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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.