Brian Patrick Flynn inspires us to think about what it means to live beautifully….
Brian Patrick Flynn is an American television producer turned interior designer. After years writing, producing and directing news programs and home improvement shows, Flynn tried his own hand at residential interiors, quickly earning the respect of his peers and shelter magazine editors. Brian combined his design and decorating skills with his television production experience to create FlynnsideOut Productions, a full-service production company specializing in lifestyle-related content. In addition to serving as Founder, Brian also serves as Executive Producer, Set Designer, Writer, and Prop Stylist for his projects. Brian is also a contributor and featured designer with HGTV.com.
We are excited to introduce Brian as our latest guest in our Make Life Beautiful Series and share our conversation about his career and creativity.
What was your very first job — ever?
There are two parts to this answer: first job working for a major corporation, and first step into entrepreneurship. Age 14, I was a grocery bagger at Publix in Tamarac, FL. Okay, so that sounds basic and not remarkably unique; however, I designed those bags so hard you cannot even imagine. I would fill the bags like puzzles and utilize every square inch to get as much stuff in as possible, and beautifully as well. I would mix colors and patterns and textures on packaging like no one else. Then, I said $%&$ it at age 16 and gave my two weeks notice to start my own business. What was it? Car detailing…all by myself. I went from making about $40 per day to $40 per hour after my dad taught me how to use an orbital buffer and I got super efficient at auto detailing. I learned how to restore color to paint that was faded, and thus began my love affair with transformational jobs and my journey into interior design.
A stunning outdoor dining space by Brian @bpatrickflynn.
Tell us about your journey into the creative industry, when did you realize that you could turn your passion into a career?
I went to film school with the hopes of becoming an art director on MTV’s The Real World or working behind the scenes on Wes Anderson’s production design team. I never thought of residential interior design until I was so broke from tuition costs that I started taking discarded furniture from the side of the road, watching Trading Spaces while in college, and transforming junk into vibrant and fun one-of-a-kind pieces. Friends noticed my passion for this and swore I should change majors. I did not change majors, but ended up getting a job in the art department of a major TV series at the time where I learned everything about fabrics, millwork, ADA compliance, building codes, furniture styles and prop styling. Once I had that job I realized combining interior design with production was my golden ticket. Turns out, it was.
If you could go back in time and give your young creator self one piece of advice what would it be?
Stop trying so hard. From original color schemes to unique juxtapositions and never before seen ideas, I was always aiming to make sure every project made a strong statement. And then I realized how quickly things can grow tired when you live with them 24/7, and that is when I started to embrace neutrals, using lots of white, sticking with pieces rooted in classicism or Bauhaus modernism and making things much more liveable yet still exciting and personal, just not always super bold and packed with huge statement pieces.
Where do you find the most inspiration for your work?
Album covers and movies set in the 1960s. I’ve taken a lot of color cues from albums ranging from Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual and Radiohead’s Kid A toBruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA and Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour. My biggest inspirations for production design and set decoration are Mon Oncle (google it right now; trust me!), Down with Love and A Clockwork Orange.
Brian’s beautiful entryway via @bpatrickflynn.
What does your creative process look like?
It starts with a place and a vibe and how it makes me feel. Then I take tons of videos and pics of that experience/place/moment. Then I file them away in my phone. Once I see the space I am hired to transform, I think of how it’s supposed to feel and I look back at experiences that evoked that mood and turn to their colors, textures, light sources, sounds and feverishly go through my resource library to recreate that feeling, and then I marry that feeling with the client’s needs. Wow, that is a really really specific and strange process now that I have written it down.
What was the most significant business or creative challenge that you have encountered and grown from?
I bought an investment property overseas in Reykjavik, Iceland and completely remodeled it. It’s an 80 year old penthouse downtown overlooking the Atlantic ocean. I did not speak the language, understand the currency or even know the building industry there. But not only did the entire remodel happen on time and super high quality, it wrapped a week early…and it made the cover of House Beautiful. It has become so personal that is is officially our summer home and where we plan to spend May-September later on in life when retirement age comes our way. I created steel tight contracts for the entire project, checked in on it daily via FaceTime and quickly learned about tarifs, soaring lumber costs in remote areas that don’t have, well, trees, and also how to manage a project 6K miles away in a different time zone. It built my confidence so much that I am not really afraid of any scope at this point.
What has been your biggest achievement? When was the last time you thought “wow, I can’t believe I just accomplished that!”
My wedding. My childhood dream was to go to Antarctica one day and go kayaking with the penguins and the whales. After two years of hard planning and research and crazy costs, I managed to get married standing on an iceberg in Antarctica after a full ten days exploring the white continent, and it was absolute magic. It was a logistical nightmare, and also totally uncharted territory for me, but it was my childhood dream come true, and I got to do it with my husband who was totally game from the start and never asked any questions.
Which upcoming project or endeavor are you most excited for?
My new design series, Mind for Design, starts streaming on Magnolia Network on July 15th.
To learn more about Brian and his work, visit his website at flynnsideout.com, and follow him on Instagram at @bpatrickflynn