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.
Blue tones dominate the kids’ quarters, starting with Ellis’s room. Benjamin Moore’s “Jamaican Aqua” 2048-60 carries over from three solid-painted walls to the seventh-grader’s hand-painted focal wall. Designed and executed by decorative painter slash artist, Lou Kregel, each bullseye-ish orb sports five accent colors: from the outside in, “Chamomile” C2-153, “Larkspur” C2-313, “Solo” C2-128, “Calypso” C2-089 and “Hydrangea” C2-315 from C2 Paints. For full disclosure, especially since Amy is a fact-checking, research-heavy writer, I would like to pre-confess that I shall steal this same idea and apply it to the deck of my outdoor living room. But I digress. Like most of Amy’s I-shop-so-much-I-forget-where-it-came-from vintage finds, the bathroom chandelier was either scored at The Paris Market & Brocante in Savannah or the uber-beloved Agora boutique in Athens [a college town about an hour from Atlanta]. For a dose of high-energy, the walls were updated with “Bermuda Blue” 2061-30 from Benjamin Moore. And then there’s Camille’s room, packed with so many great objects, it’s hard not to write about every single one: her vinyl LP’s have an impressive range for someone in their 40′s let alone a third grader, the bed is a hand-me-down from Mom, linens are from India Rose and the hand-made organic dolls are from blabla. Kregel also made her mark on Camille’s room with a graphic flower painted “Capri Seas” 2047-40 and “Stem Green” 2029-40 by Benjamin Moore. Good genes, awesome hair and keen fashion sense courtesy of Amy and Alan Flurry.
As far as Amy’s instincts go, she’s kinda like a style-centric superwoman. As my photographer and I clickety-clicked our way throughout the house, the modern matriarch [a] whipped up a totally fresh lunch for the family [b] threw together an organic pizza from scratch for us [c] fielded business-related emails and phone calls [d] started one of her paper cut projects with an X-Acto knife and tons of patience [e] kidded around on the piano with the kiddos [f] did it all rockin’ a mod Lanvin dress picked up at Community, a vintage boutique in downtown Athens. While many fashion and shelter writers succumb to the shoemaker’s-kids-have-no-shoes cliche, Amy kicks it to the curb. Nearly everything in the house was discovered at flea markets and vintage stores—or, as in the Danish modern chair’s case, a neighbor’s front porch. Amy pilfered the 1950′s gem from next door [with permission, of course], then had it recovered in an Amy Butler fabric. Above the mantel hangs an original piece of art by local musician slash Alan’s Best Man, Tim Adams. Between Mr. and Mrs. Flurry, there are enough vintage novels to keep a small school supplied with reading material for a year. You know how most teens and tweens are awful, hate everything and enjoy making one another miserable? Yeah, not Camille and Ellis. In fact, they kinda enjoy each other—like for real, not just in a mom-and-dad-have-twenty-strangers-over-and-we-cannot-leave-so-I-will-pretend-not-to-hate-you sort of way. Both play piano [think Alicia Keys or Jamie Cullum versus a dying cat or maimed porpoise] and keep travel blogs focused on international destinations like France and Greece. Names of their blogs? The Ellis Zone and The Camille Star. NOTE TO SELF: Have kids by age 40 and demand they turn out just like Ellis and Camille.
Front of the house persona
The front portion of the house is packed with personal, one-of-a-kind items, both and old new. Once you step out of the den, you find yourself in what the family refers to as “The Dance Hall”. Carrying back-of-the-house-traditions up to the front, Amy went blue on the walls using “Myrtle Blossom” from Sherwin-Williams. Once your dance card is full, it’s time to waltz out into the great room sporting Sherwin-Williams’ “Sedate Gray”. At the entry, you’re greeted by a wooden bench found at a yard sale with a painting by Athens artist Andy Cherewick perched above. Aside from second-hand items, the home also kicks some custom ass. The featured foursome gathers–get this, seven nights a week—for home-cooked meals seated at a table made from sustainable black walnut by Atlanta-based designer, Marla Henderson. While Amy is the main cook, Alan is also quick to whip up something equally as impressive. The culinary gene doesn’t stop there; Camille and Ellis are connoisseurs specializing in crepes which they both concoct and ingest. Their favorite ingredient? Nutella. NOTE: When styling these images, I may or may not have paired mismatched chairs from all over the house at the table due to an unhealthy obsession with not having things that match. It’s up to you decide. The Egyptian chandelier is made from mouth-blown glass and non-mouth-blown brass. When I asked Amy where it was from, she replied “Cairo. The one in Egypt, not the one in Georgia.”. Why the hell is there a Cairo, a Dublin and an Athens in Georgia? Are we facing that much of a deficit for naming cities in this state? Stepping. Off. Soapbox. Inside the kitchen window sits an LP we did NOT steal from Camille’s room; its words and image are priceless. The black leather sofa is from Intaglia and the art above it is from Andy Cherewick.
Cash in the attic
Amy and Alan remodeled what was previously a dingy attic into tailored, tasteful spaces dedicated to both work [making money] and creativity [having fun]. While certain portions were not yet camera-friendly, Amy’s office was fair game. Green starts just outside the space with a privacy wall covered in vine. As you make your way up and into Amy’s office, the happy hue wraps itself around the room with a Martha Stewart paint color called “Floral”. Mrs. Flurry spends between 25-45 hours weekly on Paper Cut Project, depending on the scope, timeline and level of detail involved. When not in creative mode with business partner, Nikki Salk, Amy writes articles for The Inside Source, ebay’s online magazine. She and Alan designed a cozy nook strictly dedicated to feeding the family’s brains some word candy. The custom cushion was made from Amy Butler fabric. PS – if you think her fabric is to-die-for, then you’ll surely have a heart attack over her wallpaper from Graham & Brown.
The Arts and Crafts-style home was built in 1910 and includes some charming local history; it was created by the Athens city engineer, J.W. Barnett [1889-1930], who lived next door, as a separate structure for his mother-in-law. As the sun began to lose its luster and Camille’s swinging back and forth came to a close, we had to say goodbye to the amazing citizens of humanity that are the Flurry family—including their handsome Weimaraner, Tyrone. But y’all come back now, ya hear; we’re publishing an entirely new article all about Camille and Ellis’s rooms faster than you can say Cairo, Georgia. Oops, I just realized something: I left the family’s dining chairs out in the yard. @#%$&&