Q&A With Brian Patrick Flynn
Casaza: How did you get your start?
Brian Patrick Flynn: Oh boy. This answer is always a big one. I was actually a T.V. news producer before I turned to interior design. I really excelled at home and garden-related stories and enjoyed producing them, so much that I then took a few steps back to work as the assistant to the art director on home remodeling shows, and that’s where I learned everything about building codes, regulations, materials, fabrication, etc.
Soon thereafter I started working as a set decorator and then KAZAM! A few of the network executives I worked with asked if I’d be interested in working on their own private homes. I said yes, and here we are.
C: How would you describe your style?
BPF: Rugged and elegant. I’m a huge fan of opposites, and the mix of something rugged and rustic with something refined and tailored, that’s just my thing. Not just with interiors, but also in fashion and in life in general.
C: Favorite room in the house?
BPF: The dining room is always my favorite room in the house because it’s simple to design: seating, lighting, art as a conversation starter, a table, and a rug. I also think the way a dining room is designed shapes the casualness or formality of the house. A super dramatic dining room is probably gonna be used for fancy dinners or entertaining for business. Conversely, a casual dining room invites people to set up their laptop and use the area as a laid back impromptu workspace or for kids to use as a homework station or art center.
C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
BPF: Album covers, duh? I know it’s a weird answer but I always find album covers to be the best source of an overall vibe and attitude, and many times even find unique palettes from them. In fact, I just wrapped HGTV Dream Home 2019 in Whitefish, Montana, and the palette for the great room was totally inspired by Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour cover.
C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
BPF: The only design rule I actually subscribe to is the principle of scale and proportion. If you get scale and proportion right, everything else will fall into place. Scale and proportion lead to balance, and a well designed space, just like a well lived life, is all about balance.
C: Recent project that inspired you?
BPF: My summer house in Reykjavik, Iceland is my favorite project I’ve ever designed and it’s also my recharging station. I spend May, July, and August in Iceland and just explore the gorgeous landscapes and learn how the skilled artisans work with materials, and that’s super inspiring.
C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
BPF: On walls, I love a really nubby raffia because it creates visual tension in a room. Pattern-wise, I’m a huge fan of plaid because it’s timeless and can be traditional or modern depending on how you use it. Black and dark forest green are my two favorite colors because they are rugged and elegant at the same time and can be dressed up or dressed down in almost any kind of architectural or vernacular setting.
C: What is “good design” to you?
BPF: Good design to me is anything that makes you feel a certain way. If a room is just there, what’s the point? Think of rooms as a chance to make a statement or express who you are and what you’re about. I also think being one of a kind is synonymous with good design. Don’t follow what other people are doing; do the opposite of that and make you’re home just for you.
C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
BPF: Answer 1: Colin Firth character’s midcentury modern home in A Single Man. It’s the epitome of a perfect home to be because it’s super tailored and menswear inspired and all about bridging the gap between indoors and outdoors.
Answer 2: Maya Rudolph’s house. I love highly intelligent women who also happen to be effortlessly hysterical and I would just wanna tap into her energy and genius all day and hang out and drink green juice with healthy stuff like kale and cacao.
C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
BPF: Catering. I don’t cook and I won’t cook, but I do love having fresh food catered so everyone gets to enjoy themselves and I don’t have to do that whole thing people do, stressing out all day before a group of 15 arrives. I’d rather arrange fresh floral before everyone arrives, then just eat together rather than spending the entire day in the kitchen.
C: Best advice for DIYers?
BPF: Less is more. If you’re gonna DIY something, try juxtaposing it with something higher-end and/or artisanal. No one will ever know you DIY’d it and will assume everything is custom.
C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
BPF: It’s important to understand the interior design projects are always moving targets. Be flexible and let the designer change things up as budgets start to tighten and timelines start to shorten. I live by the 70/30 rule; roughly 70% of my design is set in stone, and then there’s 30% that can change daily to keep budgets and timelines in check. Sometimes happy accidents make a room ten times better. Also, some of the best rooms are ones that just came together by trying things again and again to see what worked.
C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
BPF: I’m excited to see the millennial appreciate to the 1980s Memphis style. It’s fun and weird and happy and super complex and not for everyone, but when Memphis pieces are mixed with others, it can create something spectacular.
C: How do you take your coffee?
BPF: I take my coffee invisible because caffeine gives me the shakes and pushes me over the edge since I’m an anxious person. Instead, I’m a fan of peppermint tea with honey and coconut milk.