‘Art brings a heartbeat to a home like nothing else. It’s so personal and subjective.’ Brian J. McCarthy
Elegance lover, modern European furniture designer who is fond of comfortable and welcoming interiors – it all refers to Brian J. McCarthy, the New York designer.
His knack for designing appeared relatively early. McCarthy was interested in creating furniture while being a student at the college’s School of Art and Design. It was also the time when he was recognized. Then he graduated from New York’s Pratt Institute and started to work for the legendary design firm Parish-Hadley. And that’s where the proper adventure began. Initially, he was Hadley’s assistant, but in 1989 he became his business partner. McCarthy refers to this period in his life (almost 8 years) with a great deal of sentiment: ‘The beauty of working there was that the four of us who were partners were each encouraged to create our own style and delve into whatever direction we wanted to take’.
Brian J. McCarthy Inc. was opened in 1991 and since then the business has been flourishing. In 2004 a couple from Atlanta deputed him to design their new house in the spirit of 17th and early 18th century artwork. He is involved in plenty of projects across the United States. One of the most pivotal ones is designing the official residence of the Ambassador of the Court of St. James. Not only is he a member of Architectural Digest’s AD100 and Elle Decor’s A-List, but his work is published in numerous magazines, including House Beautiful, Elle Decor, New York Magazine, The New York Times and Veranda. Luminous Interiors is the title of his first book which was recently released.
Brian McCarthy’s style has been altering over time, but till now he still appreciates the culture of European living. He is particularly enthusiastic about 18th and 19th century European furniture (especially the French one). It all began in Paris, where he was visiting galleries and absorbing information about French masters of the 1920s. The American way of combining various things and the fact that they give the impression of being casually placed is his source of inspiration. He attaches great importance to functionality and comfort in a house. On the other hand, the interiors should be elegant and luxurious. It doesn’t mean that we cannot add some hand-made elements to it though. A place where we live must be personal, all the decorations we have should contain a story. A house starts to be a home when it mirrors our passions. Client’s personalities and sympathies need to be taken into account while projecting rooms for them. Additionally, he has a great opportunity to get to know people, which is a crucial part of his work.
McCarthy is known for his eclectic, custom-made style. He is fascinated by ethnic patterns and European antiques. When being asked about his design philosophy he mentions Diana Vreeland’s words: ‘Give’em what they never knew they wanted’. As for the place of inspiration, he claims that ‘Nothing compares to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg’.