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Why a Certain Designer/Decorator/Writer/Producer Guy is Currently AWOL from the Internets
While I create design and decorating content out here in Los Angeles — occasionally bouncing back-and-forth and to-and-from Atlanta where my home is currently occupied by 6’8 ex-military dudes with guns, bad attitudes and an appetite for beating the $#%& out of anyone who even thinks of peeking in the windows with bad intentions — rest your retinas on my latest East Coast concoction: my own house. The same house I spent three years working on, almost finished, then moved to Los Angeles before ever sitting on the damn sofa.
Is Gidget allowed to sit on the sofa? Yes. When there is not a professional interiors photographer in the house taking photographs, is said sofa covered with bed sheets? Perhaps.
Decor Demon goes inside the approachable, awesome, all-things-high-and-low home of real estate photographer, artist and blogger, Blayne Beacham
“In a town full of phonies — I’m not afraid to be me.”. “I may look like I have it all — but I want more.”. “It’s time for me to come out from my husband’s shadow and shine.” These little verbal snippets of heaven — opening sound bytes from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — render me inexplicably happy. So much that my ears perk up immediately — like a Border Collie to a dog whistle or a school librarian to an unruly tween — even if the TV happens to be three rooms away. In fact, I admittedly live for this gorgeous hogwash; it completes my soul and warms my heart in dubious, shameful ways.
While the aforementioned, brilliantly-produced [and most likely copyright protected] soundbytes may successfully sum up all six conflicting personality types in a matter of three seconds, packaging up a person in a single sentence doesn’t work as well in real life. Hold up, this is Decor Demon, a bloggy editorial website about decorating and design; why the hell are we still on RHOBH in the second of four paragraphs? Hell if I know but I will tell you one thing: This sentence, while at first seemingly random, is being used as a “bridge” or a “pickup” if you will — two screenwriting terms used in reality TV production — between the somewhat-easy-to-box-in ladies of Rodeo Drive and a sharp, savvy, southern blogger from Buckhead, Blayne Beacham.
Decking the halls in one day for under $250 using an unexpected holiday hue
Produced, designed, written and directed by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Christina Wedge
When it comes to guys and holiday decorating, I envision spaces more in sync with A Charlie Brown Christmas than The White House Holiday Special. Although I’m a practicing decorator, I’m certainly no exception to the rule. In fact, just a few years ago, my own dark, sparse apartment suggested that Halloween, not Christmas, took place on December 25th. But this year, I did kinda get into Christmas; however, taking more than a day to plan and execute it, notsomuch.
Always up for a challenge, I decided to conceptualize and bring to life my own holiday décor in a single day—on a teeny, tiny budget. To make the entire situation even more difficult, I declared red, green, silver and gold totally off limits. Instead I stuck with violet, brown, white and bronze, hitting up only three checkbook-friendly stores to find it all: Wal-Mart, Target and Big Lots. Now that my halls are decked in a less cliché manner, am I in the Christmas spirit? Kinda. Am I more focused on the six-foot, ultra-white tree in the corner throwing off the balance of my living room’s year-round look than the gifts below it? Bah humbug, yes.
Bringing Christmas morning to a TV studio in the middle of September
Produced, written and directed by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Christina Wedge
Nothing pisses me off more than seeing Christmas commercials on my TV before seeing trick-or-treaters at my front door. Well, actually, there’s dozens of things that piss me off even more, starting with sticks in a vase shoved in a corner, but you get the point. After eight years working both FOR and ON the small screen, I kinda get the Christmas-cart-before-the-Halloween-horse thing: Nothing personal, just business. When you’re in the middle of dealing with concepts and designs that have 30-day shelf lives, it all starts to make a little more sense. Designers, inventors and marketing gurus have a small window of opportunity to get seasonal items out there—and make them sell.
As freelance Associate Producer [Design & Decorating] for a long-running Saturday morning series, I was given the task of showcasing the hottest toys for December 25th—in mid-September. Yeah, kinda hard to get into the holiday spirit when [a] it’s 89 degrees outside [b] stoplights are the only things sporting the green and red combo [c] store employees have yet to become familiar with red-nosed-reindeer.
