With the philosophy that no two homes are the same, interior designer Brian J. McCarthy crafts highly personalized spaces for clients across the globe. At the core of his artful approach to design is a love of layering, by using textures and materials to add depth and character to each unique interior. A former partner of legendary design firm Parish-Hadley, McCarthy has a deep understanding of design history and appreciation for handcrafted objects. This fall, he will release The Parish-Hadley Tree of Life: An Intimate History of the Legendary Design Firm, co-authored with close friend and Parish-Hadley alum Bunny Williams. An honored member of Architectural Digest’s AD100 and Elle Decor’s A-List, we asked the designer to handpick his favorite items on our site — his edit yielded an eclectic mix including pieces by Claude Lalanne and Herve Van der Straeten. Scroll down to see 18 of McCarthy’s inspiring designs, then shop his entire collection of 1stdibs picks.
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, McCarthy used a pair of rock crystal lamps to a flank a tobacco-colored sofa. A piece by artist Milton Avery hangs over a mirrored wall.
In the same home, a sleigh-style Empire chair is paired with an extraordinary Banc Crocodile bench by Claude Lalanne.
McCarthy used a fretwork-patterned carpet to introduce a vitalizing element into this simple, predominantly black-and-white New York City bedroom. The custom-designed paisley curtain and chair fabric, with its Anglo-Indian influence, connects graphically to both the zebra patterned bench and the rug.
In the lady’s master bath — finished entirely in marble — the designed embedded a pair of round mirrors into semi-translucent glass, filling the space with a filtered, natural light.
In this living room on the North Shore of Long Island, a diamond-patterned, two-toned hemp carpet adds color and texture. The walls are finished in a Venetian plaster with an irregular stripe, and the branch-form mirror is by Herve Van der Straeten.
A pair of Tron de Pauline bronze armchairs, incorporating gingko leaves, by Claude Lalanne were commissioned for the entry hall gallery of the home. The graphic mid-century-style painted floor introduces a lively, less-traditional element, enhanced by a zebra-print rug and Marc Bankowsky Pieds de Bouc stool.
In the same home, McCarthy used a Gilbert Poillerat-inspired table base (with a faux parchment top) to echo the form of the wall sconces and lantern. Again, the walls are Venetian plaster, this time flecked with gold and lacquered.
In the New York City apartment that McCarthy shares with his husband Dani, a 19th-century gilt shagreen bench sits at the foot of the bed. Photographs by (from left) Minor White, George Rousse and Brett Weston are hung overhead.
Custom-carved plaster panels — inspired by the work of 1920s Paris designer Armand-Albert Rateau — punctuate walls finished in lacquer and gold leaf by Ateliers Meriguet.
On either side of the portal to his dining room, McCarthy placed two bronze crocodile consoles by Claude Lalanne. An Empire chair, upholstered in a velvet fabric designed by Jacqus-Emile Ruhlmann, sits to the left.
The northwest corner of McCarthy’s living room overlooks Central Park.
A Lalanne gueridon, entitled Singe aux Nenuphars, was a rare collaboration between husband and wife Francois Xavier and Claude.
Photographs by (from left) Nicholas Prior, Alessandra Sanguinetti and Loretta Lux lines the walls of McCarthy’s Tiffany-blue guest-room.
For this Northeastern U.S. home, McCarthy used a stitched-square hide rug in squares to cover the wide plank oak floors of the living room. Also in the room: table lamps by Herve Van der Straeten, floor lamps by WP Sullivan Studio, a painting by Carroll Dunham and chandelier by CJ Peters.
In one of the home’s bedrooms, a photograph by James Welling sits above a shagreen chest of drawers. Papa Bear chairs by Hans Wegner are placed in each corner.
On the East End of Long Island, McCarthy again referenced the work of French furniture designer Gilbert Poillerat in his own design for a kitchen table and chairs. An articulated ceiling and cabinetry give the space an organized, soothing rhythm.
The home’s living room walls are finished in a wave-patterned plaster to lend a sense of informality to the grand space — a task abetted by white mink and silk pillows, and a silk and hemp key-patterned carpet. The curtains, woven from strands of coconut fiber, capture and glow of the room’s abundant afternoon sunlight. Sophie von Hellerman’s painting, Please Don’t Forget to Tip the Waiter, injects a playful, exuberant note.
In this West Coast home, the library’s 90 turquoise Chinese lacquer panels were fabricated in the U.S., then sent to Paris for finishing; the banding is gilt bronze.