Florida native Brian Patrick Flynn is returning to the Sunshine State for the 2016 HGTV Dream Home, which is this year located on Merritt Island. The designer shared with EAL his take on the project, which will be broadcast on New Year's Day 2016, as well as his myriad inspirations.
What are some of the Dream Home's most surprising features?
Its lack of expected beach house decor. I grew up in South Florida, so I've seen more than my fair share of themed rooms packed with boats, clams, seahorses and shells. Overall, I really wanted to put a fresh, transitional spin on coastal style and I think that's really going to stand out once the house is complete and aired to the public on HGTV, on New Year’s Day 2016. Oh, and one more thing: the dock. The house has this sick dock that I'd probably spend most of my time on.
Did your background as a native Floridian manifest in the design?
Having spent 27 years of my life in Florida, I really tried to create a look atypical of those I grew up around. In Fort Lauderdale, there are a lot of peach, cream and terra cotta-colored exteriors and interiors. I went in a different direction and stuck with a more greyed out palette with touches of soothing, spa-like colors, as well as a few high-energy jolts of jewel tones. Since I know the lifestyle very well, I was really focused on keeping every room super comfortable and timeless. There's really no formality anywhere in the house. Well, unless you consider slipcovers, flip flops and outdoor showers formal. Ha!
What were the biggest challenges on this project?
Designing on an island is rather challenging because there's not as many resources available. Merritt Island is small and quaint, which I love, and the locals are really laid-back, happy and all about just enjoying the ocean breeze and the sunshine. There's not a design center nearby. Any major design shopping has to happen in Orlando, which is approximately an hour and a half away. I would also say that the humidity is a major challenge. Each time we film, I have to have several of the same shirt because I can sweat through them in less than 10 minutes. No one wants to watch a sweat-soaked decorator on TV. Oh, the humidity is also really challenging in regard to painting. Sometimes it can take paint, like, six times longer to dry because the surfaces stay so sticky.
Photos © 2015 Scripps Networks, LLC. Used with permission; all rights reserved.
What are the challenges—and benefits—of designing for TV?
The biggest challenge with designing for TV is time. Everything has to be documented and therefore you have to move at a slower pace than normal, otherwise there's nothing for anyone to actually see. So, an installation which could only take eight hours [off-camera] could easily become a three-day installation. As far as benefits are concerned, it's cool to be able to look back on a project years after completion and actually relive the process. That's not something everyone gets to do.