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Celebrity Encounters: Barbara Westbrook & Her New Book “Gracious Rooms”

Happy Monday my lovelies! Hope you all had a great weekend!

I spent my weekend reading! That’s right, reading 🙂  It is not very often I pick up a book to read, and just cannot put it down!

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I will tell you more about this beautiful book “Gracious Rooms” by Barbara Westbrook in a minute, but first, I’ll tell you a bit about the author.

I had the pleasure of meeting Atlanta based Interior Designer Barbara Westbrook about a week ago at the Spring Market at the Houston Design Center. She was part of a panel discussion with Rachel Ashwell, the queen of Shabby Chic and Jan Showers, one of the country’s most celebrated Interior Designers.

Barbara Westbrook Image Via Houston Design Center Facebook Page

Barbara Westbrook Image Via Houston Design Center Facebook Page

Panel Discussion with Rachel Ashwell, Jan Showers and Barbara Westbrook Image Via Houston Designer Center

Panel Discussion with Rachel Ashwell, Jan Showers and Barbara Westbrook Image Via Houston Designer Center

The turn-out was really great. There I am in the back next to a former co-worker Dena 🙂

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After the panel discussion, there were book signings followed by break-away sessions with each designer

Book Signings Image Via Houston Design Center

Book Signings Image Via Houston Design Center

I decided to attend Barbara’s session at the Bunch and Shoemaker showroom

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It was a small group of Houston Designers, and we got the opportunity to be up-close and personal and ask her about anything relating to her new book, her design firm, the process of getting published and so much more.

She launched her design business Westbrook Interiors in 1992 after working for design greats Nancy Braithwaite and Gandy-Peace. Her beautiful projects are widely published in magazines such as Architectural Digest, Metropolitan Home, Traditional Home, House Beautiful, Atlanta Homes and much more.

Barbara's "Work Table" Materials For A Project All Laid Out Image Via Barbara Westbrook

Barbara’s “Work Table” Materials For A Project All Laid Out Image Via Barbara Westbrook

Just listening to her speak was very inspiring for me. I found that we have so much in common, down to our choice of office space – like me, she uses an old house as her offices and studio. She talked about creating and publishing her firm’s online magazine called “Workbook” out of the need to see her work featured in more of the magazines that fit her types of projects. Her desire is to be able to share more of her projects, ideas, and “cool stuff” as she puts it.

I have had the same desire for a while now; to be featured in design magazines – and I am pretty close to that happening (more to come on that soon – hopefully) 🙂 But I have thought about creating my own online magazine – I even have the name already picked out “HappyNest Magazine” and did a mockup of a cover photo…..just for fun 🙂 I figure that this will be my motivation

Just For Fun!

Just For Fun!

Barbara reminds me of me 3-5 years from now 🙂 .

I am so happy I got the chance to meet her in person – and even got to take a picture with her, and spoke to her briefly on Instagram

(Not the best picture of me, but you get the idea)

Barbara Westbrook & Veronica Solomon - Houston Design Center April 2015

Barbara Westbrook & Veronica Solomon – Houston Design Center April 2015

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Now to get to her beautiful book “Gracious Rooms”

As I mentioned, I couldn’t put her book down. Every picture spoke to me, and each one left me wanting to see more. Each room was very inviting, warm, rich and comfortable, yet still classic and full of Southern charm and European touches.

The common theme through most of  her designs is an air of polished patina. Just the right balance of both.  From a country cottage to a penthouse apartment, you can see her attention to every single detail, each with welcoming elegance and not at all pretentious.

Via Barbara Westbrook

Via Barbara Westbrook

Her attraction to soothing greens and blues, natural woods and a calm palette full of natural hues are evident in her designs, and are most likely influenced by the sleepovers as a child at her grandparent’s 1850’s farmhouse in Virginia.

She has witnessed the art of lovingly and thoughtfully building a collection of furniture all her life. Her mother, as she puts it “was allergic to sets of furniture” and so is she. Trips to antique shops with her mother were as regular a part of her family activities growing up as church was. She grew up shaped by “Jesus and Antiques” (I love that quote 🙂 )

Through the pages of this beautiful book, you can see those influences throughout, yet each one is very unique and I am sure tailored to each client’s taste and lifestyle.

You will see that through the 10 homes featured, Barbara shares her accessible, appealing ideas. From the judicious use of symmetry to the importance of including natural elements in a room, utilizing color to unify spaces within a house, and setting a mood with materials. Gracious Rooms is full of advice and inspiration that you can use in your own home.

Via Barbara Westbrook

Via Barbara Westbrook

I am still working my way through this book, but I have several pages marked as inspiration photos. I own a very large collection of design magazines and books, and only a few of them cause my jaw to drop like Gracious Rooms has.

My favorite quote from the book:

“An interior should never compete with a spectacular view. Instead, it should embrace it through color, materials, and furniture arrangement”

I just wish I could share more pictures with you, but you must pick up a copy of this book and experience it for yourself. Click here to purchase Gracious Rooms by Barbara Westbrook. You will be glad you did!

You can see more of my Celebrity Encounters here and here

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!


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