The Single File (Part 1)

Creating Cool Spaces for Bachelors and Bachelorettes (Part 1)
By Brian Patrick Flynn

From color palettes to labor costs, Brian Patrick Flynn shares tips and tricks for helping single first-time homebuyers turn their condos and houses into homes.

I have absolutely no idea how it happened, but at some point in my career I became the designer who specializes in designing for singles… and I kinda like it. There’s a fresh and exciting newness when it comes to working with guys and girls about town who’ve taken the plunge into first time home ownership. And as someone who’s bought four houses in seven years, I know a thing or two about the process.

Sure, hunting for that perfect chesterfield sofa or searching high and low for an art piece that really speaks to one’s taste is fun, but the truth is 70 percent of the design process is un-fun and having to say no a lot. And what I mean by that is (a) you have to use a lot of math, (b) it’s all about editing out things that won’t last, and (c) it’s a constant game of compromise. If you’re dealing with designing your own first place or helping a single client or friend navigate through a sea of endless decor options, maybe some of these projects will help you set sail and successfully make it to shore in record time and with change to spare.

Take More Chances

Photo: Christina Wedge

Hey, if you’re single right now and buying a home that’s all about Y-O-U, now’s your chance to truly push the envelope with your design decisions. This kitchen was created for a hard-working girl about town who wanted a bright, cheerful place to unwind after long days and to host friends on weekends. To make the kitchen feel more like a room, we swapped a backsplash and upper cabinets with classic floral wallpaper and clean, contemporary floating shelves. The result was a stylish spot to hang out that’s packed with personality and practicality. Should she ever grow tired of the wallpaper, it’s an easy change as opposed to changing out tile which is pricey, messy and a headache to deal with.


Home Office

Photo: Sarah Dorio

Nowadays, most urban professionals under age 40 are working from home at least half of the time. With that said, don’t just stick a desk in a room and call it a day, but instead truly make your home office a daily escape that gets you excited about your inbox. Here, I persuaded a bachelor client to buck the idea of a formal breakfast nook he’d never use and instead outfitted it as a polished place to work from home. I upholstered the walls with linen to help with sound absorption, installed statement lighting and mixed vintage casegoods with custom made pieces to turn the space into a showstopper. While these elements all work together now in a work-related space, they also can fit into any other room in the house should his lifestyle change later.

 

Photo: Sarah Dorio

Collected
When you’re not really sure what you’re overall style is, I say look to the things you’ve collected over the years, then find a way to pull them all together with colors and patterns. The guy who owns this master bedroom is a super athletic, well-traveled bachelor who doesn’t necessarily care for a “designed” home. The answer was to make it all about some key objects that speak to him like the vintage knight sculpture, resin taxidermy and African armchairs. By keeping the backdrop light and neutral, the textures and shapes standout and take center stage.

Photo: Robert Peterson/ Rustic White Photography

Retro
If you’re a single gal in the city and kids or large pets don’t factor into your current lifestyle, I say here’s your chance to go with some high glamour retro appeal. Swank 1960s elements are fun, pretty much forever and also flirty. I like to keep things light and bright with tons of ultra-white and sexy textures such as shag rugs mixed with super sleek finishes like high-gloss paint or shiny jolts of chrome. If you stick with white and silver, you’ll have pieces you can mix with just about everything under the sun for years to come.

Photo: Sarah Dorio

Make it Eclectic
Got a bunch of things you love that don’t go together in any way whatsoever? Well, that’s perfect! In fact, that’s how most of us live: we like lots of things and none of them are necessarily like the other. I created this home studio for a bachelor in Los Angeles packed with a brand new modern desk, a collection of old art, handed-down taxidermy and vintage schoolhouse objects. To tie it all together, I used an all-white backdrop, then updated worn-in wood floors with a 1960s inspired basketweave pattern in aqua, navy and ultra-white.

