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Spotlight: Brian Patrick Flynn — Spotlight

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

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Spotlight: Brian Patrick Flynn

We had the pleasure of meeting the very talented and creative mind of Brian Patrick Flynn.  Brian is a self taught interior designer that you may recognize from TBS’s Movie & a Makeover or any one of his creative endeavors. Brian Patrick Flynn took a non-traditional path to interior design because his formal education is in television and film production from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.  After graduation he worked in news for six months before making the leap to work behind the scenes on the Robert Verdi’s design show Surprise by Design.  After growing tired of doing most of the work off camera and the on-personality taking the credit, he realized he had a knack for interior design. Brian discovered that in just a few hours with only a few sentences from producers and the on-air talent that his designs would make it to air, so he knew he was on to something.  At first Brian admits to struggling with self doubt but then realized that he liked design so much that he might as well go for it. So he auditioned for his own series.  Brian shared that for funds in college he would paint houses and find old pieces of furniture in the trash and leaned to refinish it himself. He also received an education from reading design books and watching Trading Spaces, the first design make over show.

NOW after having a very successful career as an interior designer transforming homes, restaurants, offices and even dorm rooms, he shifted his focus to an online publication Décor Demon inspired by a successful column he wrote in the Atlanta Peach Magazine.  Given Brian’s background in TV and sick of auditioning for his own series on HGTV, he decided to take another leap of faith by creating and investing in a 100% online series that reflects where he envisions design moving… toward the juxtaposition of pop culture with affordability, recycled, glamorous, and do-it-yourself. The site features editorials and webisodes that are not only entertaining but also take away driven.  Décor Demon caters to interior designers high and low as well as those of us whom just enjoy interiors. When we met with Brian Patrick Flynn he had just come back from presenting Décor Demon to the entire design community in Miami. (Check it out!) Brian’s personality and passion for design is infectious and it is clear that we will be seeing a lot more of this creative mind.

Q: What are some of the differences in designing for a TV show as opposed to a regular space?

A: In television design  you are typically on a 2 days shoot which does NOT means you have 48 hours of design;  you normally only have about 12 hours with multiple takes for sound to ensure to tell a story. Also in television, you have to use super bold colors, graphic lines, and enormous scale. The lighting oftentimes drowns things out so NO soft greys or soft purples. You want to avoid moray! (caused when things dance around on camera if the pattern is too small) You also use very few accessories to reduce the clutter on camera.  Basically TV is for entertainment, you keep in mind the before and after…there must be a payoff.  I learned through trial and error.

Q: What is the easiest for you in design?

A: COLOR. I hate expected color schemes, instead of the super popular baby blue and chocolate brown. I like powder blue with gunmetal grey and pops of reds and orange. It’s a little less trendy and a lot more classic, very mid-century. The objective is to think outside the box and offer fresh and new ideas.  Taking risks. My color scheme calling card for a while was Kelly green, fire engine red, black-brown and white. These colors weren’t meant to go together because traditionally red, green, and white reminds you of Christmas. What I like to do with color is find a combination of colors that is branded and throw in another color to take your eye off the branding. For example, I invited my friends over see my paint chips and asked if the colors reminded them of anything however no one had anything to say. Afterward,  I did my whole place like that and purposefully didn’t put the red and the green next to each other. Finally,  I asked if it reminded them of Christmas and it didn’t so then I realized that color is so easy to me.

Q: Tell me about a disappointing time in your design career?

A: In TV I had one episode where the home owner wanted to have a lot of input and I didn’t have enough prep time do it 100% the way I wanted.  I learned when you don’t have enough of a your own voice you have to sometime be a firm and say NO that’s not going to work because if  you acquiesce for the sake of non confrontation  your end result  suffers.  I have never used the photographs from the space professionally because I didn’t feel like it was my voice or vision. So I learned to be more selective as a producer and really strict about whom you cast.

I did a restaurant a few years ago where I was given a small budget and short timeline. Nevertheless I accomplished everything the client wanted but I felt like my design fell flat.  I didn’t have enough budget to buy a nice mixture of textures and to me what makes a space successful is a mixture of textures and higher end fabrics. You have to have the right budget and timeline or sometimes your outcome won’t be what you hoped for.

