, he asked me to design the new space in the style of a smoking room — without the smoking, of course. It was all panels and had an almost art deco feel to it. Jerry was incredibly sophisticated and had such a great eye for the look of things. He taught me to be deliberate with planning and heavily research any project I take on.
Zillow: One of the most important aspects of any interior project is crafting a vision that fully maximizes the potential for a space. How does the design process for a commercial space differ than that of a residential project?
Barrett: In a commercial space you have to take the major function into consideration. Things tend to get more abused and wear out more quickly, so it is important to think it terms of durability while remaining cost-conscious. Comfort is key to any space, but in an office every element must have a sense of necessity to justify its presence within the room.
Zillow: After designing several offices for Moss, you’ve gone on to craft residential spaces for actresses Charlize Theron and Candice Bergen, just to name a few. Are there any celebrity homes you are currently collaborating on?
Barrett: We just finished redesigning Sean Hayes’ (actor from “Will & Grace” and co-executive producer of NBC’s “Grimm”) English Tudor in Los Angles. We took the dark woods typical of the period and made them all white with more Hamptons styling. Sean wanted a personal study space where he could work and read on the weekends, so we lined the former dining room with shallow bookcases and added a window seat to give it a library feel. There is still enough room if they want to throw a dinner party — they can just add a simple table and chairs.
Zillow: In smaller residences such as apartments or condominiums, nothing is more valuable than space. How can a homeowner best design a room to be multipurpose?
Barrett: Your first goal should be to figure out what roles you want the room to play. Is it a place for eating, for studying, for entertaining? Leave open areas for the room to breathe instead of merely cramming in as much as possible. To create a dual game room/dining area you could place a table top on a pool table, for example. In a living room/study, shallow bookcases could double as an interesting wall treatment. Remember, you can’t do everything in every room. Don’t be afraid to edit.
- June Designer of the Month: Jessica Lagrange
- Famous Chefs Tom Douglas & Ethan Stowell’s Dream Home Kitchens
- Meet Fashion and Interior Designer Jamie Herzlinger