Flea Market Chic Loft Living
Designer Brian Patrick Flynn transforms a space from bland to fabulous with unexpected colors and intermingling styles.
This 700-sq-ft loft needed a facelift so decorator Brian Patrick Flynn put his design chops to work. With a blend of surprising colors – teal and red, hello again ‘90s – and vintage-modern furniture from flea markets, he gave this space new life.
What was at the top of Meredith’s wish list?
Meredith Repp, a speech pathologist, bought a 700-square-foot condo at the height of the market. Scared of investing in renovation costs only to lose all of the money by selling at a loss, she decided she simply wanted to give the property a facelift, specifically the dining room and living room. Her must-haves included the following: adding pattern, color and texture to her living room walls; integrating occasional seating for guests; noise-proofing her sliding glass doors, which open out onto a busy street; and covering the dated tile floors of her kitchen/dining room.
What was your main design objective?
The one thing I really wanted to renovate was the kitchen due mostly to its dated tile floors. But the mess involved with demo, plus the costs for tile installation could have easily eaten up the entire budget. In order for Meredith to be able to afford everything on her wish list, we needed to stick with a dining room and kitchen floor material which was low-cost and wouldn't require a professional to install. We opted for FLOR tiles which came to about $700 and only required about 4 hours and a utility knife to install. There is absolutely no sign of the ugly tile still existing just below the flame-stitch pattern of the tiles.
What was your single biggest obstacle in this makeover?
The one issue which really threw me a designer curveball was the rough texture of the walls. Since we wanted to cover the living room walls with fabric, there was no way we could go directly over the rough texture without it showing through the fabric. After consulting with my upholsterer, we figured out the proper solution: covering the one wall meant for upholstery with several layers of batting.
How does the end result match your original vision?
At first, we had chosen the living room color because it read as coral. But due to the living room's south-facing orientation, the sun causes what originally seemed somewhat tropical to take on a burnt sienna or even a terra cotta tone. We decided to work WITH that color, and chose a deep turquoise as our accent. In the long run, the terra cotta tone is actually what made the rooms so unique and such a hit with Meredith's friends and family.
What surprised you most about this project?
I think the biggest surprise for me was how any colors which are considered dated can be given new life based on how they are applied. The teal tone of the dining room was a huge color in the 1990s. In fact, tons of car manufacturers starting selling cars in teal since the color was such a hit. Then it died down in the late 1990s and hasn't been seen much since. But I though the pairing of teal with gold, bronze and orange was fresh and unique. It ended up being such a hit, I've been using teal ever since.
We love hidden gems – got any from this makeover?
I think the hidden gems which really made a big difference in the success of the project were the flea market furniture used in the dining room which we updated with glossy paint, and the $100 light fixture above the dining table we found at a flea market. Those hidden gems weren't necessarily part of the plan from the beginning, we just found them while out shopping one day. Little did we know, they would totally make the space!