Barbie’s global influence is here to stay. Many are recently influenced by the iconic toy doll thanks to the summer blockbuster film Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling that hit theaters in July. The buzzy release is inspiring red carpet fashions and even interior design.
California-based interior designer Kendall Wilkinson created a client’s very-own Barbie dream house with a Barbie pink-colored living room, pops of pink furniture, and textiles with unexpected pops of color. The home—and the use of pink—was conceptualized years before Barbie reclaimed the mainstream media and took five years to build. It was completed in late summer 2022, yet couldn’t be more on trend.
The 15,000-square-foot, two-level Silicon Valley home features California ranch meets craftsman architecture and includes a pool house and pool bathroom. Wilkinson, who has designed luxury homes in the U.S. and Mexico for more than 30 years, is known for her tasteful use of color in her projects.
“We like to introduce our clients to elements, materials, colors, patterns, and design plans that push their aesthetic,” she told me. “The majesty of our natural surroundings heavily influences our color choices, and we gravitate to blues and purples. As a NoCal native, I am used to the many months of rain, fog, and colder temperatures, which makes color so attractive as it evokes vitality and balances the times when Carl, the Fog, rolls in and blankets us. And throughout many years, there hasn’t been one color we have shied away from using. However, this project is one of our most bold, layered, and vibrant and has become one of the all-time favorites of my career.”
Wilkinson says the owners of this home love texture, pattern, and pink and tasked the designer with incorporating bold color in some way. There were more than 30 paint colors used throughout the home.
“The pink living room really stands out, and when our clients saw what we were doing, they were really into cocooning the entire living space in high-gloss lacquer bubblegum pink,” Wilkinson says. “She did not expect us to go that bold but loved how the mix of vintage and antique pieces worked so well with the newer custom and sculptural furniture. It creates balance and this lovely conversation between the elements: shiny versus matte, old versus new, solid versus pattern, and so on. It is cheerful, bright, and unexpected, reminiscent of a jewel box.”
The room is adorned with a painting by Dylan Vandenhoeck, a pair of sofas by Kimberly Denman, an upholstered navy Zimmer + Rhode velvet couch, and a custom stone coffee table from 1stDibs. Meanwhile, swivel chairs from Studio Van Den Akker offer a softer counter note and sit beautifully under a brass chandelier from Remains Lighting. In addition to the vibrant living room, other standout rooms include the blue formal dining room; front hall, with beautiful wallpaper depicting the sky and the ocean; the pantry; the TV room; and the pool house and pool bathroom.
“The entertaining spaces are designed to have a ‘wow’ factor,” she says. “The dining room has vintage Murano glass sconces, while the entry is furnished with Vladimir Kagan lounge chairs sourced through Holly Hunt and a tropical chandelier from Future Perfect, to name a few.”
While this use of bold color is often risky, Wilkinson stresses the importance of balance. She says that the colors chosen must have a relationship with all materials, fabrics, wall coverings, accessories, and lighting. The designer also says the design plan has to be cohesive, and all elements have to work with one another. As for the Barbie inspiration, it turns out the timing was purely coincidental.
“The owner wasn’t directly inspired by Barbie for the house’s colors,” Wilkinson says. “But it’s hard to ignore Barbie’s influence across 64 years and many generations of young girls and women and has influenced the feminine love of all things pink.”