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A Look Inside: Brian Paquette Interiors

Article by Susan George

Photography by Kara Mercer

Originally published in Bellevue Lifestyle

Brian Paquette was kind of enough to invite us to his gorgeous home and workspace in Seattle to chat about what makes him the sought-after high-end interior designer he is. Brian is friendly and chipper, and I immediately took in his humble charm as he showed us around, offering us espresso and answering our many questions about his unique pieces on perfectly bold display. Each one told a story of the life that Brian and his partner, Justin Rusk, have beautifully curated together.

We had the privilege of sitting down with Brian to hear about Brian Paquette Interiors as well as learn some tips and tricks to make our homes a little more lovely.

Tell us about your story. Where are you from? What drew you to design as a career?

I am from Newport, Rhode Island—about as far away from Seattle and still be in the U.S.—but its roots are deep in me, and I think of it fondly for sure and love visiting. I have always been a creative and inquisitive person from grade school, and now I explore, I break down and need to see the roots of everything. In art school, I explored many mediums but focused on painting and installation art, dealing with space and how to arrange it so that visitors may have the same visceral reaction I had creating it. I was always inspired by the aesthetic and lifestyle of the people that lived behind the hedges and in the grand summer homes of my hometown—old money, tradition, the blending of so many styles, the collected and aged nature of so many of the homes. The people who live there are traveled, storied, but just like us they have flaws, age and a past, and I love that. I like a story in things. I like a past, something to connect you.

How does your background as an artist play into your design style now?

I am always looking at and searching in art, design, fashion, nature, everything. So it is inescapable. It is an obsession to make connections between inspiration and reality. Between sense memory of clients and their home. This is what draws people back to comfort.

How would you describe your style?

Collected, storied and referential of the client and place. Set and setting of a home are so important.

Does living in the PNW inspire your style or ideas you have for homes in the area?

This place and what surrounds us is an endless well of inspiration. We recently worked with local ceramicist Natasha Alphonse on a collection of tabletop ceramics for our home line, and the process involved so many test glazes to encapsulate the duality of the dark sky in the winter and the snow-capped mountains around us ... Everything is inspiring; you just have to capture it.

How does design fulfill you creatively?

I love space and telling clients' personal stories through their home. It is not what I thought I would be doing creatively when I was 20, but it flows naturally now and makes me happy.

What could a client expect when hiring you to help curate their dream home?

They can expect a support system and a co-creator. I could, of course, come in and bulldoze the creative process telling people they need this and this and this, but they would not be happy in the result. It would not be home to them; it would be mine, and that's not success. It is a process for sure, and it is not without a bit of stress and commitment, but the result will be life-changing for years to come. We are only as good as our last client, and it holds up that most of our clientele are friends and referrals.

What is your dream project or a favorite recent project you’ve completed?

A dream project is less about space and more about open-mindedness, and of course, a good budget never hurts the process. A dream project is a client who comes to us for our strengths.

What trends do you see for 2019?

I hope to see more intention and more thoughtfulness in what people buy and bring into their home. We are slapped in the face with quick fixes every day. Slow down and take your time.

What are simple ways people can spruce up the look of their home?  

Fresh flowers and natural life in a home are my favorite ways to quickly revive a space.

Any tricks for enhancing small spaces?

The idea that small spaces need smaller things is silly. You must be comfortable. You will never be comfortable if your only seating is a love seat and two small chairs. Ditch the chairs and get a real-sized sofa. The same goes for the bedroom. I loved my studio apartments because they forced a "less is better" mentality and made me enjoy and be purposeful when buying items for them.

Any tips on small things you can do to start enhancing the aesthetic or design of your house?

Slow down and stop looking at social media and what companies tell you what a beautiful home should be ... only you and your designer can determine that. Start with books and visual imagery that inspires you and find out why. Why does that painting by Cy Twombly inspire you. Is it the space? Is it the color? Whatever it is, draw it out in something in your home—the color of a room or a textile on a beloved chair. Think about quality of light. One of the biggest changes in a home can be dimmable 40-watt bulbs throughout a space in your decorative lighting ... you may never leave the space, and that's OK.

For more information, visit BrianPaquetteInteriors.