Thankfully, the not-yet-released toys were sent directly from the sponsor; however, showing them in Christmas morning context was the tricky part. My mission, and I chose to accept it, was to showcase these soon-to-be-all-the-rage toys in a fresh, modern holiday setting. But there’s more: The on-set environment called for a Christmas morning feel void of branded-and-licensed reindeer, copyright-protected snowmen and the uber-expected green/red color scheme. Oh and yeah, it all needed to go up in about two hours—including walls. From working with a microscopic budget to giving test-runs to battery-operated mice, I brought my photographer in to capture the insanity of morning show set dressing. Will this project impress the upscale, residential-design-loving Elle DECOR crowd? No. Will it give morning show TV lovers a new understanding of how much work goes into creating a two-minute segment on Dance Star Mickey Mouse, Singamajigs and Stride To Ride Dinosaurs. Well, it better. Otherwise, I’m clearly in the wrong business.
The Country Living Fair brings a contemporary edge to the classic, rural lifestyle
Produced, written and directed by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Christina Wedge
A few months back, I crafted a snarky Facebook status update about my personal hell-on-earth hue, beige. The smartass words garnered a comment from shelter magazine superstylist, Annette Joseph, stating “Now, now, Mr. Flynn, there is a place for every color”. Nine well-crafted, inevitably-deleted attempts at a reply later, I kinda found the talented Ms. Joseph’s prose insightful. Design is all about reinterpretation; therefore any hue, material or style snobbishly voted off the island may, in turn, oust its naysayer at a surprise, twist-of-fate elimination round. No tried and true design style is more surprisingly sophisticated these days than country. Read More
Decor Demon brings some much needed glamour to FOX News reporter Stacey Elgin‘s home office with a medium size budget and ambitious timeline
Produced, designed, written, styled and directed by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Sarah Dorio
Finally! After five years designing homes, I’ve been able to use this sentence: “My client is in Spain with Cameron Diaz learning how to drive stunt cars so we’re gonna have to push the purple ceiling installation back two days until she’s done interviewing Tom Cruise, then stops by Austria.”. These words don’t stem from being delusional or obsessed with A-Listers or Scientology but rather from the fact that my new FOX News reporter client, Stacey Elgin, has the coolest day job in the galaxy. Referred to as The Road Warrior [in reference to her live, out-in-the-field morning news show of the same name], the stunning southern belle is tasked with assignments ranging from movie premieres and press junkets to American Idol finales and the latest and greatest in fashion and fitness. The well-spoken blonde bombshell hired my team to infuse glamour into her lackluster home studio. What the hell does a news reporter need a home studio for? Well, when this Road Warrior is off the road, she runs a website hocking high-end women’s workout gear and custom jewelry. The only sucky part of the project? Getting it all done in about a week. The un-sucky part? My client’s hands-off approach and super fun taste. Her three decorating must-haves? Pink, black and mirror. This situation can best be described as a designer’s wet dream.
While the girl on TV braved 100 mph loop-dee-loops around Spanish race car tracks with Golden Globe and Oscar nominees, my team braved 100% humidity-infused drives back and forth from Home Depot with trim color candidates. Although we aimed for Bergdorf caliber high fashion, the proposed budget was more of a fit for Dress Barn. Thanks to an amazing wallpaper website, we scored a Halston-esque 1970′s pattern for the walls without breaking the bank, then the rest fell into place. We saved on storage and seating, splurged on floors, trim and custom draperies, then went Wisteria wild for our finishing touches. At the tail end of the project, I realized one minor detail. I never ran this pretty in pink concept by Stacey’s blue-and-brown-loving man’s man of a husband.
Jewelry designer Mark Edge adds a historic Atlanta bungalow to his portfolio of polished, one-of-a-kind gems
Produced, written, directed and styled by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Mali Azima
“If you can’t say something nice, come sit by me.” – Olympia Dukakis, Steel Magnolias. Decor Demon’s own mantra is somewhat similar; however, YOU is swapped with THEY in reference to thanks-but-no-thanks publications who’ve scouted, then passed up homes with unapologetic styles. So what if said publication ran out of room for you at their brand-specific table? Even more reason for you to, well, come sit by me. Much like co-star Shirley MacLaine’s red velvet armadillo cake, dark and eclectic interiors are often labeled too “edgy” or, in some cases, considered “too difficult to photograph”. ENTER Mark Edge, a jewelry-making man about town whose elegant, masculine home was passed up for national consideration when, dubiously, the only “edgy” thing about it is its owner’s last name. Mark’s stunning Midtown Atlanta project came Decor Demon’s way when our editor friend, Lisa Mowry, passed it along knowing its overall dark aesthetic would never fly with her affiliated brands. Two things [a] Lisa is pretty, tall and generous [b] finders keepers.
