HGTV Dream Home 2016 won’t be revealed until 8 p.m. on New Year’s Day. But designer Brian Patrick Flynn, who is overseeing this year’s show, sat down with EAL in advance of the reveal, to discuss the Dream Home in Merritt Island, Florida, and the ins and outs of designing for TV.
How do you assemble your design teams?
I’ve got the same team now that I did when I first hit the design scene about five years ago; however, it keeps growing. My core group is in Atlanta, but my main scenic design team, Michael (carpenter), Celery (fine artist) and Dan (carpenter), live in Los Angeles and New York. Both Michael and Dan have tons of experience with set design as well as high-end residential, and Celery can literally paint, draw or create anything and it will end up worthy of a gallery exhibit.
How do you design for TV?
Color is everything in regard to TV design, and texture is everything and more for photography. In order to make the house work for both mediums, I play up vivid color in the bedrooms and task spaces, and stick with airier, neutral tones in the common areas.
Something else that sets TV design apart is visual weight. In wide shots with lots of sweeping pans or tilts, small styling objects like accessories or picture frames can get lost; they end up looking like clutter. So when I’m designing for the camera, I tend to stick with accessories that are pretty big, graphic and can read well from far away and close up.
What’s your favorite part of the house?
My favorite spot is the master bedroom’s covered patio and balcony. It has this amazing view of the water from almost every vantage point. When the project first started and the master bedroom no longer had walls, I’d stand there, stare into the distance and literally do nothing.
What are the logistics for installing a 3,100-square-foot space with furniture in just one day?
It’s all about the way the truck is packed. There’s a science to it: The rugs should be the first things accessible once the door or gate at the back of the truck is opened. Once the rugs are taken off and put into their respective rooms, the furniture for bedrooms or home offices should be the next things to come off the truck. This ensures you won’t have furniture in the great room to have to maneuver around while you’re loading in the sleeping and task spaces. After the bedrooms and task spaces are loaded, all you should have left sitting on the truck are the pieces for the great room.
This expert packing of the truck is a major time saver and stress eliminator. If you stray from these rules and bring furniture into the common areas first, it could become the real-life decorating version of the 1980s video game Frogger.
How long does the installation take? How do you run other projects while on location?
From start to finish, it takes about 10 days to install and style the house. It’s super rewarding, actually, because you get a feeling of instant gratification several times daily as you see a room 100% finished with specific details tackled, like sweaters draped over chairs or handbags placed on entry tables. As far as other projects are concerned, I get myself to a stopping point with styling so that I can check emails on-site. Once the softscaping of each room is underway and most of the art is up, I’ll hand off steaming, ironing or price-tag cutting to someone else so I can get my inbox numbers down. One time I had zero unread emails for over an hour and a fully charged phone battery. It was the best day in the universe for me.
What element takes the most time to install?
Hanging art! It sounds so silly, but if I hang a single piece of art two inches too high or low, it can have a massive snowball effect on the rest of the room in regard to creating proper balance. Hands down, if there’s one thing I’m admittedly über-control-freakish about, it’s directing the installation of art. If there are two things I'm admittedly über-control-freakish about, the second would be literally standing in front of a light fixture as it’s being installed and saying, “Up two inches. No, down five inches. Now try going up three inches. Okay, that is good.”
What are some of the unique ways you’re exhibiting art in the home?
I’m doing something remarkably cool with a historic black-and-white photo of local surfers on nearby Cocoa Beach. It involves walls and it also involves bus-wrap material. And that is all I am going to say about that.
All photos courtesy © 2015 Scripps Networks, LLC. Used with permission; all rights reserved.