 

Photo: Sarah Dorio

Go all White
It sounds counter intuitive, but all-white wet spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms are remarkably practical for single people. Dark floors and cabinets tend to show every speck of dust and blemish, but high-gloss white wood floors and glossy white cabinets really just make a space feel more open and airy. If you are not dealing with super large dogs, white floors can really stand up to a lot of traffic, especially if you sand them first and stick with oil-based floor paint sealed with a non-yellowing sealant.

 

Brian Patrick Flynn

 

Brian Patrick Flynn is an interior designer, production designer and set decorator based in Atlanta, Ga. Flynn designs residential properties for private clients as well as sets for television networks, ad campaigns and major online retailers. He designs spaces locally as well as in New York and Los Angeles. Check out his residential and production work on his production company’s website flynnsideout.com.

Happy Mother’s Day!

May17_MothersDay_Blogpst_r1-01

Happy Mother’s Day!

1. Allstate Floral, Inc. 2. 225 Unlimited, Inc. 3. Oly 4. DEMDACO 5. Natural Life 6. Emporium Home by Ashley Childers 7. Momeni, Inc. 8. Rosanna, Inc./Daniel Richards 9. Bloomingville/Ivystone 10. Hydra/Road Runners, LLC 11. Cardtorial/Karen Alweil Studio 12. Spicher and Company 13. Midwest-CBK 14. Farmhouse Pottery 15. Surya

Whomever you’re shopping for and whatever the occasion, AmericasMart has the perfect pieces to complete your offerings. It’s all here July 11 – 18, during The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®. Select showrooms are open year-round.

A Louisiana Special

A little lagniappe goes a long way in New Orleans

Monique Sobrino, owner of Little Miss Muffin

Lagniappe: a little something extra offered to a customer to make their experience better or more memorable.

As a third-generation store owner, Monique Sobrino’s retail and New Orleans’ roots run deep. In 1992, Sobrino bought her grandmother’s Hallmark store in Lakeview and refashioned it into Little Miss Muffin, a family-friendly gift and children’s boutique.

“Originally, my vision involved gifts, home accents, ladies fine nightwear and a couple of traditional children’s lines—Feltman Brothers and Paty,” says Sobrino. “But after my son was born, we expanded the children’s section to include more lines, larger sizes and educational and creative toys.” Now she is a fixture for children’s customers.

New Beginnings
Katrina brought an abrupt end to the business in 2005, as her shop was just two blocks from where the levee broke. “Without flood insurance, we had to rebuild on a hope and prayer. It was our community and customer support that enabled us to open a second shop in Old Metairie, and also reopen in our original location,” says Sobrino. She offered a wider selection of furnishings and clothing to fill local needs. In 2015, she added a tween shop in Metairie, called MISS Muffin.

 

“All our stores are in community settings and we believe in supporting those communities by whatever means we can,” says Sobrino. She sells ornaments to support the City Park, and holds trunk shows and sells the work of local artisans, including Ginger Leigh, Gabby Gumbo, Heather Elizabeth and Jax Frey. She buys products from charitable-minded vendors, such as Fleur-de-Light, which donates $1 per candle sold to the local food bank. “We give them a check for the inventory we buy, and match their contribution,” says Sobrino. “If you build your business on service and relationships, it always comes back to you.”

Creative Giving
Little Miss Muffin is known for hosting charitable events to aid local schools and causes, sometimes partnering with groups such as the NOLARTS Learning Center, and the New Orleans Green Project.

“We also host craft parties (such as decorating holiday ornaments or jewelry-making) to make our younger shoppers feel at home,” she says. “It gives their parents a chance to get a cup of coffee or shop for themselves, which creates good energy.”

Her summer Sip ’n See afternoons for moms include wine and special sales. At MISS Muffin, workshops and events aim to empower young girls and make them stronger. “We stock journals and art kits to encourage them to use their minds and hands to stay creative,” says Sobrino. She’s used the store windows to display student art work.

Sobrino buys with her customers and possible events in mind. She averages about four events a year per store. “They offer a good return. Our customers remember, and when they need a gift, they come here,” she says.

