Interior designer Ginger Barber has had numerous challenges in her near-40-year career but the one that could have rocked her world, had she not been as well seasoned as she is, was a Houston couple’s New York apartment that had to be fully outfitted within six weeks.
The owner of The Sitting Room had worked for the couple on their Broadacres home and their country place near Brenham, so the challenge was lessened by knowing her clients well. Yet, they threw her a curve on their desires for the Manhattan aerie.
“This project was so different from anything else I’ve done,” she says. “I had to get out of my comfort zone to put a transitional, contemporary spin on timeless antiques . . . The mix of contemporary and classic pieces was a challenge for me, but it was a wonderful experience.”
With that short fuse on the project, Barber made two visits to the 2,455 square foot apartment, which from the master bedroom looks across a few blocks to Central Park.
But her shopping was done in Houston with the apartment owner at her side. They forayed across the city picking up everything from linens to valued antiques and rare carpets, making purchases at Kuhl-Linscomb, Skelton Culver, Carol Piper Rugs, The Gray Door, Back Row Home and more.
As the homeowner notes, “They put everything on a truck and hauled it up to New York.”
While the two-bedroom apartment with family room is spacious by New York standards, the dining room table, custom made in Houston, had to be built with a removable top for simpler moving and installation.
Barber allows that she approaches each project from the bottom up.
“Rugs have always been the driving force and inspiration for a room, even if it’s sea grass,” she says. “I need to know what the floor is going to be because that starts my brain with fabric and texture.”
In the living room, for example, she explains that the deep reds and bright yellows of the rare, antique Oushak carpet serve as a colorful focal point in the otherwise neutral space. Similarly, Khotar and Oushak carpets are employed throughout the dwelling.
“Lighting is where I threw in a contemporary edge,” she explains. “Antique pieces provide warmth and comfort to a room, but the transitional contemporary items put a fresh, bright spin on these classic living spaces.”