St. Simons Island, Georgia, is now home to HGTV’s 2017 Dream Home, designed by Brian Patrick Flynn. The show HGTV Dream Home, which has given away completely reimagined homes via a sweepstakes held yearly since 1997, will officially unveil the home in a January 1 special. Today, Flynn takes EAL behind the scenes, revealing how he confronted challenges like designing specifically for television, as well as his favorite aspects of the residence.
Flynn and contractor Michael Forbes installing the home's workout room
How was the St. Simons Island location chosen?
Each year, it’s all about identifying a locale that’s totally “dreamy,” in regard to having gorgeous surroundings and offering a vacation-like lifestyle. Sometimes that lifestyle may be super active and adventurous (skiing communities on mountains or lake communities with boating activities), and other times it may be all about rest and relaxation. St. Simons Island epitomizes that laid-back, easygoing lifestyle, and it’s also got great activities to offer around the marshland, like kayaking, nature trails and amazing spas.
The dining room is designed with photography, graphic design, oil paintings and stone busts.
What were the challenges of designing a home in a marshland?
Believe it or not, there really weren’t any! At first, since I had never been before, I imagined there’d be dozens and dozens of massive bridges to cross to access St. Simons Island and the neighboring places, like Jekyll Island and Sea Island, but they’re all super close together and connected by really small bridges that are more like overpasses, so transporting materials there wasn’t tricky at all. Really, the only thing that takes some getting used to in the marshland is the thick morning fog, which is actually super gorgeous and majestic, but for people like myself who wear glasses, it can be tricky when out and about for a jog before 8 a.m.
Flynn outside the Dream Home
Walk us through the process designing for Dream Home, both in general and for this particular property.
The entire process is fun, from finding the property all the way down to art-directing every single editorial photograph taken of the interior and exterior. Once the home is purchased and the architect and project manager are all set with the logistics, I come in and work alongside them, weighing in on the decorative elements, from millwork, finishes, color schemes, space plans and interior architecture. What’s totally different about HGTV Dream Home from private residential interior design projects is the fact that every single inch of the home inside and out has to translate beautifully for both TV/video purposes and also for editorial photography.
The St. Simons Island marshland served as inspiration for Flynn's color scheme for the Dream Home.
There are certain colors and textures that just don’t translate through a lens, and there are also patterns that get super busy or even moiré (blur) when looked at on tiny smartphone screens rather than TVs or desktop monitors, so I tend to amp things up a bit both with rich texture and deep colors. This year, I’ve pulled almost all of the interior colors in from those you see outside in the marsh: rich forest green, deep bark brown, calming blue-gray and also lots of mossy hues, and I’ve brought texture in with locally sourced pecky cypress plank and also grass cloth wallcovering. I’ve also kept the main spaces of the house super light and neutral to avoid detracting from the gorgeous twisted live oaks and the tranquil view of the lake outside the windows.
The transitional dining room. HGTV, HGTV Dream Home, HGTV Dream Home Giveaway and their associated logos are trademarks of Scripps Networks, LLC. Used with permission; all rights reserved.
What room are you most excited to share with viewers? What do you think designers will appreciate most about the house?
My favorite room in the entire house is the formal dining room. It’s moody and collected, packed with all different genres of art from the floor to the ceiling, even some sculpture as well. I’ve mixed some casual slipcovered seating with more formal chairs, along with an amazing chandelier from Wayfair that really adds an edge to the space. The dining room is a mash-up of transitional Southern style with some dramatic flair, but it’s by no means over the top or thematic. This space is super emotive, and my favorite rooms are those that really make you feel something.
Follow the story on Flynn’s Instagram page. The sweepstakes opens for entries on December 28.