Around the House (and Studio): with Barb of Knack!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Stoked! Over the moon! Thrilled! Those are just a few words I could use to describe my lovely guest today - Barb Blair of Knack. If you're a fan of Design Sponge, you've likely read her guest column there or perhaps you're a reader of her awesome blog. She's one seriously talented and funny lady that has style out the yang! Oh, and she's also my sister from another mother. I'm pretty sure we were separated at birth. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into her world of color.

Hello lovely Pure and Noble Readers! I'm so thrilled to be here on Brooke's blog today! I'm Barb Blair, I live in Greenville, SC and about three years ago I started Knack where I find, repair, and redeem furniture for a living....and to be honest whatever else I can get my hands on! I love creating in my studio.

PN: Which do you prefer DIY or Crafts?
BB: Hmmmm this is a trick question I think!! I am a DIY when I want to be kind of girl, but would not classify myself as a hardcore DIYer. Does that make sense! I enjoy every aspect of transforming the furniture that I create and part of that is DIY but the design and then the painting are what I enjoy the most. Painting for me is very soothing and I get lost in my own little world when I paint.

PN: What's your favorite project you've ever done/ had the most fun with?
BB: Oh my! This is like having to say which child you love more! I always think the latest piece I have finished is my favorite... until I create another one! If I have to choose though, I really enjoy the wallpaper pieces the ones I have done for American Eagle and Southern Living. They are challenging and design intensive, but I am completely smitten with them in the end.

PN: Are you organized with lists, crossing one item off at a time or sporadic with lots of projects going on at once?
BB: People tell me that I am really organized for an artist, but I don't the business grows and the responsibilities get larger, I find myself missing things. I am a list maker and I do like to check things off , so I guess that makes me a big fat nerd! It is really important to me though to be punctual and professional in all of my projects and dealings with clients.

PN: Is there anything you are dying to learn how to do?
BB: I want to build and design furniture. It is next on my fact my first piece is in the works right now, but I am not building it. I'm just testing the design waters if you will. I would love to be able to put all of my tools to good use one of these days and build some crazy, nutty furniture!

PN: Are you a self-taught make-over master?
BB: I am completely self taught and have loved every minute of learning my trade!

PN: Tell me/us a little about Knack and how that got started. How did you get into the business/make a name for yourself?
BB: I started painting about 10 years ago when we moved into our current home. It is a seventies ranch that needed lots of cosmetic work and so I decided to save some dollars and paint all of the existing cabinets myself. The kitchen cabinets were the first painting project for me , and after they were completed I was hooked. It was hard work and took me about a month, but the transformation was so fun and rewarding I couldn't wait to do more!

PN: Where can people find your work?
BB: My work can be found online in my etsy shop and locally at Antiques on Augusta and Knack. If you visit my website, all of the information you need for directions to both places is there.

PN: Where do you look for inspiration?
BB: My biggest sources for inspiration are photography and nature. I love to photo document my surroundings especially during travel, and the colors and textures that come through really inspire a lot of my work. I also love to have a weekly date at Barnes and Noble for some good magazine and design book time.

PN: Are there any unlikely color combinations that you fancy?
BB: I love all kinds of crazy color combinations like turquoise and red, mustard and pink, but one of my all time favorites is a dark olive green with a beautiful lavender. I need to do that one again soon.

PN: Where do you find all of your amazing pieces to make-over?
BB: I am a hunter and a gatherer finding my pieces at goodwill stores, estate sales, auctions, and antique stores.....

PN: How long have you lived in your current house?
BB: 10 years...going on 11

PN: What was your first project upon moving in?
BB: Our house had been empty for a bout a year and not well taken care of before that, so we had lots of cleaning to do and spent the first month painting every single wall, tearing down wallpaper, new hardwood floors, new carpet, and I actually tiled my mudroom floor.

PN: What's next?
BB: The bathrooms have been calling out for a while, just need to take the plunge! hah! Oh, and all new windows and doors are in order as well, hopefully before next winter!

PN: Do you enjoy redecorating/rearranging your home or do you find an arrangement you like and stick with it?
BB: I am not a "rearranger". I tend to get things where I like them, or where they work best for the room they are in and then start filling in with all of the good stuff like artwork collections, etc.
PN: How many pieces have you worked on for the shop that have ended up going home with you?
BB: There have only been a couple that I actually painted to sell only to end up in my my fabulous orange hutch......but there are lots of pieces that I have come across on my travels both painted and unpainted that have found a place in my home!

PN: Are you a thrifter, scavenger or collector?
BB: I'm all three sista! I call this the tri fecta

PN: What types of things do you collect?
BB: vintage pyrex
fiesta ware
local artwork
design books

PN: What started your love of the above?
BB: I have to give my mom credit for my love of colorful dishes and interesting serving pieces. My mom always had a beautiful table set and loved finding just the right dish to serve with. The books and artwork have just evolved over time .

PN: You have a lot of vintage pieces in your home. Where do you go to find these treasures?
BB: As far as the furniture goes, I find it at all of the places listed above, but for the home accessories and finds....etsy is a big shopping place for me! I love all of the unique finds for the home and the amazing artwork available there.

PN: What's the farthest you've traveled to pick up a vintage find?
BB: I think North Carolina at this point......

PN: Is there anything you're on a constant hunt to find?
BB: Constantly on the hunt for great wallpaper and hardware details for my pieces....and I never pass up a good chest of drawers.

PN: What is currently on your night stand?
BB: Apartment Therapy book, anthropologie candle, and a little handmade sketchbook so I can document all of my crazy ideas in the middle of the night!

PN: What's your design moto?
BB: Surround yourself with only the things you love.

PN: What do you listen to while working?
BB: I am a weirdo when it comes to music while working. Sometimes I enjoy the quiet thought in my head that painting brings on and music can get in the way of that. But I do love music, especially with positive and uplifting lyrics so I play Jack Johnson, Ingrid, Colby C, Kutless, Tenth Avenue North, The Afters, David Crowder......and then if I need to put a little zip in my step while cleaning the studio; a little R&B like Lecrae helps get my tush moving!

I know... one word describes Miss Barb... Uh-Mazing! Happy Monday sweet readers! What's one thing you want to learn to do? xo


  1. Thank you so much my friend for a such a beautiful post! I appreciate you so much.....and yes we are totally sisters separated at birth.....I can't wait until we are reunited!! :)

    much love....:) xoxo

  2. WOW! AMAZING place. I'm saving this post as future inspiration for what I want my home to look like. Every piece of furniture is just gorgeous.

  3. That was an awesome interview, great questions asked and fantastic photos, its always a wonderful thing to step into the mind of of a fellow artist!

    -Much love, Kim and Mr. Gnome

  4. Oh how lovely! I really like her little dining nook! Thanks for sharing :)


  5. This is a great space! I love the accents on the front of the dressers and the painted furniture. So bold, I love it!


Hey... You! I think you are the tops for showing the comment love! Thank you for your comments and support. It means so very much. If you leave a comment, you will find the reply in comments as well. xo

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground