Dallas interior designer Barbara Gilbert is an expert in the psychology of color, creating carefully curated spaces that not only work visually, but positively impact function and use.
Her attention to detail means you’ll find every inch accounted for in her designs in ways that often surprise and delight. One exampleL LED toe kicks in the kitchen, bringing illumination to the floor.
“Details are what make a room beautiful—it’s the mixing of patterns, textures, and colors and placing them strategically in a room,” Gilbert said. “We will mix two patterns on a chair and add contrast welt for variation. We make sure that the height of an end table is the right size for the furniture it sits next to. We are very particular about scale, so when we source artwork we make sure it’s the perfect size for the wall it adorns.”
We mentioned Gilbert on CandysDirt in 5 Dallas Interior Designers to Watch in 2015 this January. We noted her work on an eco-friendly home in Highland Village that earned her two 2014 ASID Legacy of Design awards, as well as the Dallas Builders Association ARC Award for the kitchen. She’s a Best of Houzz winner from 2012-2015. Additionally, Gilbert just won five 2015 ASID Legacy of Design awards, including first place for transitional living areas and first place for a transitional singular space.
Gilbert and her team at Barbara Gilbert Interiors specialize in high-performance, sustainable new construction and full service luxury residential interior design. It’s work she loves and in which she excels.
“We interpret our clients’ needs and dreams and use all of the principles of design to create their spaces,” she said. “Excellence is the standard for us and we don’t quit until we think it’s perfect! Thinking outside of the box is normal we love challenges.”
Gilbert came to interior design circuitously, spending 22 years as an insurance agent first. That background gives her an edge: “I know how to run a business and I’m very customer service oriented,” she said.
Even during her time in the insurance industry, she always had creative hobbies, like knitting, China painting, and ceramics. Basically anything that had to do with color, she says.
“I love color and get inspired by nature, architecture, and colorful patterns,” she said. “Last year, I was in Istanbul and couldn’t get over the amazing colors in the spice markets. I keep thinking that someday the right client will come along I will use those colors to create a palette for a beautiful room.”
Gilbert became a certified Dewey Color Specialist, meaning she understands how colors interact with one another, and how they affect people psychologically.
“The psychological aspect of color is very important and must be taken into consideration when choosing paint colors, because it not only affects the room but also the people that occupy it,” she said.
She tells a story of a recent client who homeschooled her ADHD child, and his study area was painted yellow, with a yellow-and-red painting.
“Those are not good choices for a studying area, because red raises you blood pressure and yellow will make you nervous,” she said. “We chose some soothing blues and greens and it helped him tremendously. The psychological aspect of color is important and has to be taken into consideration because it affects the room and the people that occupy it.”
Gilbert’s Village Park Eco Home home garnered multiple industry accolades, and inspired her to become ReGreen certified. The net-zero home was built to showcase high-efficiency building at its finest, and Gilbert and her team selected the finishes and furnishings for the house, incorporating design trends and using as many natural materials as possible.
“Most people don’t have any idea how toxic indoor air can be,” she said. “I think it’s our responsibility as interior designers to be educated in eco-friendly design and be a catalyst in creating healthy, eco-friendly homes for our clients who are building or remodeling.”
Inside the Highland Village house, you’ll find cork wall covering, 150-year-old wooden beams taken from old barns, bamboo countertops, a recycled wood dining table, and recycled glass countertops.
She also got to showcase her passion for good use of color.
“One of my goals was to showcase how a house could have a multitude of colors and still be cohesive and flow,” she said. “We used 26 different paint colors in all. I didn’t want it to look like a model home with the same colors repeated in every room.”
One of the details that Gilbert returns to on multiple projects is LED lighting, which she calls “the wave of the future.” They are both energy efficient and beautiful.
“At the start of every design build project we do, we choose where the LED lights will be installed so the house will be framed and wired properly,” she said. “We use small pin lights with motion sensors in halls, and LED lighting on ceiling beams. We also have custom frameless mirrors with LED light strips built in for master bathrooms, as they eliminate the need for light fixtures and have a cleaner look more contemporary look.”
Barbara Gilbert Interiors is a highly sought after nationally known luxury Dallas interior design firm. Her current roster of clients includes an array of projects.
“We are currently working on a home in Highland Park and the homeowners love color,” she said. “The exterior of the home is Country French and we are decorating the interior using transitional furnishings. We have to respect the architecture of the home while incorporating a fresh updated look.”
She also stays busy in the design community. She is former president of the DFW chapter of the Interior Design Society, and currently serves on the National Board of the organization. Gilbert has also served as a presenter for the 2011 Dallas Home and Garden Show and a judge of the 2011 and 2012 Habitat for Humanity Design Duels.
In an alternate universe where she was not a designer, Gilbert says she would be working or volunteering for a charity that helps children have a better life.
“It saddens me to see the poverty that we have right here in Dallas,” she said. “My team and I are active in several charities and giving back is so very important to me.”