Barbara Horowitz BHS Designs

Behind the Design: Barbara Horowitz of BHS Designs

Designer Spotlight: Barbara Horowitz of BHS Designs, New York, NY

How did you get where you are today?

I was raised on the Eastside of Manhattan, and made the big move to Midtown where I currently live and love! I studied to become a psychologist. Once I completed my graduate work and internship, I had the first of my two children and made the decision to stay home. During his first year, I created and sold silkscreened baby clothes. I did this for two years and transitioned into interior design by working informally for friends.

Sutton Studio Bruce Buck

Photo by Bruce Buck for the The New York Times

You used to be a psychologist, how has the field of psychology influenced your design processes and aesthetic?

Apart from what I think looks fabulous, I am guided by what I believe enhances the human experience and how space can impact that experience.

You have been published many times, what are some projects that you are particularly proud of?

While I am proud of most of the work I do because, I believe, the outcomes reflect my clients’ lifestyles and personas, I am most proud of designing, from the ground up, a Westchester private high school.

What are some of your favorite design resources for inspiration (city, museums, magazine, etc.)? 

It’s more of an attitude about life…the very simple and the exotic are all inspiring to me.

BHS Designs Harrison Colonial

Photo by Geoffrey Sokol

Are there certain colors and materials you’re particularly into right now?

For better or worse, I am remarkably consistent with my palette, which moves between white crème, mushroom, grays and black, although I just did an entire living room in lilac – and my clients love it!

Fall is approaching, what are some key transitional pieces for a home?

A few cashmere throws.

Can you share some of your favorite NYC shops for sourcing?

I love Antony Todd, Ikea for down bed pillows and duvets, Rose Tarlow Showroom, JanGorge (Sag Harbor).

BHS Designs Harrison Colonial

Photo by Geoffrey Sokol

How does designing make you feel?

I am genetically coded to nest! I love creating spaces in which people feel nurtured, restored and walk into their homes everyday and fall in love!

How do you spend your first hour each morning?

The first thing I do is take my puppy outside. After she meets up with her friends, we come home and I make coffee and look at my business emails. I then read the news.

When you’re creativity feels tired, how do you refresh?

Travel, going to new art exhibits, or cruise through my old and new design books.

Westchester Tudor BHS Designs

Photo by Rachel Neville

What’s your business mantra?

Being in a relationship with a space is no different than any other relationship. Each must be nurturing and supportive of each other.

When you start a new project, how do you get to know your client and the space? 

I do a lot of listening and studying: Listening to what people say and what they don’t, studying how they move through their space, their clothing choices, and what they determine to be their favorite pieces and furnishings. I also ask before we meet that they compile images of looks that they love.

How do you juggle multiple projects at once and stay organized? 

LISTS and a project calendar.

Westchester Country Home BHS Designs

Photo by Geoffrey Sokol

What’s the hardest part about running your own business? 

Managing expectations.

For the new interior designers out there, what are some words of wisdom you can share for starting a new business? 

COMMUNICATE more than you think you need to or want to!

What’s your next project in your home?

Extending my dining room at my home on the North Fork of L.I.

Sutton Studio BHS Designs

Photo by Bruce Buck for the The New York Times

Why did you join Ivy? 

I wanted the administrative support.

How has Ivy helped streamline your workflow?

I worry less about the accuracy of my invoices and the ease by which I can view my client’s financial profiles. I love that Ivy alerts me to when my clients have viewed and paid invoices and when they need to be reminded to do so.

What’s an Ivy feature you can’t live without? 

I love that Ivy informs me of my client’s responses to invoices via email. I also appreciate Ivy’s staff constantly striving to improve the designer’s experience interfacing with the program. In 2008, I let go of 2 key staff members and as a result, the weight of the extra (and undesirable) administrative work has been burdensome. The staff at Ivy is so responsive, supportive and helpful, I feel as if they work for me, personally!


Barbara Horowitz BHS Designs

Photo by Geoffrey Sokol

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