5 QUESTIONS FOR AWARD WINNING INTERIOR DESIGNER BRENDAN FLANIGAN

The impeccable juxtaposition of subjects. That way he combines modern and rustic to create designs that continually make me stop scrolling. From the constant drip of editorial coverage of his amazing work, to the design awards. I knew I had to get the SCOOP from Saratoga Springs based and award winning interior designer, Brendan Flanigan. I HAD to learn just how his designs are “creating experiences” for so many clients, from Manhattan to Montreal and beyond.

Photo: Elizabeth Haynes

HOW HAS YOUR DESIGN AESTHETIC EVOLVED OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS?

In my nearly 15 years as a designer, my aesthetic has become more varied.  My work isn’t about me… it’s about our clients.  It’s about bringing out their style and making homes fit them just like their favorite outfit. It’s about making it “just right”, which implies that I’ve SEEN them and HEARD them. I add function, comfort and artistic inspiration. This creates my trademark “effortless style” and creates an elevated-yet-liveable space for my clients.

Photo: Elizabeth Haynes

WHICH PROJECT OF YOURS HAS MADE YOU THE HAPPIEST?

That’s a tough one. I’m happy when my clients are happy. I love the fact that in my retail environments like the restaurants I design, performance data is available. In one case, I’ve tripled target returns by changing interiors alone.  Restaurant metrics show the success of a space, and speaks to design influencing people’s lives. It proves that design really can change your day, week, mood, performance and even quality of life.

Photos: Elizabeth Haynes

When my home design clients feel understood and that they’ve gotten what they’ve wanted, I’m my happiest. When they express that my proposed design concepts have “blown them away”, I know they feel heard. And this is what makes me tick.

Photo: Elizabeth Haynes

WHICH AWARD ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

I won the IDA (Innovations in Design Award) in NYC from a pool of top-tier architects and designers. As recipients were awarded, top teams took the stage. When I received mine, it hit me that I provide creative direction that entire firms provide. This kind of recognition affirmed that my vision and process creates exceptional work among the best of designers, and in the foremost design market of NYC.

The IDA kitchen, and award acceptance (with permission from New York Cottages & Garden Magazine)

YOU DO AN AMAZING JOB USING PATTERNS. ANY TIPS FOR US WHO ARE HESITANT?

The senses are drawn to variation, uniqueness, and balance. A good place to begin: choose your pattern. Add a second by picking a similar color, but different scale or pattern.  If your first pattern is a stripe, add a check or plaid to play off the stripe in a “connected” way (versus a floral). Great design plays out in slight differences, or “layers”. I like to bring the eye on a journey through your room by layering things slightly alike, not jarring with differences.

Photo: Elizabeth Haynes

WHERE DO YOU GO TO GET INSPIRED, PHYSICALLY OR EMOTIONALLY?

European and British TV, like Masterpiece and The Crown, bring me to my happy place. I also get inspired when I visit Martha’s Vineyard and Montauk. The raw nature, alongside curated shops and best-in-class restaurants helps to rejuvenate me. Fashion is another source of inspiration, especially when it comes to textiles.

Photo: Elizabeth Haynes

I feel that downtime and balance is critical to staying inspired, and I emphasize this to my team of now four. By taking breaks, we are able to fully focus on our clients and give them the best design experience for their homes and business. Although the design is led by myself, my team is busy executing operations, with reminders from me that everyone needs a break to excel.

ARE THERE TRADITIONAL “RULES OF DESIGN” THAT YOU’RE NOT BUYING INTO?

There are so many, like the “rules” about scale. For example, a small room can’t have a large tile? Totally obsolete.  We have so many offerings now. It’s easier than ever to play with scale if you know how to incorporate other elements like patterns, strong colors, or great sconces, for example. I am driven not by rules, but by my clients’ personalities. I create spaces that are uniquely them by inventing new ways to use scale, balanced with other elements in the space.

Left Photo: Elizabeth Haynes. Right Photo: Brenda Rose Photography PDX

Rules are for the novice, and should always be pushed aside when you have an idea that suits who you are.

For almost 15 years, Brendan Flanigan Interiors has been designing effortlessly chic spaces. The studio provides design services to both luxury homes and commercial interiors in New York and beyond. For more information, check out their website at www.brendanflanigan.com .

Leave a Reply