Interview with our Jury: Barb Blair

Interviews & ToursElizabeth Ramos

Today's jury interview is with Barb Blair, a lady who can do marvels with cast-off furniture. She's made quite a name for herself in both the home design community and the blogisphere, with features in many publications. Her design aesthetic is fabulous, and I'd love to fill my house with all sorts of goodies from her shop. You can visit her studio in the Pendleton Arts District of Greenville or follow her blog, to keep up with all her projects and fun finds.  

Indie Craft Parade: You're contributing to a book coming out! That's super exciting. What can readers expect to see?

Barb: The book is called Design*Sponge at Home, it comes out September 13th. It is basically a large book featuring a lot of the content that makes up the website, and it shows readers how to incorporate the ideas into their homes. There will be lots of people featured in the book, and I will be in the before and after section. My projects will be featured as tutorials on how to transform furniture.

Indie Craft Parade: You exhibited at Indie Craft Parade last year and had such a cute booth. Do you have any advice for this year's vendors for setting up a creative display?

Barb: As far as a creative booth display. I think you should keep your booth consistent with your brand. Incorporate elements that tell your personal brand story without having to say a word. I think another really important thing is to have plenty of product. A full booth sells, and giving people lots of options is key to attracting a variety of buyers.

Indie Craft Parade: What is a quick summary of your creative process for restoring furniture? Do you have usually have a vision for a piece as soon as you see it?

Barb: When I pick up a piece of furniture I am always looking for interesting details that will stand out when painted. Or I look for furniture that I can add interesting detail to, such as wallpaper, stripes, and/or shiny new hardware. I check to make sure the piece is structurally sound and that all repairs (if necessary) are within my means to repair or can be repaired by a professional without taking too much off my bottom line. Once all of the repairs are made and the piece has been sanded and prepped for paint, I get to work executing my design plan. Speaking of design plans, I usually know right away what I will do to a piece when I see it, but there is the occasional piece that sits and stares at me in the studio for a few months before the plan hits me.


Indie Craft Parade: What new and exciting things can we expect to see from your studio in the near future?

Barb: One other cool thing is that I have just designed and had built my first piece of furniture! It will be the start to my new Knack couture line which will consist mainly of wallpapered and highly design intensive pieces. Other than that I am painting away in the studio, shipping pieces all over the country. And I just recently shipped my first international piece to TOKYO!