Tips for Creating Family-Friendly Events:
1. Think of special events as an investment, a chance to get to know your customers and be a part of your community.
2. Create space before the event by moving things around. Hold a charitable event in the center of a store, a children’s event in the children’s section.
3. Use social media, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat to communicate special events and sales. If you don’t have those skills, delegate them to someone who does.
4. Plan at least a month ahead, but market close to the event, so customers don’t forget.
5. Reach out to staff and community residents for meaningful ways to give back.

For more information about the stores, visit shoplittlemissmuffin.com or like them on Facebook. Images courtesy of AWH Photo & Design.

Top 10 List: Indigo Girls

Related image

Indigo Girls is one of the most famous duos to emerge from the Atlanta area in the 80’s.  From humble beginnings performing at local bars in Emory Village to winning the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1990, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray have achieved much success. Together, they write, arrange, record and perform music which over the course of twenty-five years has become a vital part of the lives of their legion of devoted fans around the world, informing and rewarding them day to day. With twelve original studio albums, three live records, various Greatest Hits compilations, a Rarities and a Christmas record to their credit, the iconic duo continues to challenge itself creatively, over and over again, adding to a body of work that contains such contemporary classic songs as “Galileo,” “Shame on You,” “Closer To Fine,” “Kid Fears,” “Love of Our Lives,” “Making Promises,” “Get out the Map,” “Moment of Forgiveness,” “Least Complicated” and “Go.” The legendary group will perform this year at ICON HONORS 2017, an event hosted by AmericasMart to recognize notable members in the gift and home furnishing industry. The private concert will take place on Thursday, July 13 at the world-renowned Fox Theatre.

With such a robust body of work spanning more than 3 decades, Indigo Girls are sure to play many fan favorites and top hits. Here is a list of their top ten hits.  Be sure to let us know which one (or ones) you love to rock out to!

1. From the album Rites of Passage released in 1992, “Galileo” comes in at number one.

2. The lead single “Closer to Fine” off the 1989 album Indigo Girls takes the number two spot.

3. At number three is “Least Complicated,” the group’s top hit from the 1994 album Swamp Orphelia.

4. From the album Shaming of the Sun release in 1997, “Shame on you” comes in at number four.

5. “Love of our Lives” from Poseidon and the Bitter Bug (2009) charts this list at number five.

6. Next up at number six is “Kid Fears,” also from the 1989 Indigo Girls album.

7. “Making Promises” from Beauty Queen Sister (2011) comes in at number seven.

8. The 1997 hit “Get Out the Map” (Shaming of the Sun) lands at number eight.

9. At number nine is “Moments of Forgiveness” (Become You 2002).

10. And last but not least is “Go” from the 1999 Come on Now Social album.

Visit ICONHONORS.com for more information and to reserve tickets.

A Welcome Resource

Hospitality buyers look to AmericasMart
By Jessica Harlan

A growing number of buyers for hotels and restaurants are shopping AmericasMart, seeking trendsetting looks and pieces that will set their spaces apart from other commercial establishments.

“Today, both hospitality buyers and consumers follow fashion, culture, and lifestyle closely,” says Monica Porter, Certified GREENleader for Montes Doggett. “They are in sync and will ultimately have an eye for the same look and feel when choosing items, whether for a home or a [commercial] project.”

Montes Doggett

Among the trends she’s seen in hospitality design are simple, clean and oversized statement pieces and new interpretations of familiar, everyday shapes. Porter adds that buyers are gravitating to items that can stand on their own, rather than collections. Meanwhile, Leslie Thompson of Up Country Home, believes the hospitality trade leads in design, and consumer trends are more likely to follow that sector. Right now, she says, “there is a big trend in creating spaces for communal dining.”

Bigger and Better
Mac Cooper, president and CEO of Uttermost, sees an emphasis on texture and color with natural hues, rather than busy patterns. He says furniture pieces have a softer look with curvy lines rather than sharp angles. And hospitality buyers are often drawn to products that have connectivity features, such as USB ports in lamps.

Pasha Furniture, Inc.

