Philadelphia Style - - Con­tents - BY MARY MAR­GARET EWENS

Barbara Eber­lein talks art fairs, ar­chae­ol­ogy, and her award­win­ning work at Ar­drossan.

“De­sign is much more than know­ing where to buy a sofa,” says noted Philadel­phia-based in­te­rior de­signer Barbara Eber­lein. “Dig deep, do your re­search, de­velop real ex­per­tise.” Eber­lein would know: The Rit­ten­house de­sign doyenne’s name­sake con­sult­ing firm, Eber­lein De­sign Con­sul­tants Ltd., is the cre­ative force be­hind some of the city’s posh­est res­i­dences and the mind­ful care­taker of count­less his­toric restora­tion projects. Among them is Vil­lanova’s Ar­drossan es­tate, which earned Eber­lein a Trum­bauer Award for Best Res­i­den­tial In­te­rior De­sign Project from the In­sti­tute of Clas­si­cal Ar­chi­tec­ture & Art, as well as a sec­ond nod for Best Com­mer­cial In­te­rior De­sign Project for a pri­vate women’s club.

A pas­sion for travel cou­pled with her arche­ol­ogy back­ground has in­formed her clas­sic, an­tiq­ue­filled aes­thetic. Se­lect­ing de­sign schemes that have sub­stance and the adapt­abil­ity to tran­scend cen­turies and con­ti­nents to cre­ate some­thing fresh is what sets her work apart. But Eber­lein knows all of her gilded suc­cess is thanks to her clients.

“You have to imag­ine how your clients look in a space,” Eber­lein says. “More im­por­tantly, how they feel is cru­cial: Clients don’t come to de­sign­ers to be dic­tated to; they come to be part of a con­ver­sa­tion, a re­la­tion­ship.”

What’s Eber­lein’s best ad­vice to clients? “At­tend art fairs and visit an­tique shops— they’ll give you an un­be­liev­able ed­u­ca­tion.” 1809 De­lancey Pl., 215-790-0300; eber­

In­side Ar­drossan: Above the man­tel, a 1926 por­trait of Char­lotte Hope Bin­ney Tyler Mont­gomery by Sir John Lav­ery keeps watch over the liv­ing room, where fur­nish­ings and tex­tiles were both re­stored and re­pro­duced. in­set: Barbara Eber­lein

Her­a­cleum medium dec­o­ra­tive LED lamp, Min­ima (price on re­quest). 118 N. Third St., 215-9222002; min­

One- of- a- kind lift- lid chest and draw­ers fea­tur­ing dec­o­ra­tive paint­ing (price on re­quest). Philip H. Bradley Co. An­tiques, 1101 E. Lan­caster Ave., Down­ing­town, 610-269- 0427

Litho­graph print with orig­i­nal hand color by John James Audubon ($1,600). Arader Gal­leries, 1308 Wal­nut St., 215-735- 8811; arader­gal­

Clas­si­cal faux rose­wood grain- painted Gre­cian sofa, likely from Philadel­phia, circa 1820 ($2,875). Free­man’s, 1808 Chest­nut St., 215- 563-9275; free­mansauc­

Oval Floren­tine mir­ror (price on re­quest). Chelsea House Ltd., 45 Haver­ford Sta­tion Road, Haver­ford, 610- 896- 5554; chelsea

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