Designer of the Month - October - John Barman

1 October 2007

John Barman

John Barman’s career in interior design spans over 25 years with a concentration in high-end modern residential projects. He is known for his clear cut sophisticated style, bold new ideas and a strong point of view infused with a high dose of contemporary glamour. Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Barman graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and went on to study Interior Design.

Mr. Barman’s 21st century approach seamlessly mixes period décor alongside modern furnishings, creating a look with an edge, striking perfect balance between the sumptuous and the seriously hip. A considerable knowledge of 20th century design, furniture and art are manifested in his work. His interiors repeatedly examine definitive moments in art and design, and often bring an original perspective to Baldwin, Jansen, Knoll and Dunbar. Spaces typically feature shapely and distinctive focal points such as art glass collections, glamorous silk taffetas, and objects with historical significance placed in new contexts.

Honored by Architectural Digest, Gotham Magazine, and New York Magazine, Mr. Barman is recognized as one of the innovative giants in his field. His interiors have appeared in major publications, magazines and books, and he has been invited to participate in several prestigious designer showhouses including the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, and Hamptons Designer Showhouse. His renowned clients include Winton Marsalis, George Stephanopoulos, Leonard Stern, Bryant Gumble, Stone Phillips, and Neil Simon. Many of his residential commissions are based in New York City, the Hamptons, Greenwich CT, and Washington DC, with additional clientele in Los Angeles CA, and Miami Florida, where his firm, John Barman Inc., has satellite offices.

John Barman's website:

FRETTE Q&A – John Barman

Q: What do you enjoy the most about your profession?

A: I enjoy getting a chance to work in different styles and in different color variations and to design with the client’s needs in mind.

Q: You have an ease with mixing varying styles and textures that most people would not attempt yet the final outcome is fabulous. Do you find that you are your most difficult or easiest client?

A: I am the easiest because once I have determined my design point of view for the project it’s clear how I will proceed.

Q: How important is it to get to know your clients prior to starting the decorating process?

A: Before starting a project I spend a lot of time with new clients getting to know their design preferences, lifestyle and needs. Often seeing how they live before the job starts or other residences gives clues to how the new house should be. The most important thing is that the house functions correctly for their lifestyle. Then I work on the design concept.

Q: You have rooms with black walls in your home whereas most people have white or versions of white on their walls. How did you come to decide on black walls for your master bedroom for instance?

A: The bedroom has 2 walls of windows and since I am mostly in there at night I painted it black to emphasize the view. It helps you to focus on the outside making the room look larger and warmer and more inviting at the same time.

Q: What rules do you follow regarding combining colors, textures, and surfaces?

A: There are no rules. Some clients like a calm palette and some like it bright. I prefer white walls so the colors can play off them.

Q: What is your favorite room in your home and why?

A: My favorite is the living room. It's great to use your living room. It's usually the most beautiful and most underused in a house but I encourage people to make it user friendly by bringing in things they like to use whether it be books or a computer or games or having a TV installed.

Q: For those with limited budgets, what key pieces would you recommend which can update interiors or add a higher sense of style to the environment?

A: Frette Bedding and accessories.