In 2019, the Seattle-based founder of Brian Paquette Interiors and his husband, Justin, braved a blizzard to see a recently listed property just six blocks away from the townhouse where they lived. That effort turned out to be well worth the snowy trek, as the house ultimately became their new home.
“We made the only offer that day because of this snowstorm, and because the city was basically shut down, and we got it,” recalls Paquette. “I had wanted to find something that we could remodel, but we were also [having a wedding] that year. At first we thought maybe we should enjoy our first couple of years of marriage before taking on a ginormous project.”
The three-bedroom home, however, was too perfect to pass up thanks to its prime location in Seattle’s up-and-coming Central District and its open-plan third-story space, which could serve as the headquarters for Paquette’s design team. Paquette also envisioned being able to fully unite his wide-ranging collection of objects and furnishings from different places and eras within the house.
“Most of the stuff in my home, aside from a few pieces, are things I already had when we moved into the house,” says Paquette, referring to pieces picked up at Manhattan furniture stores, Parisian flea markets, and everywhere in between. “They’re all things I really love without context for exact space.”
To set the stage, he played with lighting, textures, and a desaturated, nature-inspired palette composed of grays, browns, and walnuts. He ripped up the existing carpet on the upper two levels, and replaced it with hardwood similar to what is on the first floor. Each room reveals the designer’s deep love for art: The dining room features a plaster, ink, and graphite abstract painting by local artist Lakshmi Muirhead and a photograph by Hiroshi Sugimoto, noted for his horizon-themed works.
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“Art to me is not about having a wall to fill,” says Paquette, who studied conceptual art and painting. “I buy it because I have an [eternal] connection to it, like you just seemingly can’t live without it. You feel like it’s a ghost limb that you didn’t know you had.”
In the living room, a small painting by Anthony Goicolea, a Brooklyn-based Cuban American painter Paquette interviewed for his college dissertation, can be seen above an antique French mirror. Evidence of Francophile tendencies can be seen elsewhere as well, such as in the use of a pine side table by Le Corbusier and a low wooden coffee table by Charlotte Perriand. Paquette’s collection of rare books, which depict the works of artists, photographers, and designers, line the shelves custom built into the living room. He regularly references them for his design work.
This constant engagement with art and design at home is what helps Paquette to continually evolve his creative voice. “Our home is kind of like a laboratory, like most designers’ houses are,” he says. “Things move all the time. One piece goes out and one piece comes in, and you’re always just adjusting and making changes with the seasons.”