MDS- How would you define your style?
JB- My style deeply reflects the needs of the people we work with. This is a very personal relationship. Whether traditional, classic or modern, it is my ability to create a project with great value and longevity that speaks volumes about my creativity. It is the hallmark of being a good business person in any business, not specific to interior design.
MDS- Where did you grow up and how do you think that influences your work?
JB- I lived in six different states before I was 15, no one spot longer than three years. My father was an engineer and we traveled around with Mobil Oil for whom he worked. Each place– whether it was Long Island, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania or Norway– provided an opportunity to create personality and security. Comfort followed ‘personality’ and ‘place’.
Growing up nomadically reinforced the enormous value and power that a sense of place can hold.
MDS- If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
JB- I’m very proud to be a good communicator and a sound leader, so I’d be a journalist or an educator. I might be tempted to become a cult leader, but living in a jungle or a silo is not high on my bucket list.
MDS- Who or what is inspiring you right now?
JB- Clients bring their inspirations to me to move their ideas and their dreams forward. Historic inspiration is always influential but clients are the driving force. We can’t create a project without a client. Preferably one that is articulate, decisive, and trusting.
MDS- What is your favorite room in your home?
JB- My living room. I always find the most pleasure in designing them, the biggest opportunity to paint a picture of enlightenment, sophistication and education. The living room in my Locust Valley (New York) home is where I historically retreat. It’s brilliant, eye-popping green and packed with furniture. We lovingly refer to it as the “chair museum.”
MDS- Is there anything you obsessively collect?
JB- Depends on which week you are talking about. This week it’s cigar boxes. I find them so alluring with their mingled fragrances of the balsa wood and tobacco, the embossing on the paper labels, the graphics– of pyramids, Pocahontas, palm trees.
MDS- Fill in the blank: “I could never own too many ________________.”
JB- Houses or rooms. I would be fine with 50 or 60 houses and gardens. Or more! If I could have 700 rooms, I’d be delirious. Especially if I could afford to keep them active, vital, and thriving. Bring them on!
MDS- If you could decorate anyone’s house – who would it be and why?
JB- In all my years I have never been in an attractive airport terminal, so that’s the logical answer. They are pitiful, dehumanizing, and demoralizing. I am not alone in this thought.
The bigger question is– where am I needed the most?
MDS- What do you want to be known for?
JB- Value. The value we bring to the process, of helping our clients make enlightened decisions.
MDS- What do you think is chic, stylish and glamorous?
JB- Very little. In fact, nothing to do with the tangible. Someone with a point of view is rather chic. Someone focused, articulate, with personality, integrity, and honesty is enormously stylish. Oh, and glamor? To be true to oneself is powerfully glamorous.