A soft-spoken, exquisitely dressed Southern gentlemen, the talented Mr. Edge purchased his dream home, a historic bungalow in Midtown Atlanta, with plans to reinvent it as a showstopper fit for a man’s man. Much like the raw stones in his jewelry design studio, Mark stripped all 4,000 square feet of house to the core before busting out the polish, then adding his magic touch. With some help from designer/friend Amy Wikman and her studio, Bjork Antikt, Mr. Edge would spend the next 18 months invading flea markets, estate sales and thrift stores in search of one-of-a-kind pieces from which to create something unique and easy-on-the-checkbook. Modern? Sure. Traditional? Hell yeah! Dark colors? Y-E-S. Photo shoot nightmare? Um, no. Like, not AT ALL. Two lighting kits, three buckets of flowers and one brilliant photographer later, the same home deemed too dark and edgy for others became an editorial gold mine for us.
Decor Demon takes a rundown Rhode Island teacher’s lounge from detention to head of the class
Produced, designed, written, directed and styled by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Sarah Dorio
In the mid-1990′s, my Mom worked as an elementary school teacher’s aide and would bring home one of her behaviorially challenged students for after school care. His name was Drew, he was a twin and he annoyed the hell out of me. Like clockwork, his Monday through Friday 2:53 pm arrival started with his Nintendo-obsessed laser eyes zooming in on a seldom-used GameBoy perched atop my meticulously styled bedside table. By 2:54pm, excessive bad kid Super Mario noise would penetrate my bedroom walls, disrupting my act of pretend-studying while actually listening to Jagged Little Pill and reading the “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!” section of People Magazine. Since Mrs. Flynn was, afterall, responsible for this gentle terror’s daily home invasion, I’d quickly throw the side eye her way as she’d zone out to Oprah over non-fat, sugar-free Jell-O with Cool Whip. That hour of what I used to consider maternal self-indulgence has new meaning after having worked a full week alongside teaching professionals in something inaccurately referred to as a “teachers’ lounge”. I’d probably call it an oversized mop closet. In fact, the only lounge-like thing about it was that it looked like it should have been CLOSED during the day.
This all came about when The Editor at Large requested my participation in a Staples-sponsored project aimed at re-designing teachers’ lounges throughout the Northeast. Five of them. Simultaneously. For free. So, of course, I said yes. Wait, whaaaa? Well…there were several reasons I rose to the challenge: [a] to kinda-sorta walk a day in Momma Patrick Flynn’s shoes [b] The Editor at Large has a pretty, orange website [c] give back to people like Momma Patrick Flynn who put up with other peoples’ brats all day for 2 cents an hour.
From talent and ambition to culture and kindness, the Flurry family practices what they preach
Produced, directed, written and styled by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Sarah Dorio
Watch THIS. In my humble opinion, it’s the most finely-crafted movie trailer ever made, not to mention 2010′s most inspiring piece of creative work. Experiencing a great movie trailer, especially in the theater, makes me wanna bust through the doors, grab my bag of tricks and do something spectacular. To be able to convey a great story in only 90 seconds requires a meticulously-orchestrated arrangement of music, sound bytes and jaw-dropping imagery. A full-day lifestyle shoot in Athens, Ga. with the Flurry family felt just like that, getting a sneak peek at something, inspiring, profound and magical. Both Mom [Amy] and Dad [Alan] are kind human beings with professional accomplishments certain to impress even the stuffiest of Ivy League scholars. Kids, Ellis [son] and Camille [daughter], are both creative individuals who give the youth of America a good name. Basically, the Flurrys are the antithesis of those love-to-hate-’em family members we watch on Bravo; they’re entertaining, inspiring and heart-warmingly pleasant.
