I was not familiar with the Brown Design Group before my visit to the Santa Barbara Design House and the Guest Suite they designed. Now, their work is permanently imbedded in my brain.
Founded by Ryan Brown, the Brown Design Group is a residential and commercial interior design firm with offices in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California. The Guest Suite they designed at the Design House was superb. They used neutral colors with bold pops of pattern and extraordinary art to make the space feel hip but completely approachable. Team Brown let me dig a little deeper and ask a few questions about their work in the Santa Barbara Design House and about the firm. I hope you enjoy…
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The Brown Group is…
Obsessed with: LIGHTING. ”Life should be on a dimmer…” We love to find vintage fixtures and give them a new breath of life. Lighting fixtures should tell a story and feel like they have been in the space forever and everything else came after.
Inspired by: LIFE. Every project presents a new challenge and we always say that the architecture of the home, paired with the people who live there, determine our design approach.
Traveling to: THAILAND. After many trips to Europe and South America for pleasure and buying, we are headed to Asia for the first time to see what we can find (and bring home) from there.
Headed to: MERCADO DE LAS PULGAS for fantastic design accessories. It’s in Buenos Aires but has some incredible architectural salvage pieces and unique European and post-war items that are impossible to find elsewhere. Good luck getting it back though…
Grabbing dinner at…
LAUREL HARDWARE in Los Angeles (yes, the old hardware store on Santa Monica Blvd).
PEASANT in New York for incredible dinner. PASTIS for a little loud, Parisian lunch.
SPQR in San Francisco for great wine and dinner or at CONTIGO for tapas
Using this textile: Many of the Faux Leathers from Innovations make their way into our designs due to the incredible quality matched with durability.
We also use a lot of Perennials outdoor fabrics for draperies and Schumacher for gorgeous prints.
Using this paint color: Our default white is Dunn Edwards Bone China DEW 339. It is the perfect white, without being white. It has a warmth to it. We used Farrow & Ball in the design house which is fantastic for organic colors and classics. Personal favorite is Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Grey SW7019.
Santa Barbara Design House
Q + A
Q: Tell me the inspiration for the guest suite and bathroom?
A: The guest suite occupies a substantial, private area of the 2nd floor of the house. The perfect place for a weekend guest to feel like they are on a “get-away” rather than in someone else’s home. We wanted the room to feel collected and warm. There is so much to explore in the room between amazing artwork and colorful travel and design books that you have a sense of escapism. We wanted to create spaces throughout that allow you to feel like it is more than a bedroom: a writing desk, a hanging chair for reading or a lounge chair on the balcony for sipping your morning coffee.
Q: The pattern of the rug brings adds depth and interest but does not control the room. Where can we get one?
A: The rug is bold but it gives scale to a large room. Most of the other patterns in the room are very geometric when you get up close. This one is more organic. The black of the rug really echoed many of the other elements in room that otherwise may have disappeared. Black became the accent color which is always a powerful move. It didn’t hurt that it is a design by the acclaimed Diane von Furstenberg exclusively for The Rug Company which creates and carries some of the most unique and incredible contemporary rugs around.
Q: The colors are so neutral but impactful, I get the sense this is consistent with your design philosophy?
A: Our general palette is almost always neutral. We mix warms (tans, taupes, creams, and chocolates) with cool neutrals (whites, greys, black) which alone give a room depth. This makes a bright pillow or a colorful piece of art really shine. It also provides a timeless look which can easily be updated or changed with a few key pieces.
Q: I love the swing in the corner of the room. What was the inspiration? Where can I buy one for my little boy’s room?
A: It was originally intended for the exterior balcony but it filled an otherwise difficult corner inside the room perfectly! It is available in a variety of finishes and materials (the one shown is a Chilewich fabric graded for outdoor use!) for $680 through Fusion Home in Ventura.
Q: Art is everywhere in the guest suite and you included some truly fantastic and fresh pieces. What artist do you consistently use for projects?
A: The art in this installation should be the envy of every art aficionado. Supplied by Paul Rusconi Studios, LA based art dealer and artist, the collection included over 45 pieces of framed artwork of incredible Robert Rauschenberg photographs, Andy Warhol, Robert Mangold, and Caio Fonseca pieces. All of the pieces in the collection are extremely important in the gallery art world. The series of Rusconi originals that line the gallery hall stopped every passerby to read and marvel at the witty, and sometimes provocative, wording sprawling across the walls. All artwork available through Paul Rusconi Studios 310-658-8410.
If people don’t have a big budget for artwork, we are also fans of taking your favorite old family photos and enlarging them and framing them simply in a collection with an oversized matting.