Randall Barbera devotes his life to vintage trunks that â€œscream for helpâ€. MoreÂ than simply restoring them, he believes in communicating each piece’s originalÂ 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?Â
Randall: Growing up in New England, our homes were always filled with antiques and,Â when I would accidentally break a piece (which happened more than I will everÂ admit to), I would repair it before I got caught. When I saw a spread inÂ Architectural Digest on trunks that had been restored, I thought… â€œI could doÂ thatâ€, and did.
Describe your style in 6 words or less: Â Goyard meets Led Zeppelin.
Viyet: How long have you been in this business and what is your approach whenÂ selecting trunks to restore?
Randall: Sixteen years. Antique trunks with unique brass hardware always catch myÂ 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 partsÂ of the process. From that point, taking it completely apart, nail by nail, and thenÂ developing a â€œtalkingâ€ relationship with it to bring back and sometimes augmentÂ its personality, and then adding a touch of me to it, is when I feel like I’m on toÂ 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 theÂ binding are extraordinary. A close 2nd is Louis Vuitton, and mine are in a veryÂ firm 3rd place!
Viyet: Share with us something the average consumer wouldn’t know about yourÂ business and approach to restoration.
Randall: There is rarely a realized â€œgame planâ€ with my approach to restoration orÂ redesigning. I just start in on a spontaneous spark and try to isolate problems asÂ they present themselves. Any given successful â€œfixâ€ might yield inspiration, andÂ attention to minute detail tends to put the whole into better focus, as crazy asÂ that sounds. When I really get into a creative groove, it’s kind of like thatÂ middle section in the song â€œWhole Lotta Loveâ€, 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 whomÂ would it be?
Randall: A Victorian workshop, complete with all the ancient tools, for my wife andÂ partner Lisa, and me.
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.