Podcast, Ep 281 Flower Showhouse: The Library with Barry Dixon

Interior Designer Barry Dixon and his dog Dinah

Barry Dixon, Designer and Founder of Barry Dixon Inc. interior design services

We are back with our special series highlighting the FLOWER magazine showhouse here in Atlanta, and the fun continues with acclaimed designer Barry Dixon. His work can be found all over the world, and on the pages of your favorite magazines like House Beautiful, Traditional Home and of course, Flower magazine. Barry talks about designing for all five senses, telling the story of a space from beginning to end, and his choice of textiles, colors, and books in the beautifully inspiring library. Ballard Designs is proud to be one of the sponsors of the house, and we are so excited to share all the gorgeous spaces with you.

If you’d like to visit the house in person you can purchase tickets here, and also follow along with the podcast series whether you can see it in person or not!

Barry Dixon's 2022 Library Room in FLOWER Magazine's showhouse

Barry Dixon’s library in FLOWER Magazine’s 2022 showhouse

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Barry talks about the foundation of the library, and the little bit of Hollywood Regency appeal to the house.
  • The views of the exterior are such an important part of the beauty of any interior.
  • Some masculine ways to bring in florals.
  • Barry talks about his curation of the books in the library and the intention behind the visual cues on the shelves.
  • What advice would Barry give to people who are trying to blend styles or work with someone who doesn’t have their same opinion on design?
  • A beautiful truth: you’re never alone in a room that speaks to you.
  • How do you balance the personalities in your home (aka ones that love taxidermy and action figures)?
  • How design is like writing a story, and it’s important to tell the story from beginning to end.
  • Barry’s love of the extreme in design in every way, including location, architecture, and style.

Decorating Dilemma:

Hi ladies!

I have been listening to your podcast since the beginning and I am thrilled to finally have a decorating dilemma! Our family of 4 is in the middle of renovating a 1923 tudor cottage in Austin, Texas, and we could use your help. We have a pass-through dining room between the front sitting room and the kitchen. The general vision is as follows, along with a few specific questions. Feel free to give any and all feedback, even if I didn’t ask for it!

– We ordered the Linear Branched Chandelier with no shade and planning on purchasing round light bulbs. It will be centered on the table
-For the long wall that runs from the sitting room to the dining room will have Visual Comfort Double Belfair sconces in gilded iron with black shades (I think) that will flank one of the THREE washstands/buffets I have inherited. I can use the other two throughout the house, but the dining room gets top priority. We have an antique, marble- topped washstand, a dark wood-toned washstand, and an olive green buffet table. Which should I use? See attached photos
-The wall that is shared with the kitchen had the doorway widened and will have a brass picture light installed and we will try to find art that fits the space, or use something we have temporarily. I was thinking something abstract or modern might help mix it up a bit here. Am I on the right track? I attached two ideas for art that spoke to me
-The windows will be black, wooden windows with a grid, in keeping with the original windows of the tudor. We are keeping the original white trim around the windows
-I was planning on doing cream drapes and brass rod. The paint is planned to be Benjamin Moore Sea Pearl, which is what we’re painting the whole house, including the kitchen cabinets. I thought it could be fun to do Farrow and Ball French Grey. The room is north facing so I think it will read pretty green, which I think could be pretty. If we have the budget, I was thinking we would add crown moulding throughout the common areas. What would you suggest on paint/moulding?
-Should I do a rug? Given the room’s size and its pass through nature will it be too crowded?

I’m planning on refinishing the dining table back to its original glory but desperately need help on the chairs!

Option 1: I have 4 black, lacquer, vintage chinoiserie-style chairs that I could recover and use here. I love them and they’re very comfortable, but are they too tall for the table or otherwise not right for the space? I’ll be able to use them elsewhere if not here.
Option 2: I could recover or slipcover the shield-style chairs that came with the table. They’re not very comfortable but if they were right for the space, I could make them work. I think the scale might work better- but please help!
Option 3: I could purchase 6 new chairs or 2 hostess chairs for the ends of the table to somehow mix and match. I am wondering if a modern chair would look best to make it a bit less stuffy.

I know that’s a lot, so any help at all will be appreciated! I’ve attached the floorplan and several photos that I hope will help. Thanks for the many hours of happiness that you have provided and thank you for the help!



Thank you for writing in! First, Barry has some great thoughts and advice for you. The buffet always traditionally belonged in a dining room, so you can keep that and you can also keep the chairs you have. Maybe you want to paint those Hepa white chairs a really pretty French Gray from Farrow & Ball so they look fresh. Mix that with the green buffet, and it leaves your table to be brown, with some beautiful yellows and grays to add a sorbet of color. Let’s buy a really beautiful paper with a pattern that goes with the Tudor or Arts and Crafts style – Barry has some good suggestions for ones from the 1800s. The Benjamin Moore color can be brought in as the trim color for the windows, baseboards, and door casings.

Since you are just investing in the paper, maybe you can even do a coordinating pattern for your seat cushions on those chairs. This ties everything together in one grand statement.

Please send us after photos so we can see your final choices!

Mentioned in This Episode:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable home and is always searching for that perfect "finishing touch" antique piece. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.