Thursday, August 2, 2012

A True Southern Gentleman

Barry Dixon  
Garden at Elway Hall, Traditional Home Magazine 

A gentleman, and a designer, and a farmer, and a social media junkie? Wait, what? Either this bottle of wine is getting to us or these unusually hot summer temperatures are playing tricks with our heads.  Few designers these days actually make us take notice, however, Barry Dixon makes us swoon.  Always the gentleman, Barry is as charming as his interiors are honest. He is a master of creating spaces with a sense of history and courage that indulge the senses on every level.  Bubble & Squeak had the pleasure of sitting down with Barry to discuss his dream cabin, Facebook, Downton Abbey, and his underwear. That's right, his underwear! 

Bubble & Squeak: So, you're very active on Facebook, more so than most designers. What makes you click "Like"?
Barry Dixon: Anything that inspires me, in any direction...emotionally, spiritually, or aesthetically, and almost any picture of a dog.

BS: When you get up from your computer, what's the first thing you reach for?
BD: Ellie, my wire-haired fox terrier. 

BS: Describe your fantasy cabin retreat in three words.
BD: Serene, layered...magical.

BS: You're unpacking your groceries at the cabin. What's in the bag?
BD: A sharp robust Gruyere cheese, sweet red grapes, free range eggs, tart cherry tomatoes, whole wheat bread, coffee.... and spicy ginger snaps!

BS: When traveling, what four must-haves are in your carry-on?
BD: Dark blue jeans by Ralph Lauren, Thom Brown Brogues, my iPhone, and sunglasses.

BS: What puts Barry at ease?
BD: A trip to the barn on my farm in Virginia.

BS: Speaking of your farm...your beautiful estate, Elway Hall in Virginia, is right out of Downtown Abbey. Which of these Downton characters do you identify with most and why? The Dowager Countess, John Bates, Lady Sybil Crawley, or Matthew Crawley?
BD: Matthew Crawley, definitely. I truly believe that we don't own these old homes, they own us. Rather, we act as stewards, guardians that "protect the realm" for our time, then pass it on, the better for our efforts.

BS: Well, Elway Hall has completely "owned" you!  Cascading drapery, tassels, and fringe, oh my! Many people think of cabins as rustic places, how do you see these two worlds colliding?
BD: Happliy. I love the juxtaposition of formal with rustic. The tension between opposites is far superior to a calculated mean.

BS: What are the first three songs on your cabin playlist?
BD: 1. Adele: Someone Like You 
    2. Michael Buble: The Way You Look Tonight
    3. Lulu:  To Sir With Love

BS: There are two kinds of people when it comes to firewood... those who chop their own and those who don't. Does Barry Dixon chop his own wood?
BD: No. But I'm a consummate stoker.

BS: Lastly, Barry, the design community is all a-buzz with one important question. Boxers or briefs?
BD: At the cabin...neither.
Interiors by Barry Dixon
1. Robertson Bench by Barry Dixon for Tomlinson/ Erwin-Lambeth
2. Duck Head Decanter in Smoke, Asprey, London
1. Poillerat Sconces, George N Antiques
2. Oatlands Side Chair by Barry Dixon for Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth 
1. Martini Table by Barry Dixon for Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth
1. Fresh eggs from Elway Hall, Traditional Home Magazine 
1. Ginger Snap Cookies 
1.  English Convex Mirror c.1840, R. Ege Antiques 
1. Royal Water, Creed Perfumes 
1. Luminor Panerai 1950

Thank you Barry!  You're an asscher-cut diamond amidst a field of rough-cut gems.

Please visit Barry's website to see more of his beautiful, jaw-dropping projects.  

Subscribe to Bubble & Squeak here


  1. AWESOME interview of one of my favorite designers and now that I know he likes my kind of music, food AND has a fun sense of humor...he's at the top of the list. Love your questions, espeically the last one (funny) and the grocery bag question. This is fabulous...thanks. I LOVE his work!

  2. neither? what a great visual
    such a brilliant, humorous and fun interview with a brilliant gentleman at the top of his game. the two of you are so fortunate to have had this opportunity! by the way i would have loved to be a fly on the way, happen to think the two of you are brilliant too

  3. Beautiful photographs of Barry's interiors. I especially love the cozy feel of that silver sage bedroom in the last image. In fact, I think I have that same golden colored paisley pillow in my living room!

  4. Love anything and all there is to this awesome southern gentleman! Great interview! There is something about his personality, sense of humor, aesthetic, charisma, design style and so much more that definitely makes you swoon when you are in his presence and see his spaces.

  5. Love love love the elegant whimsy! The duck painting and decanter make you smile, relax and want to eat those ginger snaps with unmatching socks!

  6. I LOVE the pillows!They will be perfect on my couch!
    Hope I win!!

  7. Great post guys! Always enjoy your blog!

  8. Love the interview, love the photos, love the pillows. Thanks for the amazing post and giveaway :

    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

  9. Wow, you are so talented!! can i be you when i grow up?

  10. I've always been a fan of Barry and his work. His style is so rooted in heritage and tradition, love it.

  11. i'm back, the pillows you designed are to die for, what detail and great collaboration.

    ps; commenting here as i did not see a plce to comment on your giveaway, now off to fb

  12. AAAwwWWW I LOVE that wooden spoon set!! (dear pillow please be mine, sigh)

  13. lovely interview, barry is amazing... what a gift to have passion meet principle!

  14. The interiors are gorgeous....the shopping list is identical to mine and I would love to meet Barry himself someday...Thank you.

  15. You put it so well "Always the gentleman, Barry is as charming as his interiors are honest." I've had the pleasure of meeting Barry a couple of times at various events and he definitely fills the room with his understated, glamorous presence. Great post! I'm happy to be a new blog subscriber.

  16. Barry is indeed the quintessential Southern gentleman and Elway Hall is just a treat! The close up photos of the pillow details will just have to suffice - until they are sitting on my couch!

  17. Any man who loves dogs is tops in my book...not to mention he can design divine! Thanks for the in-depth interview, I love to see a true "interior" of a designer.

    I'm a new subscriber and I shared
    shel704 at aol dot com

  18. What a wonderful inside look at such a captivating designer. He is charming, witty, and humorous. I loved the food and the underwear choices. ;) Tim White

  19. Amazing photography. Everything is stunning especially the cookies made me hungry :D

  20. Wow. I'm amazed by your talent. Your interior decorating skills is tremendous. You inspire me to be one.
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  21. Barry IS the consummate gentleman, with great taste and a very refined eye!
    Thank you for this feature!
    The Arts by Karena