Cooper says that rather than cookie-cutter spaces, hospitality designers aim to create unique experiences. “They are seeking eye-catching, one-of-a-kind designs that fit the narrative of the hotel design,” he says. “In the larger, bigger-budget properties, the art is almost exclusively local, with exotic public area pieces.” Sam Kural, CEO of Pasha Home, agrees. He says oversized statement pieces and custom orders are what draw hospitality buyers to his showroom. While retail buyers are choosing from the designs on the floor, his hospitality clients, “have a vision of what they want. You might go from one of your existing designs and modify it, or you start from scratch,” he says. They’re looking for bold products, tall pieces that can make a big impression, and modular shapes that can be arranged and used in a number of ways.

One of the most popular items in the Pasha Home showroom for commercial spaces, is an oversized round ottoman. Because of its size, too large in scale for a home but perfect for a hotel lobby, “It tells hospitality buyers that we can do what they’re looking for,” says Kural.

Custom Rules

Matouk

In bedding and textiles, it’s a slightly different story. Eugene Paceleo, director of hotel sales of John Matouk & Co., notes that hospitality buyers who frequent his Atlanta showroom are looking for trendsetting textiles that can be adapted to the wear and tear of commercial use.

“We do a lot of delicate, high thread count bedding,” says Paceleo. “These might be applicable to presidential suites, but for the most part it’s at a price point where it may not be the optimal purchase for hoteliers. But we can change the base fabric to a lower thread count percale or sateen, and fade-resistant cotton tape.” This achieves a similar look but with a more durable fabric that can withstand frequent washings in commercial machines.

Thompson of Up Country Home echoes the idea that hospitality-geared items must have more durability than something destined for a consumer home. “A chair must withstand thousands of impressions, or wallpaper must be able to be washed. If a product isn’t durable then it won’t be considered by an experienced hospitality designer,” she says.

Paceleo says that while white bedding has been the standard in hotel bedding—a trend that’s also translated to retail—a new, younger breed of hoteliers is pushing the envelope with touches of color and other elements of differentiation. “A duvet cover might be made of a heavier fabric,” he says. “There might be a bright throw or runner, or a satin stitch in a contrast color. They’re trying to achieve something a little different in the rooms, something that can be a hotel’s signature.”

As with Pasha Home, Matouk sees a lot of custom business, which the company can nimbly address with its factory in Fall River, Mass., which keeps rolls of fabrics on hand that can be cut and sewn to order with no minimums. “If you have a suite and you need a silver cotton coverlet in a specific size, we can do that for you, there’s no issue with minimums and reorders,” says Paceleo.

Broad Choices

Uttermost

With vendors that can accommodate custom needs, or which have the kinds of bold statement pieces that hospitality buyers are seeking, AmericasMart is an increasingly important resource for commercial properties. Thompson says that in the past, she saw few hospitality designers at AmericasMart, but she is seeing more and more. She believes this is in part because an increased number of residential designers are focusing on hospitality projects.

“Hospitality buyers and designers are finding AmericasMart a necessary source for their needs,” says Porter. “In turn, they are pushing our capabilities as designers and manufacturers, to attract a buyer that might not otherwise have been our intended market.”

For more information:
John Matouk & Co., 508.997.3444, matouk.com; Montes Doggett, 866.834.9857, montesdoggett.com; Pasha Home, 336.889.2114, pashahome.com; Up Country Home, 404.749.4749, upcountryhome.com; Uttermost, 800.678.5486, uttermost.com.

Images courtesy of Uttermost, Pasha Home, John Matouk & Co., and Montes Doggett

Benjamin Moore Launches the “Century” Experience

By Patti Carpenter, AmericasMart Global Trend Ambassador

I’ve found myself entering industrial, cavernous lower west side loading docks in New York and riding in freight elevators with several other creative types for decades. Heading up to an event, sharing the anticipation of discovering something new and exciting, just ahead of the rest of the world. We chat with each other and comment on the choice of shoe colors, glasses, etc. is also par for the course. Being the “color lady,” I’m bound to share with you that my shoes were Pepto-pink and my glasses a marbleized red for this particular evening, but I digress. It was, after all, a very special Benjamin Moore event.

