Q&A With Marie Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors
Casaza: How did you get your start?
Marie Flanigan: I grew up in a small Texas town and was blessed with a very creative family. My brothers and sisters are musically talented, and I’ve always gravitated towards more visual expressions. I earned my Bachelor of Architecture degree and began my career at an architecture firm shortly thereafter. While there, I managed both architecture and interior design projects, quickly discovering that I had a passion for interiors. I loved stepping out from behind the computer to connect with families and develop solutions that would enrich their home experiences. I ultimately decided to follow my heart, opting for a career as an interior designer, but I love that my architectural studies influence my work every single day!
C: How would you describe your style?
MF: Simplicity has always appealed to me, and I believe that we are the best versions of ourselves in the spaces that ease and inspire us. I would describe my work as tailored, authentic, and curated, although my approach to design has steadily evolved over the years. I love how each client brings a newfound inspiration to my work, and that I have the opportunity to continue learning and growing through every project.
C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
MF: The inspiration for every project remains consistent – it’s always the clients themselves! We spend a great deal of time getting to know each family on a personal level so that we can aptly bring light to their values, molding each space to fit their unique needs down to the most minute details.
C: Favorite room in the house?
MF: The kitchen. One of my greatest joys is creating intimate gathering spaces where people can build lasting memories, and much of our lives are centered around the joy of sitting down at the table to share in meal or conversation. Family, friend, or foe, kitchens and dining spaces have the power to bring us all together.
C: Design rule you don't subscribe to?
MF: I believe the saying goes, “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist,” and that has always resonated with me. One of my favorite rules to break involves scale, specifically with lighting. I love layering an oversized, historic light fixture into a smaller room for a dose of unexpected drama!
C: Recent project that inspired you?
MF: Every home I design inspires me for different reasons, but one of the most touching experiences we’ve had lately was a full-home installation for a family that was forced to evacuate due to flooding during Hurricane Harvey. From rugs and furnishings to wall art, kitchen appliances, and bath towels, our team was able to transform their new house into a warm, welcoming home that they can finally call their own again. It’s a truly unforgettable feeling.
C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
MF: The beauty found in nature is a constant source of inspiration for me which means you’ll find a lot of organic textures and patterns woven throughout my work. As for color, white is hands-down my absolute fave. It is color in its purest form. It is the pause and the blank canvas that restores a calming sense of balance.
C: What is “good design” to you?
MF: Good design adds value to your everyday life and has the power to enhance your overall sense of happiness. It shares your unique story in an effortless, sophisticated way through the union of carefully curated details and moments that celebrate negative space. It is comfortable, highly functional, and should always be defined by the sense of joy a person derives from time spent within.
C: Pack your bag! You're moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
MF: The 11-acre East Hampton estate that once served as Jackie O’s childhood summer home. History, charm, shake shingles, and a guest house? What’s not to love?!
C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
MF: More is more! From specialty bites and tasty drinks to a vibrant, welcoming ambiance, sharing memorable moments of beauty with my guests is always the goal. I want everyone to walk away knowing that the gift of their time and company means the world to me.
C: Best advice for DIYers?
MF: Do your research and be reasonable. With step-by-step guides, tips, and tricks only a quick Google search away, there are a number of home projects that can be tackled on your own. Keep in mind that not every online guide is created equal, so it’s worth dedicating some time to finding the right one for the job. Despite this wealth of online resources, I always encourage my clients to work with professionals when possible. Depending on the scope and scale of the project, your investment of time spent researching, purchasing materials, and completing your latest DIY duty may not be reasonable.
C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
MF: Be sure to review the designer’s portfolio at great length and always schedule a consultation. Although it’s important that you like their work, it’s also crucial that you feel some sort of personal connection. Do your personalities click? Is this someone you would enjoy working closely with over the course of your renovation or new home construction? Be honest about this and you’ll thank yourself later! In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you have the most expensive, highly coveted designer in the industry; if you don’t connect on a more personal level, you’ll likely walk away unhappy.
C: What one design trend are you most excited about this season?
MF: Pastels have taken over the runway and our homes! I love seeing reinvigorated shades of dove blue, blush, rose gold, sage, and yellow. They’re soft and subtle yet make a powerful statement when paired with fresh pops of bright white.
C: How do you take your coffee?
MF: As a mom of 3 littles, I’ll take caffeine just about any way I can get it, but my personal fave is a latte!