#TIYMLI with Barry Lantz

#Tryityoumightlikeit with Deborah Dorman is a monthly interview feature focused on giving a handful of 80 million Baby Boomers an opportunity to share their wisdom and leave nothing left unsaid. This month’s interview is with a “silver fox” who looks like he’s stepped out of a fashion magazine onto the red carpet of the Art and Design world. I, of course, mean none other than Mr. Barry Lantz of Lantz Collective, A Lantz Design and Barry Lantz Art.

I found out about Barry Lantz almost 40 years ago when I was a young mother of three who had just moved into a newly constructed home that needed finishing interior design touches. Naturally, I wanted the most well-known and talented Indy designer, but quickly realized that my beer budget would not support Barry’s high price tag. So, Barry Lantz became a dream that was put on the back burner until just a few short years ago when through a twist of fate and a timely introduction, I began working with him on the set of Design Your Life, Style with Barry and Joni. It was a wonderful adventure.

Barry’s work has been celebrated in projects across the country. He currently shares the spotlight with his talented daughter, Amanda Lantz, and together, they create interior design magic at Lantz Collective, located at Carmel City Center. 

Photography by Polina Osherov.

Deborah Dorman: You have been in the business of creating beautiful interiors for decades, has the way you find your inspiration changed? What is your process for creating?

Barry Lantz: I am inspired most times by the client, but if they don’t have a spark, I light them up to get to the center of what they want to achieve.  Other inspirations come from my mind.

I believe one must create their own inspired thoughts and create from them.

DD: Why did you decide to pursue interior design as a career and how did you get your first “big break”?

BL: I took a summer sales job in a fine furniture store in Greentown, Indiana. I loved working with beautiful things for the home and with the influence of my Grandmother, Goldie, and my mother’s good taste, I found designing easy and rewarding. That summer job paid $2.00 per hour. I stuck with it and immediately began creating a following for my design assistance.

DD: You have worked on thousands of projects over the years. Is there a project that stands out? Good or Bad.

BL: There are so many. One is a project where I could do my best work and make selections and decisions based on what was right, with no resistance from the client. Amanda and I specified everything for the 25,000 square foot interior. Our clients came with their clothing. We worked on the installation for one month without the clients seeing anything. When it was ready, we did the unveiling. It was an amazing experience. There are also several favorite projects that vary in size and scope. Truthfully, it’s not the project I remember as much as the experience I have with the design client.

DD: You have accomplished so much and have a storied career. What have you learned about yourself and others that wish you’d known much earlier in life? 

BL: I have learned that for the most part, people enjoy seeing one succeed. But there are those occasionally who enjoy seeing one fail. I have done both. I have been pushed down, but I have always picked myself up.  Accept the fall when you do but always get up and walk stronger.

DD: Do you have any projects coming up that you are really excited about that you can share with our readers?

BL: I recently concluded my one-man art show in New York City at the New York Design Center. The solo exhibition was opened several weeks ago to wonderful reviews and attendance. Amanda and I have been working with Kravet, a leading global textile and furniture company and will launch “Canvas to Cloth” this Spring. The fabric collection is derived from my art.

We look forward to 2020 and many interior design projects locally and in other locations of the country.

DD: This is a perfect time to share with us the inspiration of chapter 2 of your colorful life of canvas art.  Your works of art are the most colorful and comforting pieces I have ever seen.

Your studio exudes your charm and elegance when it comes to paint and canvas. Do you listen to music or dream in technicolor?

BL: Yes, I do dream in color in spite of what the experts say. Being a lover of music, I enjoy listening to favorite musical artists as I work. Art and music inspire the senses and mind. When the two come together, it is fireworks for the soul.

DD: What has been your greatest moment to date and how did it change you?

BL: The first thing that comes to mind and without question would be the birth of my daughter, Amanda. I knew we would be very close, but I did not realize at the time how terrific our relationship would be. We have been there for each other through many ups and downs and have been able to share the moments that have defined us. I am so lucky she decided to take the path where I have traveled and continue with the design business. I am so proud of what she is doing and realize daily she is better than I was at her age. She will be bigger and better than I ever dreamed I would be.

DD: Describe yourself in 5 words or less.

BL: Confident, Determined, Humorous, Tasteful, and Passionate

DD: What is a favorite motto or quote that has been meaningful to you and why?

BL: One is “Massive success is the greatest revenge.” Frank Sinatra.  This is empowering, very true and precise.

DD: If you had unlimited resources to help make this a kinder, gentler world, what would you do first?

BL: I would insist everyone listens without responding. Just listen.

DD: What are some words of wisdom your Mother shared with you that you carry with you to this day?

BL: My mother was the most important and meaningful person in my life. She was my movie star and I miss her wisdom and English words daily. Some of her wise words were: “Walk like you know where you are going”. “If they are talking about you, they have a good subject”. One of mine that comes to mind from being her son is this: “Sometimes you must look up to see down”.  It is a very spiritual statement I composed myself.

DD: If you could start all over again in a new career, what would you do?

BL: Of course, it would be an actor. All interior designers are frustrated actors, singers, dancers, and entertainers.

DD: Your art studio and designer boutique are the stage and you are the star.  Describe how you feel as you step foot into your daily performance of the life of the Barry Lantz Show?

BL: Life is a performance. I strive to give a good one every day in my personal relationships and career.  Sometimes the reviews are good, sometimes not so much. I’m very lucky and have worked very hard to have the respect of many clients and friends.  Life is also a stage. All we need is the best lighting.

DD: Do you or Amanda have future plans for another location?

BL: Amanda certainly does. She has bigger dreams than even I had at her age. No doubt hers will come true as mine have. I would love to be a part of her dreams too. 

DD: You appear to espouse a very European way of life; a balance of work and play. Tell us about your playful side.

BL: I play at work and I always have.  Never have I taken myself too seriously.  I am the first to be critical of myself and usually laugh aloud with others about my weaknesses.  Poking fun at one’s self is the best way to accept one’s flaws.

DD: What is the no. 1 item on your bucket list?

BL: In the interior design category, I would enjoy doing a funeral home and an assisted living/care facility. In my wildest dreams, it would be to have my own national television talk show.

DD: You are a natural and gifted talk show host and I for see in your wildest dreams your reality taking another new chapter in your life. So, my final question is to you Barry Lantz. Retirement! Is that a word in your vocabulary?

BL: What does that mean? No. Not for me. With the growth of my art, I hope to have more time for that layer to the interior design business. Then there could be talk shows.

DD: Thank you and Happy Holidays to the true Elf on the Shelf. Congratulations on a Wonderful Life and I am sure the best is yet to come.

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