A Peek Inside Interior Designer Brian Paquette’s Hip Capitol Hill Home
Brian Paquette invites us into his design studio (aka his Capitol Hill apartment)
By Jennifer McCullum
January 4, 2016
Clients who come to designer Brian Paquette’s E Pike Street office for help in creating their dream home may not realize that the genesis for his boldly patterned, brightly colored interiors actually starts at a different address with a very different look.
Paquette’s 1,000-square-foot apartment, a mere 15-minute walk from his now 7-year-old firm, is the Rhode Island native’s simultaneous sanctuary and staging area; an unofficial design lab where ideas for his modern, pattern-mixing living spaces can be explored. But what’s surprising is that very little in Paquette’s personal space resembles the interiors of his clients’ private homes.
“My home is less colorful and less pattern-filled than our work,” he says. “My place is different because I’m the guy that tinkers with things and wants to bring vendors I’m interested in into my own house first. I want to test things out.”
Garza’s saddle leather chair and lighting from Robert Lewis Studio and Workstead
Paquette’s current tests include exploring surface texture with upholstered furniture or throw pillows, versus creating statement rooms with brightly colored walls or busy, patterned fabrics. “This is the newest place I’ve ever lived in, so I’ve been experimenting with true contemporary and modern design, letting things breathe and stand out,” he says. “Less pattern, more texture, more surfaces that pull you in to touch and feel and experience.” Paquette says the tactile moments in a home can have as big of an impact on his clients as vibrant visuals. “I want people to have that moment when they sit on a sofa, that sensory response to the rough or smooth or cushy texture…that’s what stays with them.”
Sentimentality is another signature of Paquette’s style. Every object and piece of art in both his home and those of his clients reflect a personal design philosophy that values individual makers, patience in assembling an interior and assigning an emotional currency to each curated item.
He would choose this over the ease of ordering an entire room from a mass-market, online retailer that can be returned within 14 days if customer satisfaction isn’t met. “I want to be a part of a culture that supports American-made goods and slow work and the fact that I can call the person who is making a chandelier for a project and go see it being made,” Paquette says. “I understand it’s 2015, but I want to uphold what the design industry was built on: this idea of custom and ‘for you’ and quality and intentional decisions.”
A panel made from a vintage African robe hangs behind the headboard in Paquette’s bedroom
Despite his intentional approach to designing his clients’ homes, when asked if Paquette has any intention of making this apartment (his fifth Seattle address) his permanent one, he shakes his head, once again advocating the opposite. “That doesn’t interest me,” he says. “Sure, my dream is to buy something that’s a fixer-upper that I can do every little detail to someday, but right now, I’m way more interested in keeping that laboratory going.”
To see more of Brian Paquette’s work, visit brianpaquetteinteriors.com.
Helen Levi and Morgan Peck ceramics offer decorative storage for small accessories
An image from Seattle photographer Megumi Arai’s “Clouded Judgement” series sets a serene tone. A frame light from Belltown-based Iacoli & McAllister hangs overhead
A custom bookcase houses Paquette’s design library
An Alma Allen side table (right) complements Paquette’s center coffee table by Tirto
A vintage Tom Dickinson table (right) stands next to a Lawson Fenning chair upholstered in Zak + Fox textiles