Friday, January 6, 2017

An Interview With Design Icon Anthony Baratta

When it comes to legendary figures in the world of interior design, Anthony Baratta is at the top of the list. Baratta's work has been featured on over 40 magazine covers including Architectural Digest, World of Interiors, House Beautiful, House & Garden, and Veranda. His own homes have appeared in the New York Times Magazine on three separate occasions. Baratta and his business partner, the late William Diamond, were named among Traditional Home's "20 Design Icons" and were awarded Benjamin Moore's coveted "Hue Award" for lifetime achievement in design.

Baratta began his design career over 30 years ago after graduating from Fordham University with a degree in Art History. Joining forces with William "Bill" Diamond, their firm, Diamond Baratta Design, created a signature style known for its balance between pattern, color, history, luxury, and whimsy. The firm has since been renamed Anthony Baratta LLC after Bill's retirement in 2012 (and passing in 2015). 

I could not have been more excited when Anthony agreed to this interview, and I am delighted to feature some of my favorite highlights from his work!



Q:  It is such an honor to have you here today, as your work has tremendously influenced my passion for interior design. How do you define your signature style? Has your taste changed over the years?

A:  My signature style is quintessentially all-American, no question. Even though my look runs the gamut from traditional elegance, to East-Coast nautical chic, mod and in between, there is never a doubt when you are looking at my film my design roots are American born and bred. I don’t necessarily think my tastes have changed over the years; look, I have loved anchors and sailboats since I was six! While my look has evolved from theatrical to more relatable, the look is still Baratta, I give my clients what they come to me for.



Q: We share a passion for chintz and “pretty” decor. What is your all-time favorite chintz?

A:  Does “pretty” ever go out of style? Lee Jofa’s Rosebank in White~ flawless.




Q:  You stated recently that “pattern on pattern” is slowly easing its way back in to your work. What other design staples are you seeing return?

A:  Hmmmm…. I’m not sure pattern on pattern ever went out! I see clients returning to fearless use of color, which is fantastic.




Q:  One of the things that makes your work so unique and special is your use of custom elements such as murals, needlepoint, quilts, appliques, and cabinetry crafted by artisans who utilize Old World techniques. What advice would you offer individuals looking to incorporate unique or bespoke elements in their home?

A:  Bespoke is everything, but honestly there are so many companies offering fabulous custom these days our options are infinite. If you are going to do completely custom, you’d better have a firm point of view and make sure you understand manufacturing capabilities. We have been blessed to work with the best in the business.



Q:  Needlepoint has played an important role in many of your homes, this happens to be one of my favorite hobbies. When and how did you develop an appreciation for this art?

A:  There are just certain projects that call out for folk art influences. Early in my career I knew that classic all-America design had a place in high end design. It’s timeless, and lends a familiarity and old-world elegance that cannot be captured in any other medium.




Q:  Which aspect of a room do you like to start with - a fabric, a rug, a piece of art?

A:  It totally depends upon the project. Sometimes it’s a fabric, sometimes it’s a rug, sometimes it’s a Totem pole!




Q:  Your work is always infused with a generous dose of whimsy, which I adore. What inspires your love for fun and playful design?

A:  Because I am a rascal at heart! What is more fun that a little trouble???



Q:  You are known for your bold use of color. What are your favorite colors to work with, and do you have favorite colors to use for specific rooms? Where you do find your color inspiration?

A:  Use red or your dead! I have had a long standing love affair with red my entire career… and blue. Blue is universal, women love it, men are comfortable with it. And I could not imaging my existence without yellow…





Q:  How do you keep the spirit of your former partner, William Diamond, alive in your work today?

A:  Such a fabulous question. I talk about Bill all the time. I tell stories to my interns, design associates, clients. He is a living breathing part of everything we do! Everyone who is anyone in this business has a Bill Diamond story. I am proud to have known him, worked with him and that we have this incredible legacy. He has left an indelible mark on the design industry unlike the industry has ever seen. You can quote me on that!




Q:  What has been your proudest career accomplishment to date?

A:  Seeing my on-staff designers create, incredible, quintessential, spot-on Baratta interiors under my watch and from years of working together. Watching the next generation come into their own, knowing that the young people I work with will be the next great arbitrators of design! And having them bring me new, fresh exciting ideas; the minute you stop learning, or being willing to learn, you’re dead.




Q:  What exciting projects do you have on the horizon?

A:  Well, numerous fabulous residential projects and a few sexy commercial deals I am bound by contract to keep under wraps!




Q:  Anything else you would like to add?

A:  I guess I am happy and humbled and grateful to be here at this stage in my career. My Thomasville furniture collection will reach the masses and for that I am beyond excited! Next on the docket?  A gorgeous collection of rugs with iconic Capel Rugs, celebrating their 100 year anniversary of “Made in America”! My mantra exactly.



Thank you so much, Anthony, for sharing your insight! I am such a huge fan! :) To learn more please visit Anthony Baratta and check out his two books with William, Diamond Baratta Design and All American. You can also follow him on Instagram for daily inspiration. 

4 comments:

  1. Andrea!
    What a beautiful tribute to superb talents! The pictures speak for themselves- has anyone ever seen more beautiful treillage? Doubtful! Many in the business over the years have been envious of the success of Diamond and Baratta, but I was never one of them, as I've always admired the work they produce. Thanks again for a truly superb post!
    Dean Farris

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  2. Diamond Baratta Design is my all-time team. So glad Anthony B is carrying on the style. I met them once at the Boston Design Center - such talent!!!!

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  3. ALL of it is to die for, but the treillage is especially scrumptious. So happy to know that there is such a demand for this style of design. It's the best!

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  4. Pretty is pretty! Anthony Barrata and William Diamond have been hugely inspirational for me as a decorator. Thank you for this wonderful interview with Anthony Barrata.

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Thank you for your lovely comments. They absolutely make my day!

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