The first time I saw Brian Patrick Flynn of Decor Demon, I thought, “I don’t know who he is, but he’s important.” 99.9% of the time I am way too intimidated to speak to people like that, but luckily Brian spoke to ME (I was holding “The Beacham Series,” which he recognized… yea!). It seemed I was the last person in Atlanta to not know of him. You may have seen him in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 10 Under 40 feature this month in which he talks about being completely self-taught. We got to know each other when I went to shoot something for him to use in one of his editorial design projects for HGTV. Yes, he produces, writes and styles shelter magazine content, photography and video…for HGTV! People around the world dream of that job and he actually has it, plus the network handpicked him to write posts for their blog, Design Happens and he hosts a web series on hgtv.com called “Fast Fixes” which he describes as “higher-end DIY”. He also let it slip out during our shoot that he’s been the home and garden producer for Movie and a Makeover on TBS as well as the show’s on-air design talent for 7 years. Yeah, he’s actually on TV! Brian doesn’t really talk about it and doesn’t think it’s a big deal…at all. As if that weren’t enough, in his free time he takes on his own design clients, writes and produces DIY articles for houzz and writes Decor Demon; every single magazine-quality image was created from scratch specifically for the site with Brian art directing and prop styling every shot himself. Are you kidding me? I’m so jealous of his job and his swanky retro modern home he decorated himself with almost all custom or vintage pieces! I think he’s amazing, and was thrilled to work on this blog post with him. I asked the questions and took the pictures. He answered the questions and told me which shots we needed to bring the answers to life. We had so much fun getting ready for this together, even running to Yogurt Tap for White Chocolate and Graham Cracker frozen yogurt topped with multi-colored gummy bears. I hope you enjoy getting to know my new friend as much as I have.
1. Why do you call yourself a decorator even though you design almost everything from scratch?
Denial, I think—and possibly the harsh ramifications of the American legal system. I’m self-taught and lack the ASID or NCIDQ stuff. Technically, I’m a decorator.
2. If you could work as a designer/decorator in any other city, what would it be?
Kinda-sorta L.A.; I’m on an inspiration-high each time I’m zipping around the Hollywood Hills, but I don’t necessarily wanna LIVE in Los Angeles. The midcentury modern homes there are SICK; my dream would be to work on 1950’s and 1960’s Hollywood homes full-time but still actually live in Atlanta. I love it here. Atlanta and I are meant to be together. We’re like Spencer and Heidi, Carrie Bradshaw and Manolo Blahnik, or perhaps, Naomi and Wynonna.
3. Pet peeves and cliches that drive you crazy…or not?
As far as pet peeves go: sticks in a vase shoved in a corner, themes in kids’ rooms, “art” bought at big box retail stores, swag window treatments, leather rolled-arm club chairs in manspaces…I could keep going but then people who like this stuff would hate me on the Interwebs and pull that let’s-leave-scathing-comments-on-blogs-about-this-dude-and-totally-ruin-his-day nonsense. No thanks! Now, as much as I wanna be over the empty-frames-grouped-and-hung-on-a-wall-thing, I kinda still like it. In fact, I did it above my media room sofa using spraypaint in violet, plum and bronze tones.
4. If you were forced to hire a designer to do your personal home, who would you use and why?
Phoebe Howard. Everything Phoebe uses is timeless, classic and made from the finest materials and/or craftsmanship. She’s also uber-refined whereas I paint red-orange zig-zags on wood floors and upholster walls with royal purple velvet; it would be a complete escape from my borderline-living-on-the-edge routine, plus I’d learn a great deal about restraint…in a good way.
5. What are you working on right now?
Pick up your camera, meet me in Inman Park at 3:15pm and I will show you. I’m just about to start a floor-to-ceiling redesign on an industrial-chic loft.
My client, Meghann, is a publicist. Her existing interiors make me wanna punch a squirrel. It’s all starter stuff with colors that just do NOT work with the space. We’re toning it down, BIG TIME.
