Barbara Westbrook
Modern Interiors

Barbara Westbrook for Workbook

New Zealand. Wow! Last year, one of my favorite clients decided to buy a house in New Zealand. I knew from the moment she called that it was going to be wonderful. How could it not be?!

First of all, she is a great client. Second, after reviewing the architecture, I was going to be introducing her to a more modern aesthetic, which meant working with gorgeous pieces from Christian Liaigre, Holly Hunt, Magni, and Kevin Reilly (more about him later). In this edition of Workbook, before-and-after photos of the house will hopefully give insight into my thought process that lead to the final design.

Elizabeth Hanson was the project designer and she now knows how to get anything across the globe! For the week-long final installation, I took both Elizabeth and Kim Winkler. We have been a team for almost 14 years and installations always go more smoothly with all of us on site. After the big install, we took a few days to tour one of the world’s most beautiful countries where the air is pure, the landscape is vibrant, and everyone is happy. According to Elizabeth and Kim, the Agrodome Rotorua was the highlight. I dare you to google it!

Worktable displays some of the materials used in the New Zealand project’s modern interior. I asked the uber-talented Ryan Hughes of R HUGHES to answer a few questions about interior design with a modern vibe. His showroom represents a range of exquisite furniture and fabric lines that we used in New Zealand. Ryan and I are going to be neighbors soon and we have had a great time sharing ideas.

We took a Workbook field trip. Jeanne (article author), Elizabeth, and I drove to Montgomery, Alabama to visit the offices and manufacturing shop of Kevin Reilly’s sophisticated and stylish lighting. Kevin Reilly is a superstar in the lighting world, but he doesn’t act like it. He is so modest about his accomplishments, not least being that his craftsmen love their jobs and fully embrace his vision of perfection. His quiet, positive perspective about life is contagious and you get the feeling that he is very curious about everything. As Jesse, Kevin’s shop manager and candle-making expert declares, “The man has lived. You have to respect his experience.”

Kevin left home at 14 years old and learned how to build because that was the kind of job he could get without any questions about his age. He and his wife, Karla, have 6 children ranging in age from 40 to 8 months - another example of Kevin’s life being lived unlike any other. By the time Jeanne, Elizabeth, and I left, we were just as impressed with Kevin’s personal life.

~ Barbara

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In This Edition

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