Ryan Answers Your Questions!

Ryan Brown answers your hard-hitting design questions.


Ryan was kind enough to answer some of your questions via Bravotv.com. Here are his answers:

Stephanie Mathis wrote: I love the show and especially Ryan's design style. I have seen stools upholstered in zebra and I am dying to know where I can purchase one.

Answer: The little zebra stools that you saw in my house are a great accent to just about any room. I have one in my bathroom next to the tub. The "Neta" stool is available from Seva Home - one of my favorite furniture stores in L.A.

Jennifer Gonzalez wrote: I feel like selecting paint chips is always such a hard and huge decision, especially when trying to choose perfect muted earthtones. I always LOVE your selections. Do you have any favorite choices for greys, browns, greens, neutrals and blues?

Answer: There are so many great colors out there it's hard to play favorites, but below are a few that I find work well in many applications. Remember, as I've said before, make sure you go out and buy a small quart of any color you are thinking of using and mock it up on the walls you are planning on painting. Paint colors look very different from room to room. All of those listed below are from Dunn Edwards. Browns Chocloate Chunk Bison Beige Neutrals Porous Stone Nomadic Taupe Green Flint Stone Grey Ash Grey

Ericka Horton wrote: Where can I get some of the ideas that you use on your rehabs other than the show. I love the design. Are there any magazines you could reccommend?

Answer: There are a ton of great design publication out there right now. House Beautiful is an amazing resource for updated traditional design with an edge. Metropolitan Home and Elle Decor are great for modern. Interiors is also a great magazine with full page photos for inspiration.

Christopher Alan wrote: How did you make your start into design? ... Did you base your degree around design or was it something you pursued after school? Also, what advice can you give me at 21 that you would have found beneficial?

Answer: My design education started at a very early age. My father was a developer who designed and built custom homes. He is an artist at heart so every outing was a chance for him to teach us more about design and architecture. I credit him with teaching me that everyday life is the best classroom. I encourage you to look around your hometown for inspiration. When time and budget allow, travel to other countries. Some of my best ideas come from abroad.

I love the Ralph Lauren Home print ads. There is nothing the epitomizes my sense of style and taste than that look. I want my house to look like one of them. Any advice on achieving this without spending about $1M on RL furniture?

Answer: Ralph Lauren is an amazing designer in many fields. The thing you like about his work is the "layered" look. More than just the furniture (which is beautiful) a room needs the proper accessories and art to complete the design. Its like putting on a dress for a formal event without adding and jewelry. When I'm designing a traditional room I bring in accessories that tell a story -- like hanging old boat oars on the wall or framing antique family photos. Finally, wall coverings are a great way to warm up a room -- grass cloths are great!

Brian W. Kim wrote: I am a Junior (to-be) at Cate School, a college preparatory boarding high school in Carpinteria. As I am a boarder, I live in a dorm known as schoolhouse. Well, I got last room pick when the room lottery was done, and I supposedly got the worst room. Fearing the worst, I opened the door and I saw, to my surprise, that the room was what I was looking for. Most of the rooms at our school have balconies, but mine did not. Instead it was tangibly larger. Another aspect of the room was its personality. It wasn't a rectangle like other rooms, no, it had a roof that sloped inwards suddenly on one side, and a pillar like extension that looked like a good place to put an antique whitewashed night stand and a painting that I inherited from a senior (who now attends Pratt). Anyways, the bed in my room is lofted, so I have quite a bit of space to put stuff in underneath. There is a small desk, a closet, and this medicine cabinet that sinks into the wall with drawers underneath. Because Cate is an old school, the flooring is smooth cement and the walls are dark cherry wood paneling (still intact from 1910). So the dilemma: -I need functional yet elegant (not ikea cold-modern) solutions for storage and organization, without going crazy on budget. -Do you guys have any suggestions for accent pieces I can put in the room that are not posters and other items typically gracing the walls of educational housing?

Answer: Making your dorm room a fun and functional room is easy. As you mentioned, posters on the wall: thumbs down. Start with a cool photography book with images that you like, chop it up, then find some frames on sale to mount them in. If you want furniture that is a bit warmer than Ikea, try West Elm. They have great accessories as well. Finally, the best way to make a small room look smaller is CLUTTER. Get rid of all the extra stuff in your room and make it a sanctuary.

Ed wrote: Hi Ryan, where do you purchase your contemporary lighting from?

Answer: We have a number of resources that we use for contemporary lighting. In fact, we are in the middle of posting some of our favorites on our Web site. Check there soon. Thanks again everyone for your questions and for supporting the show. Season 2 was great and I'm hoping Season 3 is right around the corner. F

or additional tips check out my design blog at www.browndesigninc.typepad.com/ Until next time ... Ryan

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