Creating Space for Special Things

Designing a home gets personal really quick. Not only must interior designers shepherd client feelings and finances through the entire process of creating home, but they are also privy, for better or worse, to habits, taste levels, and emotional attachments to material things — those family heirlooms and acquired collections that help tell a client’s story.  Below, three interior designers share custom and creative solutions to incorporating their client’s prized possessions.



When High Point-based interior designer Christi Barbour of Barbour Spangle Design was asked to carve out a special place for a client’s cherished antique gun, she designed custom cabinetry to prominently house the family firearm, as well as other passed-down elements like beer steins and duck decoys, and the TV.

Lit dramatically with picture lights, the bookcase is a focal point of this "Gentleman’s Den", and the green chair, also a family piece, is a lively spot amidst a sea of rich brown.  

Barbour says, “Originally we expected to refinish and recover the chair for this project however we liked the vibrant pop of green it added to the space so much that we decided to leave it in its original state.”



It was a charming table with a scenic image printed on the top. Purchased back in the 30’s from Patterson Bros. Furniture, Carpet and Stoves in Butler, PA., it had been in Gina Paris’s client’s family for three generations and preserved very lovingly. When it came time to place it in a new modern house, it was a bit of a challenge and so Paris thought out of the box. “We were in need of art,” she says, “and it struck me to remove the table top from the wood base and hang it on the wall.”

To give it some heft and make it  proportionate with the space, Paris surrounded the table's top with a bold frame using Sherwin Williams Rural Green paint. Reinventing table as landscape has assured that this antique artwork is admired more often.

(Photographer: Steve Spatafore)



When Leslie Thompson’s clients lived in Europe they started collecting wine. When they returned to Naples and decided to downsize by 5,000 sq. feet, Thompson, principal designer at Malibu West, needed to come up with clever storage that suited their worldly and sophisticated taste, and provided space for many wine bottles. The result is custom cabinetry with refrigeration, concealed behind panels of beautiful burl, walnut, and leather faux books that accommodate wine and other things.


Thompson says, “Using the historical feel of aged books, the goal for this ‘library’ was to create a classic, yet livable space that reflected the lifestyle and heritage of this wonderful couple!”

 Learn more about the designers: Barbour Spangle, Gina ParisMalibu West.

Sandy Hughes