Ep. 187: architect & interior designer Barry Goralnick

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Our guest today is New York-based architect and interior designer Barry Goralnick. His firm customizes projects to include everything from early planning stages in building to interior design, to product design — check out their impressive collections! Barry’s work has been featured in Architectural Digest, ELLE décor, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and he is also a featured designer in Rizzoli’s new best-selling book Interior Design Master Class – 100 Lessons from America’s Finest Designers on the Art of Decoration, among many, many other accolades. We discuss how Barry’s background in fine art & literature influenced his varied style, decorating for small and big spaces, his tips for getting back to basics, and more.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Why Barry is an architect and an interior designer.
  • How would Barry describe his style?
  • What Barry’s recommendations are for decorating built-ins.
  • More on the State Street project in Brooklyn with built-ins, wood finishes, and an upright piano.
  • Barry’s take on open floor plans; especially during the post COVID era.
  • How to pack a lot into a small space while keeping it functional yet glamorous.
  • Barry’s tips on what to do when getting stuck in the design process.
  • Decorating Dilemma about how to modernize a cabin in the Smoky Mountains.

Decorating Dilemma

Hi Christine,

One thing I would remove is the stone around the peninsula in the kitchen; it looks inauthentic to me. If you extended the top, you could create a place for barstools. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but if you’re considering changing the cabinets at all perhaps you could turn the peninsula into an island. There are even some great freestanding kitchen islands available.

I like the idea of painting the cabinets and painting the walls. It will help break up the monolithic theme. I would not paint the cabinets and the wall behind the fireplace the same color. I would choose a light color for that wall and maybe even pull from the stone. Also, even if you just paint the wall behind the hearth it will not only bring some contrast, but it will make the space feel taller. If you want to keep some of the wood, you could maybe sand it down and do a clear or light finish to lighten it up a bit, so you keep that rustic mountain feel.

I know you didn’t ask me, but the drapes need to go! I would either do some shades or floor lengths. Regarding the banquette, I wouldn’t do a built-in one, but I like the idea of a long bench. If this is a vacation home, you want to be as flexible as possible and be able to shift things around. I am not a huge fan of the black railings since they are kind of heavy; even if they were light grey with a wood rail on top it would lighten it up. In terms of overall decorating, we think you should choose some stylish, well-scaled furniture and don’t go kitschy with it. If you leave even half of the wood in there, you don’t need anything else that nods to the Smoky Mountains. And don’t get furniture in the same color wood! We definitely recommend adding some upholstery and softness to the space. If it’s a rental space, we highly suggest performance fabric!

We are excited for you. Do we get a free weekend to stay there now?! Send us the photos…and the listing!

Mentioned in This Episode:

Barry Goralnick

Barry Goralnick on Instagram

Goralnick Architecture and Design on Facebook

State Street Project

246 episodes