Celebrity photographer Nigel Barker is a style icon. His look is sophisticated and effortless, and we admire his eye for fashion and detail. We caught up with him and asked him about his personal style as well as his tips for others who want to find their own. Here’s what he said:
How would you describe your personal style?
Nigel Barker: I like to call my personal a “fashion mullet.” On America’s Next Top Model you’d often see me dressed in a smart shirt, tie and jacket with jeans and sneakers. When you put it together it’s business on top, party on the bottom. Fashion is like life; it’s not one tone. Sometimes you want to be elegant, other times you want color everywhere. Ultimately my own style is not one thing; I like to have fun and combine things.
What advice do you have for someone searching for their personal style?
NB: I get asked this question a lot, and I always say I can tell you what I think will be best, but that’s just what I think is best. If you try a piece of chocolate you don’t need me to tell you that you like chocolate. You have to believe in yourself. It’s not so difficult. What do you like to eat? Do you like food that is plain? Exotic? Spicy? Do you like soft fabrics? Is your bed soft? When you go to films do you like romantic? Sci-fi? Action? Horror? What moves you? Start to write these things down; you’ll see there’s some sort of pattern. Style is the story you want to tell.
How would you describe your personal style? Tell us in the comments below!
Nigel Barker is a family man. As dad to Jack, 13, and Jasmine, 10, and husband to Cristen, his house is a busy and bustling place full of activity and laughter. Nigel says becoming a parent changed his life in several ways—from commitments to values. It also changed how he approaches design. WGTL blog caught up with Nigel to ask him for his tips on how to design a room for a family.
How has being a dad impacted your home design?
Nigel Barker: All parents would agree that being a parent changes your life as well as your home. Where you might have had something for show, now it’s important to have something that’s more functional. And it’s not just for our children; we have a dog, cat, a three-foot iguana and fish. Our home has to fit the many things we do. I have heavy bags from my photography, so pieces need to hold up to some rough conditions. My wife is a Yogi, and she’s often barefoot. You have to consider how you live when you design where you live.
Do your children impact your color choices?
NB: We don’t shy away from light colors. We think about what we can do to protect our furniture. We have a lot of earth tones as well as cream and white; it feels comfortable and relaxing and I love that blank canvas look and feel. In the right places it also works to soothe the children. You immediately feel an oasis of calm. It’s funny; when you put a child in a calm room, you’ll often find them sitting on the sofa and reading book for an hour.
Is your whole home calming or do you mix things up?
NB: Some areas are calm, while others areas are meant to inspire play. When you walk into my upstate New York home, the first floor has a modern look and feel, with the majority of the pieces from my NB2 collection. It’s very classic, simple and chic with elegant lines and a modern feel, yet not so modern that it feels cold or minimalist. Upstairs, each room is special. And we’re currently renovating the basement. It’s a huge project and it’s going to be predominantly a massive playroom. I’m the biggest kid I know.
Do you have a favorite piece of furniture chosen for your family?
NB: I love when all four of us can curl up on the sofa with our animals and watch a movie after dinner. We also love the daybed—it’s everyone’s favorite. Even the dog likes it. Furniture has to be functional. It has to stand up to real life. We treat the fabric so it repels a spill because that’s what life is like. Furniture has to be able to handle whatever you throw at it.
Nigel certainly knows how to design a room for a family. We’d love to know what changes have you made to your décor since becoming a parent?
His style is dark and rugged while her style is light and airy. Is it possible to design a home that suits them both? Yes! The trick is to combine the best of both worlds of his and her style through balance, texture, color and lines. Here are five things to consider when you’re sharing a home with the opposite sex:
1. Think about lines
The shape and scale of your furniture can be considered masculine or feminine. Feminine furniture focuses on curves, details and embellishment. It’s smaller in scale and lighter in style. Masculine pieces, however, focus on function. They tend to be larger and more angular in design. Marry both looks with clever combination. For example, choose a round ottoman to soften the feel of furnishings with masculine patterns.
2. Color and textures count
Another consideration when it comes to striking balance with his and her style is color and texture. Dark colors and heavy materials are masculine, while light colors and materials are feminine. Complement a light sofa, for example, by pairing it with dark draperies. Or make a masculine leather sofa feel more feminine by choosing one a light color, such as ivory.
3. Strive for equality
Keep his and her style in harmony by balancing masculine pieces with feminine furnishings that complement. In the dining room, for example, an industrial-look steel table can be paired with upholstered chairs.
4. Choose rooms
Strike a balance by using masculine and feminine styles in the right rooms. The bedroom, for example, is an area that often leans toward feminine. While you might want to forego an overwhelming amount of floral and curves, you can compromise and create an elegant look in simple patterns or light solids. The family room or den, however, tends to lean toward masculine style, but wood paneling and too much plaid can overwhelm. Instead, choose darker colors in smaller scale furnishings or soften with accessories, such as a floral rug in dark tones.
Accessories are often called the “woman’s touch,” and they can quickly offset too many masculine furnishings. Place a vase of flowers on a reclaimed wood end table, for example. Use damask toss pillows on a leather sofa. Or drape a soft blanket on the arm of a leather chair. While it’s easier to add feminine elements to a more masculine room, you can do the reverse, as well. A feminine room can find balance through masculine accessories, such as metal, wooden or natural items.
Valentine’s Day and sweets go hand in hand. You could enjoy that heart-shaped box filled with truffles or you can score extra points by making a tasty dessert for your sweetheart. Here are two Valentine’s Day dessert ideas that are super easy to make and sure to impress:
Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to turn marshmallow treats into hearts, then embellish them with frosting, chocolate, peanut butter or candy.
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
These are super easy to make, but they look and taste so good. If you’ve never dipped strawberries before, here’s an easy recipe.
Pair one of these desserts with a love letter written from the heart, and you’ll show your loved one how much you care. Do you have any favorite Valentine’s Day dessert ideas? Let us know in the comments.