Currently the president of leading interior design firm June Roesslein Interiors, Barbara Slavkin has been in the business for 19 years, and her work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Numerous local, regional and national publications have published many projects she’s orchestrated. Ladue News recently had the chance to ask Slavkin about her training and philosophy, and her special relationship with color.
LN: How did you first get interested in design?
BS: It’s been a huge interest of mine for many years. It started with a love of furniture and its history. I took classes on those topics, and from there, I wanted to learn more. I became interested in the scaling of furniture and floor plans, so I decided I needed to get a degree in interior design, in addition to my B.S. from Indiana State University. I went to Meramec and earned an associate’s degree in interior design.
LN: What was your training in the field like? Did you have a particular mentor?
BS: June Roesslein has been my mentor. I did an internship with her company during school, and I started here right after I finished. She took me under her wing and taught me everything I needed to know. I also think of Jean Huber, the head of our model home merchandising department, as a definite influence. Between her and June, I just can’t say enough about what they taught me.
LN: What is your connection to the Color Marketing Group, and what does it do?
BS: I am a member of this international group of professionals, who get together several times a year to track past and present trends and predict future trends in lifestyle and color. It’s very exciting to go to the meetings. People are there from literally every corner of the globe. Their life is color, in product, nature and design, how it is used and how it affects people’s lives. There are a lot of members in interior design, as well as people involved with the manufacturing of automobiles, airplanes, fabrics and paints, virtually every industry that features color. They want to introduce their products in the color that’s going to sell. After our meetings, we can’t discuss what we learned for about eight weeks to allow the companies to get their products ‘on line.’ It gives members a real edge.
LN: What would you say is your color philosophy?
BS: My color philosophy is that people need to be surrounded by the colors that make them feel comfortable, which are a little different for everyone. For me, the color is raspberry. My house is almost all white. But in accessories, like rugs and artwork, I need to have that strong raspberry color. It was popular a few years ago and now it’s coming back again.
LN: Do you have an overall design philosophy?
BS: Again, you have to decide what you’re comfortable with in your own home and then embrace it. Trends come and go about every five to seven years, but most people aren’t going to remodel their homes that often. If you keep a neutral palette and put in the colors you love, you can then switch those out without making huge financial investments.
LN: What are some trends in style over the last few years that you think will last?
BS: The neutrals. We have had neutrals for years and years and then went to complex neutrals, where they took on a golden look or a hint of green. At the last Color Marketing Group meeting, the neutrals were stronger than all the other color groups put together, so they’re definitely going to be strong for years to come. And the reason that’s happening is our growing interest in the Earth. Browns, greens, the color of the ocean, aquas those all have been and will continue to be strong over the coming years.
LN: What has been a favorite design challenge for you?
BS: Probably designing my own home. When you see new, beautiful things every day, you’re sure the next best thing is just around the corner. And when you’re selecting for yourself, it’s hard to make decisions. It was definitely challenging!