The huge elevator doors are forced apart, ushering us into the lofty space. We were greeted with a designer’s tool of a perfect-for-your-hand size color brochure announcing the arrival of Century, the new Benjamin Moore color experience, and an offering of one of two signature drinks. I selected the “Curator,” of course, and it was simply delicious. Armed with my drink, I proceeded into the massive space alive with a palpable energy and bustling with more than 175 designers and creative cognoscenti.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Looming over me are large-scale panels showcasing the new Century paint collection. Fifteen color palettes with stunning imagery and ranges so yummy they made my mouth water — the “Curator” wasn’t the only delicious item in the room. A selection of seventy-five curated, small-batch interior paint colors in all were showcased in a hand-painted swatch and in my personal color brochure. Bonnie, the woman in charge of this incredible feat for Benjamin Moore, shared with me that there will be 42,000 of the brochures produced in all when her task is completed. Each color was more scrumptious than the one before.

Century is the “world’s first Soft Touch Matte paint with a never-before-seen depth of color and a soft touch finish,” shared Carl Minchew, vice president of color innovation and design for Benjamin Moore, who was sporting a very dapper and multicolored striped tie for the evening. We had a great chat, and I learned this process took Benjamin Moore five years to develop. “The result is a depth and richness of color unseen in the industry and a paint that has the ability to transform.”

Harriette Martins, senior brand manager at Benjamin Moore, told me “Century was created for the finest of designs that require flawless execution and impeccable quality, which transcends many different types of homes. By investing in Century, you are not only transforming a room, but you are transforming the entire color experience. The exclusive palette of 75 uniquely formulated colors offer an unrivaled depth and richness of color that are brought to life with the industry’s first Soft Touch Matte finish.

“The Soft Touch Matte finish offers a tactile experience and creates a new dimension on the wall that feels luxurious. In addition, the small batch technology and pre-mixed nature of Century ensures the truest color and experience in every can.”

All the shades are inspired by natural elements — gems, plants, herbs and spices. With this new tactile finish, it actually feels a bit like leather, color really becomes an experience. I was particularly drawn to the complexity of Blue Muscari, Cobalt and Thistle on the cool side of the palette and to the rich ripeness of Red Mahogany, Sumac and the mellow and moody Acai.

The formulas are so intricately balanced, and such a precise science, that they can only be made in small batches under the supervision of Benjamin Moore’s master craftspeople. For now, Century will only be available in pre-mixed gallons and 4-ounce samples at select retailers within the Benjamin Moore network of independently owned stores in the New York market; it will be introduced in markets across North America in the coming months. As one of those craftsmen, Ken Marino, vice president of manufacturing has his signature on every gallon. He informs me that “each brush stroke is a testament to over a 100-year history of Benjamin Moore innovation and color perfection.” Century is truly a new dimension in paint and design.

Denim for Days

There is a lot of excitement surrounding denim fashion right now, especially with so many styles trending. From grungy to artsy to sexy and everything in between, its versatility makes it a must-have in any wardrobe. Check out these latest denim trends to add to your inventory.

Frayed Seams, Edges and Destruction
Distressed and destructed denim continues to cement its position in the fashion world using messy fraying to accent seams and edges and bring attention to hems.

Mavi_1539_000

From left to right: House of Harlow/La Belle Vie, Hudson Jeans, Mavi Jeans, Inc.

Retro Blocking
Retro blocking with denim carries over from last season with a few additions. Various shades and hues of blue are pieced together in differing shapes and sizes to form unique, eye-catching patterns, giving a twist to otherwise plain pants and jackets.

From left to right: DL 1961 Premium Denim, Mavi Jeans, Inc.

Festival-Ready
This trend is set apart by floral embroidery and color-blocking, with printed fabric used to highlight sleeves, front and shoulder flaps and pockets.

From left to right: Desigual/Vaccarelli & Associates, Inc., Desigual, Elan International