Bryan Kirkland has never had any formal training in interior design, but the Atlanta native and owner of BAK Designs has a natural talent for using color and pattern to create classic interiors with a twist.
Background: Grew up in south Atlanta and bought my first house in Virginia Highland in 1979. It cost $25,000. I thought I had hit the big time when I had a pool installed two years later. In 1985, I moved to Washington, D.C., and worked in interior design with Bloomingdales. In 1991, I moved to Miami, but headed back to Atlanta 10 years later.
How I got started: I have always been creative. I loved rearranging my room as a child and probably drove my mother up a wall with “I wants.” I started working in furniture sales. My second job was with Rich’s at Lenox Square. I was in visual merchandising and had lots of freedom to be creative. I realized I had a flair for the unexpected. And that continues today.
My company: Atlanta-based BAK Designs Inc. started in 2008. I have gone from being a designer to having a showroom to now owning an architectural and interior design firm.
My design style: Classic interiors with a twist. I like to introduce the unexpected. I love “Hollywood Regency meets Hollywood Glam” with transitional furnishings. My palettes run from neutral to vibrant, but my true talents appear when I use color and patterns. In the end, my style and colors reflect each and every client’s personal taste.
As seen in: Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, the Men’s Book (Atlanta), Atlanta Symphony Decorators Show House and the Cathedral (of St. Philip) Antiques Show and Tour of Homes in Atlanta.
Claim to fame: 2013 Top 25 Designers in Atlanta by Veranda magazine and nominated as 2013 designer of the year by the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC).
Best thing about my job: Changing people’s lives through the art of interior design. I have been told numerous times by clients how the transformation of their homes has renewed their spirit.
Biggest design mistake I have ever made: Opening my showroom in 2009 at the beginning of a financial crisis.
Design pet peeves: That I can’t use all of the beautiful fabrics I find.
A designer’s challenges: Working with family heirlooms when they do not fit the design aesthetic.
Common mistake homeowners make: Choosing items that don’t fit the size and scale of a room.
Favorite design sources:
Stores: ADAC showrooms: Grizzel & Mann; Ainsworth Noah; Travis & Company; Jim Thompson; Logan Gardens; Moattar; Kravet; and Ernest Gaspard
Designers: Wayne Breeden, Mary Drysdale and Kelly Wearstler
Unexpected finds: Scott’s Antiques, Antiques and Beyond and the Westside Market
Household issue I am particular about: I am an organizational freak. Everything has its place. I have everything in my drawers and closets color-coordinated.
Favorite household objects: My cast iron skillet and my pressure cooker
Latest project: An estate home in Chastain Park
Up next: A luxury cosmetic surgery center