Q: What is your favorite place to shop for accessories and nicknacks?

A: A big retail space I like verses resell is Z-Gallery because everything is really big scale and has very graphic lines. My favorite place for vintage scores is Kudzu Antiquies. [Near the Dekalbs Farmers Market] I enjoy the  Farmers Market for real life accessories like florals and greenery. I always go to the farmers market because things are 30% cheaper.

Q: When it comes to decorating a space do you prefer real flowers and fruit or is it ok to have plastics?

A: That is a good question. Plastics are never ok. When it comes to Faux, I hate those things. Some faux artists do beautiful work but that is just not my personal choice. I have seen some beautiful faux work. But I just feel like my mind is so graphic that when I see faux paint done with a finish it’s just not clean enough. However I do like faux animal covering on walls. For instance, I love faux crocodile wallpaper.  I am also ok with a vinyl that is faux leather because you get the wear and tear of leather but at the vinyl price point. BUT fake flowers and fake trees are ugh… I usually can’t keep my mouth shut.

Q: When you go to someone’s house for the first time do you have a hard not having a response?

A: That is a great question. When I walk into someone’s house or even when I’m invited to a dinner party I get a little uncomfortable because I worry that person is self conscious because they know what I do for a living. However when they do pop the question I always find something I like and I usually comment on that. But if they ask my opinion about everything else I remind them that making spaces perfect is what I do for a living and that my opinions are not a commentary on them personally. So I generally draw the line with the things I like however,  if they really want me to be cut throat I will do so in a tactful manner. I turn off friend mode and become a brutally honest business person.

Q: What was the last book you read?

A: Hue by Kelly Wearstler. She’s one of the top American interior Designers. Her work is kind of out there; some people look at her designs and throw up but I go WOW, how did she get that to work. Those colors are so bad and so 80′s yet the juxtaposition of the finishes make it work. I don’t think anyone would look at that and say yes or no. It normally falls into a gray area. I think the aesthetic is something that is not perfect…it’s not gross…it’s not good…it is a juxtaposition of both.  That is the last book that I’ve read and been really inspired by.

Q: Do you have any pets?

A: Yes, two dogs. Sebastian and Gidget – named after a 1960′s TV series starring Sally Field. Having pets has also changed the way in which I design because I used to be a huge fan of white upholstery, ha. One of the things that having pets has taught me is the value of indoor/ outdoor fabrics used inside on upholstery because you end up getting durability that will withstand slobber and shedding. There are certain outdoor fabrics that look so nice that when you bring them inside, they are still pretty and you can have dogs on them. I think that has made me a stronger designer.

Q: Describe the evolution of your work from when you started to now?

A: Budget. If you look from when I started to what I do now the budgets have gotten bigger. So that means I can go to different show rooms and score things for a higher dollar value.  7 years ago, all I could do was Ikea, West Elm, Pier One and major fabric chains. But then as I progressed I was able to go to the Atlanta Decorating Arts Center (ADAC). Also credit some of my education from shopping at ADAC. When you are in one of those showrooms buying fabric at $160 per yard, you need to know why and why anybody would pay that.

We enjoyed meeting and discussing interior design with Brian Patrick Flynn. He is truly a creative mind that we hope to see a lot of in the future. Let us know what you think about his work below:

If would like for us to spotlight any other designers, let us know here.

About Terrance Brown
I have a bachelors degree from the University of Alabama in World Business concentrating in International Marketing and French. I spent the past 3 years working at a large ad agency as a Broadcast Negotiator, on accounts such as Ford, Dominos, Burger King, Olive Garden, Cellular South, and Toys R Us to name a few. After being laid off in February '09, I've switched my attentions to helping make Refugee Desiger.com become a destination covering all aspects of design.


  1. Kristie says:

    Great article! I love his work!

  2. Romey Louangvilay says:

    Brian is a very good example of if you got it, you got it. I’m familiar with his work and he is a true talent. Too bad not many “design” blogs cover him so kudos to the Refugee Designer Team!

  3. Dustin says:

    PETA would be proud… faux animal coverings are where it’s at! Good stuff.

  4. Kristin says:

    So interesting – I love that he’s self-taught. Very talented!!

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