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Meet Multi-Hyphenate Interior Designer Barclay Butera

photography courtesy of NATHAN SCHRODER

Barclay Butera

The notable interior designer talks about clients, color schemes, candles, his legacy in CDM and a recently finished Newport Beach residence.

For design aficionados, Barclay Butera is a household name. The creative polymath is an interior designer whose clientele includes A-list celebs, a licensing maven who’s done collections for the likes of Kravet textiles, Lexington Home Brands furniture and Castelle outdoor furniture; and a showroom owner with locations in Newport Beach and Corona del Mar, California as well as Park City, Utah. He’s also an author, having done six coffee table design books, including The New Traditional, published this spring.

Barclay Butera

Butera’s energetic rise in luxury residential design started young. 

“After a year in law school, I knew I wanted to pursue something more creative,” Butera explains. He went to work for his mother, Newport Beach-based interior designer Karen Butera King, to learn the ropes of the business. 

“My mother instilled in me the values of honesty, hard work and a good business acumen,” he says. “In 1994, I launched my own design business and have never looked back.”

Despite a plethora of business interests, Butera is never too busy to take on a residential design project, including the recent home he did in conjunction with Brandon Architects and Mur-Sol Builders in Newport Beach. The new build—on a narrow lot adjacent to the bay—was done in a crisp, transitional style of architecture for a couple with grown children. With four bedrooms, three levels, a roof deck and a design that makes the most of the blue-water views, the 3,700-square foot home serves as a beach getaway for the family, where they can hang out and entertain.

“My mother instilled in me the values of honesty, hard work and a good business acumen,” he says. “In 1994, I launched my own design business and have never looked back.”

Barclay Butera

“This house is a nod to my favorite blue and white color scheme,” says Butera, “and we went with a design that’s crisp, fresh and timeless. We also wanted to add a touch of nautical, without getting kitschy.” 

Working within the home’s narrow confines, Butera created numerous seating areas for family and friends, without giving up easy traffic flow patterns and private spaces for the owners. 

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The interior designer’s favorite spots in the beach house? 

“I happen to love the living room —which is perfect for intimate conversation—with its groovy looped rug, stunning artwork and clever lighting,” Butera notes. “And you have to love the bunk bedroom. It’s the most-requested room from guests. We maximized the space by stacking the beds and designed it to feel like you’re on a luxury ocean liner.”

Barclay Butera

The clients of the Newport Beach house, for whom Butera has done four previous projects, trusted his guidance and loved the finished abode. 

“These clients have amazing taste,” Butera says, “and we were so happy that they loved our initial presentation.”

Newport Beach

After nearly three decades in the business, Butera’s enthusiasm and passion still seems new, whether it’s launching that new design book or his sixth furniture collection with Lexington Home Brands, called “Laguna.” 

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What does he still love most about working as an interior designer

“Without a question, it’s my interaction with clients and customers,” he says. “We give major presentations for countless over-the-top projects, but I still love selling a candle or two in my showroom to a new young customer. Our philosophy is ‘client for life.’”

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