Podcast, Ep. 200: designer Brian Paquette

Today’s guest is Seattle designer Brian Paquette. He joins us to talk about his brand new book At Home: Evocative and Art-Forward Interiors, as well as his unconventional path to design, his love of art, and why he finds so much inspiration in an earthy palette.

What You’ll Hear on this Episode:

  • His unconventional background into the design field
  • Why it’s important to listen when working on a clients design (or your own home)
  • Why he typically favors weaves over patterns in his more permanent pieces
  • We talk about his book (why Karen loved his captions)
  • Sense memory in a room and why Brian loves to speak to a client’s sense memory
  • Why Brian creates a signature scent for each of his clients’ home
  • Brian thinks listening and inferring information is his super power
  • Why asking about a paint color someone used in their home isn’t a smart way to choose a paint color
  • Why he likes a monotone palette for media rooms and bedrooms
  • Why Brian leaves art to chance in his design projects
  • Why a home should age and we should accept and enjoy the aging process

Decorating Dilemma:

Hello Ladies,

First of all, I’d like to thank you all for making my home projects so much fun. Last year, my husband gave me the green light to purchase a sofa for the kid’s playroom, so I ran to the Ballard Outlet and bought the first thing I could find before he changed his mind!  Well, I got home and realized that the blue sofa I bought was really REALLY blue and worried I had made a terrible mistake.  It took over the whole room and was all you could see!

But with the guidance of you and your guests, I realized that more color and pattern would actually tone down the blue. So, I bought a bunch of colorful trims and patterned fabric, sewed some throw pillows, curtains, and nautical flags.

Considering the fact that most of my house is in various shades of greige, this was pretty scary endeavor for me, but I did it and I LOVE it. I listened to your podcast throughout all my sewing and you kept me entertained, motivated and inspired! So, thank you! 

My questions is about the throw pillows I used on the back of my blue sofa. I replaced the blue back cushions that came with the sofa with these as there wasn’t enough room for the original cushions, additional throw pillows AND tooshies! I used down inserts because I thought they were the best option, but I’ve found that they are far too smooshy! They sink down too much, and we end up leaning against the hard sofa back. What sort of fill should I use for these cushions to optimize comfort and support? I still want them to feel a bit luxurious – even though they are in the kids play area.

There you have it! One of those dilemmas that will take one of your brilliant guests 10 minutes to read and one minute to solve!

P.S. Eventually, I’m going to replace the small coffee table with a larger gray vintage one that is currently being used in our school room.  I will become a games table. I’ll also replace the small chairs with some larger lighter-colored wooden captain’s chairs that I think will look good, but if you have any other suggestions to make this place fun for our three boys and comfortable for me and my husband, I’d love your advice!

Thank you!


Brian suggests switching your throw pillow inserts to Trillium which is a down alternative. This is what Brian uses for all of his clients! For the rest of the room, own the blue sofa! Add more blue in with two club chairs to coordinate with your sofa — it could be pillows, some cording on the chairs, or a similar but different blue fabric on the chair. You’re almost there. Just two more chairs will tie it all together.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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