When I first meet Brian Patrick Flynn I had yet to become acquainted with his brilliant blog Décor Demon. This past spring Brian and I ended up on a fun and lively Editor at Large panel at WestWeek in LA discussing social media and the design community. Completely by chance, it turned out the next day that we were sitting across from each other on the same flight to Atlanta.
Without question, Brian’s vivacious personality is both genuine and contagious and these traits come across loud and clear on his blog. Given the one–dimensionality of blogs, you lose the benefit of facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice, making sequent dialog toilsome. It is sometimes difficult to really get a feel for the writer’s personality.
This, however, is NOT the case with Brian. His high-energy style is just as authentic and infectious on the computer screen as it is in person. His writing and photos aptly express his wicked sense of humor and charismatic charm.
The television producer turned self-taught decorator/designer is a master at creating edgy-meets-elegant spaces. His production credits range from news programs with an NBC affiliate in South Florida to design and reality shows on Discovery Channel, HGTV, TBS and Fox.
In addition to being the set decorator and on-air design talent for the TBS series, Movie and a Makeover, Brian is also an associate producer of the show. Most recently he added the role of writer for hgtv.com to his exciting and growing vita.
Perhaps Brian’s self-professed approach to life and design is what most resonates with me, “Easily amused. Not so easily impressed.” I sometime feel the same way, however, when it comes to Brian’s work and ethos, it’s easy to be impressed.
How would you describe your personal style?
My design and decorating style is cinematic, happy and youthful. It’s dramatic but at the same time doesn’t take itself too seriously. For example, I’d highly enjoy a 6 foot wide painting of Mr. Potato Head hung on a wall of black Imperial Trellis wallpaper in a dining room with Hermes china. My own uber-modern charcoal mid-century kitchen is soon to be illuminated by a massive violet Venetian glass chandelier. You get the point.
What inspires your creativity and designs?
Stanley Kubrick films and vintage family photos from the 1950‘s and 1960‘s. The production design behind every Kubrick film was a master class in reinvention, pattern, lighting and scale. When I flip through old mid-century family photos, I always find elements of sophisticated fun: the satin brass finish from my grandfather’s 1950’s poolside loungers, the nubby textures of my grandmother’s mod dresses, the elongated boomerang shape at the end of my aunt and uncle’s shuffleboard sticks. Wow, I just said shuffleboard and Stanley Kubrick in the same paragraph–that’s a first.
What is your most prized possession?
I hold a hot pink, black and white pop art painting of Natalie Portman by artist Ronnie Bautista high on my list of most prized possessions. For some reason, whatever room I hang it in ends up being the room in which I’m the most social. This is rather bizarre since the painting depicts her as the sociopathic stripper from the movie, Closer.
Who are your style icons?
I like to refer to my style icons, living and non-living, as designer crushes because I’m forever giddy over their work. Sara Ruffin Costello is probably my idol; she’s a walking encyclopedia of style and has an amazing sense of humor. David Hicks influenced my obsessive pairing of red with brown and newfound love for skirted tables. Amy Lau continues to blow my mind; I love the mid-century influence behind every single thing she does. Her Dexter dining room for the Metropolitan Home Showtime showhouse still has me salivating Pavlovianly.
Michael Habachy’s sexy modernization of the dramatic often leaves my jaw on the floor. Every time I look at a Brad Ford designed space, I’m in awe of his mastery with editing. I love Kelly Wearstler for re-inventing the way my entire generation perceives interior design. And lastly, Betsy Burnham. Everything about her epitomizes great style and personality: from her layering of prints, plethora of textures and finishes, ability to use bold color in an understated manner, to her quirky use of the Union Jack.
Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
Phoebe Howard. She’s the master of serene, traditional elegance; I paint walls kelly green, upholster stuff with Astroturf and hang billboard-sized black and white photos in living rooms. Imagine THAT combination of styles.
What books are currently on your bedside table?
Barry Dixon Interiors, The Selby is in Your Place, The Poky Little Puppy, Kelly Wearstler Hue, Furniture & Interiors of the 1970’s and Domino: The Book of Decorating.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Charcoal Belgian linen. Just kidding. Depositing paychecks for something I love doing so much, it truly doesn’t feel like work. Then using those paychecks to purchase charcoal Belgian linen.
Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life?
Up until age six, it was Mr. Rogers. From six to nine, it was Pac-Man. Sometime after that, Thomas O’Brien entered the picture but now, at 34, it’s become my mom and dad. Four well-raised kids, 40 years of marriage and a well-decorated house suddenly seem more exemplary than joysticks, button-up sweaters and chasing pink ghosts around a maze, then eating them.