Randall Barbera devotes his life to vintage trunks that “scream for help”. More than simply restoring them, he believes in communicating each piece’s original intent while adding to it. See what he has to say about his one-of-a-kind creations…

Viyet: What inspired this career path for you? 

Randall: Growing up in New England, our homes were always filled with antiques and, when I would accidentally break a piece (which happened more than I will ever admit to), I would repair it before I got caught. When I saw a spread in Architectural Digest on trunks that had been restored, I thought… “I could do that”, and did.

 

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Describe your style in 6 words or less:  Goyard meets Led Zeppelin.

Viyet: How long have you been in this business and what is your approach when selecting trunks to restore?

Randall: Sixteen years. Antique trunks with unique brass hardware always catch my eye. Especially when they are in total disrepair!

Viyet: Describe the restoration process. What is your favorite part or parts?

Randall: Initially spotting a trunk that screams at me for help is one of my favorite parts of the process. From that point, taking it completely apart, nail by nail, and then developing a “talking” relationship with it to bring back and sometimes augment its personality, and then adding a touch of me to it, is when I feel like I’m on to something.

Viyet: Currently, which are your favorite trunks and why?

Randall: Goyards, forever. There seem to be less of them in the world and the lines in the binding are extraordinary. A close 2nd is Louis Vuitton, and mine are in a very firm 3rd place!

 

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Viyet: Share with us something the average consumer wouldn’t know about your business and approach to restoration.

Randall: There is rarely a realized “game plan” with my approach to restoration or redesigning. I just start in on a spontaneous spark and try to isolate problems as they present themselves. Any given successful “fix” might yield inspiration, and attention to minute detail tends to put the whole into better focus, as crazy as that sounds. When I really get into a creative groove, it’s kind of like that middle section in the song “Whole Lotta Love”, screams and all!

Viyet: Who do you look up to in the design world?

Randall: Goyard, Louis Vuitton, and Mark Cutler.

Viyet: If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?

Randall: A Victorian workshop, complete with all the ancient tools, for my wife and partner Lisa, and me.

 

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Viyet: Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.

Randall: Only the very rich can afford poor quality.

Viyet: What do you love about Viyet?

Randall: The amazing stuff of very real people.

Shop Randall’s trunks and more on Viyet, or see his work here.

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