Amy is a freelance magazine writer, having served as a regional editor for Lucky. She has also contributed to Country Living, O, House Beautiful, Conde Nast Traveler, and InStyle. The haute momma is also co-founder of Paper-Cut-Project, a creative endeavor for which she and partner Nikki Salk conceive campaigns and styling elements in paper for fashion productions. Alan, an author and communications guy for the fine & performing arts at the University of Georgia, also writes a useful and informative blog, whatdoesgreenmean.net, which has an impressive niche following. For years, my photographer and I have worked with The Divine Mrs. F. on various local and national shelter magazines; since both Momma and Poppa Flurry loathe the spotlight, it took some sophisticated stalking on my part to bust through the front door with a camera. Once inside with an armful of flowers, tripods and reflectors, it was time to leave the keyboard typing and picture taking to us, tasking all four Flurrys with the assignment of simply being subjects. How did it turn out? Well, considering how many great moments and spaces there were to shoot that we skipped lunch and dinner so as not to miss an opportunity, I’d say pretty damn good. Not to mention, we’ve got so many stellar images that Camille and Ellis are getting their own awesome article on kickass kids’ rooms. Whoever said too much of a good thing was bad—is totally wrong.
A peek inside the January 2011 Gift & Home Furnishings Market from a 6’5 designer’s perspective
Produced, written and directed by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Ashley Waldron Hope
Hey, I probably had one chance in my lifetime to use a title like that, okay? So here’s the deal: As an Atlanta-based decorator slash designer, I’ve been the biggest ADAC snob since embarking on this lemme-come-and-decorate-your-crib-career-situation, but recently discovered something game-changing. What the hell is ADAC? Well, for anyone not in the Atlanta area, it’s the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, which is super high-end, glamorous, wonderful and shiny. For those of you in Los Angeles, it’s the equivalent of the Pacific Design Center; in New York, kinda like the D&D Building. Recently, I strayed from my usual ADAC-centric routine to check out “The Other” trade-only designer megacomplex, America’s Mart. The result? Oh. My. Gawd.
Remember money—that green stuff handed over to stores to get other stuff, you used to be able to save it and smells kinda weird? Well, America’s Mart is not only a delicious place for decorators and designers to purchase gorgeous items for the home, it’s also a magical place where you get to KEEP many of those green pretties. I trekked the January 2011 Gift & Home Furnishings Market and was blown away at the amazing trade-only pieces available both from temporary exhibits and permanent showrooms. Many times, I wanted to pull the showroom personnel aside and say “I think you marked down the wrong prices on your stuff; that says $349, isn’t it supposed to be $3499?”. Alas, no, it’s like ACTUALLY AFFORDABLE but looks rich-people-only-ish. Here’s a quickie first glance at the magic of the Mart. Y’all come back now in a day or two for the full rundown: who, what, where and how. In the meantime, leave a comment about any other magical design-centric place you’ve found where high-design is incomprehensibly attainable. Or else I will not like you.
Produced, directed, styled and written by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Sarah Dorio
“Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little” – Gore Vidal. While I find writers quoting other writers highly irritating, I find designers competing with other designers to be ten times worse. Sure, this makes for great reality-competition-television which I LOVE, but in real life, can’t we all just get along?
Re-purpose a vintage suitcase into a designer dog bed…in a single afternoon
To keep my sneaky Terrier, Gidget, off my spill-anything-on-it-and-I-will-sue-your-ass-off sofa, I challenged myself to some designer DIY. The project? Transform a vintage suitcase into a one-of-a-kind dog bed. Although I’d like to claim I came up with the idea myself, the original inspiration came from clever artisans on etsy. If the words “screwdriver” and “drill” intimidate the hell outta you, take the easy route by popping out the credit card and tossing some dollars etsy’s way. On the other hand, if you’ve got a full afternoon to kill and a dog eager to slobber on your Schumacher-upholstered sofa, you should get on top of this project pronto. It’s pretty easy, not to mention uber-cheap—I’ll even pinky swear on it. Altogether, it set me back about $55. That’s a small price to pay for a pee-free sofa. Not to mention a house void of cliche, dog-themed fabric—which may, in fact, be a secret portal straight to pet furniture hell.