Barbara Hirsch is a French-American interior designer and principal of Elza B. Design, Inc. Barbara received a Fashion design and illustrator diploma from Studio Berçot in Paris and studied Graphic Design at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Graphiques. She gained recognition after being awarded “Best Of Houzz” and has been featured in the New England Home Magazine, Boston Globe Magazine, Maine Home + Design and New Hampshire Home. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Barbara Hirsch.
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
My design style is inviting, streamlined, transitional and eclectic. My French heritage influences my work and I bring European flair to the table in whatever I design. I love bridging old with new, using lots of organic materials and refined colors. My background in art and fashion also feed my creative aesthetic.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
I do a lot of prep work as I believe in laying a strong foundation for excellent designs. I have my clients do homework, answer lots of questions to get to know them. Then I build my designs like a painting, layer after layer. Color palettes, CAD drawings and inspiration boards come first and then, the selections of course.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
My initial creative influence was my mother. She was always sewing and making things. Fabric was a passion early on for me and I remember making intricate outfits for my Barbies on the sewing machine. Living around my mother was a full immersion in sensorial experiences: one day you invented a recipe, another day you went to the museum or collected colorful autumn leaves. She is now a full time painter and I admire her passion for color and texture. Other than that, I admire all the artisans and brands I get to work with and learn from. Whether it’s a talented designer creating fabrics such as Kelly Wearstler, an industrial designer from Brizo explaining how he designs faucets or a carpenter making custom furniture, I am fascinated by the design process and admire and respect quality products and craftsmanship.
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
Inspiration is everywhere! I can think of a few things I like to do to get inspired: gardening is huge. Nature and its organic textures and colors are a big influence. Pinterest has become my go-to filing place, allowing me to pin lots of images and classify them in a neat and easy to access way. I look at those a lot when working on different projects. Visiting museums and galleries nourishes me and gets my creativity flowing.
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
I started in fashion and art, bifurcated into the music and book world, held positions as varied as marketing director and VP sales to name only a few. Everything you do in your professional trajectory leads and influences what you end up doing. The “way” is not always visible at first. Many creative people try out different things before settling for something. Being a woman and a mother also affects your career path. I would give the following advice: Be passionate about what you do, work hard and always treat those surrounding you with kindness and respect. Always question your business model so to keep it growing, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. As Theodore Roosevelt said: Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.