We’ve decided on a handful of greys and plums. I always pick up $5 testers from Sherwin-Williams, then paint all potential choices in groups on walls in different areas of the space to see how they play with the supplied light. Our winning color? “Mystical Mauve” but since anything referred to as mauve is scary as hell, I will simply refer to the color by its product number. Once the space is finished, I’ll confess—kinda like when you serve someone tiny chicken empenadas at a cocktail party, then once they rave about the taste, you admit they were actually reindeer or polar bear.
Although I’d have opted for fabric on the dining room walls, budget called for low price-point wallcovering; we stuck with a modern floral from Graham & Brown which we ordered online. It showed up only three days later.
Meghann wants feminine, but more Wilhelmina Slater from Ugly Betty than Holly Hobby or tea party-poodle-skirt-girlie. We’re using modern and vintage lines, then mixing in some femme tones like the pink/grey geometric from Duralee and a budget-saving black/white zig-zag we found at Forsyth Fabrics for about $10 per yard.
I kinda despise new things unless I can design them from scratch; I prefer vintage whenever possible. Since I’m creating a custom bed, we’re
forced to save as much as possible in regards to all other purchases. We scored this lamp from Highland Row Antiques for a cool thirty bucks. Once the room is put together, we’ll top it with a new lampshade. I’m thinking it’ll be hot pink, then we’ll spraypaint the bottom of lamp the same hue.
All of the living room furniture we’ll be using was picked up at flea markets. In fact, the sofa, side chairs, bedside tables, dining chairs and table base all came to less than $500; however, we’ll be splurging on upholstery and refinishing. The furniture is in production right now but my seamstress already knocked out the pillows. From the hot pink linen to the rich, plum velvet, these are the tones that will flow throughout the entire space.
6. What does your own home look like?
Come over with your camera and see for yourself but don’t get too excited, all we can do is shoot tight, detail shots. Ain’t no way I’m gonna blow my chances with a national glossy shelter pub. They’d be all like “Awe, hellz nawe. You can’t be up in here if your crib’s already been published, dawg.” and I’d be all like “Y’all need to step off and chill, dawgs. The twitters and the blogosphere is where it’s at, ain’t y’all heard? Y’all better recognize”. You get the point. It’s a mashup of 1960’s and 1970’s set inside a 1955 midcentury modern ranch. Tons of texture through fabrics like silk-linen, velvet, boucle, Belgian linen and also through my grasscloth-covered walls. I’ve got pretty much all vintage pieces in grey tones accented with black, violet and tons of bronze and metallics. While it’s masculine, it’s also kinda elegant.
7. The last thing you bought for your own home?
Leather upholstered doors with bronze nailheads. Well, they were the existing doors, I sent them out to be upholstered. I bet you’ve never had someone tell you that before, huh?
8. Mood boards or sketches?
Trays. I fill trays with fabric, tile, flooring and finish options first, then once that’s solidified, I move on to space plans and sketches.
9. If you had 10 minutes to do a “Supermarket Sweep” of Home Depot, what would you get and why?
50 gallons of porch and floor paint, 3 HVLP paint sprayers, 5 cases of white gloss spray paint, 2000 linear feet of 1X8 MDF trim, stainless double door refrigerators, noiseless stainless dishwasher, 2000-sf of decking planks, exterior landscape up-lights, 2 tons of pea gravel, oil-rubbed bronze door hardware, 25 sheets of 4X8 beadboard and the most expensive pressure washer they stock. Yes, I have thought of this situation before. Many times.
10. If you won the lottery what would you do?
Purchase small homes in the following places, then spend two years living in and fully re-doing each one: cabin in the North Georgia Mountains, townhouse in Chicago, cottage somewhere on a lake, loft in downtown Denver and a two-story house somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.
11. Fill in the blank. If I never saw the color ___ again I could die a happy man.
Beige. There is no other choice. I loathe beige.
12. If you were stranded on a desert island (this is my favorite game) and could only bring one of the following, what would it be? [blanket, pillow, book, kitchen utensil, swimsuit, pair of shoes, T-shirt]
Blanket. I could use it wisely as shelter, fold it nicely as a pillow, wrap it around my head and play dress-up, wear it like a cool island sarong or stake it in the ground with a branch, then let it blow in the breeze as a get-me-the-@$#%-off-this-island flag. Well, as long as the blanket isn’t beige, that is.
Love. Him. – bb