New York interior designer Brian McCarthy arrives in Houston on Thursday, October 8, for a series of Texas appearances to celebrate the publication of his new book Parish-Hadley Tree of Life. Among his stops: The Lobby at Greenwood King, where he will discuss time spent with the legendary design firm and sign copies of his book.

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Brian McCarthy. Photo by Joshua McHugh

McCarthy was a partner at Parish-Hadley before opening his own firm in 1992. His work has been featured in House Beautiful, House & Garden, Elle Décor, The New York Times and Architectural Digest. McCarthy’s first retrospective, Luminous Interiors: The Houses of Brian McCarthy, was published in 2013. His latest book is co-authored with Bunny Williams.

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We recently caught up with McCarthy to ask a few nosy questions.

WHEN WORKING WITH A NEW CLIENT, HOW DO YOU BEGIN?
The process always begins with a conversation and a sharing of thoughts, ideas and, most of all, wishes. I always encourage my client to come to me with a “look book,” a collection of images that they love. It could be anything from a magazine photograph of a bedroom they loved to a seashell that they collected on a vacation and just love the color.

WHAT CURRENT DESIGN TRENDS DO YOU FIND INTRIGUING? TIRESOME?
I dislike the whole concept of trend and do not follow or pay attention to them. But I will say I find anyone who is beginning to bring color back into design intriguing. I find the saturation of beige and gray uninspiring.

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Interior design by Brian McCarthy. Photo by Fritz von der Schulenbur

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE PROJECT AT PARISH-HADLEY?
The most memorable was working with Enid Haupt, the sister of Walter Annenberg. She had such an amazing sense of self and style and completely immersed herself in her passions.

WHAT MAKES A HOUSE AN ACTUAL HOME?
Living with the things you love!

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Interior design by Brian McCarthy. Photo by Francesco Lagnese

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WINTER HOLIDAY DECOR TREND FOR 2015?
Personally I keep my holiday décor to a minimum. But as far as “holiday trends” go, I’d like to hope that Holiday 2015 is filled with more altruism and less narcissism.

PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN STYLE IN THREE WORDS.
Eclectic, classical and modern.

WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN MANTRA?
Function over form.

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Interior design by Brian McCarthy. Photo by Fritz von der Schulenbur

HOW HAS YOUR STYLE EVOLVED SINCE OPENING YOUR OWN DESIGN FIRM?
My fascination with and passion for working with artists has completely reshaped how I view the work I do today.

IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANY THREE PEOPLE (LIVING OR DEAD), WHO WOULD THEY BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU TALK ABOUT?
1. Henri Samuel and what inspired him to be so forward-thinking at a time when most work was so traditional while he so deftly moved between the 18th and 20th centuries. 2. Martin Luther King to understand how he could remain so peaceful, focused and brave to advance civil rights forward at a time when there was so much hatred in front of him. 3. Pope Francis to hear more about how he envisions the future of religion.

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Interior design by Brian McCarthy. Photo by Max Kim-Bee

“IF I WERE NOT A DESIGNER, I WOULD …
be either a women’s-wear designer or a competitive equestrian.”

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PERSONAL ITEM?
A pair of crocodile console tables by Claude Lalanne that I acquired 10 years ago.

LET’S SAY FRIENDS ARE COMING TO NYC. WHERE WOULD YOU SEND THEM FOR DESIGN INSPIRATION?
Beauvais for carpets, Paul Kasmin for artists’ editioned furniture and lighting, and just walking the streets of NYC.

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Interior Design by Brian McCarthy. Photo by Francesco Lagnese

Love interior design? If you would like to be our guest at the upcoming Lobby event featuring Brian McCarthy – it takes place 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Thursday, October 8 – kindly email Cameron@riveroakshouston.com so we may reserve your space.