Hello from the Design Side: A Q&A with Adele Barrett

June 24, 2016
by The Finished Space

Adele Barrett is a self-taught designer, who has been in the design industry for 20 years, and she is our winner for week three of #CaptionMetrieContest on Instagram.

Adele’s love for design started when she was just three years old. On trips to her local lumber yard, she would collect paint chips.

“I’ve always had an eye for design, ever since I was a little girl,” said the Dundas, Ontario, based design pro. “I fell into the business.  I started a drapery business when I was 25 and bought an existing decorating business when I was 30.”

In 1990, the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) recognized Adele for her work and as a result achieved Interior Designer status.  While Adele retired from ARIDO about eight years ago, she continues to independently practice interior design.

But today, Adele designs with a different focus.

Self taught designer Adele Barrett.

Education Makes her Clients Comfortable

We know the design process can feel overwhelming for homeowners and clients. Standing in a storm of fabric swatches, trim samples and paint chips can leave you wondering “How on earth is this all going to come together?”

Adele has a simple and effective solution for putting her clients at ease: she teaches.

“I do my best work when my clients trust me completely, which usually happens when they feel comfortable,” explained Adele, who also teaches classes in the Decorating for Home Furnishing Consultant program at Mohawk College. “I never want my client to be intimidated or unsure. I educate, explain, encourage and even mentor.”

While the education process helps her clients see and approve her design vision, Adele doesn’t show all her cards either.

“A little mystery is great,” she noted. “The process is more fun when the client doesn’t get embroiled in every detail, but they should be on board.”

When they trust Adele’s process and her expertise, the results are beautiful spaces that express her clients’ wants and her own design style.

“It sounds cliché, but I leave a little piece of myself in almost every room I do,” said Adele. “If I don’t, I don’t love it!”

Part of Adele’s education process comes with great advice on how to handle interior finishings.

“Make sure that it fits with the style of your home,” offered the designer.  “You can change furnishings, but the architecture is permanent.”

A Room with a View

Nature and beautiful views inspire Adele and make up her favorite rooms to decorate.

But a great view isn’t limited to a giant picture window for Adele. Sometimes a great view means a perfectly framed peek into the next room over.

A kitchen pass through designed by Adele Barrett.

Leave Your Heart at the Door

Doors are Adele’s go-to interior finishing product.

“I love to change doors if the existing ones are not good quality,” Adele explained.

And we, of course, have to agree! Changing out interior doors certainly changes the feel of a space.

We also like Adele’s idea to mix the different styles of the Metrie Then & Now Finishings Collections to produce a truly unique design.

“I like that they represent different periods,” said Adele. “They can be used to either evoke a specific time or combined to satisfy an eclectic feel.”

Design & Humor are a Perfect Match

Like all our other winners, we asked Adele what celebrity she’d most like to design a room for, and we just adore her answer:

“I would like to design a space for Melissa McCarthy because I admire her humour, intelligence and fearlessness,” she said. “I would love to do her whole house, but would settle for her most personal space, wherever she likes to hang and be herself.   If nothing else, I would choose the principal bedroom because it should be the most personal and peaceful space.”

Melissa is such a fabulous and funny actress, and we just know she loves her share of interior finishings! Check out the trim in her former home. Great answer Adele, and thanks for chatting with us!

If you want to know more about Adele, check out her website: Adele Barrett Interiors. You can also see her winning caption in the comments of our week three contest image:

A photo posted by Metrie (@officialmetrie) on

Thanks again to everyone who participated in #CaptionMetrieContest. We’ve got a few more feature blog posts coming up that you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned.

And if you’ve missed any of our past features, be sure to check them out! To read about the our week one winner, Christa Pirl, click here, and to read about our week two winner, Krista Martens, click here.