Inside Brian Patrick Flynn’s Living Room in the Traditional Home Southern Style Now Showhouse

Brian Patrick Flynn's second floor lounge in the 2016 Traditional Home Southern Style Now Showhouse in New Orleans, Louisiana

Photo: Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography

We recently attended the inaugural Southern Style Now Festival in New Orleans, and the absolute highlight was Traditional Home magazine’s showhouse, a Queen Anne Victorian mansion located in the Uptown District on St. Charles Avenue. Aptly described by Curbed New Orleans as a “veritable funhouse for design lovers,” the showhouse is a spectacular homage to the region’s rich and colorful cultural traditions.

More than 25 local and national designers, all originally from the south, were invited to lend their contemporary vision to this uniquely southern-style house, and we were excited to have the opportunity to work with some of them by providing furniture and decor. One of those designers is Brian Patrick Flynn of Atlanta, who designed a grand bedroom suite. Below, we talked to him about the project.

Ballard Designs: Tell us about the room you were assigned and how you envisioned a homeowner using this space.

Brian Patrick Flynn: I was assigned bedroom number two, but due to the size and proportions of the space, I saw it more useable as a second floor lounge to kick back and read or enjoy company privately upstairs away from the common areas. It has two super tall windows and gets amazing natural light, plus it has a fireplace, so I wanted it to be more of a hangout.

BD: This project was about reinterpreting traditional southern design through a modern lens. How did you go about that while adding your own unique stamp?

BPF: Overall, I tend to use a lot of color and modern lines in my work, but a lot of New Orleans homes are draped in French traditional lines and use lots of soft neutral tones mixed with furnishings that are often feminine in style. I stuck with neutrals for the most part, using a greige grasscloth on the walls, brown leather on the sofa, white accents and lots of navy blue upholstery. To add a quirkiness and tons of Southern flair, I commissioned Louisiana-centric art from artist Celery Jones and created a gallery wall with subjects ranging from pralines and music legends to fried chicken pop art and photography of bayou alligators.

BD: How much did the host city influence your design? How did you incorporate the distinct charms of New Orleans?

BPF: The host city largely influenced the design, especially with all of its European character. I used a lot of European lines including the antique white chairs with the blue and white striped upholstery, the Spanish-inspired carved wooden tables, dainty burlap covered end table and then added a masculine touch with navy and dark brown accents. The distinct charm of New Orleans can be seen in the space plan. I laid the room out for long hours of conversation and cocktails, complete with four separate occasional tables for guest to gather their drinks on or simply use for impromptu late night guests.

Brian Patrick Flynn's second floor lounge in Traditional Home's Southern Style Now Showhouse in New Orleans, Louisiana

Photo: Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography; In this photo: Beaudry Mirror

BD: What are the hallmarks of every southern house that you felt compelled to include?

BPF: I feel like every southern house has heirlooms handed down from family members. So to highlight all of the European inspired pieces from Ballard, I brought in some local antiques from sources in the Bywater neighborhood and also had some unique art made, which looks like mom and dad portraits, but instead of people, they’re of crawfish. Wow, that sounds really weird!

Brian Patrick Flynn's second floor lounge in Traditional Home's Southern Style Now Showhouse in New Orleans, Louisiana

Photo: Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography; In this photo: Olivia Chair,  and 72″ Fringed Burlap Tablecloth

BD: How did Ballard fit into your vision for your space?

BPF: Ballard was my first choice because of its European flair with traditional spins. There’s a massive French influence in New Orleans, and I stuck with French lines (also some English lines) on my seating and then also chose some of Bunny Williams for Ballard to accessorize it all with classic edge.

Ballard Designs' Spencer leather sofa from Brian Patrick Flynn's room in the Traditional Home Southern Style Now Showhouse in New Orleans

Photo: Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography;

BD: Was there a particular Ballard item that surprised you in some way or that you fell in love with?

BPF: The Spencer Leather Sofa is definitely my new favorite item from Ballard. It’s so classic and also generously proportioned without taking over a space or valuable square footage. And even though it comes in leather, it would also look great in a wide variety of solids and prints.

BD: Was there anything you learned with this project as a designer that might influence your next project?

BPF: I learned to like using neutrals a bit more. If you have a strong accent color that’s still in the neutral family — navy blue in this case — and stay away from creams that have yellow undertones, the overall look can still be considered somewhat colorful but in a less-is-more, never-gets-old manner.

Learn more about Brian Patrick Flynn, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    July 8, 2016

    I’m surprised the rug was not mentioned. I visited the house and the rug in this room was so soft and really a surprise. The entire project was stunning and inviting. All of the designers did an excellent job

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      July 11, 2016


      So glad you liked the rug and were able to see the room in person! You’re right we totally overlooked mentioning it in the post. It’s Suzanne Kasler’s Chunky Wool Rug, and you’re right. It’s ridiculously soft!

      Thanks for your comment,
      The How to Decorate Team

  2. Reply

    Cheryl Shuffield

    June 28, 2016

    I love the fabric on the Griffen chairs in the New Orleans sitting room by Bryan Patrick Flynn but didn’t find it on the Ballard site. Please share information as to where to buy, fabric content, and pricing

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      June 29, 2016

      We’ve reached out to Brian Patrick Flynn about the chair fabric and will let you know!